Thursday, July 14, 2011

Images from the Kongakut River

Here are some of the latest images from a river trip I did for Arctic Wild. I'll put more up as soon as time allows.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Agiak Attack From Way Back

We still have a bit of snow on the ground in Fairbanks but it's starting to melt which is causing my mind to drift into thoughts of summer. In the process of thinking about the warm, bright sunny days of the arctic I started to flip through some photos taken last year at Agiak Lake in Gates of the Arctic National Park.I don't really have any stories to convey right now. Just wanted to share some visuals of an amazing place.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Jesus Geeks and Freaks

And proud of it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Quartz Lake Weekend

Last weekend Becky and I joined some of our friends of ours for some skiing/ ski jouring/ dog sledding debauchery at Quartz Lake, about two hours south of Fairbanks. Good times, great weather and loud laughs. Nothing but bright sunshine, warm temperatures (above 10F), and good clean snow.
It was a Saturday gathering but some of us decided to stay at one of the Public Use Cabins for the night.
Now.... normally I would not divulge this sort of sinful information, but in the morning we all woke up and collected at the main cabin in the parking lot where other friends were staying. Jeff was cooking up the best caribou sausage I've ever tasted. Amazing! He shot the caribou then had Delta Meat, in town, turn some of the meat into sausage. The thick spicy patty kind. Just 2 inch round patties of thick juicy goodness. He stood their for a few hours putting patties on the grill, flipping, then down on the plate in the middle of us. Our mission, if we chose to accept it, was to sit at the table, admire the view out the large front window, drink coffee and enjoy the sausage. I feel like I should be doing Hail Maries or going to a confession booth or something.
We can finally see our own shadows. I've canoed in this very same spot.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ice Park 2001

What would you do with a refrigerator sized block of ice? What if someone gave you several blocks of theses giant pieces of ice, a chain saw, some carving tools, and a fork lift? I'd probably chip the ice off for margaritas until the ice was gone but some folks would make beautiful works of art out of them. Fairbanks is once again hosting the World Ice Art Championships from now to the end of March. Beck and I went the other night with a group of friends to see the creations and... well... play in the ice park. Sure, we were the adults playing on the kiddie slides but it's a hell of allot of fun sliding down 100 foot long ice slides. I'll try to put some photos of the slides soon.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Windy City

Fairbanks may get colder than most states in the Union. And it definitely gets darker for longer than any other state. But the one weather condition we don't see here much is wind. Especially in the winter.
This past week brought both a record snow fall and unusually high winds. White outs stopped traffic in its place, snow drifts covered the roads in places and trees took out electricity in a plethora of neighborhoods when the wind blew them down across the power lines. Since the interior of AK doesn't get much wind allot of the brittle branches and trees stay upright for many years. Until..... the big bad wind comes to clean out the forest. The past few winters we've had record low snow falls, this year was no different. The first 24 hours of this storm brought about 19 inches of snow, which is allot. Right? Even after that single dump we were still a bit below average for this time of year. It's been famine for the past few winters, now we are feasting.
Make sure you mark your bike so you know where to find it when you come out of class. This particular bike was still there the day after I took this picture but all that could be seen was the seat post and part of the handle bars. Too funny.With all the fun of the wind and snow, at the end of the day we had a nice cozy cabin to come home to.... except the power was out for about 10 hours during the first day of winds so we had no heat and had to leave for the night. But the next day, when the electricity was back, we had a warm cozy cabin in the woods.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Northern Lights and Moon Lit Nights

After a cold snap (-35F) last week Fairbanks is finally getting its due. The last few days brought warmer temperatures (0F to 20F), roughly 5 inches of new snow, a beautiful full moon to light the fresh snow when the sun goes down and a great Aurora show last night to round out the treats from Mother Nature.These shots are of our cabin around midnight in the moonlight last night. It's impossible to capture the entire Aurora band stretching across the sky but it's there. Like a big halo over the top of the Earth.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Return of the Sun

We have been back in Fairbanks for almost a month now but all the good sunshine and warmth we absorbed in the Everglades is still energizing us. It was -39F outside when we woke up this morning. That was the outside temperature of course. The temperature inside the house was very comfortable. Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico from Highland Beach He's watching. Don't miss behave. Of course, this is what I told Becky but it did not work.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Everglades Preview

Becky and I are just getting back from our yearly winter time exodus from the dark and cold of Fairbanks. This year we decided to head to Florida for an 8 day canoe trip along the coast and through the mangroves Everglades National Park. What a cool trip it was. Lots of paddling and exploring, sunny most of the time, temperatures 70F above instead of -30F, solitude and a whole mess of birds.
The birding was amazing! It was not just the pure number of birds or the large variety of species we don't get to see in Alaska but it was also what the birds where doing. We had the good fortune to watch this Anhinga surface with a small fish it had just stabbed with its beak then proceeded to make its way onto a log and beat the the fish silly against the log for a full three minutes. Every 3-4 seconds, Whack! raise head, Whack! raise head, Whack! over and over. It was pretty darn comical once I got over thinking about what the fish might be going through. The fish eventually stopped flopping. We also spent an evening on a sandy beach watching a classic sunset over the Gulf of Mexico while dozens of flocks of Ibises flew over the water and on the island behind us roost for the night while Brown Pelicans were diving its evening meal just out in front of us. To good.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winter Solstice

Happy belated solstice everyone! As you probably know, this day is significant as the shortest day of the year. I guarantee you the further north you live the more significant this day is for you. Here in Fairbanks it is more important than Christmas for many. Right as most folks start to feel completely nuts from lack of enough sun, the sun starts coming back.Fortunately we are roughly 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle which means we don't experience total darkness on solstice. We do, however, only get about 3.5 hours of sunlight. It rises around 11:00am and sets around 2:30pm. While not seeing the sun for much more than a lunch break for a few months might drive more folks than normal to heavy drinking it has some plus sides too. When the sun comes up it stays at a low angle in the sky, going from sunrise straight into sunset... beautiful! The pictures in this post were taken on my way home last weekend at 2:30pm. Also, on either side of the solstice the length of time the sun is in the sky changes by about 6.5 minutes per day which means every ten days we gain an hour of daylight (or lose that much as we approach the solstice).
The other upside of such short sun exposure, besides a zero chance of sunburns, is that with the longer darkness we have a better chance of seeing the aurora borealis and get to enjoy extended starry nights. With all that said, I'm sure glad we have made it over the solstice hump. Welcome back sun!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sunset Over the Tanana River

2:30pm sunset. -20F. Clear skys. Aurora last night.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NAEC Calendar

I rarely do much with the photos I take besides share them with friends and post the occasional one on this blog. A few months back I got a wild hair and decided to do something different by entering a few of my Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) photos into a photo competition that the Northern Alaska Environmental Center (NAEC) was having to gather photos for a 2011 calendar celebrating the 50th anniversary of ANWR. Much to my surprise they liked a few of my photos and used the one above as the cover for the calender. You can go to NAEC's web site to check it out. I warn you though. If you decide to purchase a calendar you will be supporting one of those environmental organizations that fights to keep your water clean and wild places wild so make sure you can stomach that.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Settling in of Winter

Winter is slowly but surely settling in around us. The leaves changed colors and dropped to the ground a little over a month ago. Then a few weeks back we received our first snow. It was not much but it was enough to set the mood for another snowy winter. Fortunately it stayed cold enough to keep the snow around without going through much of a freeze-thaw cycle. We've had a few snows since then which has allowed one of our cross-country ski areas to open up (the area is pampered like a golf course so they only need a hand full of inches to be able to pack the snow for skiing). And the rivers have started to freeze over. The transitions of the rivers from liquid to solid in fall then from solid to liquid in spring are always fun to watch. None of the rivers are frozen enough to go ice skating or skiing on yet, there are still some open spots here and there, but all the rivers have enough ice on them that no one will be putting their boat in the water until spring. Many of the small ponds in the area are completely frozen over and are being used for ice skating. Yet again, another great fall.