This birch log seems a little off guard in this photograph, like I had approached it closely, too quickly. It is at once candid and finished; its pale skin seems perfect even under the closest scrutiny.
I made the photograph on a work expedition to the far reaches of the Northern Klondike. While I waited for my equipment to collect data, I explored the scrubby tundra forest around me with my camera. I found an environment similar to what the first gold miners must have experienced more than 100 years before: dense thorny bush, wetland plants surviving on rainy hilltops and snowy slopes, and every muddy area covered in giant moose tracks.
I like the big cluster of bark in the corner of this picture. It looks like it would peel off the log in a satisfying handful, baring the yellow wood underneath. Maybe it is a metaphor for man's use of this place, the last real frontier in a world that used to be very wild indeed.
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