Focal Point

Focal Point is an evolving blog from the ADN photo staff, Bob Hallinen, Erik Hill, Marc Lester, Bill Roth and photo editor Anne Raup. Email your ideas and news tips to | About the blog

Mobile kitchens draw lunch crowds to Spenard - 6/11/2013 11:08 am

Hundreds gather to show support for family of slain Cambodian couple - 5/29/2013 9:37 pm

Party like it's 1922 at Sullivan's Steakhouse - 5/24/2013 10:37 pm

Launching the Classic Sailboat Orca at the Homer Boat Harbor - 5/21/2013 5:54 pm

One of state's best gymnasts headed to Junior Olympics - 5/9/2013 2:37 pm

A train ride across Anchorage - 5/9/2013 10:58 am

A Pool for Pooches - 5/2/2013 10:19 am

An Airports Heights family portrait - 4/13/2013 2:58 pm

Former Archbishop Hurley leads mass while hospitalized

Archbishop Francis Hurley conducted a Catholic mass inside the hospital that is caring for him on Friday, July 27. Hurley, 85, injured his shoulder in a fall in San Francisco earlier this year and has been receiving care in California and Alaska in recent months.

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Magnificent Mud

When tide the is going out and summer light is just right on Turnagain Arm and the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, the mud seems to take on a satin-smooth texture. Earlier this week, I explored the area with an eye for interesting patterns in the mud as evening turned to night.

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Photos and audio: Government Hill dance club shares the square

Ginger Gorsuch, center, dances with Herb Worthley.Ginger Gorsuch, center, dances with Herb Worthley.Megan Green and Freddy Reyes.Megan Green and Freddy Reyes.A rest between dances.A rest between dances.
Anchorage folk dancers keep a lively home on Government Hill. Eight dance clubs make the Anchorage Square and Round Dance Center active with calls, twirls and promenades. On Wednesday, the Stardusters Square Dance Club attracted a dozen dancers to its weekly lesson.

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Cold day in July

A fire in the fireplace on July 10.A fire in the fireplace on July 10.

Reader Doug Barrette took the time to bring in a photo today for us to see. He felt it captured the feeling of the day - IT'S TOO COLD TO BE JULY 10! Doug said the outside temperature of 42 degrees this morning prompted him to have a fire in his fireplace. And for proof of the time of year he included the Anchorage Daily News front page.

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Covering Mt. Marathon race turns dangerous

Editor’s note: Steph Anderson, a photo intern for the Daily News last summer, is entering her senior year at Missouri State, where she is a journalism major and a goaltender for the school’s Division I field hockey team. The injuries she suffered on Mount Marathon last year forced her to miss a season of field hockey but she has since returned to action. This summer, Anderson is interning at the Tribune-Review in Greensburg, Pa.
Steph Anderson's self-portrait in the helicopter.Steph Anderson's self-portrait in the helicopter.


It’s hard to believe a year has passed since my potentially life-threatening fall while covering Mount Marathon, my last assignment as photo intern with the Daily News.
It took me two hours to pass vegetation halfway up the mountain, and before I knew it, the racers were already within photographing distance. I shot them climbing on all fours up the mountain, splashing tiny cups of water on themselves at midpoint and running uncontrollably on their descent.

Racers scramble up the mountain. Photo by Steph AndersonRacers scramble up the mountain. Photo by Steph Anderson
The fewer racers I saw, the more I knew I must start safely trekking back to submit my photos for deadline. Since I was unfamiliar with the mountain, I followed the remaining runners as they sat on boulders and slowly scooted their way down as a chilling creek that soaked through their underwear. Eventually, I found the trail I followed up the mountain, which required climbing tree roots, like a ladder, about 60 feet high.

Then I began to gradually slip. I tried to shove my fingers into the moving soil beneath me. My momentum was so great I couldn’t feel my injuries while I face-planted repeatedly against stocky tree roots, pinecone-freckled turf and jagged rocks.

I screamed.

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Traveling memorial to Vietnam veterans stirs emotion

Roy KenickRoy KenickVisitors trickled onto the Delaney Park Strip to visit the Moving Wall on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. The memorial is a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C. For Roy Kenick of Anchorage, the wall is a poignant reminder of the longest year of his life. He served one year in Vietnam as an Army specialist with the 1st Logistical Command in Long Binh, he said.

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Mt. Redoubt: A look at an active volcano

A lava dome on the north side of Mount Redoubt steams on Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska. The lava dome, which is still cooling from its 2009 eruption, is about 3300 feet in length, 1600 feet wide and averages 660 feet in thickness, according to vulcanologist Tina Neal of the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

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APU hosts training camp for elite skiers

World-class cross country skiers work out in an interval session at Kincaid Park on Tuesday morning, June 19, 2012. The workout was part of the North American Women’s Training Alliance camp, hosted by the Alaska Pacific University ski program. The group includes U.S. Olympians Kikkan Randall and Holly Brooks of Anchorage, Olympic gold medalist Chandra Crawford of Canada, and three-time Olympic bronze medalist Aino-Kaisa Saarinen of Finland. The skiers will train in Anchorage this week and head to the Thomas Glacier Training Center on Eagle Glacier near Girdwood next week. “We’re having a lot of fun, we’re pushing each other really hard and it’s just a really positive atmosphere,” said Randall, the current World Cup sprint champion. Erik Flora, the director of the APU’s ski program, said recent success by Randall and other Americans has drawn attention to their training program. “The big deal for me is that our skiers are getting so strong internationally that the rest of the world wants to come check out what’s happening in Alaska,” he said.

You can check out a video of last summer's trip to Eagle Glacier here.

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Portraits: Riders, ropers and racers of Rodeo Alaska

Cody Meyer, bullrider.Cody Meyer, bullrider.Jolene Hime, 14, barrel racer.Jolene Hime, 14, barrel racer.Competitors and organizers gathered at the William Clark Chamberlin Equestrian Center on Friday, June 15, 2012, before the start of three days of rodeo. I walked the grounds and made portraits of just a few of the people who will be busy riding, roping, racing and dancing.

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Downtown under cover

Today, variations on a theme: While steady rain fell on Anchorage, I walked downtown looking for a splash of color. Umbrellas were everywhere, brightening the scene in urban Alaska on an otherwise very gray day. Here's a few pedestrians that caught my eye.

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Update from Shirili Green: "I choose to believe"

Editor's note: In November, the Daily News published the story of Shirili Green's experience with metastatic breast cancer. A multimedia presentation and an essay Green wrote told the story of her perspective on life after she'd been given the news that her cancer is terminal (click here to view). Now, Green shares an update on her situation, with photos by Marc Lester. On Saturday, Green will participate in the Run for Women fundraiser for breast cancer charities on a team named in her honor.Tara Koloski talks with Shirili Green during chemotherapy treatment. Koloski, 40, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April.Tara Koloski talks with Shirili Green during chemotherapy treatment. Koloski, 40, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April.May 10, 2012

When the Daily News asked me to write an update on my struggle with cancer, I said I would try, but I needed to be inspired. Today, my inspiration came. I met a new person -- Tara Koloski -- and this piece is for her and all the women out there struggling with this awful disease.

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A planet party at UAA

Amanda Brown said she placed crystals on her to recharge them with good energy as she viewed the sun.Amanda Brown said she placed crystals on her to recharge them with good energy as she viewed the sun.Venus, the small dark dot, and the sun are projected onto a screen.Venus, the small dark dot, and the sun are projected onto a screen.Astronomy adventurers gathered atop a parking garage at UAA on Tuesday to watch an event that won't pass this way again for more than a century. Through protective glasses and reflective scopes, viewers watched a small dark spot cross in front of the sun.

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Anchorage in style

Nick BartholomewNick BartholomewLissa McKinneyLissa McKinneyIs Anchorage the worst-dressed city in the nation? I think it's safe to say most of us are not losing sleep over this, but clearly the poll in Travel and Leisure Magazine and the Associated Press story that explores the topic has caught some attention here. On Friday, I wandered through a few venues of the First Friday Art Walk downtown, looking to collect just a small sample of what Anchorage residents look like when they're stepping out for the evening.

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Water colors

This evening, as the rain began to let up and the clouds started to thin, I wandered Town Square to take a close look at the newly-planted gardens. With a macro lens, I got a very close look at what attracts so many Alaskans and visitors in spring and summer. The rain and soft light seemed to make the colors more vibrant. City gardeners create beautiful displays here and elsewhere in Anchorage.

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In prison, Amber Martin tries to 'do time right'

Martin and Sophie.Martin and Sophie.Amber Martin walked the parking lot at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center doing two jobs at once. With her hands she watered geranium and lobelia hanging baskets that she was largely responsible for growing. With a leash around her waist she held Sophie, a young golden retriever she’s helping to train to provide assistance for a wounded veteran.

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Gearheads rally for one of their own

Members of the 49th State Street Rodders gathered in the Northway Mall parking lot for a car show on Saturday afternoon, April 28, 2012. The gathering was a fundraiser to help the family of Alfredo Esteban, who was injured in a shooting at R&R Garage in Midtown on April 18. Freddy, as he was known, was a member of the Anchorage car enthusiast community. More information can be found on the Street Rodder's website.

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Watson the computer visits Alaska

Watson the computer visits Anchorage from anchoragedailynews on Vimeo.

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Time lapse video of Anchorage's record-breaking snow year

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UAA hosts Stanford debaters for vigorous exhibition

UAA's Brett Frazer opens the debate.UAA's Brett Frazer opens the debate.An overflow audience fills the auditorium at UAA's Fine Arts building.An overflow audience fills the auditorium at UAA's Fine Arts building.UAA’s debate team competed against Stanford in an exhibition match at the UAA Fine Arts Building on Thursday evening, March 29. Members of the standing-room-only audience in the recital hall pounded their tables and shouted “hear, hear” to support speeches on an emotional topic. UAA’s Drew Cason and Brett Frazer proposed a motion to abolish the imposition of additional penalties for crimes deemed to be “hate crimes.” Stanford’s Michael Baer and Faris Mohiuddin spoke in defense of hate crime legislation.

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UAA theater students debut a production of puppets

Scott Heverling, left, plays a fox named Bob. Daniel Alvarez-Lamp is Xavier, a troll.Scott Heverling, left, plays a fox named Bob. Daniel Alvarez-Lamp is Xavier, a troll.Fran Lautenberger is writer and director for "Bring Back the Sunshine."Fran Lautenberger is writer and director for "Bring Back the Sunshine."Actors and crew from UAA’s theater department performed "Bring Back the Sunshine" Wednesday evening for a preview audience. The play, directed by professor Fran Lautenberger and co-written by Lautenberger and Jon Minton, combines live actors and puppets. “Bring Back the Sunshine” tells the story of Elena, a woman who befriends and confronts various animals on her journey to rescue her husband from evil. The play, which opens Saturday, March 29 at the Harper Studio Theater in UAA’s Fine Arts Building, is for audiences of all ages.

Lautenberger says many of the animal characters were originally based on people in her life, her “women professor friends,” as she calls them. I caught up with her Thursday to learn more and to hear about the challenges of incorporating puppets into a play. Below are some excerpts from our conversation.

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