Pat Costello's passion for Southeast Alaska is contagious - and with his Web site he's infecting people all over the world.
In 1997, the local photographer launched JuneauPhotos.com with the simple idea to post a different picture every other day. Three years later, the Web site has become an international showcase for the artist's work and - a love letter to Juneau.
``This site is so inspiring. Sounds a little strange, inspiring. But when I need to escape my current reality, I check out this site. At times it's awe-inspiring, beautiful, peaceful and exciting,'' wrote Theresa Frederiksen.
Frederiksen, a third-generation Juneauite living in Europe, said she checks out Costello's site on a daily basis.
``Juneau will always be home. Thanks to this site, I can visit whenever I want to,'' wrote the homesick Frederiksen.
The Web site's guest book overflows with emotional e-mail from people around the globe: Tourists who can't wait to return; former locals, like Frederiksen, who miss their old stomping grounds; and dreamers whose only exploration of the Last Frontier is limited to the Internet.
``I'm amazed at the site's popularity. It's become a link to Juneau for the people who have been touched by this place,'' said Costello, from his home and office in West Juneau. ``It really speaks to the popularity of Juneau.''
Five years ago, before the Internet became a mainstay in most people's homes, Costello launched an online outdoor magazine, ``Land Of Adventure.'' Two years later, he created JuneauPhotos.com, a site that attracts more than 3,000 viewers a day and 700,000 hits a month.
``I visit Pat's Web site to relive my memories of my trip of a lifetime and stay in touch with a place that has part of my heart,'' wrote Mike Haverland of Ohio. ``Pat's enchanting photojournalism keeps Juneau alive for me.''
Born and bred in the capital city, Costello won his first photography competition at the age of 15. Since then, the photographer has won several awards for his work including numerous prizes from Alaska Airlines' magazine. His photographs are also featured in several publications including ``Alaska,'' and ``Alaska Airlines Magazine,'' as well as tourist brochures.
Most recently, his photograph of Amalga Harbor garnered a two-page spread in ``National Geographic Adventure Magazine.''
The photographer spends his days working for the state Department of Administration. But he also creates graphic designs and Web sites under the banner of his company, Costello Photographics.
Using conventional 35mm cameras, Costello processes his films into slides locally and then scans the images onto his Web site from his home office.
``Before my Web site, my pictures lived in little boxes as slides or in magazines. Now they live on the Internet and are shared by a lot of people,'' Costello said.
Since JuneauPhotos.com is a labor of love - not commerce - Costello is wrestling with the idea of allowing advertisements on his Web site. He is also gearing up to sell his photographic images on calendars, note cards and other merchandise.
Despite the flood of interest in his photography, Costello's passion remains simple - taking pictures of Southeast.
``I get chills when a shot lines up perfectly,'' he said.
``I'm just inspired by my surroundings. The wildlife and the outdoor nature of this place is incredible,'' Costello said.``From start to finish, the whole process is totally rewarding.''
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