A short aurora borealis timelapse session from 10/12/2012. A first attempt with some new equipment so some adjustments are needed but looking forward to taking some more this winter.
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It’s been a long time coming but Meagan and I finally have real wedding rings in addition to our tattoos. I thought I would share them with you all in photo. Meagan’s was found in an antique shop in Coo’s Bay, Oregon on our trip up to Alaska from Utah. It is white gold with a small diamond inset in a heart. The engraving has always made us laugh, it says “Forever yours -Tumor”. Meagan recently surprised me on our 2nd anniversary with a Damascus steel ring from a local shop here in Fairbanks. In keeping with the spirit of the engraving she had “Forever yours – Squash” etched on the inside.
These last few weeks have been very busy and exciting. I had my first two weddings of the season in the beginning of July and have been busy processing and editing all of the images for the happy couples. It has been refreshing meeting so many wonderful people at the weddings and I couldn’t have asked for a more fun group of people! Thank you to both of the families as well who were so excited and helped to make the days unforgettable.
Since the bulk of my image work is done I thought I would share with you all some of my favorites. These are by no means all of my favorites but it is a good selection none the less.
If you are interested in a photographer for your wedding, please contact me
Gold rush! Those words were rattling through Meagan and I’s heads as we headed up towards Nome Creek on the Steese Highway north of Fairbanks. The plan was to gold pan the Nome creek recreational gold panning area in the morning and then take off later in the day to backpack up to Mt. Prindle.
Needless to say, we did not strike it rich although we did get a *very* little piece of “color” in the pan. The area was quite packed with large motorhomes which beg the question of how and why they got them back there in the first place. Since Meagan and I are much happier hearing the creek noises than those of fellow campers we drove back down the road and found an empty spot near the creek to pitch our tent.
The following day broke with the sun’s heat working its way into our early morning dreams as it turned our tent into an fiery sauna. The hike began well with several creek crossing which require a second set of water shoes to cross as the water is not overly deep but will turn your legs numb within seconds. Once out of the willows of the creek bed the view up the valley reveals itself and gives you just enough of a mountain view to tease you forward. The hiking went well although we were perhaps a few weeks early as the trail was hidden by several large snow patches which required sloppy post holing and most of the trail was covered in a small flowing creek.
As we reached our chosen campsite in a bowl just before climbing up to the ridge that will take you to the top of Mt. Prindle we noticed the dogs were getting on edge. In the Alaskan wilderness this is usually a good sign to get your bear spray or gun handy. Climbing a small knoll we looked up valley and spotted a group of eight wolves working their way in our direction. We quickly grabbed the dogs, took our packs off and prepared to defend ourselves. After some discussion we decided to try and make noise to scare the wolves off, a few loud calls and we succeeded. It was a mixed felling watching the wolves launch water into the air as they ran across the saturated tundra. What a neat experience it would have been to have a closer encounter, but what a relief that we did not have one either. We did however have many close encounters with Alaska’s smallest bird the mosquitoe. Which can be seen flying around the lens in the photo below.
The night passed without incident with the four of us (two dogs) crammed inside a rather small two person tent. We stayed up well into the morning watching the sky paint itself every color it could come up with. We had to remind ourselves to go to bed and not wait for the darkness to give us that cue.
We headed up to Mt. Prindle’s south west ridge after a fantastic oatmeal breakfast filled with the essential dates, nuts, brown sugar and powdered milk. With every gain in elevation more and more of Prindle’s fantastic tors were revealed, each one looking like a new scale to some sleeping giant. After playing around on the rocks and watching a local marmot who had perched himself in a precarious position, Meagan too decided to take a small nap.Fearing we would get caught in a nasty lightning storm that was headed our way if we continued on to summit Prindle, we turned around and headed back to camp. The weather quickly turned bad leaving us in our tent for several hours as it sounded like chicken little’s words may have been prophetic.
As we walked out of the valley and back to our car we noticed the smoke from a nearby wildfire getting thick. Must have happened during the night from one of the lightning strikes?
In all it was a fantastic getaway and a must do hike for anyone in the interior looking for a change in scenery. The Prindle Mountain area is unlike anything else around.
Took the time to wander my own backyard in search of some of the summer’s flowers. Came across this wild rose which was still in the process of blooming. Most of the other roses had bloomed and were losing their bright red color and becoming the more muted pink they become later on.
Angel Rocks trail is a popular destination for Fairbanks people looking for a great hike close to town with beautiful scenery. It is located around 50 miles drive out Chena Hot Springs road on the right. The trail is well marked and makes a winding, switchback path to the granitic angel rocks themselves. From the top you can see much of the Chena River valley. As an extension, it is possible to hike another 6.5 miles from the top to the hot springs themselves located down the road.
The Chena river tributary with angel rocks visible in the background
Although the sky was a dull gray and had very little to add to my images, I enjoyed my time hiking and wading into the water for interesting angles. I also tried a little gold panning (to no avail) later in the evening despite the water turning your hands a painful numb nearly on contact.
The lower regions of the trail have multiple beaver dams and can be a great place to stop and play fetch with your dogs if they aren’t tired enough from the hike. Although other areas around Alaska are showing some signs of waking for summer, I found that most of the vegetation on the Angel Rocks trail had not yet started to show any signs of color. What little snow that is left on the trail is melting out fast though.
It’s that time of year again when the roads begin to melt and with that, all the accumulated trash from the winter that has been cryogenically frozen begins to thaw and reanimate itself to be blown around by passing cars. It is Spring! Smells have started to return, some good, some better left alone. Along with the warmer weather the light is also quickly defeating the darkness, giving us over 14 hours of daylight to play in and enjoy. For me, however, these past few evenings, the light has also meant insomnia. I am writing this from a sleepy stupor after what seems like 72 hours without rest. This needs to stop.
But on to what this post was originally about. The geese will soon be back from their southern sojourn, feeding and breeding and telling all of us in the north that summer is just around the corner.
Geese walking in single file in front of the fall trees
A gaggle of geese at Creamer’s Field
Geese walking in single file in front of the fall trees
The Creamer’s Dairy Barn with geese in the foreground
One of the nice things about living a little ways outside of town in Alaska is that you are occasionally greeted by wildlife in your yard. This year we have had a momma moose and her two yearlings stop in now and again to munch on some of the alder trees we have on our property. The other day I took the opportunity to take some close shots of the mom without her being alarmed by my presence (from out our house window).
Momma moose eating
After she became accustomed to the sound of my shutter she soon relaxed and continued to peruse our great selection of herbivore delights. This continued for around 20 minuted before she decided that she would take a moment to herself and lie down. Nothing like a nap after a good meal! She gave us a great yawn that had both Meagan and I laughing despite trying to keep quite. Her rest was short lived however as her two adolescent children came crashing through the woods towards her demanding that they move on.
Mother moose taking a well deserved break
It was a nice moment to share with the mother moose and a reminder of how important it is that we learn to respect and share the land with all the species that coexist within it.
Day two of the ONAC race series has taken place today in downtown Fairbanks with day 3 and the final day happening tomorrow. The ONAC race is an exciting event each spring in Fairbanks with mushers running their teams down 2nd Ave downtown, onto the Chena River and around the Alaska Dog Musher Assoc. trails via Noyes Slough. The 20 mile race takes mushers around 60 minutes to complete with many mushers running upwards of 14 dogs to a team.
Many more images of the first two days of racing can be viewed in my ONAC album