Instagramming the Arctic with @swdavest

For more photos and videos from the arctic plains of Alaska, follow @swdavest on Instagram.

"My husband built a hotel here a few years ago. After we met, we came back to do another building project," says Stanche Sweatman (@swdavest), who shares photos and videos from her life in arctic Alaska on Instagram. “This time around, we’ve been here just over year.”

Instagram helps pass the time in a place where, in the winter season, it’s dark nearly 24 hours a day. “My husband is busy working most of the time, so I escape every chance I get to take pictures and spend time during the day and evenings on Instagram.”

With temperatures often dropping to -40°F (-40°C), the temptation to stay inside where it’s warm can be strong—but the extremely photogenic and alien arctic landscape often wins out. “Instagram is my motivation to brave the weather and get out regardless of the temperature or conditions and take pictures,” says Stanche. “I think the extreme cold somehow comes through in my pictures.”

Unfortunately, dark winter days mean occasionally missing out on an exciting photo opportunity. “Once, we received a call from friends who told us there was a polar bear in town. It was only about five minutes from our house so we took the truck and went to have a look. We stayed in the truck and watched the bear, about 30 yards away, eating a seal, oblivious to our presence,” Stanche says. “It was too dark for good pictures, but still a great experience.”