The Blog: See what
Sigma is saying.

04.24.2013

Recently I traveled to Chena Hot Springs, a beautiful, well-appointed, and environmentally responsible resort located about 50 miles east of Fairbanks, Alaska. While you would expect to find ice sculptures mid-winter in the 49th state, at Chena Hot Springs Resort’s Aurora Ice Museum you can find exquisite frozen artwork year-round.

Two knights joust in this ice sculpture by world champion ice carvers Steve and Heather Brice. These life-size figures are featured in the Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs Resort, Chena Hot Springs, Alaska. Seven exposures processed in Sigma Photo Pro and then combined into on HDR image in Photomatix Pro. Sigma SD1 camera, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM lens (10mm), Gitzo GT2541EX tripod and ball head. Shutter speed: 1/15s to 4s | Aperture:  f/11 | ISO 100. © 2013 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

Two knights joust in this ice sculpture by world champion ice carvers Steve and Heather Brice. These life-size figures are featured in the Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs Resort, Chena Hot Springs, Alaska. Seven exposures processed in Sigma Photo Pro and then combined into on HDR image in Photomatix Pro. Sigma SD1 camera, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM lens (10mm), Gitzo GT2541EX tripod and ball head. Shutter speed: 1/15s to 4s | Aperture: f/11 | ISO 100. © 2013 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

The Aurora Ice Museum is the world’s largest year-round, man-made ice environment in the world. Inside are sculptures made by six-time world champion ice carver Heather Brice and her husband, Steve, a fifteen-time world champion ice carver.

With summer temperatures reaching into the 80s and 90s, you would think it would that it would cost a fortune to keep the ice museum cold all year. Remarkably, the electric bills are kept low due to the resourcefulness of the resort’s owner, Bernie Karl, who worked with international engineering teams to find a way to harness the Earth’s heat—in the form of hot water rising in the famous hot springs—to cool the ice house. At Chena Bernie and his partners figured out how to take low temperature hot spring water and create energy. Not only do they now generate all of the electricity used at Chena Hot Springs Resort geothermally but they are also beginning to sell it to others.

Bundled-up world champion ice carvers Heather and Steve Brice create spectacular frozen artwork year-round at the Aurora Ice Museum. In the foreground are hand-made ice glasses, which are used to serve appletinis at the Aurora Ice Bar. Heather and Steve turn about 16,000 glasses per year. Nikon D800E, Lens: Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX DG HSM | Shutter Speed: 1/15 sec. | Aperture: f/5.0 | ISO 800. © 2013 David FitzSimmonss. All rights reserved.

Bundled-up world champion ice carvers Heather and Steve Brice create spectacular frozen artwork year-round at the Aurora Ice Museum. In the foreground are hand-made ice glasses, which are used to serve appletinis at the Aurora Ice Bar. Heather and Steve turn about 16,000 glasses per year. Nikon D800E, Lens: Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX DG HSM | Shutter Speed: 1/15 sec. | Aperture: f/5.0 | ISO 800. © 2013 David FitzSimmonss. All rights reserved.

When you visit the Aurora Ice Museum, be sure to bring a tripod. It’s a bit dark inside, so long exposures help ensure good depth of field. And be ready for a bit of post-processing: the wide range of tones begs for high dynamic range (HDR) photography.

A leopard freezes in his tracks above a skull. The lighting on this memento mori covers such a wide exposure latitude that I took 8 shots at f/11, ranging from 1/4s to 15 seconds, at ISO 100, processed them in Sigma Photo Pro, and then combined them into one HDR image using Photomatix Pro. Sigma SD1, Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM, Gitzo GT2541EX tripod and ball head. © 2013 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

A leopard freezes in his tracks above a skull. The lighting on this memento mori covers such a wide exposure latitude that I took 8 shots at f/11, ranging from 1/4s to 15 seconds, at ISO 100, processed them in Sigma Photo Pro, and then combined them into one HDR image using Photomatix Pro. Sigma SD1, Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM, Gitzo GT2541EX tripod and ball head. © 2013 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

Before you leave the resort, make sure do two things. First, take a tour of the geothermal power plant. Its heartwarming to see how far a creative and persistent business owner will go to create a sustainable, profitable company. Secondly, dine at the resort’s restaurant, where you’ll want to order a salad. All of the vegetables are raised in the on-site greenhouse, which, you guessed, is entirely heated and lit geothermally.

David used the SD1 digital SLR camera, 10-20mm F4-5.6 DC HSM, 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG HSM and the 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM lens to photograph

Facebook comments:

No Comment.

Add Your Comment