Alaska 2015

 

An email from a old friend asked if I still took photos since I hadn’t made a blog entry for 6 years. I guess time slipped by somehow. I have made many trips since my last post but have neglected to report them.

September, 2015

4D7A0589A

A last minute decision bought me another trip to Alaska and a chance to visit my son and his beautiful family. I had hoped to drive up again but complications prevented that this year. Alaska Air had the solution.

4D7A0173

Lilly

I50A0337

CC

 

The first week and a half was spent playing with grandchildren and taking a trip to the Kenai with the whole gang. The kids had a number of “Best Day Ever’s” in a row. That’s a very good thing. I was able to sneak out early mornings and photograph some migrating caribou. What a joy to watch.

_

Christian flew to Chicago, for business on the 16th and I was off to Denali National Park. Denali is one of my favorite places. I am spoiled generally having my spacious, heated, van to camp in. This trip it was a rented Subaru Forester. I hadn’t realized that one can’t sit-up in the back of these. That provided a challenge. Dressing was particularly problematic. I have a toasty sleeping bag and comfortable pad so sleeping was good except that the space between the front seat backs and back hatch is somewhat shorter then my length. I didn’t do my homework while planning.

4D7A0315AI50A0949A

Mid September, and on, in Denali is the moose rut. Usually the moose are most cooperative and completely ignore people. This year, for some reason, they were gathering higher up the mountains. They were easy to see, with binoculars, but tough to photograph. The area is closed to hiking, for good reasons, so chasing up the mountain in pursuit isn’t allowed.

4D7A0311A

How can an animal over a thousand pounds and seven feet tall at the shoulder hide so well?

For several days before I left the park people who arrived by road, from the south, had commented on how beautiful the mountain was from the road. Those of us who were camping on the north side of the mountain hadn’t even been able to see her. It was cold, grey, and snowing, or about to snow, for a week.

My backpacking stove gas was failing because of the low temperatures and my frozen vegetables, they were canned, but frozen anyway, became challenging to prepare. The worst was having to thaw water for coffee. The day I left it was 7 degrees when I awoke.

I50A0986A-copy

Sow teaching her cubs to forage.

The last day on the mountain the sky was blue and everything good about the park was bursting at the seams. What a glorious day in such a beautiful place. I was privileged to watch a sow brown bear instructing her two cubs in the fine art of digging for ground squirrels. I was watching from some distance, but what a thrill.

I was able to share my experiences with several  photographers who were likewise able to overcome the minor inconveniences for the ability to spend time and witness nature in such a rarified environment. I can’t wait to plan my next trip.I50A1013A

Black Bear on the Parks Highway.

I50A1025A-web

Denali from over one hundred miles south on the Parks Highway. Interesting fact that due to the curvature of the earth only the top half of the mountain can be seen from this vantage point.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

March 2011

Birds in Florida. March afforded the opportunity to spend some time in Florida perusing bird photography. I spent months researching the most likely destinations to have success. There is a wealth of information available on the internet. From the first stop on I was able to discuss my proposed itinerary with other photographers in order to modify my stops for best productivity. There is an army of very enthusiastic people out there with superb glass in pursuit of photography. Many are willing to share their experiences and make recommendations. Some are even willing to share some special ( secret) spots which they have found. I think my Alaska licence plates are a benefit

Our first stop was the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, in the beautiful old city of St. Augustine. This is a great place to get close to nesting egrets, woodstorks, and a collection of assorted other birds including herons, spoonbills and of course alligators. The reptiles are captive and the birds are wild. The alligators keep predators away from the nests and they don’t climb trees.

On our way to Gatorland, in Orlando, we stopped by Merit Island National Wildlife Refuge. It was completely void of visible wildlife during our visit.

Gatorland is much like Alligator Farm in as much as the birds are wild and have selected the protection offered by the reptiles in selecting nesting sites. Excellent viewing and photo opportunities here.

Our fourth stop was at Fort DeSoto, near St. Petersburg, on the gulf coast. This is a absolute gem of a park. In the early mornings there are miles of empty beaches which to share with only a handful of shell collectors.

Next was Sanibel Island with “Ding” Darling National Wildlife refuge. There are many great spots for photos along the road in this park.

Next we headed east through the everglades with several stops for photos.

I dropped off fellow photographer Joel Rogers in Ft.  Lauderdale and drove on to Miami to collect Mrs H.,daughter Shasta and grandchildren for spring break in the keys.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2008-2010 Recap- part 7

So now I have a big Concern. ( I’ve had a serious interruption in my pursuit of photo excellence.)  When I am able to resume my quest, hopefully within the next 6 months, will there still be pixels left to gather?

 Facebook has opened my eyes to what is going on in the harvesting and hoarding of great images. Two guys I know, who are guilty of rampant disregard to the conservation and equitable distribution of great images are  Jack Graham and Bob Kulon. Now they have introduced Mike Moats and a host of others who are sucking up free-pixels at a breakneck rate. What will be left for the rest of us, the ones who don’t have the stamina to maintain the frantic pace these guys have set?

I urge all to slow the pace of pixel depletion. If we can all show some self discipline there will be pixels for all of us to enjoy. Remember all of us don’t have cameras that are as proficient at taking fantastic photographs.

Christmas Shopping

 Merry Christmas

Keep up the good work, and be safe out there.  Pete Hendrickson

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2008 Recapped – part 6

tr-08-242640November brought a short trip to the Outerbanks in NC..  Pea Island Wildlife Refuge, just south of Nags Head, part of the Outerbanks National Seashore, is the home to tens-of-thousands of migratory waterfoul. Most abundant are Snow Geese and Tundra Swans. Joel Rogers, a wildlife artist friend of mine, and I had the privilege of spending a week there photographing the spectacle. When we arrived there my van still had a foot of ice and snow on the roof which looked out of place and pretty silly.

img_3812

tr-08-242791a1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tr-08-243139a2

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2008 Recapped – part 5

September provided the opportunity for a short trip to the mid-coast of Maine. We have visited Maine frequently over the years. Each visit reaffirms my appreciation for the beauty of the Maine coast.09-14-08-maine_70a I never grow tired of visiting and can easily spend days poking along the shore almost everywhere.

09-14-08-maine_11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

09-14-08-maine_1061

 

 

The waterfront characters and the show they put-on for the benefit of “outsiders”, alone, is worth the cost of admission. By September most of the heavy traffic and overcrowded highways have eased and the weather is still nice. It’s a good time to visit.

 

 

 

09-14-08-maine_71a-1

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2008 Recapped – part 4

In July I decided that I would like to drive back to Ohio at the end of this trip. Our granddaughter, Libby, ( 10 ) wanted to come along for the adventure. So a plan was hatched.tr-08-20-i2341

A van was purchased, along with some additional equipment, so we could live comfortably in it on our trip. A run up to Fairbanks allowed me to borrow tools from my son to construct benches along the sides in the back of the van. (Sleep on  and storage under.)  RubberMaid tubs , a Port-a-pottie , and water jugs rounded out the gear.

 – a note about sleeping on a narrow bench in a mummy bag:  If you roll-over in the night while zipped-up, and go beyond the tipping point, there isn’t a thing you can do to correct it other then prepare for impact. I discovered this my first night sleeping on the bench. Fortunately that was my only nocturnal flight. I guess one can subconsciously remember where danger lurks. Anyway after that I was sure no hard or sharp objects were left on the floor between the bunks.

 Libby and I headed south out of Anchorage to the Kenai. We spent a week shake-down camping. It’s alot for a ten year old to get set for, a trip like this, with missing her mom and brother.  She did great, made new friends at the campgrounds and coaxed her grandpa into roasting marshmallows and s’mores.

With our camping sorted out we drove back through Anchorage and up the Glen Highway towards Tok and Ohio. We spent the entire trip sleeping in the Van and sometimes awoke with fantastic views right from our sleeping bags. What a great way to travel when not pressed for time.

Libby likes to stay up late reading and then is hard to get up in the morning. That allowed me time in the mornings to make a thermos of coffee and one of cocoa, mess with my cameras, and just hang out unhurried in the early AM. When I was ready to drive I would coax her  to a seat belt with a cup of hot chocolate. This worked well every morning with the exception of one when she read a book of ghost stories the night before. That morning she was up sitting in the front seat when I awoke.

We elected to deviate from the Alaska Highway  to take the Cassiar Highway south. I had read about bear viewing/photographing  outside of the small town of Hyder,  Alaska accessible by road from BC. This turned out to be a good decision. Hyder is great. Although we were a bit early in the season a few salmon were returning and we saw some great bears, both brown and black. We spent several days there. Libby enjoyed exploring an abandoned gold mine and collected several large nuggets for souvenirs.

From Hyder we turned east to Jasper, Alberta. We then drove south along the spine of the Rocky Mountains to Banff. Both Jasper and Banff National Parks are

breathtakingtr-08-242423a4

tr-08-242369a1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tr-08-242484

 

 tr-08-242380ab-171

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

img_3841a1From Banff it was east to Calgary then back north to Edmonton. A visit to the Edmonton Mall was very important for at least one of us. It’s pretty impressive with it’s mamonth size.

From there it was southeast across the great plains to Ohio and in time for Libby to start fifth grade. In all a very enjoyable journey and one which I hope to repeat.

 

 

 

 

img_0937a

                                                                                       August, southern Saskatchewan, © 2008 Pete Hendrickson

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2008 Recapped – part 3

May – June, was back to Alaska. With two children, both with families, all living in Alaska, it’s a good excuse for spending  time there.

tr-08-20-i20272

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

tr-08-15-iv1723

        With our daughter living in Anchorage, and son 360 miles north in Fairbanks, and Denali National Park in between, some great opportunities present themselves for photography and for just being outside in spectacular environs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_2979a3

This summer I took the Alaska Railroad for the first time. It’s a twelve hour trip   between  Anchorage and Fairbanks with only two stops. The train doesn’t travel          very fast   and there  are outdoor viewing platforms on select cars. That is where              I   spent  most of my trip.

 

 

I have posted more Alaska images at       http://petehendrickson.smugmug.com

I am pitifully disorganized at this time, but hope to revise and clean-up those

albums over time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment