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March 7, 2013
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SLT-A77V
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Mar 1, 2013, 11:02:20 PM
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Iditarod The Last Great Race on Earth by Exileden Iditarod The Last Great Race on Earth by Exileden
I think it's not the best photo of mine because on that day unluckily a nasty mist came and... ruined a few of photos' quality of details. And SLT camera is very sensetive for details, if something goes wrong, like any motion blur or mist- it ruins the quality of details, unlike DSLR cameras. I tried my best to not play too much with ISO settings for misty weather. Oh well.
There are just too many pros and cos with SLT and DSLR cameras. Next time I'll go with DSLR, despite that I'll mist amazing, perfect AF and it's speed.


It's that legendary Iditarod 1000 mile sled dog race which I've witnessed for couple days.
As I've been in many mushing events mostly in Europe and significant ones.... I will say that the experience of Iditarod is so unique... the best mushing even I've ever seen. Honestly, obviously I was fascinated to see that race but not at cost of my more important priors. Like it wasn't "oh a must to see" for me. But I got a blessing opportunity to go... with all my hard work, smart planning and organizing and all of it is because of my photography job. I'm doing a photographic coverage for Europe. I thought that woud be very worthy experience for me with my travel reports career which I'm dreaming to do since my art pathway does not seems to work well for me. Anymore.

That was the first day of race, known as Ceremonial Start. Lucky people (who can afford 500$+ to seven thousands of dollars) to win auction and get a place on ride on Iditarod mushers sled dogs.... no, I wouldn't call them lucky but peopl who worked hard (edit: at the first I used wrong wording, I meant: worked hard, not hardly working) for that money to realize their little or big dream to be on a ride on Iditarod race. I hate calling that people are lucky to do something. I respect every person's work and it's part of some kind of work. No matter what is that kind of work but they did something to achieve for sure. Maybe we can use the term of "lucky" because they were born at rich family or got wealthy partner but I am not really sure about that anyway... :P


Also I'd like to mention that Iditarod race was the hardest mushing event that I've ever photographed. It was so crowded that I don't even. Gladly I had media ID, it helped a lot... but there were situations where it didn't help *stares at mad and crazy media photographers* and as well that "fun" with checkpoints which gives a hell headache.

Anyway, I'm saying - really, it's really worthy to visit the Iditarod race. Go for it if you have a chance to do. Especially if you are a big fan of mushing or are musher, to experience it from 6 am how whole Alaska is waking up for that dreamy race- it feels like a dream.


PS: I feel like deviantART is dropping down quality of art/photograph submitter there...? Or it's just me..?
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-04-03
Iditarod The Last Great Race on Earth by `Exileden is one of those great captures showing a sport that's lesser known in the world of photo-journalism. ( Featured by Kaz-D )
:iconanimallover1990:
animallover1990 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
i worked for an Iditarod champion and a Yukon Quest Musher it was the funnesed job i have ever had, taking care of 53 alaskan huskies aint easy but what more can you ask for.

the Iditarod is actually 1049 miles and all of the mushers ive talked to say the Quest is harder than the Iditarod
i feel DA is loosing quality as well
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:iconexileden:
Exileden Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
I'm really hoping to experience Yukon Quest in next year.
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:iconanimallover1990:
animallover1990 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
i hope so as well. the Quest mushers i worked for is Dave Dalton hes a great guy and he has amazing dogs even thou Norris did chomp on my finger which is now scared but there all great dogs
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:iconsleddogaction:
SledDogAction Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
Iditarod dogs suffer horrendous cruelty every day of their lives. Mushers have drowned, shot, bludgeoned and dragged many dogs to death. For example, Iditarod musher Dave Olesen drowned a litter of newborn puppies. Another musher got rid of unwanted puppies by tying them in a bag and tossing the bag in a creek. Mushers even have a saying about not breeding dogs unless they can drown them: “Those who cannot drown should not breed.”

Terrible things happen to dogs during the Iditarod. This includes: death, bloody diarrhea, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, kennel cough, broken bones, torn muscles and extreme stress. At least 142 dogs have died in the race, including four dogs who froze to death in the brutal cold.

Veterinary care during the Iditarod is poor. In the 2012 race, one of Lance Mackey's male dogs ripped out all of his 16 toenails trying to get to a female who was in heat. This type of broken toenail is extremely painful. Mackey, a four-time Iditarod winner, said he was too stubborn to leave this dog at a checkpoint and veterinarians allowed Mackey to continue to race him. Imagine the agony the dog was forced to endure.

Here's another example: Veterinarians have allowed dogs with kennel cough to race in the Iditarod even though dogs with this disease should be kept warm and given lots of rest. Strenuous exercise can cause lung damage, pneumonia and even death. To make matters worse, kennel cough is a highly contagious disease that normally lasts from 10 to 21 days.

Iditarod dogs endure brutal training. Jeanne Olson, who has been a veterinarian in Alaska since 1988, confirmed the brutality used by mushers training dogs for the Iditarod. She talked about dogs having cracked ribs, broken jaws or skulls from mushers using two-by-fours for punishment. In an article published by the University of Alaska, Dr. Olson said, "There are mushers out there whose philosophy is...that if that dog acts up I will hit that dog to the point where it would rather die than do what it did, 'cause the next time it is gonna die.'"

Jane Stevens, a former Iditarod dog handler, describes a dog beating in her letter published by the Whitehorse Star (Feb. 23, 2011). She wrote: "I witnessed the extremely violent beating of an Iditarod racing dog by one of the racing industry's most high-profile top 10 mushers. Be assured the beating was clearly not within an 'acceptable range' of 'discipline'. Indeed, the scene left me appalled, sick and shocked. After viewing an individual sled dog repeatedly booted with full force, the male person doing the beating jumping back and forth like a pendulum with his full body weight to gain full momentum and impact. He then alternated his beating technique with full-ranging, hard and fast, closed-fist punches like a piston to the dog as it was held by its harness splayed onto the ground. He then staggeringly lifted the dog by the harness with two arms above waist height, then slammed the dog into the ground with full force, again repeatedly, all of this repeatedly."

During the 2007 race, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Jon Saraceno wrote in his column in USA Today, "He [Colonel Tom Classen] confirmed dog beatings and far worse. Like starving dogs to maintain their most advantageous racing weight. Skinning them to make mittens. Or dragging them to their death."

Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, "Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective...A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective." He also said, "It is a common training device in use among dog mushers..." Former Iditarod dog handler Mike Cranford wrote in Alaska's Bush Blade Newspaper: "Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don't pull are dragged to death in harnesses....."

FOR MORE FACTS: Sled Dog Action Coalition, [link]
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:iconanimallover1990:
animallover1990 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
im guessing your with peta, i have worked for mushers before and they never once harmed the animals hell they were treated better than me and i was a handler there food was all home made and they had excellent health care if they were kept in the house they would have suffered from heat stroke do to the fact that there coat was so thick. we picked up dog crap 4 times a day and they got plenty of exorcize a day. when one of our dogs gave birth we had her in doors and she has a constant supply of food and water, we never once thought killing the pups. and peta actually has a secret slaughter house they send dogs and other animals to so get your facts strait.
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:iconjopogirlskickass:
JoPoGirlsKickAss Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013
Did you fly into AK or do you live here? Cause I was on the track and got some pretty sweet photos, but none quiet like this, this is awesome.
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:iconexileden:
Exileden Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013
I visited AK for a couple weeks as a Media photographer on that race. Well most of my experience of sled dog photography comes from Europe, where every year I'm at those mushing races here. Thanks!
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:iconmaywait98:
maywait98 Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm really lucky because I've grown up in Anchorage, Alaska, and I get to witness the Iditarod every year. A good friend of ours from Colorado runs it often, and he and his handlers crash at our house. For a couple years, they kept their dogs in the backyard (24 of them at one point) but the neighbors complained.

I have three dogs myself, one of them used to belong to one of the top racers of the Fur Rondy (which is just as fun as the Iditarod), and the other two are related to some of his dogs.

Anyway, the Iditarod really is a magical experience, with all of the excitement in the air, the happy dogs, the friendly people. I guess I take it for granted.
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:iconexileden:
Exileden Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013
That's really awesome! I'm well experienced with mushing of Europe, but not with states and I feel blessed to experience that such race. As well it's a dream of many European mushers, where a few Norwegians were able to realize their dreams (can't imagine how costly would be to transport dogs...).
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:iconmaywait98:
maywait98 Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, I'm sure it costs quite a lot... There was a world skijour race up in North Pole (official Santa Claus town) and plenty Norwegians, Swedes, and Fins came over with their dogs, and from what I heard it was costly, and they only brought over two or three dogs each. I know that a few of them rented dogs from top racers here, but that costs a lot as well... I'm not sure if they brought over their own dogs, but a couple came over from South Korea even! Anyway... have fun and keep up the amazing work!
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