What began as a septuagenarian’s challenge could become Kodiak’s best travel guide — and it might even go viral.
Last fall, art teacher and fisherman Ann Barker found herself approaching 70 and confronted an inner need to diversify a fish-centered career. She opted to turn a hobby videotaping her and husband Bill Barker’s fishing expeditions into a community service and, she hopes, a business.
“I started Kodiak Video Magazine last fall,” Barker said. “We were backing away from being active commercial wild salmon fishermen. It was the center of our lives. We would fish in the spring and return in the fall. In the winter months we’d plan about what we were going to do when we’d return to fish camp.”
The turning point came last spring when her husband purchased a compact GoPro camera for her after a film festival. The Island Trails Network Kodiak Outdoor Film fest happens on Friday and will feature some of Barker’s short films.
The GoPro camera is one of the latest devices on the video evolutionary ladder. It is so lightweight users can mount it on eagles, sharks and other creatures. In one bizarre sequence, a skydiver about to film his jump dropped his GoPro camera out of a plane. The cam’s live fall and subsequent landing in a pig pen went viral.
“If you go to YouTube, you’d see a lot of GoPro videos by younger kids. I do the older version,” Barker said.
Barker seeks to provide a service that could be useful for locals — and wannabe locals.
“I was thinking that Kodiak has a reputation for giant bears, wonderful fishing and great scenery, but I asked myself this question: What would a Coast Guard family want to know about Kodiak if they were coming here? I thought, ‘Well, they would want to know about the schools, about what average people did, the theater, the positive things we would do.’ And that’s what I’m filming.’”
So far, Barker posts her videos on her YouTube channel (search for “Kodiak Video Magazine”). Her introductory trailer about Kodiak Video Magazine is the top view-getter. No. 2 is “Kodiak Christmas Card.” She has not yet put up a website, but hopes to have one soon.
She hopes down the road she can find corporate sponsors and businesses as clients. But for the time being, she wants to continue to hone her craft.
“Before I start asking for money, I have to have really good quality. And that’s what I’m working on now. Good video quality, good sound, good stories,” she said.
Barker, 69, with degrees in art and education, first came to Kodiak in 1969 for a one-day sightseeing excursion. Then the weather got bad.
“By the time the planes flew three days later, we bought a house and had jobs,” she said. “That was 45 years ago.”