Monday, April 6, 2009

Trucking on the Haul road

Truckers travel the Haul road north of the Brooks range, arctic, Alaska.
Canon 1Ds Mark III, 500mm f4L IS, 1/500 sec @ f8, ISO 400

The James Dalton Highway was built as an access road to the Arctic ocean during the days of the of the Trans Alaska Pipeline construction. It still serves the main purpose of supplying the oil fields of the arctic north slope coast. Its a rugged road, and passes through some formidable country, particularly in winter. I often hear weather alerts of road closures due to wind and snow, and flash floods in the summer months. Before travel, checking current road conditions is essential.

The truckers that navigate this route routinely (500 miles between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay) do so in all types of weather. There is often a dramatic scene of a trucker cruising the road, which helps depict the emptiness and ruggedness of this region. The highway traverses the Brooks range via Atigun pass, the highest road pass in Alaska.

Nearly every trip north for me results in a cracked windshield, and my last trip was no exception. Heavy snow and high winds can quickly obscure and diminish the road to one lane, or simply impassable. Snow drifts, once plowed, can rebuild in a matter of minutes. This was the case recently but I could find no place to pull over to position myself for good photography, and it was too dangerous, with limited visibility to just stop in the road. So, you don't see any of those cool-could-have-been-photos. Plus, it was minus 20 degrees and ripping wind.

Oddly, ice is purposely put on the road during the winter to stabilize surface material, arctic, Alaska.
Canon 1Ds Mark III, 16-35mm f2.8L , 1/320 sec @ f18, ISO 200

Road markers help distinguish the shoulder during snowy conditions, arctic north slope, Alaska.
Canon 1Ds Mark III, 100-400 (220mm) mm f5.6L , 1/500 sec @ f18, ISO 400

Caribou trek across the tundra as a trucker passes through Atigun canyon, arctic, Alaska.
Canon 1Ds Mark III, 100-400mm f5.6L (130mm) , 1/400 sec @ f7.1, ISO 200

Trucker climbs the road through Atigun Pass of the Brooks range, arctic, Alaska.
Canon 1Ds Mark III, 100-400mm f5.6L , 1/640 sec @ f10, ISO 200

Heavy winds create drifts in seconds on the Dalton Highway, arctic, Alaska.
Canon 1Ds Mark III, 100-400mm f5.6L , 1/640 sec @f9, ISO 200

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would like live with snow.....

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