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Monday, June 17, 2019

Weekly Post, High and Wild: Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers

High and Wild: Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

After receiving my MFA from CalArts, I was invited by Bill Lund, Sharon Disney’s husband, to come stay at the families' Diamond-D Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming. Bill thought I might like to photograph in the nearby Wind River Mountains, which I did, backpacking through them extensively over the next three summers. Welcome to a world of big granite walls and huge alpine lakes!

Monday, June 17, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #95:
Wind River, #95:  Despite Vicki Golden and my misgivings, such as "you can be struck by lightening,” “you're not wearing a life vest,” “the water is stunningly cold,” and, “you could hook your raft and deflate it, if you are not careful,” Michael Knowlin is not dissuadable. He has carried his raft all of this way, he has used it before, and he “knows what he is doing,” so there is no changing his mind. Finally inflated, the raft looks like a pool toy to us, but to Michael, it is his ticket to possibly catching “monster” fish,..and he is off - literally and figuratively -LOL! As Michael slowly paddles away from us, the weather ominously lowers, and clouds descend on the summits. It is not raining, but it looks like it might at any minute. A stiff breeze arises as well, blowing him further into the heart of the lakes, and causing us to wonder if he could even paddle back to us, going into the wind. Michael, however, is clearly less concerned. In fact he is doing a lot of hooting, and he keeps yelling at the fish that he is “coming for them.” Vicki and I climb up onto the boulder dome next to camp, so we can watch him grow ever smaller as he drifts into the expansive surrounding landscape of the Titcomb basin. As concerned as we are, it is amazing to watch, and his antics, and conversations with the fish are hysterical.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Weekly Post: The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get by Robert Glenn Ketchum

by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Growing up my parents had a home near Sun Valley, Idaho. It was there that I learned to ski. Over many years I befriended members of the Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club, with whom I had both life, and art-forming outdoor experiences. I had my camera, and these are my adventures.  Enjoy!!  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #163: DFCFC, #163:  I am hopeful the hazy clouds (last post) suggest some warming, but as we regroup at our snow cave, the temperature is going down sharply once again. Out of our skis and, into our puffy layers, we do dinner and watch the evening show. After food, a little exercise always works to get my heat restarted, so I go for a hike with my camera to see whatever is offered up. The easiest, previously established path for that is, up along the rock exposed ridge above our encampment that overlooks both the Hyndman-Old Hyndman-Cobb  we are in, and also the basin between Duncan Ridge-Hyndman, whose skyline and “ribs’” are defined by these ragged, upthrust walls (above). The hazy clouds linger, but now I realize, this is not an incoming change in the weather, but rather ice crystals in the freezing air, as the temperature keeps dropping.The lowering sun paints the crystal haze and the landscape with a brief warm glow, as twilight starts to fall. My food glow is still coming on though, so I climb a little higher.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Weekly Post, "The Daze of My Life: Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography"

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography

Biographies are studies of someone's life based on cumulative research. Good ones may reveal something, but probably barely scratch the surface of what actually went on. The internet is allowing me to do something VERY different. 
~Robert Glenn Ketchum

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #152: Daze, #152:  Apparently, my new commission from the Lila Acheson Wallace Funds, to photograph in the Tongass rainforest of Alaska, will be accomplished by boating and camping, as there are few towns, fewer people, and a very limited number of roads. With my friend and fellow artist, Philip Slagter, helping as my assistant, we are about to spend the entire summer, camping, boating, kayaking, and canoeing throughout some 1,000 mountains islands in southeast Alaska, that sit just offshore of one of the world’s tallest coastal mountain ranges, split by deep fjords with tree-covered towering walls, and capped by some of the largest glaciers in North American. The fishing should be terrific, as it is considered a significant salmon fishery (along with other available species), but it is the population of especially large Grizzly bear, and unheard of amounts of rain (365” per year on average in Ketchikan that intimidate Philip and I the most, as we learn more about where we are headed. In planning, I realize we are going to be in extreme conditions a lot of the time, and we need to be mobile, so I decide to leave my large cameras at home, and go with all 35mm gear. Realizing I will work in smaller format, and I still hope to acquire richly detailed images, so I decide I will shoot Kodachrome transparency film, supposedly the best product on the market. As fate would have it, however, a new film reputed to be quite good, is introduced before we depart. It is called Fujichrome Velvia, and I decide to take rolls of that along, as well, to compare side-by-side with what I shoot on Kodachrome.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019 
@RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Weekly Post, "Fish Farms: Forming My World View Through Aquaculture in 1977" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Fish Farms:  Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

In 1977, I was commissioned by Elisabeth Mann Borgese to help do research, interviews, and take photographs for a book she was writing about worldwide aquaculture. It would be published by Harry N. Abrams, one of the world’s premier publishing houses, famous for their beautiful books. It would also involve around-the-world travel to 8 countries, and some of the most remarkable places I would ever visit. SEAFARM: The Story of Aquaculture was a very successful publication featuring over 100 of my images, and an exhibit I assembled with support from Nikon, became a Smithsonian traveling exhibition for 6-yrs., viewed by over 6-million people.  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum

Friday, June 14, 2019

FISHFARMS:  Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977, #60:
Fish Farms #60:  Our Bangkok hotel is luxurious by comparison to those in which Elisabeth and I stayed while in India, but it is fair to say, not as exotic (no elephants carry our baggage). Our rooms are quite comfortable, AND air-conditioned, something we did not always find previously. The hotel dining room is also very nice, and decorated with stunning graphics, and details on the walls, columns, and ceiling. The food is good, and very different, but equally as spicy as what we were served in India, just in a different way. She and I enjoy a long, leisurely, and somewhat drunken dinner, retire early, and then rise the next day to have breakfast with our hosts, who plan to show us some of the sights. While our aquaculture research project is being explained on our behalf to various officials, and we await approval for the plans we have proposed, our hosts help us bide our time by showing us some truly grand Thai locations. The country is VERY religious, and there are statuary and temples everywhere, so of course we visit them. Again, since this is not pertinent to our project, I try to limit the pictures I make, because I only have so much film, but who could resist taking a picture of this? Like the remarkable decorated trucks we encounter on the roadways, the temples, in particular, are an astounding display of elaborate hand-crafting, with red paint and gold leaf, making windows, doorways, and columns radiant. It is breathtaking! These people are “nuts” in a VERY beautiful way!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Weekly Post, "My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

In 1988, I was awarded an Artist-in-Residency at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. This was a small body of work created over three years, and eventually exhibited once at the university. Some images have been printed, but most have never been seen. I hope you enjoy these photographs. I think they are among some of the most beautiful I have ever taken.  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum

Thursday, June 13, 2019

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #33:
Wisconsin #33:  The following morning at the UW field station, I awake to a cold day, more like winter than spring. There is a sharp wind as well, so I linger over breakfast, and wait for the sun to warm things up a bit. About the time I begin my rounds, the wind dies down, thankfully. As cool as the day is, spring is on the way, and the new growth may be slowed by the cold, but ultimately, there is no stopping the march towards blooming. I can see the green of weeds and grasses underlying every step I take. I start my tour of the property down by the stream that traverses it, but eventually I find myself approaching the oak-prairie grass savanna, and the swale full of sumac, I photographed the night before. Now, the drama of the late lighting (last post) is absent, and the spareness of the field is obvious. Nonetheless, it is still quite graphic, and the equally spare oaks provide an additional visual element, so as a document to the striking difference of these two POV’s, less than 12hrs. apart, I make the above image. As lifeless as it may initially look, study it more carefully and you can see the “greening” is well on its way. The grasses underfoot are clearly visible, pushing up through the weed debris, and in the distance, trees other than oaks, have started to leaf-out, creating a kind of green haze across the background. Now, if the day would only warm up a little more!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, May 27, 2019

Trustees for Alaska Needs Our Help

The Arctic got hot early this year. Klawock hit 70 degrees Fahrenheit in March, the earliest 70-degree day ever recorded in Alaska.

Arctic sea ice has hit a record low. Temperatures surged 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit above average across the Arctic Ocean. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 415 parts per million for the first time in human history last weekend--the highest level in at least 800,000 years, and probably over 3 million.

We face a time of crisis, yet live in an age of distraction. We need to focus on how to make the changes we need to survive, yet we bounce from tweet to insult to faux pas to disinformation to GIF to tweet again.

The internet peddles in distraction, according to Nicholas Carr in his book, "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains." It's not just that the online world distracts us, but that it alters how we think so that we remain in the shallows of thought.

Distraction is now the tool, the method, the tactic, the commodity, and the ultimate goal. The business of distraction seeks your attention, not depth of content or deep thinking.

The same goes for our political and social systems. Those with and in power have latched onto distraction as the means to holding power. They bump and derail thoughts and conversations like pick pockets exploiting a crowded street. They throw shade on people whose ideas and solutions threaten their power. They fund disturbance to keep people from unifying around their connections, common purposes and goals.

But we need deep solutions, not shallow ones.

The culture of distraction may alter our brains, but we have the choice to not let our brains be duped. Each of us chooses what we want to spend our time absorbing and lifting up. Each of us can turn our attention to where our values lie.

My values do not align with the Trump administration's, so I don't need to put attention on his tweets. There is very little that's meaningful in his 280-character blasts anyway--they're driven by his need for attention and to distract from his misdeeds and what's important.

We need to be mindful of how we spend our time and energy. We need to set time aside to turn off the chatter. We need to concentrate on the climate crisis and all the interconnected challenges on our doorstep. The question isn't whether we should reduce emissions, stop the burning of fossil fuels, invest in sustainable energy, and support those on the front lines of violent storms, erosion, floods and droughts.

Those things are no-brainers. We must think deeply and act quickly to address climate change. Take a break from your online world and demands to focus on solutions. Mother Earth needs you!!

Vicki Clark
Executive Director
Trustees of Alaska
PS: Your support of Trustees for Alaska is critical now more than ever.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The 40th Anniversary of Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction

The 40th Anniversary of Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction will be held on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at Google Los Angeles.

"Say No To The Pebble Mine"
by Robert Glenn Ketchum
26” x 36”
photograph, LexJet Metallic photographic print, face-mounted on 1/4” plexiglass to hang as is, 2019

This annual event brings thousands of artists, art enthusiasts and collectors together to help raise over $850,000 to help provide high-quality comprehensive health care to 27,000 low-income, homeless, undocumented, and otherwise uninsured people. Nearly fifty years ago, we started with one clinic in Venice. Thanks to our dedicated artists and patrons, the clinic has now expanded to 12 sites in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Inglewood, and Culver City – as well as street outreach to homeless populations from the Westside of Los Angeles to Downtown LA.

Monday, May 6, 2019

NRDC to World Bank: “Location, Community, and Climate-Smart”

May 06, 2019

by Joel Reynolds,
Western Director, Senior Attorney, Marine Mammals, Oceans Division, Nature Program

At last week’s launch of World Bank’s Climate-Smart Mining Facility, NRDC elevates importance of place and community, citing reckless Pebble Mine as poster child for “wrong mine, wrong place.” Last Wednesday in Washington, D.C., I was pleased to attend a gathering at the World Bank accompanying the launch of its climate-smart mining initiative—a public-private initiative based on the imperative that the realities of climate change and the accelerating transition to a green energy economy must become a central focus of present and future decision-making in the global mining sector.

Monday, April 22, 2019

HELP WANTED: Hypothetical Partner for the Pebble Mine by Joel Reynolds, NRDC

HELP WANTED: Hypothetical Partner for the Pebble Mine

April 22, 2019

Joel Reynolds, Natural Resources Defense Council

Canadian owner of widely condemned Bristol Bay mine desperately seeks new partner with a few billion to spare. Financial, social, and environmental indifference required. No need to apply if you’re fazed by economic infeasibility, relentless local opposition, pervasive risk, and potentially catastrophic social and environmental impacts.

It’s no secret that Northern Dynasty Minerals (aka the Pebble Partnership)—the sole remaining partner in the embattled Pebble Mine proposed for the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay—is in urgent need of a new financial partner. To be sure, after four of the world’s major mining companies (Mitsubishi Corporation, Anglo American, Rio Tinto, and First Quantum Minerals) have walked away from the project since 2011, it’s a tough sell.

At last year’s general meeting of shareholders, Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen expressed confidence they can make a deal. The only question, he told me, is “what deal”—that is, what terms will be required to entice a buy-out or at least a new major partner. With the company’s history of failed partnerships in mind, I began to speculate about what the profile of such a partner, if indeed there is one to be found, might look like.

Here, in no particular order, are some essential characteristics:

(1) Unconcerned by financial risk
Contrary to industry practice—and despite repeated requests—Pebble has refused to release an economic feasibility analysis for its latest mine plan, now under permit review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. When asked by the Army Corps’ consultant AECOM to produce information on Pebble’s “cost/feasibility,” the company refused, citing a Canadian securities regulation whose purpose is to prevent securities fraud relating to mining properties. When pressed by the Bristol Bay Native Corporation (“BBNC”) last December, Pebble’s CEO Tom Collier, too, declined, explaining that such an analysis “remains on our to-do list.” Just this month, pressed by E&E News, he demurred once again because “an economic analysis is not a required piece of the permitting puzzle.”

But there is a more likely, more compelling explanation:

Based on publicly available information and Northern Dynasty’s own assumptions in a 2011 feasibility analysis of potential mine scenarios, a former longtime Rio Tinto mining expert submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers his own analysis of the project’s economics, concluding that the project is “almost certainly not economically feasible,” with a strongly negative net present value of -$3 billion.

(2) Unconcerned by relentless opposition in Alaska
As each of the major mining companies that abandoned the project learned the hard way, the people who live in the region don’t want the Pebble Mine. There is overwhelming local opposition, registered for years, by Yup’ik, Dena’ina , Alutiiq and other indigenous peoples, and a survey released by BBNC found that 81 percent of its native shareholders strongly oppose the mine. In addition, more than 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents and 85 percent of commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay oppose the mine.

In addition to tribal governments, the list of regional organizations actively opposing the mine includes BBNC (a multi-billion dollar native-owned development corporation representing more than 10,000 native shareholders), the Bristol Bay Native Association (representing all 31 tribes in Bristol Bay), the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, Salmon State, Katmai Service Providers, and many more.

The latest state-wide poll, undertaken by the Alaska State Senate, found continuing state opposition at 61 percent, following closely the 65 percent statewide opposition reflected by support for the 2014 Bristol Bay Forever Initiative.

(3) Unconcerned by harm to the greatest wild salmon fishery on Earth and the region’s economic engine
After three years of twice peer-reviewed scientific study, as well as public comment that supported EPA’s process by a staggering 98 percent (and 84 percent from Alaskans state-wide), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) concluded in 2014 that the proposed mine would result in “significant and unacceptable adverse effects” to important fishery areas in the Bristol Bay watershed, that the Pebble Mine would have "significant" impacts on fish populations and streams surrounding the mine site, and that a tailings dam failure would have "catastrophic" effects on the region.

Against this scientific record and all common sense, Pebble disagrees, suggesting to its captured investors and credulous federal regulator that gouging a massive open pit mine into the tundra at the top of Bristol Bay’s watershed may be good for the fishery (from Pebble’s Collier to BBNC in December—citing “our sophisticated models”—the project will have a “potentially positive impact on fish habitat . . .”; and from Northern Dynasty’s Thiessen at last year’s Annual General Meeting of shareholders, the value of the Bristol Bay fishery will “actually be enhanced” by development of the Pebble Mine).

(4) Unconcerned by political risk that Trump Administration approval would be reversed by a future Administration
It is undeniable that former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt threw the Pebble Mine a life-line when, in May 2017, after a one hour meeting with the project’s CEO, he announced, in disregard of the multi-year scientific process described above, that the agency would abandon its efforts to limit the size, scope, and risk associated with the Pebble Mine. Science and advice from agency technical staff had nothing to do with his decision, since he apparently consulted neither.

By contrast, in December 2017, former EPA Administrators for Presidents Nixon, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush joined with former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in condemning the Pebble Mine as “fundamentally flawed” and the “wrong mine in the wrong place.”

The previous year, in September 2016, the World Conservation Congress, including representatives from over 120 nations, virtually unanimously urged the U.S. government to deny a permit for the Pebble Mine.

(5) Unconcerned by partnering with a company that has a long history of failed partnerships
Northern Dynasty was created to develop the Pebble Mine, and it has no other assets. In 2010, it had a formidable list of partners and major mining company investors. All have left the project—Mitsubishi in 2011, Anglo American in 2013, Rio Tinto in 2014, and First Quantum Minerals in 2018. Since 2011, Northern Dynasty has itself been trying unsuccessfully to sell its own interest in the project.

(6) Unconcerned by generous compensation levels of Pebble’s corporate leadership despite consistently poor corporate performance
While Northern Dynasty’s stock has declined steadily in value from over $21.00 per share in 2011 to less than $0.60 per share today, Pebble’s corporate leadership continues to be very well compensated, especially Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier. In 2017, for example, Collier received total compensation of CAN $2,357,744 and stands to gain a US $12.5 million bonus upon early completion of the Army Corps permitting process. That same year, Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen received total compensation of CAN $2,118,486, and the company’s Chairman of the Board Robert Dickinson was compensated CAN $339,570.

(7) Unconcerned by a wide range of significant reputational and other risks, including the risk of protracted litigation
For over a decade, the Pebble Mine has been the focus of relentless opposition led by the people of Bristol Bay, supported by a wide range of state-wide, national, and even international stakeholders that includes the commercial and sport fishing industries, conservation groups, sportsmen, hunters, and businesses.

This diverse opposition has steadily increased public awareness and state, national, and international condemnation of Pebble, and it has committed to pursue all administrative and legal challenges for as long as it takes to defeat this uniquely reckless and irresponsible mining project.

(8) Unconcerned by operational risks and remediation costs
The multi-billion-dollar cost to construct the massive open pit and operate the mine – still undefined by Pebble for its current mine plan – has almost certainly been underestimated. But without question the technical challenges of construction and operation in the remote, hydrologically complex, and seismically active upper Bristol Bay watershed would be enormous.

In addition, to transport gold and copper from the mine site to market, Pebble will have to construct and operate massive infrastructure, including a marine terminal in Cook Inlet, roads, pipelines and even infrastructure in Lake Iliamna to support a preposterous southern all-season ferry route across the lake through pristine wilderness to Amakdedori Beach on Kamishak Bay in Cook Inlet. To construct roads, Northern Dynasty Minerals must acquire access rights from area landowners—access rights that some of these very landowners have vowed to oppose, including BBNC.

The list could go on. But the range of significant obstacles to, and risks of association with, the Pebble Mine is unprecedented – financial, social, environmental, political, reputational, regulatory, legal, and operational.

And while, as Northern Dynasty’s Thiessen has said, there may indeed be a financial “deal” to be made to perpetuate this international pariah of a mining project, there can be no doubt that any new partner or major investor will inevitably and deservedly be tarred with the global condemnation that, more than any other mining project anywhere, has justifiably been focused on the Pebble Mine.

We will never relent in our support for the people of Bristol Bay in defense of their way of life, their children, and their future.

Take action now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Weekly Post, "Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands: Bowing before St. Elias" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

The Yakutat Forelands are where the Tongass rainforest and the Chugach forest to the north meet. It is also home to many large glaciers, a stunning coastline, the huge Alsek-Tatshenshini river, and Icy Bay, which sits at the foot of Mount St. Elias, the greatest vertical rise from sea level in the world. There is a lot of powerful energy out here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias, #94:
The Yakutat Forelands, #94:  The spectacle of the exaggerated, and very visible, changes in the parts of Icy Bay we actually explored, is quite sobering to all of us. As the plane climbs and heads for the coast, we fall silent as each of us ponders the numerous times we have encountered life-threatening circumstances in just these past 10-days. This was NOT a casual Alaskan kayaking adventure. Our pilot suggests we have been in the middle “of an epic weather event,” and he acknowledges that he wondered what he would find in flying in to pick us up. He also notes that all flights in and out of Yakutat have been grounded for the better part of the last week, so he was not even sure if he would be allowed to come for us. As our flight path hits the coast, where we will turn south, the large river pouring out of the bay has flushed so much mud and silt into the Pacific, that it is actually changing the color of the ocean water for many square miles. Well, it IS Alaska! Go big, or go home. We have done one, and now we are going to do the other. I want to sleep on a mattress. We have all come to bow before St. Elias, and now suitably humbled, we retreat to play another day.

photograph(s) © copyright, Robert Glenn Ketchum, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum, @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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