Many of the thousands of people who went to Alaska to work in the oil and gas industry were also drawn by the wildlife and natural areas of that northern state. On his recent visit to Alaska's oil fields, VOA correspondent Greg Flakus met one worker who has built a second career as a nature and wildlife filmmaker. |
Two weeks out of each month, this oil company camp on Prudhoe Bay is home to Greg Syverson.
He helps run the camp's water system, checking the quality of the drinking water and making sure no pollutants are passed back out into the surrounding land.
But this is what life in Alaska is all about for Greg Syverson.
Like most oil camp workers, Greg works two weeks here and then has two weeks off. Using that ample free time, Greg has become an accomplished nature photographer and videomaker.
His video "Alaska Up Close" has provided thousands of armchair adventurers with the chance to see some of the state's impressive wildlife up very close.
Greg Syverson says the flexibility of his work schedule has given him the chance to go to remote areas and take the time needed to record these images. "I started out at the lower level, in camp maintenance, and I worked my way up to the water plant, (processing) the waste water, which means more money and the main thing with this kind of job is that it allows you that six months off per year, it allows you to pursue your hobbies."
Of course, nature demands respect. Alaska's wild bears, in particular, can be dangerous.
He adds knowing the area is essential, "They have certain trails and paths they take to the rivers, so I make sure that I do not camp right on a trail so we are off a-ways, so we can watch the action at a safe place."
Not all of Alaska's wonders have claws and teeth. Some of the most spectacular images on Greg Syverson's film are of the Aurora Borealis, also called "the northern lights." "These are the auroras and this is actually in September in Denali National Park."
Greg Syverson has dedicated much of his life to capturing the beauty and splendor of Alaska and, he says, Alaska has also captured him. "To me, the land is alive and I really feel I have control of my life here."