Monthly Archives

August 2007

Aerial Photos of Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Aerial Photography, Alaska

While out hiking around the Exit Glacier area I was so impressed by the weather that I decided to go to the airport and look for a pilot to take me flying. I love flying in the little planes, wheeled and float alike, in Alaska. For some reason I feel safer and more at ease on those small planes. Perhaps it is because I can actually meet the pilot and get a small sense about whether he cares to go on living as much as I do. (On the big planes I might get a robotic “bah-bye” from him after the flight is over.) I met Jim Craig of Scenic Mountain Air who agreed to take me up later in the day, although he felt that the clouds would fill in making flying over the fjords unspectacular. We abandoned the usual flightseeing tour route and just flew around looking for clear air. I figured that since everything below us was amazing, just finding some clear air and sun would allow for good picture taking. Jim is a pilot, flight instructor and writer who really knows the area and flight conditions well, and I enjoyed talking to him as we flew.

The Kenai Mountains rise above thick ice sheets and the Harding Icefield which is one of the largest icefields in Alaska and gives rise to over 30 glaciers, Kenai Range, Kenai Fjords National Park

The Kenai Mountains rise above thick ice sheets and the Harding Icefield which is one of the largest icefields in Alaska and gives rise to over 30 glaciers.
Image ID: 19016
Location: Kenai Range, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, USA

The Kenai Mountains rise above thick ice sheets and the Harding Icefield which is one of the largest icefields in Alaska and gives rise to over 30 glaciers, Kenai Fjords National Park

The Kenai Mountains rise above thick ice sheets and the Harding Icefield which is one of the largest icefields in Alaska and gives rise to over 30 glaciers.
Image ID: 19022
Location: Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, USA

We flew over parts of Kenai Fjords National Park and the Kenai Mountains, including in particular the enormous Harding Icefield, a broad expanse of thick ice through which jagged peaks appear. The Harding Icefield spawns over thirty glaciers, so there was glacier somewhere in sight below us at almost all times. We then left the national park boundaries and flew over the Resurrection Mountains, seeing different glaciers, lush green valleys and dramatic mountains. My hour in the air was up too quickly.

Glacier and rocky peaks, Resurrection Mountains

Glacier and rocky peaks, Resurrection Mountains.
Image ID: 19015
Location: Resurrection Mountains, Alaska, USA

Aerial view, Resurrection Mountains

Aerial view, Resurrection Mountains.
Image ID: 19051
Location: Resurrection Mountains, Alaska, USA

Jim Craig can be reached at (907) 224-6607 or by email at jcraig9218@yahoo.com.

Le Barn Appetit, Seward, Alaska

Photo of the Day

Yvon van Driessche owns and runs Le Barn Appetit, a funky inn and delicious restaurant in Seward, Alaska. I was looking for a room in Seward and all the hotels I could find on the internet were full, but someone was kind enough to recommend Le Barn. Yup, its actually an old barn. I called and got the “treehouse” room, which is (seriously) a small house built around a tree about 15′ off the ground and quite comfortable. I showed up tired from a long day of travel (San Diego / Anchorage / Seward) and Yvon greets me with good natured ribbing, a risky proposition perhaps but his is a colorful personality that one warms up to quickly. When I mentioned that I would be leaving at sunrise to go hiking the next morning he looked genuinely offended, and was disappointed that I would not be enjoying his breakfast. Yvon is a chef who takes his breakfast service very seriously, and the pride in his cooking is evident. While I usually do not eat breakfast, I agreed to return after my hike and eat. Boy, am I glad I did — his was absolutely, hands down the best Quiche Lorraine I have ever eaten and one of the most satisfying breakfasts I have had for that matter. He offered to serve me any size slice I wanted (its included in the room rate). I had a huge 4″ slice and still I could have eaten more it was so good. The other three guests who were there had what looked like crepes piled high with fruit — amazing. Next time I will get those. Yes, there will be a next time. The combination of unique, off-the-beaten-path, comfortable inn and terrific breakfast is just too good for me to pass up, and I am always looking for a reason to pass through Seward.

Yvon van Driessche, owner and chef at his crepe table, Le Barn Appetit, creperie and inn, Seward, Alaska

Yvon van Driessche, owner and chef at his crepe table, Le Barn Appetit, creperie and inn.
Image ID: 18998
Location: Seward, Alaska, USA

Le Barn Appetit, creperie and inn, Seward, Alaska

Le Barn Appetit, creperie and inn.
Image ID: 18997
Location: Seward, Alaska, USA

Le Barn Appetit, creperie and inn, Seward, Alaska

Le Barn Appetit, creperie and inn.
Image ID: 18999
Location: Seward, Alaska, USA

Le Barn Appetit can be reached at (907)224-8706 or email: lebarn@alaska.com.

Brown Bear Portrait

Alaska, Brown Bear, Lake Clark, National Parks, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

My goal in July was to shoot portraits of bears. I scheduled my visit before the arrival of salmon so that the bears would be in the meadows eating sedge grass and staging in the area, waiting for salmon to arrive. Next trip will be a bit later to coincide with salmon and look more for interesting behaviour oriented around salmon predation and territoriality between adult bears.

This young coastal brown bear (Ursus arctos) was resting and eating sedge grass.

Portrait of a young brown bear, pausing while grazing in tall sedge grass.  Brown bears can consume 30 lbs of sedge grass daily, waiting weeks until spawning salmon fill the rivers, Ursus arctos, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Portrait of a young brown bear, pausing while grazing in tall sedge grass. Brown bears can consume 30 lbs of sedge grass daily, waiting weeks until spawning salmon fill the rivers.
Image ID: 19157
Species: Brown bear, Ursus arctos
Location: Lake Clark National Park, Alaska, USA

Pretty Young Thing

Alaska, Brown Bear, Lake Clark, National Parks, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

This young female coastal brown bear (Ursus arctos) was often around when I was visiting Lake Clark National Park in Alaska. We saw her clamming on the tide flats and grazing on sedge grass in the meadows. She is a really good looking bear, with a thick blond coat and none of the scars around her muzzle that the older bears typically have.

Juvenile female coastal brown bear (grizzly bear) grazes on sedge grass, Ursus arctos, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Juvenile female coastal brown bear (grizzly bear) grazes on sedge grass.
Image ID: 19137
Species: Brown bear, Ursus arctos
Location: Lake Clark National Park, Alaska, USA

Minarets Panorama

Panoramas, Sierra Nevada

On our way to a wedding in Tahoe last summer we stopped for a bit of fishing at Mammoth Lakes. I got up early and made a sunrise visit to the Minarets overlook, and got this view. This is a panoramic photograph, composed of 10 separate images stitched (on the computer) into a single, enormous file.

Panorama of the Minarets at sunrise, near Mammoth Mountain.  The Minarets are a series of seventeen jagged peaks in the Ritter Range, west of Mammoth Mountain in the Ansel Adams Wilderness.  These basalt peaks were carved by glaciers on both sides of the range.  The highest of the Minarets stands 12,281 feet above sea level, Mammoth Lakes, California

Panorama of the Minarets at sunrise, near Mammoth Mountain. The Minarets are a series of seventeen jagged peaks in the Ritter Range, west of Mammoth Mountain in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. These basalt peaks were carved by glaciers on both sides of the range. The highest of the Minarets stands 12,281 feet above sea level.
Image ID: 19123
Location: Mammoth Lakes, California, USA

Click the image to see it larger.

Keywords: Minarets, photo, picture, Mammoth Lakes, image, photography, Sierra Nevada, California.

Lazy Bear

Alaska, Brown Bear, Lake Clark, National Parks, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

On my recent trip to photograph coastal brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Lake Clark National Park, I experienced nearly perfect weather for a full week, with just one day of light drizzle and only a few overcast days. About half the time we had full sun, with hardly a cloud in the sky, and warm. Great for us, but it can be tiring for the bears to hang in the sun with their thick fur coats. This guy found a comfy log in the center of a sedge grass meadow on which to nap, and gave us hardly a glance as we walked by him.

Lazy brown bear naps on a log, Ursus arctos, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Lazy brown bear naps on a log.
Image ID: 19251
Species: Brown bear, Ursus arctos
Location: Lake Clark National Park, Alaska, USA

Exit Glacier Panoramic Photo

Alaska, Panoramas

While visiting Kenai Fjords National Park recently, I spent the morning taking an easy hike up to the terminal end (terminus?) of Exit Glacier. This is a popular spot, since it is a gentle hike and it is the main attraction of the only road that enters the national park. I think that I was the first person on the trail that morning, since there were no cars in the parking lot and I saw nobody else until I was nearly done with my walk. The weather was great: full sun, warm and quiet. I was hoping to see a bear or moose or something, but the only wildlife I saw was a fat old marmot who hung out until I got my camera at which point he ditched me. This is a panoramic photograph, composed of 10 separate images stitched (on the computer) into a single, enormous image. Note that this is actually a double-self-portrait, as I appear there twice in a manner of sorts. How’d he do dat?

Self portrait, panorama of Exit Glacier.  Exit Glacier, one of 35 glaciers that are spawned by the enormous Harding Icefield, is the only one that can be easily reached on foot, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Self portrait, panorama of Exit Glacier. Exit Glacier, one of 35 glaciers that are spawned by the enormous Harding Icefield, is the only one that can be easily reached on foot.
Image ID: 19112
Location: Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, USA

Click the image to see it larger.

Moonlight Morning Glass

Surf

Dropped my daughter off at junior lifeguard class this morning and got in a quick swim before starting work for the day. The skies were overcast and the waves were small, but so glassy. Combination of the flat light and glassy water made it difficult to discern swells coming in until they had started to lift up and form, pretty cool. I only had one wave I was able to get inside. You can see the cliffs north of Moonlight Beach in the background, and a few beach walkers out for some morning exercise.

Breaking wave, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, California

Breaking wave.
Image ID: 19132
Location: Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, California, USA

Schwabacher Landing Panoramic Photograph

Grand Teton, National Parks, Panoramas, Wyoming

Schwabacher Landing is one of the “must get” spots for photographers visiting Grand Teton National Park. There is a beaver pond a short ways up a fisherman’s trail in which the Teton Range is nicely reflected in a mirror-calm sidewater of the Snake River, making for a postcard view. I make a point of visiting Schwabacher Landing at least once each time I visit, taking a look for the beavers and hoping to see a moose if I’m lucky. Here is a shot of Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Early morning, summer. This panoramic photo is formed by stitching nine separate images into a longer panoramic strip.

Panorama of the Teton Range reflected in the still waters of Schwabacher Landing, a sidewater of the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Panorama of the Teton Range reflected in the still waters of Schwabacher Landing, a sidewater of the Snake River.
Image ID: 19129
Location: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA

Click the image to see it larger.