I have updated the website with the new Print of the Month. www.fallriverphotography.com. Thanks for taking a look.
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.
There is an unusual happenstance of note in that a Great Blue Heron has decided to grace the Great State with it’s presence. I was at Potters Marsh waiting for the our beautiful friend to wake and while he slept and I waited, this muskrat was very busy scooting around the pond. He would shoot by the GBH and the heron would lift his head for a moment and then go back to sleep, the muskrat would then chase the incoming ducks away too. He seemed to think he owned the joint. I didn’t argue, I just shot him.
We headed over to Jim Lake yesterday morning to look for some water fowl photographic opportunities and we were rewarded handsomely. We found 4 different groups of adults and juveniles feeding, frolicking and generally doing what swans do. It was a beautiful day here in Alaska with temps (amazingly) in the 50s. We had a very healthy dose of termination dust last week and its all gone at the moment. The swans were really enjoying the weather and feeding actively. The red salmon were in and thrashing around but unfortunately due to the mortality that is involved in the end of life cycle for salmon the smell was a bit tepid. Great day to be out and about.
I was up for sunrise in Deadhorse last week. That’s not too hard, it’s coming up around 8:00 am or so now. The days are getting much shorter. Hey is that snow? Umm, yep. It’s winter up here. Wasn’t too cold though, high 20s right now. The arctic foxes are in whiteout and I thought the vast majority of birds had left. Caught some scoters in the slush though, they looked like they were having fun. The Arctic ocean is freezing up quickly.
This month we will be adding several new releases to our collection. We have already released 5 new prints.
and this months Print of the Month “High Country Aspen”
Click on the links to head over to take a look.
On October 7th we will be releasing 4 more prints and on October 17th we will present another release. That is the short list for now.
The new version of the Fall River Photography Website is up! We have a new look and for the up coming Holiday Season we are presenting several new releases. The New Releases can be found under the New Releases link and with a NEW banner on the photograph. We will be releasing these over the course of the next month so check back often.
We are also adding a new Print of the Month feature. The Print of the Month will have a Special Introductory price that is lowered by 15% to 20% of our normal print prices. This reduced price is only available for a month and is only available on prints.
Look forward to your visit. To access the website click on the Fall River Photography Logo at the top of the Blog or click here http://www.fallriverphotography.com/
NOTE: If you are seeing some odd colors hit the reload button up in the URL bar. One of the reasons that the current crop of web browsers is so fast is that they caches everything and so you are seeing old files on your machine combined with new files from the website. Hitting Reload will cause the page to update all of the files.
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.
We traversed the Denali Highway and then headed south to Valdez. We had to make a double back due to some tire trouble but that’s life, not a big deal. Heads up though when you come here, it IS remote anywhere outside of Anchorage. Cell outages.. for entire sections of trips, maintenance support is going to be a long tow if that is necessary. Be prepared by servicing your vehicle. One thing though, you will get help from passerby’s. Everybody knows they wouldn’t want to be stranded out there either.
Valdez was amazing and a total change of scenery. Again we were hitting peak colors on the way down. The rain and fog added to the drama and made for some excellent photography. The scenery was so good that it took us 5.5 hours to go 105 miles. We obviously don’t “make good time” on the road….
Ummmmm, did I mention the Light? Yeah, the light was good…
By the way, did I mention that the fall colors are out? Couldn’t remember…
Hello everyone, just got back from a whirlwind fall colors tour up here in the Great Land. Yes, we start early up here, for all you southerners, but we get it good too. We definitely hit the peak on our trip as we headed back across the Denali Highway, down the Richardson, south to Valdez, and back across the Glenn Highway to home. Wow. It was incredible. Tons and tons of images to sort through, tons of film to develop (MF and LF) and I finally “saw” what I need to do on Sheep Mountain. That has been working on me for some time. I still have a lot of work to do before closing out this season but it should be fun…
I headed out this morning to the Palmer hay flats to see what I could get in the lens by way of our migratory bird population. I was up early and set up and got to see a magnificent sunrise with the mist hanging off the valley. Birding itself was slow, I could hear the Sandhill Cranes whooping it up just out of sight in the high thrushes and I kept waiting for a lift off. They like to warm up in the sun first. They never did though, I guess they were happy to be where they were. That’s a good thing.
Somateria spectabilis, The King Eider is a large, ornately plumaged duck that spends the predominate portion of its life in the very far north. Its breeding grounds in the Americas are in the Arctic and the North West Territories and it winters mostly no farther south than the Aleutian Islands. In addition it spends the predominate portion of its life out on the remote northern waters and therefore is not easily observable.
The King Eider population migrates very early, sometimes to their own detriment, flying across the tundra in flocks reported at up to 113,000 in one half hour period. Now these birds fly at about 60 km/hr at less than 100 meters off the ground. Imagine yourself on the Arctic tundra with over one hundred thousand birds, flying less than three hundred feet over your head, at forty miles an hour. Wow. And these migrations can fill the sky for hours, ten hours in the case of this particular report.
McLaren Summit at 4086 feet is not the highest mountain pass I have ever driven up (short by almost 10 thousand feet) but the view, well it speaks for itself. Only Atigan Pass in Alaska is higher. The valley below McLaren is absolutely beautiful, the lazy Susitna River in the evening light makes a slivery highway running towards the distant Alaska Range peaks. The rain was out on this late evening, but really, it it only served up the drama instead of damping the mood.
We were cruising down the Denali Highway and came around a corner and this guy was in a fire ring rooting around for leftovers. They are quite endearing actually and you really want to get out and pet them. That would be disastrous of course. They don’t move very fast and they tend to have great facial expressions so they are fun. They pretty much know that they can hurt you far more than you can hurt them (unless you have a gun. See last years Alaska Experiment.) We gave the old boy some room and he waddled on past in no particular hurry. I think no particular hurry is a good way to waddle.
We passed a hatchery along the River on the Richardson highway and the Gulls were out in force. They were gorging themselves on the newly released fry apparently. They would line up on this roof and then swoop down and gobble some hatchlings up and then return to the end of the chow line and roost for a while. I don’t know how much Fish and Game is paying to feed the gulls but I hope they put enough in for the rest of us to catch some. What you see hear is a fraction of the hundred or so that were taking advantage of the free meal.
A trip to Wrangell-St. Elias usually serves up Dall Sheep and bears and birds at the very least. Occasionally we will see a moose and some swans and catch some fish too. Well this trip yielded exactly one crazy squirrel. This guy was all over the campsite and extremely busy gathering stuff for the winter and generally terrorizing our dog. (Just one of our dogs Rojo. Hairy is waaaaay to laid back to care about a squirrel unless it jumped in his mouth.) He also just could not resist coming in and checking out the goods to see if we had anything on his winter stash list. So we shot him.
(with the camera of course.)
I headed up the Reed Lakes Trail for some scouting and a good training hike and got into some great scenery. The sun was just popping up behind these peaks in the Talkeetna’s and the slow, low clouds were rolling off the hill sides. Great morning hike to the lower lake and then the usual slide out. If you have hiked in Alaska you know what I mean, if not, well let’s just say there is nothing quite like steep, muddy, slickery Alaskan hillsides. Virtually impossible for me to keep the shiny side up but worth it every time nonetheless.
This is what it looks like when you have had too much Skookum. We went up and hiked the Skookum Volcano Trail in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. The trail starts out from Nabesna Road and goes about 2.5 miles up a creek bed to the pass. I hiked this trail last year scouting for some photos and I knew there were Dall sheep up there. Some recon the evening before showed several sheep visible so we decided to head up and the plan was to camp out and photograph landscapes and Dall Sheep. Well, that didn’t work out so good. We decided to take our dogs with us (as usual) and our oldest, Hairy, had a really hard time. This years flooding really brought out the boulders and when it was wet it was slicker than anything I have ever been on. After about 2 hours lifting Hairy over boulders he finally found a sand patch and laid down. He had had enough. It was a beautiful day so we chilled and ate lunch and let Hairy take a nap. Then it was down the trail to do it all over again. He wasn’t too happy about that either and parked himself a couple of times in some soft cool sand. We managed to keep him moving and finally made it out, he finally got what he wanted too….
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.