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The Light?


Ummmmm, did I mention the Light?  Yeah, the light was good…

Ice Field


We were coming back from Wrangell-St. Elias on the Glenn Highway and the ice field was actually visible from the highway very clearly.  This is pretty unusual and so we had to stop and get some photographs.  The scale in Alaska is so enormous that one loses perspective and frequently underestimates size and distances without a reference.  Looking at this photo it is hard to grasp how expansive this view is.  Come on up and see for your self.

Silvers & Reds


Cottonwood Creek runs by my house here in Alaska and it has all three Salmon runs on it.  Well at this time of year the Red Salmon and the Silver Salmon are moving upstream onto their spawning grounds.  On their trip up from the Cook Inlet, after dodging the fishing nets, and after dodging the sport anglers, and after dodging the eagles and bears, they have to run this little stretch of water.  It’s pretty shallow here so the bigger ones are popping up and out and over things.


This Red is scooting his way around this rock and then into another pool.  From there it is another little step to another pool….and over and over again we go.  They do a lot of work to get where they are going.  Here’s to hoping this guy makes it all the way and carries on his good name.



I love these foxtails.  They are so beautiful in their color and the way they sway in the wind and catch the summer light.  The Wrangell Mountains were peeking out behind some very thick cloud cover prior to it raining.  This is a nice little settlement at the end of the Nebesna Road.  From here it is about 6 miles to an abandoned mine that makes for a great little day hike.

Gold Mint


Alaska can be a very inhospitable place so it never ceases to amaze me at the toughness of the Alaska miners.  The 1870’s saw the first gold rush to south east Alaska in the Harris Mining District of which the town of Juneau was the center of.  As the new century approached gold deposits were being found further north including gold on the beaches of Nome.  These findings initiated a true gold rush to Alaska which in turn built the cities that we have now.  It is important to note that without the gold rushes, the American West would have settled at a much slower pace and the development of this country would have taken an entirely different route.  Additionally the gold made the U.S. one of the richest nations on earth which provided the impetus for our government to become a leader on the world’s political stage as still a very young nation relative to the European countries abroad.  There was a heavy price to pay for this gold though as new starry eyed miners noted that the summer was rather short and the winters, well they come fast and hard, especially in the mountains.

On the Way to Hope 2


If you are lucky you could see this too.  We were heading down to Hope and as we made our way down Turnagain Arm we could see this developing on our left hand side.  We motored around the end of the Arm and we were heading up toward the mountains and the sky just opened up and the sun came pouring through.  The light didn’t last long but it was enough to get the day started off right!

Money to Burn


Paxson (on the Denali Hwy) is not a big place but it has food (heard it’s very good) and you can buy firewood here.  You might want to consider it as dead wood is scarce and it’s nice to have a campfire, of course it must be in an approved fire ring.   Five bucks a bundle, but on the plus side…it looks good and it burns well…

I love Alaska, it’s so colorful.

Just Ducky


There are indeed limited services on the Denali Highway but it is not completely devoid of support.  There is a rather nice little restaurant – gas station – gift shop right up the road from the Tangle Lakes campground.  Don’t count on it for bare groceries but if you need a helicopter ride they can help you out.

Homer Wheels


These cable wheels caught my eye while I was poking around the bouy area on the docks on the Homer spit.  The Coast Guard was looking like it was making preparations to get underway and had a few of these on the main decks also.  I didn’t try any stealth boarding attempts on the Coastie but I did overtly photograph these without fear.  The seaside in general is a wonderful place to receive a bounty of visual stimulus and a dock area is really icing on the cake with all of the goings on there.

Buoys Awaiting Service


I am continuing this Homer Spit/Maritime theme for a bit because, well, I like it.  This is another set of buoys being temporarily stored on the docks at the end of the Spit.

Homer Buoys


We were out on the Homer Spit and the Coast Guard was getting (somewhat) ready to put these buoys out.  Some were freshly painted and some were apparently waiting for their upgrade.  Very colorful and the lines were inspiring.  The Homer Spit is not just a tourista trap, you gotta look around a little.

Homer, Alaska


We just got back from several days in Homer.  The weather was very spring like so that brought some rain but also some very dramatic cloud formations.  You know what they say, “Bad weather makes for good photographs.”  The shore birds are showing up but the recent volcanic ash dump seems to have dampened the activity a bit.  There was quite a bit of it, Homer got about a 1/4″ of an inch of accumulation.  Didn’t eat here but I have plans…

Rail Car


I made several exposures of this a couple of weeks back, I liked them all but I am posting this one :-).

Arctic Wings


Another recommendation for you if you enjoy birds, birding, and are interested in finding out more about the ANWR.  The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an extremely import migratory gathering point for well over 100 species of birds.  Area 1002 is the proposed drilling area and this area is located on the coastal plain, there would be a large impact (at the least) to caribou and nesting birds and shore birds if this were developed for oil drilling and production.  This is an area richly diverse and biologically expedient to many mammals and birds and the Arctic Ocean is of course, the anchor of the biology here and must be protected from oil spills.  ANWR is a magnificent place (haven’t been there myself yet) and I believe there are other options for acquiring the oil reserves there that are far less obtrusive and invasive.  The infrastructure required for oil drilling and production is sprawling and invasive and brings air pollution, noise pollution and light pollution to these wildness areas and it is first, avoidable and second disruptive to these important links in our ecosystem.   This is an important place to conserve and we can conserve it by being realistic about how we go about extracting the resources that are in the earth while respecting the importance of the resources that are on it; all of them.  “I would drill through a caribous’ head to get to the oil in ANWR” — Glenn Beck

Subhankar Banerjee has devoted the last 8 years exclusively to ANWR and increasing the awareness of it and working to protect it.  He put this book together.  Micho Hoshino’s photograph of a Snowy Owl graces the cover, some might remember him.  Debbie Miller is an essayist for the book and I have another recommendation forth coming on her work, I really enjoy her ability to communicate so vividly about such a place in such a personal way.

Eagle River Owling


Owwwwwling:  Spent Sunday at The Eagle River Nature Center owling.  Saturday I located a  Great Horned Owl and I wanted to follow up with an attempt to find him/her in the daytime.  It had snowed a couple of inches by the time we got there so it was beautiful.  Hard to keep the dogs reeled in too with all of the foreign, uuuumm, smells.  It wasn’t toooo cold, about 20 F.

The owls are out right now hooting for mates which makes it a little easier to find them.  The GH I spotted was sitting silently on a branch and then started calling after I started making a racket with my camera (it was my first GH).  So I got off a couple of shots on it but they were bad because the light was so very low, I started banging around with my tripod like a rookie and I’ll be darned if that owl didn’t turn around to me and tell me to shut up.  I mean if he had actually said the words it wouldn’t have been more clear than him looking me right in the eye, leaning in, thrusting head out towards me and giving a scolding HOOOOO,……..HOOOOOO!  I froze like a little boy and then started laughing, couldn’t help myself and with a disgusted look over his shoulder the wise old owl lit out.  He came off his perch and dropped down right in front of me and I could not hear the wind in his wings, amazing.  I would hate to be a critter having to watch out for those guys.

Seward Dry Dock


I LOVE going to the dry dock in Seward.  We went down there a couple of weeks ago for some photos and had a fantastic time.  I love boats to begin with and then I love old stuff so a bunch of beat up old fishing boats gets me going.  We spent an evening and morning at the dock and got a ton of eagle photographs that day too.  A lot of young eagles lacking the expected characteristic “bald” head were waiting out the weather in trees and light poles and stumps, whatever they could find.  Mergansers were found quite easily and of course the ubiquitous gull was hamming it up just about everywhere.  We saw a couple of other water fowl that I have to look up, don’t know their name, but they were beautiful birds.  We stayed at Miller’s Landing by the way, if you are looking for a place to stay in the area one of these days.  They are good people and their offering for accomodations is quite diverse and always clean.


ancyellowI took a little stroll down 4th street this afternoon.  The February sun gave some very nice lighting; it was nice to see it.  See, winter can be a beautiful thing…