Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The IditaTour: Part one.

Late last winter I found myself in Alaska with a bike and a plan. Again.

I went there with an ambitious objective: To ride the Iditarod Trail from Knik to Nome without outside support.


Well--why the hell not?!

Actually, there are many reasons why--you can read more about them here.

Early in the trip I started a video diary, basically turning the camera on myself and letting fly with whatever came to mind. It was a spur of the moment creative effort that morphed into a means for keeping myself together through the difficulties that came my way, day after day. Looking back now, it was a stroke of brilliance: Combining the immediacy of spoken word with the timelessness of stills tells a much, much more complete story than I (or anyone) could recreate from 9 months and three thousand miles away. This 'retelling' is much more honest. Really.

Below is the first installment in a 3-part series. Part one covers the first 8 days from Knik to ~McGrath.

Please keep in mind that my energies throughout the tour were focused on efficient forward progress--the camera had to remain an afterthought, which limited my creativity considerably. I started with a very, very limited amount of food, fuel, and camera batteries, and each time I stopped for a pic or vid I was 'burning daylight'. I didn't have enough battery power to review shots much less get any 'do overs', so the clips were off the cuff and then I'd be back on the bike seconds later, working to generate some heat and unthaw frozen-from-handling-the-camera fingers. Run and shoot, shoot and run.

I carried a glorified P&S camera. No tripod, no remote, nothing but a peashooter and a fistful of batteries. Given where I was and what I was doing, this camera's specs (HD vid, big zoom, flip screen, and AA batts) made it the easy (only?) choice--I didn't see another option that combined those 'big four' all together. All in all, it worked out pretty well.

Lastly, there were several times when it was simply not possible to shoot due to circumstance. Most often this means it was too cold, or windy, or snowy to bring the camera out, but there were several occasions when I was suffering too badly to be able to manage it. Thus, while the clips shown are somewhat revealing, some of the most precious moments were never recorded. And that's as it should be: Memories can grow more powerful through the years without evidence to support or deny!

Part two HERE.