Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Favorite Photos From WEIO


Elijah Cabinboy attempting to kick tiny ball was one of my favorite photos.

©Bert Gildart: Photographing the World Eskimo Indian Olympics has been a challenging experience. To some extent it was made easier by the willingness of authorities to work with photojournalist-and with the advice I received from several very good photographers who have worked here before.

Though I was familiar with virtually all the techniques required here for these fast-paced events, some I had not used for awhile, and the discussions I had with other photographers expedited my recollections. Clark Mishler, for instance, explained the camera settings he was using and described his use and placement of auxiliary flash units.

Roy Corral assured me that using high ISO camera settings would produce good publishable results. That’s something I should have remembered, as one of my images made this winter in Death Valley was made using an ISO setting of almost 2000-and it was extraordinarily sharp. Apparently, Nikon excels with pixels used in its high-end digital cameras. Here, at WEIO, many of my action images were shot using ISOs ranging from 400 to 800.

The most difficult image was the one of Elijah Cabinboy. This image is not cropped. The challenge was to figure out where his eyes would be when his feet touched the ball, and I did so by watching him and then noticing that his head was about a foot or so behind the ball. That’s where I focused my camera, not on the ball. When using a wide-open aperture and a small telephoto lens, this selection was critical, otherwise his eyes would have been out of focus, and that essentially makes the image unusable.

What I believe is so striking about this image is Cabinboy’s concentration. Look and you’ll see he is focused–and intently so on the tiny ball, which he must touch with his feet. Little wonder he’s such a superb athlete.


Elijah is, in fact, a superb athlete and this year he broke an Olympic record with his One-foot High Kick. Unfortunately, I was shooting another venue when Cabinboy broke the previous record by balancing himself on one arm and then kicking the ball, which was then suspended at an elevation of 96 inches. Later, he said he practiced kicking the ceiling of his apartment, which, is in fact, 96 inches.


Other photos I like for different reasons. I like the one of Blanche Vest keeping the fire alive during the opening night using a caribou antler to nurse her flame ignited with moss and seal oil. It tells a story.


CLICK TO SEE LARGER IMAGE. L TO R: Delilah DeWilde and Andrew Marks, Lila Moses of Fairbanks, “Keeper of Flame” Blanche Vest, Brandon Johnson

Likewise, I like the image of Delilah DeWilde and Andrew Marks running the torch around the arena. To impart a sense of motion I intentionally shot at slow shutter speeds. There’s a story here, too, one of pathos. This past Christmas Vaughn Kozevnikoff, one of Mark’s best friends, died suddenly. As a result, Marks dedicated his win as a tribute to his friend. Best male and female runner are also provided the honor of lighting the seal oil light, tended by Blanche Vest.

I also like the image of Lila Moses of Fairbanks taken during the Native Baby contest. Janie helped me with this photo by holding a second strobe to improve modeling. It also “flattens” the light, which is more pleasing to young faces.


I am always awed by the power some of the dances project and in this case, it is performed by Brandon Johnson a Tlingit Indian from Yakutat. He said Native dances tend to convey the constant flow of life, the trees, rivers, clouds… I liked his descriptions.


David Thomas completes his high blanket toss with a somersault

Finally, I could not stop photographing those participating in the Eskimo Blanket Toss, and in this case, David Thomas adds a bit of variety which was certainly pleasing to the judges. At the height of his leap, he did a somersault. Last year his performance won him some top awards, and may have this year. I’m not sure and am still checking records.

We leave the Olympics the best way possible-which means we are yearning for more. Others agreed, and it is little wonder the contest has become one of Alaska’s favorite attractions.



*Mackinac National Park


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