FirstAscent » My Journey in Alaska

Glass is good

a700 w/ 70-400 G lens

In preparation for my upcoming drive to AK I need to have all my photog and vid bases covered. One thing I didn’t have was a really good telephoto lens though, and all the nice ones “start” at about $2000 and easily up to $13000…yeah, just for a single piece of glass (lens)!!

I obviously can’t afford that; luckily there are sites where you can rent for fairly cheap. I was able to pick up one of Sony’s 70-400mm G lenses for a little over $100 for a period of 2 weeks. Much better than $2000. This lens will be perfect for wildlife shots.

The goods:

  1. Body  |  Sony a700 SLR
  2. Body  |  Sony a77 SLT
  3. Lens  |  Sony 16-50 f/2.8   {sharp fast lens}
  4. Lens  |  Sony 18-200 f/3.5-6.3   {good focal range, good walk-around lens}
  5. Lens  |  Sony 70-400 f/4-5.6 G   {rented}
  6. Lens  |  Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6   {decently long range, cheaper quality though}
  7. Point ‘n Shoot  |  Sony DSC-TX7
  8. Point ‘n Shoot  |  Pentax Optio W90   {waterproof/freezeproof/shockproof etc}
  9. Video  |  GoPro HD Hero
  10. Video  |  GoPro HD Hero2
  11. Memory  |  196GB

I currently don’t own a tripod which will be a MUST HAVE for the longer wildlife shots, so for now I’m just borrowing my fathers and will ship it back to him when I arrive. Much cheaper than buying new legs/head 🙂

Batteries are charged, and of course spare batteries are charged too. DC to AC converter for power via cigarette lighter in car is here and working perfect.

cams, vid, and more cams


Cabin and view

Cabin sneak peak

Today started off with the big interview at 9:00AM. It lasted 4 hours long with 3 different people. When it was done I couldn’t believe it was 4 hours, it didn’t feel like 4 hours and I feel like it went really well. Definitely a good group of guys and I know I would be a good asset to their team and it’s exactly the job I’m looking for and great for continuing my knowledge on various subjects. As I mentioned, the interview went well but nothing is official yet but my fingers are crossed as this is the opportunity I’ve been looking for.

After the interview I looked at a few housing options. Mainly Dry cabins. Dry cabins may not put most at ease but to me it is exciting. A dry cabin has a lot of the normal utilities, but there is absolutely NO running water. Hence the word “dry”. There is still electricity, heat, and most importantly the INTERNET! So, no running water eh? That means, no dishwasher or clothing washer, NO showers?? Yup, that’s right. If I’m going to go to Alaska, especially the Interior, I’m going to GO to Alaska and do it right and get the full experience!

Dry cabins are actually pretty common in the Interior due to permafrost which makes it difficult and expensive to route plumbing etc throughout. Luckily since it is so common, there are a lot of options for showering etc (local facilities, gym’s open 24/7, on campus…) so I’m not worried about it at all. I actually can’t wait.

Oh, and the dry cabins are Cheap too, and range from $400-700/month! The one pictured above is just being finished getting built and I was able to meet the builder/owner and go check one out! They are very secluded as you can see from the top photo, perfect! I’d love to see this view in the winter with everything covered in snow! Epic!

I’m in Alaska!


I’m officially in Alaska for my first time ever. I flew from PDX to Anchorage, then from Anchorage onto Fairbanks. I arrived in Fairbanks around 1:00AM and it was so crazy to see the sun still shining bright! I felt like it was noon. I really don’t have much planned until my flight leaves on Wednesday evening. I’m going to check out the UAF campus, look into some housing options, eat, and aside from that just whatever comes about.

A life goal of mine has been to climb Denali (also known as Mount McKinley by some) so it was really awesome to see it on the flight from Anchorage to Fairbanks poking above the clouds. Denali is about 1.5-2 hours from Fairbanks and about 4 hours from Anchorage. If I was in Fairbanks, well then Denali would be That much closer to me!! Let the training begin!

The First Visit

These are just a few pics from my very first visit up to AK. I was only there for 3 days, for an interview, and a lot of that was travel time but I was still able to grab a few shots.

July 13, 2012 - 3:44 AM

Susan Karamesines Casal - You have a blot? Awesome! Love it!

Job Interview

Siemens research facility in Fairbanks, AK

I had an interesting phone interview this morning for Siemens Corporation for an Engineering project manager position. This would be located in Fairbanks, which could potentially be perfect. Before this, I was thinking I would go to UAF and finish up school. But if I can land a decent job first then it would allow me to work first and gain residency, after 1 year, which would in turn allow me in-state tuition at UAF which is much cheaper. I will be flying out this Monday to Fairbanks, interview on Tuesday, and fly back home to Oregon on Wednesday. Anything could happen at this point and I’m not getting my hopes up. So my plan is to still attend UAF starting Fall semester 2012 until I know for sure what is going on.