1049 miles. This is the approximate distance of the Iditarod and Jeff Schultz gets to see every mile, every year. Jeff Schultz began snapping photos of the Iditarod way back in 1981. He was invited to photograph the race by none other than the “Father of the Iditarod,” Joe Redington, Sr. The first year Jeff had to pay for his own transportation along the trail. Then the next year, the Iditarod Trail Committee asked him to shoot photos again, but now they would transport him along the trail in their planes. This opportunity has changed Jeff Schultz’s life. To read about how being the official photographer of the Iditarod has changed Jeff’s life check out his fascinating book, Chasing Dogs.
Many things have changed in photography since 1981, one of the biggest being the change from the use of film to digital cameras. Around 1999, Jeff gradually started using digital cameras. By 2003, he was using digital cameras full-time. Jeff’s favorite part of the trail is between Finger Lake and Rohn. I asked Jeff what his favorite image was to shoot. He loves to take pictures that show the dog team small with a big landscape, especially with mountains. According to Jeff, “It’s the shot that says it all that people love.” To view some of Jeff’s pictures from the 2014 Iditarod click here.
Ideas for the classroom:
1. Jeff Schultz takes approximately 10,000 photos during the course of one Iditarod. If Jeff is taking pictures for 15 days (Ceremonial Start through the Finisher’s Banquet), about how many photos does he average per day?
2. Jeff Schultz will publish approximately 200 photos to the Iditarod website. Using 15 days, about how many pictures will Jeff upload to the website daily?
3. Roughly, about how many dogs has Jeff Schultz had the opportunity to snap shots of? Use the Iditarod website by going to the Race Center tab and then down to Race Archives to find out how many mushers started each race Jeff has been involved in. Let’s just suppose that each musher started the race with 16 dogs.
4. It costs about $13 to have a 35 mm roll of film (36 pictures size 4×6) developed. It costs about 9¢ to have one 4×6 digital picture printed. What is the price difference in getting a roll of film developed (36 pictures) compared to 36 digital prints.
5. What do you feel are the benefits of using digital versus film?
6. Challenge: Spell IDITAROD with your camera/phone. Using any device that has a camera, go around your school and take a picture that represents each letter of IDITAROD. For example; I – Ink Pen (take a picture of an ink pen)
7. “Caption this.” Look at the 4 pictures below. Write a caption for each picture.
8. “Zoomed in.” What do you think the picture below is?