|Summer in Alaska ... is there any more beautiful place in the world? I fell in love with it in a heartbeat --|
|-- and the way to explore the Great Land is by road. This Pontiac Sunfire did a lot a miles!|
|Alaska is a land of many rivers, spanned by bridges of every design imaginable, and right beside this one --|
|The Fur Shack, Alaskrafts, Northern Treasures. Dave is in the shot here ... look for the great legs, at right!|
|Summer in the Alaskan interior is a home for migratory birds. These are a kind of crane, which stops to graze|
at Creamers Field, right outside Fairbanks...
|A summer shower falls over the hills behind Creamers Field while --|
|birds flock overhead, headed from one feeding ground to the next...|
|Creamers Field was once a dairy -- duh -- but the facilities were long abandoned when these shots were|
taken. In fact, it was already a State Migratory Waterfowl Refuge...
|-- and today Creamers Field attracts campers, hikers, bird watchers from all over the world.|
In fact, try this: http://www.creamersfield.org/
|Nice lens flare here, if I do say so myself! The trick? Umm ... breathe on the lens. Honestly.|
|Summertime brings Alaska alive. You might not guess it, just glancing at this shot, but this is|
Lake Hood -- attached to Anchorage Airport, and it's the busiest float plane facility in the world.
|Dozens of float plane flights leave or arrive on Lake Hood every hour throughout summer...|
|Calm waters, the Chugach Mountains for a backdrop, a blue sky day --|
what more could you ask for?
|The heavy drone of big prop engines is a constant companion in Alaska in all seasons... this is a|
Rust's Flying Service flight arriving home in 1998. Rust are still flying in 2014...
|Many planes belong to private pilots and are parked, or moored, right there on the shores of Lake Hood...|
|The Chugach looks serene and pretty on a summer's morning...|
|...but looks are deceiving. The weather can change on a dime, and as often as not an Alaskan summer|
will do this to you...
|It's so dim, you're shooting 400 film at 10:30 in the morning! Cloud hangs low on the mountains|
behind the Anchorage Airport light airplane field...
|Yep, it's been raining. It'll be raining again before long, and it's so humid, it feels almost hot,|
even though it's only about 48 degrees Fahrenheit on this (!) summer morning.
|There's a sign there somewhere: give way to planes. A float plane heads for Lake Hood to depart --|
|-- and with rain impending, the photographer also departs ... to the terminal building. Starbucks. Coffee. Yeah.|
But summer isn't always so grim in Alaska -- it can just as easily look like this:
|There are at least two Summit Lakes in Alaska (and at least one more in BC). This is the Summit Lake|
at Moose Pass, in glorious weather.
|Summit Lake at Moose Pass ... not quite visible at the resolution of this image|
are the canoes for hire, on the opposite shore of the lake.
|Somewhere at Moose Pass is a restaurant that makes the most fantastic burgers ...|
Make the most of summer's long hours of daylight --
|Welcome to beautiful downtown Talkeetna.|
Dave's snapshot of Jade ... why is there a Canadian flag in the barrow?
Probably, there's a Canadian mountain climbing team in town.
|And speaking of Summit Lake -- here's the one near Paxon, much further north.|
|The weather was changing as these images were captured. These|
photos have been heavily "tweaked" to make them bright and
colorful. Later this same day, it bucketed down...
|...and the rain kept falling. The creeks and lakes on the Chena Hot Springs Road were brimming; many overflowed...|
|With Chena Hot Springs Road about a foot underwater, Dave said to me, "Hop out of the car. I'll drive on,|
turn around and speed through this coming back -- get pictures!" Pontiac Sunfire pluming water.
|Chena Hot springs retort itself ... and you'll notice the flooding in the foreground!|
|And here is the hot spring itself ... boiling hot ... with a storm front coming in right behind the spa --|
|Dave soaks in the hot mineral waters: Chena Hot springs, Alaska.|
Make the most of it, because fall is so close, you can taste it, and...
|Fairbanks fall colors. Before you know it, the hills turn to a fantasy of elven gold.|
|Everywhere you look, every hillside, is gold -- for a brief handful of days: Fairbanks autumn, 1999.|
|The trail beckons the unwary traveler into an enchanted forest... Tolkien would have liked this.|
|Fairbanks fall colors don't last very long. When they happen, grab the cameras and run! Because --|
|The end of summer announces itself early with "termination dust" on the high slopes: early snow that can|
fall even in July, and one day it sticks, and then there's more of it, and even more, and...
|Suddenly the fall colors are gone and the birch looks naked...|
|Winter isn't far away: time to break out the warm clothes, because...|
|Alaska winter scenes ... the world looks so pretty --|
|Everything looks like a Christmas card! But winter is settling in,|
and in Fairbanks it'll stay a long, long time.
|The silence is profound. As an Australian, Jade had never heard (not heard?) anything like it. Dave remained|
unimpressed and wondered what in the world she was taking pictures of. "The snow, dear." Hunh?!
|Dave continues to look unimpressed -- watching the dog races start in downtown Fairbanks -- and|
by now, this is March. Spring! You wouldn't know it, to look at the picture, but this is March.
|Fairbanks dog mushing action. It all happens in March, before breakup can spoil the snow conditions...|
|Dog mushing is a national pastime in Fairbanks. On the many trails through the hills and woods,|
hikers and cyclists must pull over and "give way to dog teams." Posted signs insist on it.
|It's very cold -- or an Aussie thought so! -- but the snow conditions are perfect for mushing...|
now, those are some happy dogs.
|Fairbanks dog mushing pictures -- as rescued after 15 years! These pictures have been scanned and|
enhanced to fix the spoiled colors, and painted to remove a lot of surface damage. Nice!
|Like a scene from Snow Dogs, right? A blue sky day, perfect snow ... a little traveling music, please!|
The captions on the images tell the whole story, so I'm not going to write too much here. It's been a lot of fun scanning these images, but there was a heck of a lot of work to be done to save them. They're anything up to 17 years old now, and many more are sitting in a box going redder with each passing month. If there was ever a rationalization for switching to digital, this is it!
Back soon with more, when I've run the scanner again.