December 31, 2010

Winter Fun

Sorry it has been such a long time since my last post. Seasonal fun and all. Work has been busy with the holiday festivities, but now is starting to calm down just a little. I received a promotion this week, more responsibility and pay to match. Should be fun and challenging!
Anyways, our son Christopher came up to visit for a few weeks. Unfortunately this was right in the middle of my busy time and we didn't get to have all the adventures that we wanted to, we did go out and enjoy the copious amounts of snow we received and even squeezed in a trip to Peterson Lake cabin. Funny, its the same cabin we stayed in when he was just knee high to a grasshopper (No longer the case, ha ha ha) We arrived just before dusk, around 3 or so and got the fire going and dropped our gear, I stepped out with my camera and caught the final tips of pink on the distant mountains.

Chris brought some multi-colored light sabers and we became inspired to play in the dark with them and try some photography. We got some pretty cool shots, some new ideas and inspiration for future attempts. Our creativity seems to build on each other. So without further adieu....
Basic sword moves

More like a ninja this time. ha ha ha

looks kinda like Hubble pictures from space

Chris playing imaginary drums, this began some serious inspiration

Then we decided to make Chris visible and play with the lighting effects

What can I say, Chris being Chris.   LASER EYES!

This one is really cool, less for the lighting, more for the effect is had on Chis, he looks like a video game character.

 Then after playing in the cabin we decided to go out into the night. It was around 5-7 degrees and clear as a bell, so play time was a bit short.

Almost a full moon, just days before the lunar eclipse.
Chris running across the snow, really cool

now he is running at me waving his arms, one of my favorites

doing a little dance and pretending to drum, he was letting his "spirit" loose. ha ha ha

"Fire in the trees" When several

With multi color
 We tried a bunch of other things and some worked some not, most inspired other ideas to be tried in the future. We both couldn't feel our fingers or our noses, so it was time to head into the warm cabin and enjoy some hot cider.
View from the porch of the cabin

Everything looked so magical in the morning sun

Boat ramp on the lake

View of distant mountains through the trees

November 24, 2010

Photography of Ice is so fun, and challenging!

Mendenhall with a frozen lake
Well now that the snow has come, the temps are warming up and the next stage is the freeze. This means time for me to catch up on the blog again. Last weekend was a spectacular couple days of sun and very cold temps, night lows around 15 and days at about 25-30 depending on your location. Standing in front of the glacier on Friday, a 10-15 mile an hour wind blowing in my face it felt closer to zero, but the view was amazing. People were wandering out on the ice and climbing on icebergs, but that seems not so smart to me. One little calving from the glacier and it all could turn to mush! I did spend a fair amount of time throwing rocks on the frozen ice and listening to the echo underneath between it and the water, very cool sound. Also its like bowling if you aim for other rocks, or maybe curling. Ha ha ha. Anyways for those that know the area, Nugget creek falls is just out of frame on the right and the large rock on the left is the peninsula that was covered in ice when I was a child. The visitors center is roughly a mile behind me and I am standing on a new terminus left from the face of the late 70's and early 80's. It is absolutely amazing how much it has receded and how the lake bathymetry has evolved. Here are some other pics from that day, hope you enjoy them!
Panorama showing how far the glacier has moved from the falls, amazing!
Mt. MiGinnis across the lake, just before snow level dropped to sea level
Nugget falls is starting to freeze up, crazy ice formations, also the iceberg looks like a cow, ha ha ha
There had been a great wind storm a day before and blew all the ice up on the beach, very cool
Its amazing the different types of ice from one glacier
A little abstract, but I like the lines, notice the frozen bubbles that tried to escape, they are to perpendicular lines in the ice?

 Different angle to see the bubbles

Light through ice, notice the chip that looks kinda like a clam? A favorite past time for the locals is to throw ice and break it, also throwing rocks on the ice as mentioned earlier.
With the final rays, a block lights up and glows
like gems, diamonds, so very cool
And with the final rays of the sun, I head for the truck and the heater that awaits me.

November 20, 2010

Hunting deer in Sitka Alaska

This is the river valley on Chichagof that we hunted

Hello everyone, sorry haven't posted lately. Life has been very busy with work, school, and a recent hunting trip. Also for a while there the weather was terrible and there were no pretty pictures to post. So to catch everyone up on things...a couple weeks ago I flew over to Sitka and went on a 5 day hunting trip with my dear friend Jon and several of his buddies. As I said the weather was terrible and I was lucky to get in on my flight during one of a few breaks in the weather. Then, once in Sitka we got pinned down by 60 mile an hour winds that bashed the coast, 15 foot seas breaking in Salisbury Sound, so none the less we didn't get out for a full 24 hours. The following day we made a run for it between squalls to Hoonah Sound. We met up with two other boats on a mooring buoy in a small cove on Moesser Island.
There is a cabin in there, where half the crew slept.

The wind was calm so we decided to go for a short afternoon hunt. One of the boats dropped us off on Chichagof Island on the other side of the bay. We scrambled along the shore line at high tide and headed back into the river valley. There were multiple groups so we decided to fan out and hunt different zones of the valley. We hiked, sat, called and repeated a few times when suddenly a buck and doe ran into the clearing in front of us. At first Jon didn't see them because they were on my side, I waited for them to enter the clearing a bit more and get a better shot, this was my first mistake. When Jon saw the doe, he took his shot. I was using his gun and hadn't had a chance to shoot it yet, so while making my checks and lining up on the buck, he got the doe. This was my second mistake, because at that point the buck took off across the clearing and I pulled off a shot, of course missing the deer. So while getting another round in the chamber, Jon shot the buck. He was a bit confused at first because he hadn't seen the buck and couldn't believe he missed the doe. We went over to the buck and then I told him what I had seen and so we search for the other deer. Sure enough, two deer in less than an hour!! The buck ended up being the largest anyone had seen in that valley. We then took took turns dragging the two deer out the 1/4 mile or so to the beach and got picked up. Pretty dang good for the first day!! When hanging next to other bucks that weekend, it was a full 8 inches longer and considerably more robust. The next morning was sad news for us, we needed to run the boat to charge the batteries, but she wouldn't start. We decided that this was more important than deer and spent the day working on it. It was breezy and raining a lot so it was nicer to be on the boat. By the way, his boat is a really nice Sea Sport, fairly new, and this was the first time he had a problem. We finally figured out that a fuel filter was fouled and had caused a large air lock in the line. When we finally got it running and felt it was good and batteries charged, it was 2 in the afternoon. With the sun going down at 4 or so, this doesn't leave much time to hunt. So we hung out drank beer, took naps and relaxed.
Captain Jon on his Sea Sport, lamenting the lost day of hunting

Later when the other parties returned we found out that no one even saw a deer that day, made us feel a bit better. The following day we decided to hunt a different valley due to the amount of people around, we had at least 10-12 guys up there, and also how much tramping around in their area had gone on. Unfortunately for us we were hunting in 40 mile an hour winds at our backs blowing right up the valley we wanted to hunt. Jon and I found what looked like a buck highway, sign everywhere and very fresh, but we didn't see a thing. Two friends were hunting the low valley while we hunted the hillside, two shots rang out. We did a radio check but something was wrong with theirs, turns out the battery had died. We looped around and returned to the rendezvous spot, a few moments later the other two showed up. They had been walking along the tree line when they spooked a doe that had been bedded down. After the got her, they waited and sure enough a buck came in to investigate. They had dragged them half way back, but wanted to make the rendezvous time and Alan had recently dislocated his shoulder on a goat hunting trip, so he wasn't doing well with his buck. We went back with them and helped him haul it out. It was a beautiful 3 point with the most perfectly balanced rack. This was Alan's first Alaskan buck!!! We called it a day because the weather was getting worse and headed back to our cove. The next morning was calm and beautiful, but alas also the day of my flight. So, I hauled and helped with a lot of deer, 7 hanging by time we left, but none where mine. I did have a great time, I learned a lot, drank much beer and ate like a king, lived on a boat in the wilderness for 4 days, so all told, well worth it!! Not mention a new group of friends in Sitka! There are many more stories to be told, but what happens on a hunting trip, stays on the hunting trip...LOL. My main goal now is to find myself a rifle and go out again. Unfortunately the rut is now over for the season, but there is always next time. There is some deer pictures, but they haven't been sent to me yet, will post when received.

October 23, 2010

Weekend Adventures

This was on the way home from work this week, looking north over the Gastineau Channel

So today was the first day of what looks to be a four day weekend. Due to some time off coming up for a hunting trip, I am covering other managers while they get some time and just so happened to create this nice chunk of time. Which is good, cause Sarah and I really needed to get out in the woods and experience some "wild" time. As it works out, the weather was pretty good, high over cast skies with the occasional sprinkles, but all in all a good day, not so good for the photos though. This is a major bummer due to the stark contrast on the mountains with all the freshly fallen snow. I could barely see the difference between them and the clouds so I didn't even try with the camera. We decided that due to the late get up and go time, coffee and reading on the couch seemed better at that time, we wanted to stay low and keep it short. Sheep Creek it was! This for those that are not from around here is a quaint little valley that runs somewhat parallel to Silverbow basin and was also at one time a major gold mining area. Now it supports a local dog sled team in the summer and acts as a power corridor for the local service. Also the mouth of the creek has a hatchery, but the run is terminated at sea level. Its about 800 ft. up at first at a very steep pitch and then into the valley floor. The mountains and hanging glaciers in the back of the valley are just awesome and sprinkled throughout are ruins from the mining days. Found some old steam parts from the mining train and other various things, but never felt to pull out the camera. Then on the way back I found a side trail and landed in a private area, posted, oops! Anyways, there are some pieces of equipment around and looks like someone tried to mine but possibly a cave in stopped their progress, also there was an old house that I remembered from my younger days and so I got a shot of it too. Not too much else, after that headed out the road for a drive and just caught the tail end of a very pretty sunset.
This was apparently the superintendents house of the mining railroad

pretty handy looking contraption, wish I could use it to shovel the drive. ha ha

How would you like to commute to work in this thing? Into a hole in the ground?

View south from the trail, looking over the tip of Douglas Island

October 11, 2010

After the Storm

The weather broke today, oh what glorious sites too see!! The snow level has dropped yet again and is down to the tree line. Thunder Mountain has snow on its top peak and all the mountains around the glacier are capped in fresh white snow. Most of the sky was cloudy on the way home, but just as I headed towards the back of the valley the sun shone through onto Mt. Bullard and oh what a site it was. I had to immediately pull a tourist move, slam on the brakes and hit a side street to get a few shots. The glimpse only lasted a few seconds and this is the best shot I got. Then unfortunately it was home, change and off to school for me, more Shakespeare awaited my arrival!! Oh whoa is me, to have time to play in the trees and beget thy studies!! ha ha ha
This was another good shot for lighting, but the composition is not as good.

October 9, 2010

Fall in Alaska

Haven't had time to post lately, sorry. We actually have had some pretty great weather lately off and on and managed to get out and enjoy some of it. The rest of our time has been filled with work and school. Things are going pretty well up here, enjoying the beautiful place we live. Today the weather is pretty cool. We are enjoying a huge wind storm with some rain. 45 mile an hour winds in exposed locations, but strangely warm due to the fact its coming from the southeast.

Picture of fall colors that I enhanced slightly to look like a painting
We got out one evening and ran around Dredge lake area, near the glacier, and caught just the tail end of the sunset. The fall colors were out and the sky was clear that day. Unfortunately I was too lazy to carry a tripod and so most images were not worth posting, but I got a few and thought to share them. Those that know the area remember that this used to be overrun with ATVs and they really tore it up, but now it is protected and the area is beginning to heal. The loops of trails now are utilized by walkers, joggers, and mountain bikers and with no loud engines one can here the birds and such. This area is across the main road, Back Loop Hwy, from the neighborhood we live in, thus giving us two areas within walking distance to enjoy the outdoors, yay!!
Mt. Bullard in the reflection

reflections on Dredge Lake
Then unfortunately the weather went south on us. When next we could see these mountains they had a dusting of snow on them. First the towers at the back of the glacier and then Stroller white got dusted and then McGinnis got a dusting too. As of yesterday the snow level seems to be about 3000 ft. and dropping, fast.

So last Sunday the weather was pretty good and Sarah and I headed up to Herbert Glacier. Its a smooth easy trail that is frequented by runners, bikers, and hikers. They have really done a lot of work in the last few years to this trail. We got to the end of the trail and continued up the side of the river and got some great views of the glacier. For my folks these shots of the glacier will be surprising just how far Herbert has receded.
I call these Rose Fungus, some really look the part.
As we headed up the trail, the sun came out, this is steam rolling off the forest, kinda cool
First view of Herbert and the river delta at the terminal moraine
The glacier is split in half now by this small mountain and this shot is of the division.
This the right hand side, much smaller and less melt off, river coming from left side.
Coming around the corner to the left side, notice the dark line in the ice

Upon closer inspection, one can really see how a glacier moves rock. Amazing
Looking up to the slopes for goats, found some, but too far for photos
All in all a great hike for first of October, I also found some gold flake in the river sand. Sarah just laughs at me, but, "THERE IS GOLD IN THEM THERE HILLS", ha ha ha. Maybe try my hand at some panning sometime, would be cool! Well that is all for now, time to grab another cup of coffee and watch the trees sway in the wind. Take care everyone, ttyl.