Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Alaska: The Living Shore


At Lowell Point Beach I had an opportunity to use my macro lens to capture some of the living creatures that are exposed when the tide rolls out.  There were a few barnacles clinging to the rocky store, and lots of seaweed wedged between the rocks.



As you can see in this photo, and some of the ones from yesterday, the shore really is alive with mussels and snails.  I tried to be very careful walking around, but it was hard to navigate without crushing something.  Every nook and cranny was inhabited.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Alaska: Lowell Point Beach


One of my favorite places in Seward is Lowell Point Beach.  It is just a mile or so south of town, but doesn't it look so secluded?  If you were to turn around and look behind you, you'd see the last few houses on the edge of town. 


I arrived just at the low tide for the day, and the rocky and sandy parts of the beach were visible.  In just four hours, the water had come back in all the way to the treeline.   It was quite a sight to behold. 


This view is from farther back, toward the parking lot.  I spent a half a day here, just taking pictures, watching the other people who were visiting the beach, and eating a packed lunch.  It was perfect.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hydrangeas


Hello everyone!  I hope you had a nice weekend.  I spent part of it finishing up a week's worth of work in my front yard.  I weeded, moved plants, potted plants, and planted a few new things, including this hydrangea.  I have been wanting one for years and after ripping out a floppy holly bush, I had just the place for it.  It is fairly small still - it looks quite disproportionate right now in the flower bed - but even now it is laden with pretty purple blooms that remind me of the first house I ever lived in.  One side of the yard was lined with hydrangeas and in the summer they attracted butterflies that I loved to watch.  I get this feeling of peace and nostalgia every time I see this new bush and I'm so excited for it to thrive.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Alaska: Set Sail


There were so many sailboats exploring Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords while we were there.  I know my husband was longing to be aboard one, so we are going to work on my sea legs and maybe next time we are in Seward, we will be seeing it from a catamaran.

Artists' Reception at Gilchrist Gallery

Good Morning!  If anyone out there is local, I wanted to invite you to come to the grand opening of the Gilchrist Gallery this evening from 11-4 p.m.  I am one of 12 artists who is showing their work and will be there tonight as part of the celebrations.  There will be door prizes and wine and snacks, and of course you'll get to see all the wonderful, diverse art of the gallery.  I hope to see you there.

And if you can't make it tonight, regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 1-6 p.m.   The gallery is located downtown on Gilchrist Street, two doors down from the book store.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Alaska: The Town of Seward


This is downtown Seward, Alaska.  It has cute storefronts and the mountains peek out from behind them.  I loved this town in part for its size.  At a population of about 3,000, it is hard to get lost, and it seems that every bend of every street has an amazing view.


Because there is an influx of tourists in the summer, and because it is a two-hour drive to Anchorage, it has a thriving economy.  There are many restaurants to choose from, all of which serve amazing seafood.  One of my favorite stops, however, was the Apollo Restaurant.  I had the freshest and most delicious pita bread at this Greek place that I have ever had.


And look at these neighborhoods.  There are very few monstrous homes.  Most are on the smaller size, making it look like a very normal place to live.  Except for the mountains in your back yard.  And do you see the dandelions in the front?  They were everywhere, and for the first time in my life, they really didn't look like weeds.  Yes, even the dandelions look better in Seward.  They were big and fluffy and looked so natural and right.


One of the best views I stumbled upon was the high school track.  I wish my track meets were here so I could spend hours looking at the gorgeous view.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Alaska: Orcas


I would have to say the most amazing thing we saw on our cruise around Kenai Fjords National Park was the pod of Orca (also known as Killer Whales).  Just like with the humpback whales we saw, the presence of the boat didn't seem to bother them at all.  There was a little tail slapping by the lone male, who kept his distance from the group of females.


The females kept very close together, and surfaced as a group, blowing spray from their blowholes.


See how close they all are to one another?  We watched them perform this maneuver over and over for at least half-an-hour.


I love how you can see this one's nose just beneath the surface (on the right). 


Then they all swam beneath our ship and headed out.  It was nothing less than amazing.

Featured On: Twentythree


I had never heard of the blog Twentythree, but after seeing some extra traffic on a particular Flickr photo of mine, I searched and found that my "Daisy Petals" photo had been featured.   Several beautiful images are shown each day and I'm so honored to have been among them.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alaska: From The Sea


As per a friend's request, we are back to Alaska this week in photographs.  This may be my favorite shot of the coast that I got from the cruise ship.  I'm not sure I even know why, but it is so representative of how it all looked.  We were so lucky with the beautiful weather that day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Iris, New and Old


I planted Dutch Iris bulbs last fall and have been eagerly anticipating their blooms.  It has taken a lot longer that I expected, but they are finally here and were worth the wait.  I just love how petite and crisp they look.  I have white and purple ones blooming now, and I know there are some yellow ones that have yet to open.


This is one of the bearded iris that were already in the yard when I bought the house.  They bloomed a few weeks ago.  There are just three or four of them, and I need to move them away from the garage to a better location.  But I just haven't figured out where, yet.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

ETSY PLUG: Leefee


I've been collecting art to hang in my bedroom in what I'm dubbing a "Sweet Dreams" collection.  I like laying in my bed and looking at the wall across from me, and seeing beautiful, peaceful places that I'd like to be.  It helps me relax, and, I hope, sends me to equally lovely places in my dreams.  I've just gotten started on the framing, but next on the list is this image, aptly titled "Serenity" from Leefee.


Photographer Silvana Ferreira has a wonderful way with color.   She seems to make it both vivid and soft at the same time.  I love the contrast of the blue with the orange in this print, "Persimmons."


"Coastal Fence" is another dream-worthy view.


And I love the composition of this shot, "Portland Crow."  He is perfectly situated among the tangle of branches, don't you think?


I'm such a sucker for succulent images, and this one is no exception.  If you'd like to see more, visit Leefee's etsy shop and her beautiful blog

IMAGES: Leefee

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park: Raven


In most National Parks, when you see a vehicle pulled over on the side of the road, it means there is something to look at, usually an animal.  But sometimes they are just admiring the view or photographing a pretty vista.  I thought that was the case when we pulled over here, and after the car in front of us departed, we moved up and were headed back toward the main road.  Then I saw this magnificent bird, perched at eye level, in this tree.  He was actually hard to miss once we were along side of him.  "Back up!" I yelled to my husband, and he did (he is so great about maneuvering the truck so I can get the shots I want).  We turned off the radio and rolled down the window and I got four shots before this huge bird (nearly the size of an eagle) flew away.

I had been thinking about ravens the week before, when one of my blog friends posted that every artist has some sort of raven imagery.    "Not me," I thought at the time.  Now that I have been so close to such an incredible bird, I understand the attraction, the almost mystical, reverential feeling you get, and am just giddy to have gotten this shot.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park: Evergreen


Here are another couple of shots from Rocky Mountain National Park.  Despite how blue everything looked through the fog, the fresh needles on the trees were so green and alive when I looked at them closely.  I love how the raindrops seemed to cling to every needle.


There was even snow still on the ground in some places.  I know that is just how it is in the mountains of the west, but seeing snow in June will never cease to amaze me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park: Elk Everywhere


Rocky Mountain National Park is famous for the elk that call it home, and they were out and about just as we hoped.  This was the first herd we saw, and included some mommas and some yearling males (you can see the little spikes on the boys, as opposed to the full rack of antlers you'd expect on the older males).  The cow in front in the third picture is the only elk we saw with a tracking collar all day, though we aren't sure exactly why she is being studied.  Anyway, they grazed along and along and we had a great time watching them for about a half an hour.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park: Misty Weather


This past weekend my husband and I drove down to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  It was a rainy, misty day, but that really made it all the more beautiful.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lilacs in the Garden


Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.   My husband and I went down to Estes Park in Colorado and, even though it was rainy, had a great time exploring Rocky Mountain National Park.  I'll share some photos tomorrow.  And I still have lots of Alaska photographs to share with you, too.  But I didn't want to forget all the beauty that was blooming in the garden.  The lilac just began blooming while we were in Alaska and was still laden when we returned.  The flowers were a little lackluster this year, I think because of a late snow, but pretty, nonetheless.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Alaska: The Chiswell Islands


Here is one last view of the Chiswell Islands, which are part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.  We are actually approaching them here, from Kenai Fjords, on our day cruise. Not only are they home to the colony of Stellar Sea Lions I shared with you yesterday, but they are also the nesting ground for many birds, including puffins, auklets, and kittiwakes.  We did see many of these birds when we were closer, swooping along the cliffs, however, the puffins we saw were bobbing in the water near the whales.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Alaska: Sea Lions


On our day cruise we also saw Stellar Sea Lions, basking on the rocks and diving off into the water at the Chiswell Islands, 35 miles south of Seward.  Some of them seemed playful, while others looked like they just needed a nap.  


This couple, however, looked like they needed some therapy.  There was lots of posturing and faux biting going on. 

What was really amazing was the size of these creatures.  I mean, they look as large as a human when you are watching them from a ship, but when we later saw one up close at the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, it was clearly MUCH larger - like three times the size of a person.  Since their population has declined 80 percent since the mid-1970s, they are listed as an endangered species. That made it even more special to see them in person.

You can actually watch these animals at the same location we saw them, by a remote live feed set up by the Alaska Sea Life Center, until the rookery begins to move for winter.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Alaska: Looking Back


Here's another look at the amazing mountains that drop off into the sea, this time from the back of the boat where the American and Alaskan flags were flying.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Alaska: Rocky Coastline


The coastline of Alaska is just amazing.  My husband is beginning to convince me that the best way to see it would be by sailboat.  But, for this trip, we took a cruise ship on a day trip around Kenai Fjords National Park.   The ship could get right up to the shore, since it is literally mountains rising from the sea.  On the East Coast, everything is more gradual and you can 't get too close without running aground.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wyoming Collection at Coal Creek Coffee in Laramie


Hello!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I just wanted to let you know that several photos from my "Wyoming" Collection are hanging in Coal Creek Coffee (the downtown location) in Laramie for the month of June.  So if you're local, go check them out and enjoy a coffee or some lunch at one of my favorite places in all of Wyoming.