When I traveled to the town of Inuvik, in Canada's Northwest Territories, I learned to embrace and respect the cold. The Northwest Territories are beautiful in their winter starkness, when the sun hangs low on the horizon. Initially, the cold stings the skin and chills the lungs. But when I went into the field to begin shooting, I quickly found I'd made the same mistake most visitors do: I was overdressed. I was too hot. I didn't need three layers of clothing (thermal underwear, down parka, windproof shell), despite temperatures hovering a few degrees below zero F. I readjusted and continued to explore.
On my last day above the Arctic Circle, I went to the Muskrat Jamboree to photograph dog-sled races and traditional games. I noticed one man watching the games from the top of a snow mound. He was encircled by a phenomenon called a sundog. As the sun passes through ice crystals in the atmosphere, it creates this rainbowlike glow. I thought it was an apt representation of humans' ability to resist the elements and thrive in a harsh and beautiful land. (For more information on sundogs, also known as a "mock sun," go to: www.gla.ac.uk/departments/adulteducation/Personnel/alec/sundog/)