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Alaska's North Slope
MAY 2006
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Photo captions by Michael Klesius
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Alaska's North Slope Gallery Photo

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Cool Relief
Photograph by Joel Sartore

Caribou in the central Arctic herd—one of four herds on the North Slope—crowd a coastal ice floe to escape from mosquitoes, which can seriously drain a caribou's energy. The caribou not only lose blood, but also crucial feeding time because of the insects. In summer, caribou mass on the nutrient-rich tundra of the coastal plain for grazing and calving. But because the plain covers oil reserves, it also beckons an industry intent on drilling. Conservationists worry that increased drilling and the infrastructure that accompanies it may disrupt caribou migrations.
Photo Fast Facts
Camera: Nikon F6
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia 50
Lens: Nikon 70-200mm, f/2.8 VR
Speed and F-Stop: 1/250 @ f/4
Weather Conditions: Sunny
Time of Day: 10 a.m.
Lighting Techniques: Natural Light
Special Equipment or Comments: I used a light, slow-moving airplane to shoot straight down from an altitude that didn't frighten the animals.
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