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World Travel Series opens Sept. 22 with film on Alaska
Monday, September 10, 2012

Lure of Alaska

Towering, snow-capped mountains are among the many sights featured in “Lure of Alaska,” a travel-adventure film that opens the World Travel Series at SUNY Fredonia’s Rockefeller Arts Center on Sept. 22. Filmmaker Dale Johnson personally presents the film beginning at 7:30 p.m. in King Concert Hall.

Watching the scenes unfold in Dale Johnson’s travel/adventure film “Lure of Alaska,” a viewer is left with the clear impression that this can be a land of extreme contrasts. From season to season and from mile to mile, things can change quickly in this frontier

This is a general admission event and tickets will be available at the door. They may also be purchased in advance through the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office online. One child 12 and under is admitted free with each adult ticket. Order online>>

Johnson, an award-winning nature filmmaker, will personally present “Lure of Alaska” on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in King Concert Hall. It will be the opening event in the 2012-13 World Travel Series at Rockefeller Arts Center.

Shot in the high-definition, widescreen format, “Lure of Alaska” captures the panoramic landscapes one would expect to find in such a vast, untouched wilderness.

Clouds roll gently over snow-capped mountain ranges and rocky plains stretch as far as the eye can see, dotted here and there by a lonesome pine. When the camera catches a moose foraging for plants in a shallow stream bed as a snow goose glides by, it’s easy to imagine you are watching a scene from another century.

Yet Johnson quickly turns things around with scenes of modern-day Alaska, some of which are quite familiar. In one segment, the Alaska State Fair takes center stage – complete with a midway that doesn’t look much different than the one found on the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds in Dunkirk.

And the same jutting mountain ranges that protect hidden valleys are also shown as the backdrop for a modern city like Anchorage. In the heart of the city, the setting is similar to that of many other urban centers across the United States. Skyscrapers and heavy traffic abound – due in no small measure to the fact that approximately half of Alaska’s 722,000 residents live in the Anchorage metropolitan area.

When stepping out of the confines of the city, the fact that Alaska is the largest state in the union makes itself apparent. The bustle of the city is in contrast with the silence of a rocky mountain side that seems to have sat undisturbed for decades, save for the occasional passing mountain goat.

And outside of the city, the vast expanse of Alaska takes over. When making the trip to the Yukon River, logistics dictate that a small-engine plane is the only reasonable option for Johnson to get there.

The land itself is subject to sharp contrasts from season to season, as well. Landscapes that are barren in shades of gray and white during the winter come to life in the spring with green grass and flowers of all sizes in hues of red, blue, yellow and pink.

One constant in Alaska, however, is the abundant wildlife and Johnson, who earned two CINE Golden Eagle Awards with his Trailwood Films Company, captures it again and again in “Lure of Alaska.”

From a mother Grizzly lulling about with her cubs in a rocky field to beavers busily taking down ash trees and hauling limbs away for a dam to bears and seagulls feasting on dying salmon after the spawn, Alaska’s true natural resources are on display throughout film.

Because of his keen interest in wildlife and his photographic ability, Johnson has been profiled in National Wildlife magazine and his film production for the National Forest Service won a Gold Medal at the New York International Film Festival.

A Travelogue Hall of Fame member, Johnson recently edited the National Geographic special “Wolf Pack,” which was about the wolves of Yellowstone.

The World Travel Series is sponsored by Fredonia Place as part of the 2012-13 Lake Shore Savings Season.

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