I am ecstatic to announce that Alaskan artist Amanda Rose Warren and I have collaborated this summer to make a new combined artwork that we just released this week and will only be available for a very limited time.

Without further ado Amanda and I present our first-ever combined artwork, “Happy Dog” sticker!!! The sticker is approximately 4 inches and waterproof. This special combined artwork sticker will only be available in the next two weeks!!

There are two ways you can get your own: 

1) Take your chances– try and win one of three stickers we are giving away over the next two weeks. Click here to enter the drawing.

2) Guarantee yourself this new creative, fun, li
ttle gem of a sticker by becoming a patron on Patreon here. And, not only will you get the sticker by signing up at the $10 Aurora membership level but you will also get a downloadable coloring page of Happy Dog at the end of the month and will be automatically entered in a drawing to win a canvas print of Happy Dog too! 

If you are already a patron on Patreon, consider upgrading your membership to the $10 level or higher to guarantee yourself a Happy Dog sticker and all the other fun things that come along with it.

So, what is Patreon? This is probably the most asked question since we started this exciting “Happy Dog” sticker campaign.

As we move forward in the digital age, the art world ever evolves and how artists connect with their fan base, share new work, and make money have drastically changed and arguably become exceptionally more challenging to navigate and be successful. 

Patreon is a platform for creators of all kinds that allows folks who wish to support their favorite artists a special place to go. Patrons receive special benefits and rewards from the creators they choose to support. There are usually different levels of membership that grant access to different benefits. 

This sort of support for my work allows me to continue to build my Places and Faces of Alaska project. Documenting Alaskan lives and lands is an expensive and extremely time-consuming privilege. Alaska is ⅕ the size of the lower 48 states, and accessing the remote communities and geographies I’m interested in often requires extensive travel time and cost. My Patreon helps me get to those places and share my images with the world on social media and the new Faces of Alaska & Faces of Iditarod websites.

Click below to read how you can become a Patron.

Happy Dog is a very well known photo I captured of an Iditarod sled dog many years ago. It was such a blast to watch Amanda Rose Warren, give him new life, and transform him into something different and new. Check out this up-close time-lapse of Amanda at work- the detail in this sticker is phenomenal.

If you would like to take home a happy dog sticker you have two options to consider:

1) Take your chances- try and win one of three stickers we are giving away over the next two weeks

To enter the sticker drawing follow the directions in the event video. You will need to LIKE, COMMENT, and SHARE in order to be entered.

2) Guarantee yourself this new creative, fun, little gem of a sticker by becoming a patron on Patreon.

To guarantee yourself one of these amazing beauties select the $10 membership level: Aurora on Patreon here: https://bit.ly/30qQ5Ke

It’s time to get to know this doggie a bit better! What do you think this dog’s name is? Can you take a guess? Keep reading to be introduced to this dog and the musher who ran this dog in the Iditarod.

Portrait of musher Sonny Lindner at Kaltag on a cold 20 degrees below zero morning, Iditarod 2009, Alaska.

“Musher on the river!” a volunteer shouted.

The spotter who’d alerted us was sitting near the window of the Community Center. Immediately, I joined others who were donning their winter gear, and went out to see who was going to check in—we had about seven minutes.

It was a “normal” day in the 2009 Iditarod at one of my many favorite checkpoints, Takotna. I like it because it’s small (I can walk everywhere easily), many mushers take their twenty-four-hour layover here (lots of photo opportunities), and I can stay in the school (good internet access and a shower). Plus, the people are as friendly as anywhere on the trail, and the food is great.

The incoming musher was a long-time Iditarod musher and Icon, Sonny Lindner. He’d already taken his twenty-four-hour layover at McGrath and was likely only stopping long enough to check-in and out. The temperature was somewhere below zero, and the musher and team’s breathing had created a light frost that settled on their faces.

One dog, in particular, caught my attention. It had piercing blue eyes, frost on its face, and a fantastic, overly FUN, expression I’d never seen before or since on a dog. Knowing Sonny would not be here more than 2 minutes or so, just long enough to sign in, I zeroed in on this fun guy. I lay on the ground in front of him on my side and rolled to my belly to get down at his level and gave him my full attention to getting a good portrait.

I used a fill-flash to add some sparkle in those captivating eyes. As at any checkpoint, there’s a crowd of volunteers (checkers & vets) and bystanders around the musher at the sled. So there was no way to make an image that did not have some people in the background.

The dog was anxious to keep going and kept looking backward to the sled (away from me), anticipating Sonny’s act of pulling the hook and leaving. He flitted from one side to the other and was hard to keep in focus. I shot a good number of photos hoping one would have his eyes open and be in focus. After getting what I thought was a decent shot, I ran to Sonny to ask for the dog’s name.

“Symbol,” he said. “But not the way you think you’d spell it. It’s ‘Simbol.’ Not sure why, my kid named him.” With that he pulled the hook and was gone.

Sonny Lindner and his good friend, 5-time Iditarod champion Rick Swenson at Nome on Tuesday March 11th during the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race after Sonny completed his last Iditarod.

Sonny Lindner began mushing in the early 70’s and he ran his first Iditarod in 1978 and as a rookie, won the rookie of the year award for being the 11th musher across the finish line. He was the winner of the first Yukon Quest in 1984. Sonny and his good friend, 5-time Iditarod champion Rick Swenson live not far from each other in Two Rivers, Alaska. They often-times let each other run their dogs for various races. Soft-spoken and wanting to avoid the limelight, Sonny was always a top contender in the Iditarod. I once asked as I did with many mushers, “Why do you run the Iditarod”. His answer was simple, something like: “I enjoy wintertime in Alaska and traveling by dog team. What a better way to enjoy the winter than this.”


2010 Iditarod Ceremonial Start in Anchorage Alaska musher # 44 SONNY LINDNER with Iditarider GINA TABACHI.


Sonny Lindner crests the summit of Rainy Pass in the Alaska Range during the 2011 Iditarod.


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