Landscape Clouds and Lighting

Here are a few examples of just how nice mountain landscape photos look when they were made with puffy clouds overhead and sunlight filtering through. These were made last week at about 4000 feet elevation at mile marker 169, on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. Fujifilm X100T.  PS: It won’t be much longer before the colors are going to change. I’ll be there.

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Mountain Market

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It’s the time of year here in SW Virginia when mountain area markets display outside all kinds of produce and other items that tempt visitors to grab their wallets and buy. Like the five-foot high, painted metal roosters above. What I’d do with one is a good question, but it’s still interesting. And no, I didn’t buy one. Fresh-picked peaches, apples and other farm produce fill baskets outside the market. It’s one of my favorite places to visit during the spring, summer and fall seasons. The locally-made, hand-sized Fried Apple Pies sold there are a great treat.

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It’s not always location

I’m a believer in a trusted fact of photography that says being in high value photo locations, such as National Parks or popular tourist destinations, should generally provide great photo opportunities. For me recently it was a week-long trip to Alaska, when weather conditions were perfect. I’ve been posting some of the images I made up there here on my blog. However, I have to say that great photo opportunities exist just about anywhere one goes, if we take the time to look. Like this image.

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Last Saturday my wife and I went on a “road trip” to the Blue Ridge Mountains near where we live in SW Virginia. It was a bit cool and windy, but the lighting and puffy clouds were just right for me. On the one hand I traveled thousands of miles to see wonderful photo ops in Alaska, while on the other I know they exist within an hour of where we live. The key is looking and finding.

The Magpie

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I’ve only seen Magpies in Alaska. Like crows, which I am very familiar with, they are not at all shy of us humans. Inquisitive birds. As I was getting into our parked rental car high up in mountainous terrain north of Anchorage, this bird landed on the car adjacent and watched me. A few years ago at the same location, I watched two Magpies harass a Fox that was trying to get near one of their small chicks huddled in a sheltered spot. The Fox gave up, being chased away by the swooping pair. The one on the car was not so hostile. To me at least. I’m pretty sure he was just looking for a hand-out of a tasty snack. Too bad for the beggar I don’t believe in feeding birds or any other critter in nature. I prefer to look and marvel at what i”m seeing.

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When to be Thankful

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There have been many times over the years when I’m presented with a view in front of me that makes me say, “Wow!” Last month while in Alaska, we took a five-hour high-speed boat cruise in Prince William Sound, with its beautiful glaciers. When we departed Whittier, the weather wasn’t good. The best part of it was that it wasn’t raining, but low clouds, fog, and generally dark conditions made me think I’d have to change my photo focus to closer up views versus far away. But, having been to Prince William Sound several times before, I was prepared for whatever the weather gave us. When I spotted a brightening in the sky far away, I thought maybe our luck might change. And it did. The sun started to pop out and what I saw made me really thankful.

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Waiting for the Train

In the wilds of Alaska, it’s not always a simple matter to “get there.” A primary mode of transportation is via small “bush” and other forms of private aircraft. There are roads for vehicular traffic, but depending on where you’re headed there may be none. Then there’s my favorite form of transportation, Alaska Railroad. Major cities such as Anchorage and Fairbanks have large passenger depots, but at many locations, such as Girdwood where I was, with our daughter and grandson, it’s a “depot” in name only. Take a look and I think you’ll get the idea.

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Right on time, the trains Conductor stepped off, checked our tickets, and helped us climb aboard, and we were underway in less than five minutes. My main point here is to note that Alaska Rail stops at many locations much more remote than Girdwood. That says a lot about just how “frontier-like” Alaska is compared to much of the rest of the United States.

Exploring Alaska Streams

Regular readers of my Blog might think I’ve changed it’s focus completely on Alaska. It’s true I have lots of recent photos from there I want to share. The main reason for doing that is because we were exceptionally fortunate during the five days spent traveling via car, with just about perfect photo weather. I’ve been home for two weeks and am still in awe about the weather. Mainly because it went completely downhill after we flew home. Sadly for others who came after us. I’m going to keep sharing what I saw. Thankfully I wasn’t alone. My youngest daughter and her son went along. My fifth time, their first. What a way for them to start.

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Alaska Waterfalls

During our recent week-long trip to my favorite place in the world, we saw many beautiful waterfalls. And I do mean “many.” There are also spectacular waterfalls outside Alaska, here in the lower forty-eight, but put the large ones we saw in Alaska down here, and I suspect they’d each be a major tourist attraction. Alaska is so wild, so remote, so varied in terrain, that our senses can be easily be overcome. I love that!

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Beautiful Moth

The Pandora sphinx moth is a North American moth. It is a large, greenish gray camouflaged patterned moth. It has a wingspan of 3¼–4½ females being slightly larger than males. Pandora sphinx moths fly during dusk. Some places see only one generation a year, while others see two. I saw one yesterday on the side of our house. Very beautiful and interesting. Lucky me I guess.