Thursday, June 28, 2012

52 of Friday-Week Twenty six

 A blog circle of photographers from all over the world, both amateur and professional alike, sharing their interpretations of a common theme.  At the bottom of each post, click the link for the next photographer until you come full circle, back here to my blog.


Ken Rockwell describes bokeh this way-
"Bokeh describes the rendition of out-of-focus points of light.
Bokeh is different from sharpness. Sharpness is what happens at the point of best focus. Bokeh is what happens away from the point of best focus.
Bokeh describes the appearance, or "feel," of out-of-focus areas. Bokeh is not how far something is out-of-focus, bokeh is the character of whatever blur is there."

I thought I'd share a few more of pictures from my trip to Alaska for this week's theme.  I looked high and low for flowers in Alaska.  It was still quite cold which meant that the flowers were few and far between.  I did manage to find a few buds, but I promise I won't bore you with the dead flowers that I actually did take pictures of.  I was desperate, Okay? 

To continue around the circle and see a lot more bokeh, start here with Robin Moore.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Alaska-Part Two-The road to Denali

One of the highlights of our trip was traveling to, through and from Denali National Park.  Denali encompasses over 6 million acres of land.  I can't even fathom that amount of untouched space.  If I had a chance to go back to Alaska again, Denali is where I would choose to spend my time.  On foot.  In a bus.  On foot. In a car.  On foot.  You get the picture.  It's beautiful, even when it's overcast or raining. 

This is the Denali Princess Lodge's main building.  It's a huge resort.

This pizza joint was across the street for the lodge.  The pizza was good, as were a variety or two of the advertised beverages! 

I didn't have my wide angle lens.  I'm not even sure I'd have fit them all in the frame anyway!

 I looked for flowers everywhere.  This is one of the few that I actually found blooming.

 The day we were leaving on the Glass-topped train, we took a walk through the trails surrounding the visitor's center at Denali.

 I was desperate for anything that was growing..even fungus!

This was the highlight of my time in the park.  As we walked along the path some other hikers told us to keep our eyes out for two moose that were eating back in the woods.  As we walked along the trail I spotted one of the two right on the trail several yards in front of us. The cow (female moose) moved back into the woods as soon as she heard us approach.  We stopped when we heard them moving around.   I felt like I was playing "Where's Waldo?" with the cows.  They were brown and so was the woods. 

They knew we were there, without a doubt!

After several shots, one of the cows had had enough of us and stomped a bit and made some snorting sounds.  Her warning for us to move on.  Paul grabbed and said "It's time to go!"  My plea for one more shot didn't go over well, but I did get this shot as she was warning us!

As we continued up the path we could hear the two cows moving around.  Thinking they may come back onto the path we stopped and waited.  Sure enough Paul caught site of one of them coming out from the brush.  I waited until she was fully onto the path to start taking pictures.  I managed about 8-10 before she moved across the path.  I learned later that more people are hurt and killed from moose attacks than bear attacks.  Kinda scary!

This is a stained glass window in one of the park buildings. 

More flowers.  Even dead ones didn't escape my lens!

We looked all over for the bears, but they escaped us, at least while we were on foot.

Sorry, more flowers.

One of our excursions took us on a bus deep into the park.  Only the tour buses are permitted on these roads. Here were were able to see lots of wildlife and beautiful scenery.

And bears!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

52 on Friday-Week Twenty five!

 A blog circle of photographers from all over the world, both amateur and professional alike, sharing their interpretations of a common theme.  At the bottom of each post, click the link for the next photographer until you come full circle, back here to my blog.


After I purchased my first SLR camera, way back when, I took a photography class  at DCCC, so that I could take my camera out of auto mode and use the manual features.  The exposure triangle was something the teacher explained to all of us.  It's made up of the camera's shutter speed, ISO, and f-stop.  The shutter speed thing seemed really simple.  The ISO, not big deal-I was using film at the time and knew that the higher the number on the box would allow me to shoot in lower light situations.  Now the f-stop.  I totally didn't get it.  Here's the explanation I got from Wikepedia:

"The f-number is given by  "f/D" where "f" is the focal length, and "D" is the diameter of the entrance pupil (effective aperture)"

Yeah, not working for me, either.  

I finally understood the whole exposure triangle after I took an online class three years ago with my DSLR.  Let's just say that the f-stop allows you to have really shallow depth of field, if you like that stuff.  It lets you blur the background to get rid of distracting elements you can't move or change.  It does some other stuff too, like allowing you to shoot at a higher shutter speed or a lower ISO.  Being able to shoot, what's known as, wide open or this like week's theme at f/1.8 made the exposure triangle make sense to my brain.  

One of my favorite things to shoot wide open is flowers.  Okay, my favorite things to shoot are flowers, but I always shoot them wide open!  Here's a flower I haven't shot yet this's a tiger lilly that I dug up from the road side up in the mountains and planted in my backyard! Can you see that the further you get from the area in focus that things get more out of focus?  That's because my f-stop was set to 1.8!

 To see what photographer Christine Blaylock shot at f/1.8 click here

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Alaska-Part One, Fairbanks

Paul and I recently took a trip to Alaska to celebrate our 30th anniversary.  He's talked about Alaska since I met him when I was 18 years old.  Back then he was hoping to go with some of the guys he went to school with.  That trip never happened, but the dream never died.
 Last fall we started planning our trip and in the beginning of 2012 decided on a 7-day land tour, followed by a 7-day cruise.  We flew in a day early and stayed 2 extra days in Vancouver.  Our trip started in Fairbanks after taking 4 different planes and traveling for more than 18 hours.  That's what you get with free tickets based on credit card points!
The flights were not without entertainment though.  On the flight from Newark, NJ to Seattle, someone tried to bring a 17 day old monkey on board the plane.  Of course, if the lady had filled out the proper paper work and had the proper cage in which to put the monkey under the seat in front of her, all would have been fine.  It seems that as long as the monkey didn't have a weapon of any kind in it's possession that security wouldn't be at all concerned! 

Here are some of my pictures from Fairbanks.  Please keep in mind that I was on vacation and perfect portraits and landscapes were not my top concern.  In fact there were plenty of times I put my camera down and just enjoyed my surroundings.

From the plane..

View from the lodge in Fairbanks..

Downtown Fairbanks...

The Antler Arch...

The first church in Fairbanks makes for an interesting story.  This church used to be on the other side of the river, pictured above.  The nuns who worked at the hospital on the other side of the river used have to have to walk through the downtown area of town full of drunken gold prospectors to get to the walking bridge to cross the river.  The priests didn't like that idea, so one winter after the river froze over they slid the church across the river so that it was on the same side as the hospital.  The nuns no longer had to walk through the down-trodden part of town!  Problem solved.

One of the few original homes still resting on it's original foundation.  Homes were built small, so they didn't use a huge amount of wood for heat.

Our entertainment on the train that took us to pan for gold!

Yeah, there was really gold in this pan!

See!  $6.00 worth!  Don't ask how much the trip cost, though!

He was much more patient than I was!

This is part of the Alaskan Pipeline.  Every year each permanent Alaskan resident (man, woman, and child)  gets paid a dividend for the oil that is piped out of Alaska.   Records show payments anywhere from $1,000-3,000 depending on the amount of oil that gets piped out.  The oil then has to go south to get refined and then it's shipped back to Alaska.  Their gas prices are higher than here in the Northeast. 


Views from the  Discovery Sternwheeller..

This is part of Trail Breaker Kennels, the place where Susan Butcher, a famous dog musher, raised and trained the dogs that helped her win the Iditarod 4 times in 5 years.  Her husband, David Monson, shown here bottom right, still runs the kennels today.  Susan's story is pretty amazing.  The Iditarod is an 1,100+ mile race through blinding snow in temperatures that go as low as 70 degrees below zero across the Alaskan tundra.  Susan won the race with a dog no one, but her, believed in.  She and her husband, David, wrote Granite's story together before Susan passed away at age 51 from leukemia. 

The dogs are so excited to run.  The noise from the barking was deafening!   


The sternwheeller..

Besides all the great food at the Salmon bake, we found lots of reminders of the gold dredging days.  This reminded me of Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel..

All of these original buildings were moved from different places in downtown Fairbanks to this central location.  Local businesses operate out of these houses.  Unfortunately for us, they're  seasonal, and we were there before the season began.

Stayed tuned for more pictures from our trip.  This is just the beginning...