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Above Alaska

Corey Wilson


Behind the Shot

Alaska is huge. At over 660,000 square miles in area, it’s the largest state in the United States by far. Traveling between the few major cities in Alaska is not practical by car. In fact, Juneau, the state capital, cannot be reached by car at all. Alaska has developed a busy network of inter-city air travel. From major airlines providing jet services to tiny two-seat air taxis landing in dirt fields, air travel is a vital part of Alaska’s transportation system.

Among the most common planes in service are the privately owned and operated bush planes. Small, high-winged aircraft fitted with wheels, floats or skis depending on service location, bush planes generally don’t operate on set schedules. Forget peanuts and in-flight movies. These frill-free rides can be harrowing for some. Between the unpredictable weather and the nature of riding in a small aircraft, most first-time passengers experience a high degree of discomfort during flight.

Always the adventurer, Corey booked a flightseeing tour out of Anchorage. "Seeing Alaska from a tiny little bush plane was so scary," he recounts. "Flying through the mountains of Alaska, it was snowing, and it was freezing cold. I went up specifically to shoot photos of the rivers and mountains, but I didn’t know this location was here until we flew over it. I asked the pilot to circle and bank so I could shoot nearly straight down. The window of the plane was open, and I was sticking out. I didn’t have a strap on the camera. I should probably be more careful with my cameras."