Kristian Binder's love for the North is on full display in his photography | CBC News

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They just keep coming. 

One after another.

Jaw dropping images of the North taken by Inuvik photographer, Kristian Binder.

‘A portrait of my friend Tanya on the ice road,’ says Binder. (Kristian Binder)

“You don’t have to go too far out of town, or out of town at all really, to be able to enjoy just how lovely the Arctic can be,” he said.

And how lovely it is.

Binder knows he’s in a special place, and his ability to capture its beauty through photographs is truly inspiring.

The Hollywood sign in Tsiigehtchic, N.W.T., captured by Binder with his drone in autumn. (Kristian Binder)

“I love being able to frame gorgeous sunsets with the town, or the stunning fall colours with the rocky hills of the Gwich’in Territorial Park,” he said.

Binder’s passion began over a decade ago when he started going to a lot of concerts and music festivals.

He just wanted to get pictures; a record of all the bands and artists that he had seen over the years.

‘Trying out my lensball on the Inuvik/Tuk highway in the autumn,’ says Inuvik’s Kristian Binder. (Kristian Binder)

“This was in the earlier days of digital photography so the quality wasn’t the greatest but I loved having the mementos,” he said.

A few years later, in 2012, he started to get serious about photography.

“I had moved back to Inuvik from Ottawa and was at a loss for what I was going to do next. [That’s] when I got a freelance job doing some photography and writing for a local publication.”

Binder says this was a dream shot of his. He tried numerous times to get it right. ‘This was the first time I was truly satisfied with it,’ he says. (Kristian Binder)

Binder invested in better camera gear, started taking pictures every day, and watched “a ton” of YouTube tutorials.

Then a big moment came when he took some personal photos of his grandparents.

“My grandmother was especially excited about posing for the photos,” he said.

“They both passed away the year after so that’s become even more meaningful to me,” he added.

Binder says this photo of his grandmother was the first picture he took that felt special. He says she dressed up in her traditional Sami clothing and loved being photographed by him. (Kristian Binder)

After that, he knew he had the skills, confidence and passion to really make a go at photography, even if it’s just a hobby.

From landscapes to the aurora, Binder has pretty much perfected his craft and has overcome the challenges of life in the North.

“The cold is something you have to make peace with if you want to do any kind of outdoor photography in the winter,” he said.

Binder used his drone to capture the march through Inuvik for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2021. (Kristian Binder)

He says preparation is key.

“Outside of the obvious — bundling up in appropriate clothing — you have to keep your gear in mind, especially the batteries.”

And gear is everything these days when Binder puts on his parka and heads outdoors.

A man stands under the aurora as Binder snaps the photo from below the snowbank. (Kristian Binder)

He used to work just with a DSLR to take pictures of Inuvik and the surrounding communities.

Now he’s a licensed drone operator and can’t get enough images from up high.

“In the course of a minute I can capture so many different perspectives that would have been impossible to me just a few years ago,” he said.

‘Below -40 C in February … I was amazed my drone would still fly,’ says Binder. (Kristian Binder)

The result is a stack of pictures that are simply incredible.

Binder often shares his photos with CBC North, and when we post them to Facebook or Instagram they always blow up.

And that means a lot to him.

Binder says he designed this umbrella from images he’s taken. His friend Chelsea stepped in as a model. (Kristian Binder)

“So much of what I do is motivated by my own enthusiasm or appreciation for a beautiful sunset … or an awesome night of aurora, so to have other people connect with it too is incredibly gratifying.”

To see more of Kristian Binder’s photographs, he can be found on Instagram @eighty_one_images.

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