Friday, July 03, 2015

KENNECOTT MINE


Kennecott Mine, Alaska

Ellen and I spent July 1st venturing over to McCarthy, Alaska and the Kennecott Mine.  Copper was found at the turn of the 20th century in this very remote part of the state.  Seems to prospectors were roaming the area -- cannot imagine anyone just roaming around in these parts -- and looked up at an area on the mountain that looked like a green meadow (their words).  Turned out it was one of the richest copper discoveries on the North American continent. What is amazing is how they got all this stuff up here. Next to the super big Kennicott Glacier (seems the glacier, the town, and the river are spelled with an "i" and the mine was mis-spelled with and "e").  Morgan and Guggenheim money was behind it all.  On the left of the image are the glacial moraines -- there is ice under all those piles.



There are only a couple of buildings you can see inside of, but the National Park Service is slowly reclaiming and rehabing some of the buildings.


Worth a visit if you are in the area.  And a good read on wiki -- 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennecott,_Alaska
The mine is part of the largest of our national parks, the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

DENALI



Denali National Park, Alaska

That place is amazing.  The sheer magnitude of everything there is sensual overload.  It is difficult to describe because there are really no words.  Smoke from forest fires and daily thunder storms obscured the distant views, and of course view of the great mountain itself. Was not to be our time to see Denali -- "the tall one."  But I have two more visits to the park scheduled, and maybe I'll get lucky.  The rangers say that the mountain is only clear for about 30 days each year, and in 1973, I saw it and photographed it from Wonder Lake on a perfectly clear day -- much like the famous Ansel Adams and E. O. Goldbeck images.

Everywhere you drive in this state it is spectacular -- driving south from the park in light rain yesterday, this was the view.


Mile 174 Parks Highway, Alaska

As you can see in the image, it is fireweed season.  And even though it is very dry in general, everything where I went the vegetation was lush.  The fresh green of the just leafed out aspen against the dark green of the black spruce.


Valdez, Alaska

And of course, Alaska is full of eccentrics, part of the nature of people who will live here year round. However, Alaska has changed much since I was hear last in 1976.  Back then, it still had a wild feel to it.  Towns like Nenana still had dirt streets -- they're paved now.  Willow and Wasilla were a few buildings, a gas station, and some houses off dirt lanes.  Now they have Dairy Queens and McDonalds, and just about everything any lower 48 town has.  Sad, I miss that wilder, more raw time. Oil and the  pipeline changed it, me thinks.  It flooded money and people into the state, and now Anchorage looks just like any other city its size with suburbs sprawling up the mountain sides that surround it, and shopping malls everywhere.  I'm a little disappointed to see this, but then it has been 39 years since I was last here.  Thankfully the mountains don't change, and the salmon still fill the rivers this time of year. Might catch a few if I can keep from falling and dunking myself in the river.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

GOING SOUTH


Turnagain Arm, Alaska 6-15-2015

No, not towards home, but rather towards Homer.  Sitting at the end of Kenai Peninsula, that's as far as you can drive down that way.  After that, you have to board a ferry to points further south.  Turnagain Arm has a bore tide, but on this day we were too early -- the tide was in and high.  That said, it's still one thrilling drive along the blue waters with mountains to your left and right -- straight up on the road side with only enough room for the highway and the railroad, and straight up out of the waters on the other side.


Homer, Alaska 6-15-2015

I had been photographing the reflections of the light on the waters with my long lens on the Pentax, and had put it away.  Just as I was about to open the door to the trailer, I notice this lone woman paddling her surf board up the fjord. This image is from my cell phone because I didn't have time to remount the long lens on the camera before she was too far away.  And there is a large industrial pier just out of the image on the left.  Still, it very much says what Homer is about.


Homer, Alaska 6-16-2015

Homer is all about boats, old and new.  Along the spit is a boat grave yard, and there are all shapes and sizes of vessels scattered about. And piles of floats, too.


Homer, AK 6-17-2015

Boys and dreams of big toys, just couldn't pass this one by.  They were there with their grandmother and couldn't resist climbing on the old Cat.  Rusty old beast and young boys, I couldn't resist, either.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

IN BLACK & WHITE


Summit, British Columbia, Canada

For most of my career, almost 60 years now, I have been a black and white photographer with occasional forays into color.  I have not seriously shot a single exposure in b&w for the past 10 years, but that doesn't mean I don't still see in b&w. After all these years of gray tones, it is a bit difficult for me to see color well.  I think I do OK, but I have to think more about it.


Carcross, Yukon Territory, Canada

The lone white coat hanger, can work in color, but is far more dramatic and satisfying in b&w.  The image of the flowers painted on the side of the building just doesn't work in b&w, it is a color image.


Hammond, Montana

One of the best things about being totally digital is to have your cake and eat it, too.  Meaning, of course, I can have both color and b&w in one camera.  I know in the back of my brain, I'm still seeing the graphics of the b&w image while looking at it in color.  After all, even when shooting b&w film, we are still looking at the real world in color.  The switch happen entirely in the mind, but I must admit that I look at every image I make not only in the original color as shot, but convert the image to b&w when I get it on my computer. I love being able to do that.  FYI: the above b&w images are not grayscale, they are RGB images, and have a color balance layer where I have added a small amount of warmth to the shadows. It's just the way I roll.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

IN ALASKA.....finally 6-11-2015


Along the Alaska Highway in the Yukon Territores, Canada

For the past week, the internet has been, at best, barely able to move text.  But this afternoon, we pulled into Fairbanks which is the official end of the ALCAN Highway.  First order of business was grocery shopping -- the US Customs would not let us bring frozen chicken nor eggs across the border.  Something to do with Asian bird flu.....????  Anyway, it took a couple of meals from us, however we had been eating on stores purchased almost a week ago in southern Alberta.


Carcross, BC, Canada


Klondike Highway, BC, Canada

We stayed for two nights in Whitehorse, YT, Canada, in order to make a side trip down to Skagway, Alaska.  Travel is on the Klondike Highway which is basically the route over the coastal mountains the gold rush miners climbed by foot on their way to the gold fields of Dawson City, YT.  It was a hell-of-a-drive, rugged, RUGGED country.  Hard to believe that people did this route on foot ferrying hundreds of pounds of clothing, food, and equipment,  Absolutely stunning country. There wee five, yes, FIVE cruise ships in the Skagway harbor.  People were 10 deep on the street of this very small port town.


Alaska Highway, Alaska
About twenty miles into Alaska, we came to a recent forest fire.  It took several miles of driving to get past it, but about halfway through I saw this one white tree standing alone and surround by many burned black spruce.  Was shockingly stunning. Would have stayed longer to make more images but the rains were upon us.  We have not had a day without rain since we entered Montana on about the 2nd of June.  A squall is passing as I write this.





Wednesday, June 03, 2015

MONTANA


Hobson, Montana 6/2/2015

All across the plains states rise great tall structures, monuments and testaments to the way of life and the economy in these parts.  I especially admire to older grain silos, the wooden ones that are now abandoned. Fields of freshly planted wheat, corn, and soy beans occupy most every acre. Here and there are fields of the last crop planted and not yet turned for this year's crop.

  
Most of these wooden silos are not painted, but rather left to Mother Nature to gray down the wood with a special patina. 


And in Montana this time of year, weather is always dramatic as witnessed by the first image in this post.  No we didn't get wet, but made it back to the truck before all hell broke loose. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

MAKE A CURVE SHOT

Couldn't post yesterday because the band-width at the KOA campground where we stayed was just not much to write home about. Am continuing to make image across Iowa, and tonight we're just inside Minnesota at Jackson. Covered a lot of ground today and saw mostly 6-inch high corn, and just sprouting soy beans.



However, yesterday yielded a couple of interesting images. This one is in Adair, IL. Talked to a local and he told us the Pool Hall is still in use....really? Would have loved to go inside, but not possible. Just inside the front door is a barber's chair with a pool table further back in the single room. We were told they play pool every Thursday evening, and if you want, the owner of the building's wife will cut your hair.




Down the road a bit is the town of Good Hope, IL. Driving through we were mildly surprised to find they use pink trash bins. Stopped a guy coming down the street on in riding mower. He had just comed from mowing his mother's yard at the house where he was born. He said it was just the town's way of supporting breast cancer research.