Friday, March 10, 2017

Call it Barrow, Utqiagvik or Ukpeaġvik

I had the pleasure of going to what was call Barrow, Alaska for decades but has recently been changed to Utqiagvik. A totally different life than what I am use to but all the most interesting. The arctic life is harsh, but the local people make it look easy. It's the largest city in the North Slope Borough  with a population of less than 5,000. It's also the oldest permanent settlement in the U.S.
Arriving on an Alaska Airlines plane with an older color scheme. Ironically, I flew on an aircraft with the red leis on the tail for the Hawaii bound flights. No, were didn't go to Hawaii.
Whaling is a huge part of the Alaskan Native life in Utqiagvik. The whole community participates and also receives the meat from the catch.
 I came during the off season, so many places weren't open.
 I had a rental car, so getting around was easy and had a place to stay warm. The old village of Nuvuk is no longer inhabited, but was a joy to photograph.
 Arctic palm trees?
 The roads are well maintained, better than in larger cities like Anchorage or Wasilla. The roads aren't paved though because the permafrost would tear them up every spring and summer. The orange post mark the edges of the road. No roads connect to the rest of the state.
 Some of the older whaling boats are laying around town and this one I just had to keep coming back to until I got the shot I wanted.
 This is called the antenna field. There's probably twice as many then what you see here. Keeps them in touch with the rest of the world.
 Obviously, this gentleman was a Steelers fan.
 In 1935, the famous humorist Will Rogers and pilot Wiley Post made an unplanned stop at Walakpa Bay 15 mi south of Barrow while en route to the city. As they took off again, their plane stalled and plunged into a river, killing them both. The airport was renamed as the Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport in their honor.
That's a serious looking snowy owl. Unfortunately is was too early in the year to see any.
So, I made it to the Top of the World, well at least the top of the U.S., Point Barrow. I had a blast and will go back.

Link to my photo album of this trip, click here.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Visiting the Anchorage Memorial Cemetery

Anchorage Memorial Park was established in by Woodrow Wilson in 1915 and is now listed on National Registered Historic Places. It's nine acres in downtown Anchorage with some of Alaska's prominent citizens buried there.

Yesterday I visited because we were having lots of hoar frost and I had visited before for the same reason. I had suggested it to a friend who is getting into photography and she loved it. It's a very beautiful park and with the hoar frost it is even more beautiful. The temperature was around +9° and we had a gray sky because they were predicting snow, so I figured it was time to visit.
 There are public and private tracks from religious to veterans.
 The hoar frost clinging to the willow trees and everything else, help with a blanket of quietness. Even though we are downtown, you can hardly see the buildings surrounding it or hear any traffic.
It was very peacefully quiet. There was only one other visitor at that time. I kept my distance to not disturb his visit. 
  Generally I wouldn't photograph headstones, but with the frost clinging to them you can't see anyone's names
 This Russian Orthodox cross really shows off the frost.
This tree had to been recently visited by Bohemian Waxwings. The love the berries but don't pick up after themselves when they are done.
To see more of my visit, click here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Little Frosty

We've been having some cold temperatures. It's been any where's from -9° to +12°f. Some of you might freak out over those numbers, but here it's something you get use to. The last couple of years our winters were really wimpy. Mother nature is making up for it this year. We've got a respectable amount of snow, but still below average.
 We've been getting a large amount of fog the last few days, especially in Anchorage. It's caused some really cool hoar frost. I know the moose like it. The tree branches are like popsicles.
 But it's been beautiful. Everything is incrusted in about an inch or so of frost.
 We've had some colorful sunrises and sunsets.
 The trails have been a little empty though. Well, some people might have been at work like they were supposed to be.
 No time to take a break though. Doesn't matter how inviting this bench is.
The fog is on its way out and so probably is the frost. I wish I had took the time to have got more photographs. Well, winter is far from over.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Deal

So my blog posting and photography was in a funk, to quote a friend. Busy at the job that pays the bills, getting ready for Santa, dark and dingy weather and just having some down time, blogging and photography took the hit.

So I joined a group that does photography while walking or hiking to different places of our interest. I know, I was already doing that by myself. But with other people, new to me people, I could possible get a different perspective.
 So first hike was at the Eagle River Nature Center. The last time I was here was over a year ago when it was just Macy and I. We've got some snow in the past week and it looks like Alaska is supposed to this time of year.
 Because of the fresh snow and winter vegetation, a lot of the photos look black and white, but they aren't. Really, they aren't.
 There we several that were new to photography and really into trying to get the best angle, artistic photos, etc. It was pretty cool.
 We all had enough knowledge to help each other out, or get each other in trouble. No, it was a really enjoyable hike.
 It was a crisp cold also. I think it was about 3°. I was dressed prepared, but a few of the others learned a lesson on how to dress for cold weather hikes.
 I was surprised on how pretty the day was and the small amount of people we ran into. Eagle River Nature Center is a beautiful place. The ERNC crew takes good care of the place and people love to go there.
My favorite photo was after I left the group and headed home. I took a detour off the main road because I saw some ice fog. I didn't find what I expected, but when I was turning around to go home, this caught my eye. The bridge has some ice fog around it and the sun is full out on the mountains.

I look forward to meeting with this group again. Nice people, good conversation and fun photography. Good way to start the year.

To see more photos, click here!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Holiday Respects

Today was a quiet day at the cemetery. There was a Honor Guard practicing and just a couple visitors, but otherwise very quiet. The Honor Guard did keep things jumping when they practiced their gun salute.

 Not very cold for Alaska standards. It was 16°f and over cast. We were getting a few snow flakes here and there.
 You can see there's been some foot traffic over the holidays. We haven't got a good snow in a few days.
 It sure has got a lot more of my fellow brother and sisters since I started doing photography here back in 2008.

 When the cemetery first started, inside the fenced area were the American, Russian and Canadian forces buried in the Allied Plot and outside the fenced area were Japanese soldiers buried in the Enemy Plot. All were lost during the battles in the Aleutian Islands. Since then the Japanese have been removed and cremated in the Shinto and Buddhist ceremonies under supervision of the Japanese Embassy.

The Japanese cenotaph was erected in memory of 235 Japanese soldiers who died in Alaska during World War II in the battle for the Aleutian Islands. Of the 235 soldiers buried at the cemetery, most died in the Battle of Attu. A new cenotaph was erected in September 2002 to replace the aging cenotaph that had been in place since May 1981.

To see some of my previous visits, click on the links below.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Yep, I voted

Well, yesterday actually. I must admit, this is a very unusual election. This is the first time I voted in a national election since moving to Wasilla. It's also the first time I voted early. It's also the first time I waited in line for over an hour to just get a ballot and then another 10 minutes to get a booth. I'm use to walking right in and getting a ballot, then going into a booth, vote and then leave in under maybe 10 minutes. No, election day isn't until next Tuesday, but for me it's done except for the results.

I'm not going to offer any political opinions, pitches or anything like that. I spent 20 years of my life protecting your right to vote for anyone you want, no matter how right or wrong you might be. I've never told anyone in my life, except a spouse, who I was voting for. I was taught that it is a personal decision that you must make on your own. Do the research, watch the news, read the mailers, talk to the candidates if you can and then go for it. I believe in that more now because there is so much wrong information on all sides being put out by the social networks and the media.

I wrote back in 2010 on how the phone got quiet after the elections. Read here. What's nice this time around is I don't have a land line, just a cell phone. Last time around I would tease the survey takers by putting the phone in front of the laptop and play the opening screen of "Full Metal Jacket" when the recruits meet the DI.

This time around I'm also not bombarded with it on TV either. I don't have cable or can I pick up local channels. I watched the debates online through Twitter and all I got out of it was a migraine, through no fault of Twitter.

So, for all the people that are talking about how stressful this election is, I guess I'm keeping it to a minimum. I don't discus it with friends, because I'd like to keep them as friends. All I hope for is that whom ever ends up in office, does it with dignity, makes good decisions and keeps the wishes of the people in mind.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fall is all most over

It's that time of year where the awesome summer is over and winter is on the big push to make an entrance. The temperatures during the day are in the mid 50's and at night hovering around freezing. The motorhome is being winterized and I'm trying to get the last of the yard chores completed. The sun is coming up after 8AM now and going down about 7:30PM. The days are definitely shorter and cooler now.
 I'm not ready for winter, but go ahead and bring it on. But only make it a real winter and not the ones we've had the past couple of years. I'm ready for some real winter photography to include some mushing photography.
But the pups and I will also be ready for next spring when we thaw out the motorhome and hit Alaska's highways. A little test for you. How many US Routes are in Alaska? How many Interstate Highways? How many Alaska Routes?

There at no US Routes in Alaska, although at one point, the Alaskan portion of the Alaska Highway was proposed to be designated part of U.S. Highway 97, but this was never carried out. There are no connecting states to Alaska, so there can be no Interstate Highways. There are 12 Alaska Routes, 1 though 11 and 98. The Klondike Highway, built in 1978, was unnumbered until 1998, when it was given its designation during the centennial of the Klondike Gold Rush. However, many Alaskan highways of greater length than the Klondike Highway remain unnumbered. Most Alaskans don't know them by number anyhow, they know them by name.

In case you're curious for more, check out List of Alaska Routes.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

It's been how long???

I couldn't sleep last night, just wide awake for some reason. I don't have cable TV, satellite TV nor can I pick up local TV. I watch TV from the internet. So that wasn't keeping me entertained. I let the dogs out but when they came back in, they went back to sleep. All three were snoring, asleep in different spots in the bedroom. I went on Facebook and everyone I know on there was asleep. So time had gone buy and yep, I was still awake.
I started looking at my blog, making little changes, cleaning things up, deleting links to blogs that hadn't updated in a while or they started posting about things that weren't related to what I do post about. I started reading some of my recent post and continued reading the whole blog from present time to the start in 2007. 9 years? Holy cow!
9 years. That's almost too hard to believe. I was married when I first started posting. I never heard of Facebook and didn't understand Twitter.I've posted with friends, some I've never met in person, just online. I've done photography with a Sony H9, Canon T1I, Canon T3I, Canon 7D and now a Canon 7D Mark II. I've traveled all over Alaska (and got more to cover) with cameras, friends and birds. I've written for a news blog back east and reviewed books about birds for a major publisher. I've posted over 650 post. I was doing several a week but now maybe once a week.
My photography has been published in Alaska Magazine, Anchorage Daily News (now Alaska Dispatch News), several local airlines onboard magazines, other blogs and the cover of a CD for a Finnish folk band. The airplane photo the band used is still one of my most popular post.
I tried to stay away from politics, but have gone there a couple times letting people know what my views were. I've kept my rants to a minimum. Most have been about what I see around Alaska, my family, my beagles or the volunteer work that I do at Bird TLC. I've changed its name. It started out as Around Anchorage, but when I moved to Wasilla, it became Around Alaska. I figured I was covering more of Alaska than just Anchorage or now Wasilla. I even call my photography Around Alaska Photography.
I've covered al lot about Ghost and the building of his mew. His mew is complete now, just waiting for USF&W approval before he moves in. Both of us can't wait. I've also written about my travels and work with other owls and some eagles too. I actually started a blog for Bird TLC long before I started this one. It's still active but I don't have the time for it that I use to.
I always have the respect for my fellow brother and sisters who gave some or all of their lives to protect what is ours. We are the most free country in the world and it hasn't come cheep.
There's more to come, but what a trip it has been so far. There have been happy times and sad times, good times and bad times and all in between. Facebook has probably taken some of the readers. It is a easier and quick media to participate in. But, you can't change a few of us. 9 years! Holy cow!