Photographer s website reserves the right to publish the information received at its discretion. I just about fell out of my chair last night when a commercial for the new Drew Barrymore movie Big Miracle came on the TV. It was without a doubt one of the craziest adventures during my life as a wire service photographer.
That worked until our biggest client in the world, a Japanese news service, simply demanded we go. Fortunately, coworker Jerome Delay had worked the phones and arranged for a local resident to meet me at the airport. As we arrived, I frantically started rubbing my right eye and it finally opened so I could shoot. As you would expect, I’m sure they took some serious liberties with what actually happened there.
Follows a reporter(John Krasinski) and a animal activist(Drew Barrymore) as they try to free the whales, which becomes a huge world wide story.
The story of the trapped whales had been going on for several weeks when I was sent in from Chicago, my base as a staff photographer for Agence France-Presse (AFP).


I climbed onto a dog sled pulled by a snowmobile and we headed toward the whales at a high rate of speed. I quickly realized my Nikon F3, an electronic camera, was completely dead due to the severe cold. I ran to the end of the hole and shot single frames frantically as the Eskimo women reached out to say goodbye to the whales. Your comments are subject to our Terms of Service and the privacy policy and terms of service of your social network.
Our mission is to create an informal community of readers who are interested in all aspects of still photography and video. There were some inaccuracies for the sake of entertainment, but honestly, it can be overlooked. Our editors in Washington didn’t believe this was a story and refused to send anyone to Alaska to cover the saga. Within a minute both my eyes were frozen shut, from what I remember it was something like 50-below zero out on the ocean. Fortunately I also had a Nikon FM2, a fully mechanical camera when you had the motor drive turned off.


I could see the Russian icebreaker coming in from the west, hopefully to break a path of freedom to open waters for the whales. And I can’t say I saw anyone who looked remotely like Drew Barrymore learning over the ice to pet the whales.
Whales get trapped under the ice up there every year, it’s Darwinism in its purest form. I snapped a couple of frames of the icebreaker in the distance, a couple of folks standing by the holes in the ice. I sent three photos from the ice, including the photo above, a wire service exclusive that was published in magazines and newspapers around the world.
The whales are beautiful, but something lacked with building an emotional connection to them, like other animal movies. Two days and five flights later I landed in Barrow, one of the northernmost cities in the world.



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