A warm evening, a cold beer and a comfortable chair. Views courtesy of God himself.
Alaska has a very healthy supply of these beautiful blood iris’s. They can be found in the Anchorage area and out in the valley growing in huge groups. The Palmer Hay flats are famous for them and Eklutna Lake has them in good supply also.
The Alaska wildflower season is once again in full swing. These Shooting Stars were out on the Flats the other morning as I was heading in. They are absolutely beautiful flowers and set against the lush green they really stand out.
Potters Marsh had a very nice collection of Canvasbacks out and about on Tuesday. I appreciate the gentlemen who pointed their location out to me. In the same area there were American Wigeon, Grebe, Canadian Geese and Arctic Terns. The board walk was mostly quiet but I did see a pair of Green Winged Teal there.
As you can see the Common Mergansers are very happy about the open water.
We went out for a hike and scouting on Spring Creek. Found a pile of feathers and some water peaking through. The white stuff is starting to loose ground here….
Eagles. Homer is known for its Eagles and it did not disappoint. We headed out toward the end of the Spit and they were waiting right there for us. Wonderful. So we introduced ourselves and and asked them to model for a while. Homer Eagles are very accommodating and the photography was incredible. I don’t know if you can imagine this but we were less than six feet away from them at times. Very honored to be able to photograph these beautiful birds. There will be a couple images from this trip in the Spring Releases. This one might be one of them.
We stopped in at Two Sisters Bakery and had a great breakfast. The Mocha is to die for I can tell you that and the Blueberry scones are tops. Really enjoyed listening to the local banter too. Seafaring stories and all, it was great and we felt right at home. By the way they make a pretty good breakfast quiche too.
We headed down to Homer for some good old fashioned bird photography. We were very successful in finding birds and good views. We started out at Bishops Beach watching the sunrise. The tide was low but not the big minus tide of the month. There were a few clam diggers out there and we enjoyed watching the eagles fly by on their way over to the spit. Great sunrise the first morning, looking south.
The winter sunrises in Seward are absolutely wonderful. The sun is low in the sky and the mountains catch the light just beautifully. There were several dozen mergansers out on the shore and they took to the water and complied nicely with my desire for this composition. The sea otters were playing up the shore line and there was a cormorant or two in the mix. The weather was definitely warm for Alaska standards but we get our share of warm winds that blow in and take the edge off the winter.
The town park, downtown Anchorage has several ice sculptures on display currently. There is a nice path shoveled among them for your viewing pleasure. I enjoyed the walk but can attest that the rink area, although not roped off, is way to slick for walking. I have on my schedule a trip up to Fairbanks for this years Ice sculpting competition and I wanted to get a feel for the challenges of making photographs of them. Big One: backgrounds. very hard to make a photograph of the sculpture without some serious background intrusions. It is going to be difficult. Next is the light. Which of course gets compounded by trying to change angles to avoid backgrounds. Next is depth or shape. If you don’t get the light it merges flat. Interesting problems.
We were out and about in Palmer chasing Bohemian Waxwings and came across this old silo. I liked the lines and the cool colors. Palmer started out as a farming community and still has those roots deep. During the dust bowl days the government gave away land to farmers who agreed to relocate to Alaska for at least 5 years. Most went back. It was not so much the cold winters and short summers as the annual (at the time) flooding of the valley. Every year an ice dam would break and flood the Matanuska Valley. This of course was great for enriching the soil, not so great for your house and other property. Plus of course it was ice water, very miserable stuff to be in quite frankly. The valley is not prone to flooding now like it used to be and there are quite a few farms still here. Sometimes you just have to stick it out. I hope you have a great year in 201o after sticking out the last one; here’s to you.
Well it is getting to be the season for snowscapes. We have had some marvelous snow over the last week and a half and we are finally getting some good accumulation. The avalanche danger is through the roof right now so be very wary out there. Always remember the 24 hour rule. This scene caught my eye earlier today.
This big boy finally got up and stretched a bit and looked around. He spied the young bulls, but hey they had been here since before I showed up, so no big deal right. Well he laid into this one just for good measure and a little warm up I guess. He eyed him up and that young bull kept a very wide berth. You can see from the head gear that this guy is pleading “no contest”. By the way those alders will stop a man in his tracks, that bull went through there as if they were grass stalks and he didn’t even “have his grump on”. Good times. Then he looked my way…. Checking my head gear, I decide to defer to the old man too and move to an appropriate place with a good escape route. He was cordial enough as long as I stayed a respectable distance. The big bull and his three cows grazed for a while then he decided it was time to pick up and move and through the alders they went. I enjoyed my time with them.
I spent the better part of Saturday with a whole lot of moose. I headed up a trail I had not been on before but I had heard good things about. It was supposed to have moose, almost guaranteed. Well, with wildlife, as with a lot of other things in life, there is no guarantee and they often are not aware of what we expect of them so they are often not located in the perfect light at the right time of day or sometimes even to be found at all. What’s up with that? Well, I headed up the trail looking toward the mountains and off to the left when I caught something out of the corner of my eye to my right. Yep, two moose within about 50 feet of me, a momma and a calf to boot. Not good times I am thinking. Well she gave me the eye and I talked real nice and sauntered more to my left to indicate that I was moving away not toward her calf. She spied me for about a minute or so then both went back to munching. Very nice. I headed up the trail and finally got a glimpse of the area and yes, there were a lot of moose in there. I was looking down on them and I counted 11 or 12. This was going to be fun. A little more fun than I expected too. Although my first moose of the day were close, the upcoming encounter would have me feeling the blast of a moose snort and scrambling to get out from between a huge bull in rut and his girlfriend and this guy was going to get the nasty end of that huge bulls afternoon nap. mtc.
Well the last leaves have come down, the sun fall lower and lower in the southern sky everyday, there is a new chill in the air and snow will soon be here. We had a GREAT fall up here in the Great Land and I am most grateful for it. We have to say goodbye now and get mentally ready for the winter. It was indeed an unusually long fall for the Great White North though. We had some early and thick termination dust on the mountains but the temps warmed up to the 50s and off it went back to the treasuries of the snow. The inevitable is on its way and I am ready for it. I do indeed enjoy the winter.
These leaves were laying there for me find. The composition was perfect, dropped from the tree in patterns inside of patterns, the color amazing, all I had to do was receive. What a beautiful fall we have had here in Alaska. It is not every year we get 6 weeks of true fall but we got it and more this year. The first snow on the mountain has melted off and the sun has been gloriously shining. I have enjoyed it immensely.
The Port of Valdez. We pulled in to check out the ferry pick up as we have some designs on that coming up and strolled along the dock. There were a couple of gents wetting a line and they seemed to be doing okay in the drizzle. The gulls and waterfowl revel in this stuff of course. Valdez has a population of about 4000 and I am pretty sure we met them all in about 2 hours. It is a little town. Note to RV’ers that there are probably more RVs in Valdez than residents during the summer. We made some notes since we will be back but all in all it was a quick hit to town for some resupplies. We were headed to Thompson Pass. We will be back here though because we love the shore and this has some great potential. Obviously Prince William Sound is dripping with scenery and wildlife. We have an easier access to it via Whittier from where we live so this is the first time for us down here so far. But we will be back, no doubt about it.
Continuing down the Richardson Highway took us through the Keystone Canyon. Beautiful water falls and massive ornate cliff faces enthralled us. We scouted some photographs for future reference and made a few quick ones. The rain had been heavy for the previous couple of days so the water was high and a little muddy. The water falls were stunning, Bridal Veil being the famous one on this stop. I really liked the canyon walls against the water myself. It was also interesting to note that a path, two horses abreast, was cut into these canyon walls as part of the trail from Valdez to Fairbanks. Supplies from the port in Valdez were hauled by horse sleds up the trail that is now the Richardson highway to support the miners up there.
Ummmmm, did I mention the Light? Yeah, the light was good…