Monthly Archives: February 2010

Photographing Moving Vehicles At Night

Date: February 25, 2010

Official Sunrise: 8:11          Photograph Taken @: 8:21

Temperature: 30°          Wind: Occasional Gentle Breeze

Photographer: Ron Day          Camera Used: Nikon D200

Snow!??  What’s that all about?

This is Alaska not New York. If I’d wanted snow I would have moved to New York State.

Ha Ha. Just joking.


“Holy crap I’m cold! I’m thinking about heading to Alaska. I’m sure it’s much warmer there!”

~Comment from Facebook – February 25, 2010~


Home Alone As The Ladies Go To D.C.

Since the weather has been nice for the past few days I had planned on leaving the house early this morning and driving up the Parks Highway looking for some nice pictures of Denali. My plans were changed when I stepped outside before light. It was snowing, and snowing hard.

Well, so much for that! I sure wasn’t driving in this weather if I didn’t need to so I went to my studio, instead.

The reason I’d planned on taking  a drive was because I’m home alone now, and had the PT Cruiser all to myself. Becky, along with Cindi and Dawn, left for Washington D.C. late last night and won’t be back until Sunday evening. So it’s just me at home now, keeping those home fires burning, plus our Dachshund dog Schnitlze and our cat, Miss Paws, of course.

I’ve been kicking myself this morning because I let a good picture get away. Last night Becky and I picked up Dawn at her home and then I dropped both of the off at Cindi’s house, where they would leave for the airport a little later. They were all three dressed up real fine and looked mighty purty, but I didn’t even give a thought to taking their picture. In fact, it didn’t even cross my mind until this morning that I should have taken their picture. I’m such a klutz sometimes. A picture of those three women all dressed up like that would have looked mighty mighty pleasing in today’s blog.

Dang it, anyway!

Well, I suppose you’ve noticed that I’ve missed writing in my blog for a couple of days. I’ve been trying to shake this awful cold and it’s just hung on something terrible. It’s left me groggy and senseless, without enthusiasm or ambition. But today I’m feeling a little better so maybe it’s finally letting go of me.


How I Photograph Moving Vehicles In The Darkness

Because the snow changed my plans this morning I wasn’t sure what I’d write about in todays blog. Didn’t even know if I’d even publish one today. But I hate missing three days in a row, and as I sat in front of my computer before daylight I could hear vehicles driving by outside on Bayview Drive, my neighbors headed off to work.

“Hmmm.” I thought, ” Maybe I’ll just step out onto my porch and do some more experimenting with long exposures and vehicle lights.”

And that’s just what I spent the next hour or so doing. Afterwards, as I was processing the images I’d taken on my computer, I found it interesting that although each photograph was taken from the exact same place, the little covered porch on my studio, they all had a different look to them. The speed of the vehicle, changing lighting conditions, length of the exposure, and amount of zoom on my lens, all of these variables contributed greatly to the overall look of each picture.

That made me wonder if someone else would find these things interesting, too.

Below, I’ve posted some of this morning’s pictures, along with the EXIF data  and time taken from each one.  I’m thinking that out there somewhere there are photographers who have grown bored with the pictures they’ve been taking recently and are looking for searching for something, a different look in their work, perhaps. I’d like to suggest to them that they experiment with night photography and moving vehicles. It’s interesting work, and kind of fun, too. 

Each photo below was taken with a Nikon D200 in Raw (NEF) format using a Nikon 80-200 f2.8 zoom lens. The camera and lens were mounted on a sturdy tripod, which remained in the same exact location throughout my shooting session. White balance was set to Incandescent, except in the first shot, and the ISO was 100. To help control the long exposures required, the shutter speed on the D200 was set to “bulb” and  a Nikon MC-36 remote release was used to open and close the shutter. Post processing was accomplished using Nikon Capture NX and Photoshop Elements 5.0. 


Time Taken: 6:25 am – Focal Length: 80mm – Exposure: 28.6 sec. @ f5.6 – White Balance: 7100K converted to Incandescent using Nikon Capture NX.

My first shot of the morning was of this pickup truck rounding a corner on Bayview Drive in Wasilla, Alaska. I thought I’d gone through all of the settings on my Nikon D200 and had them all set correctly. As soon as I took this picture and saw it on the LCD I realized I’d forgotten to re-set the white balance to incandescent, instead leaving it set to my setting of 7100k from yesterday. Luckily I was shooting in NEF format and was able to easily correct the mistake during post processing. 


Time Taken: 6:38 am – Focal Length: 80mm – Exposure: 45.3 sec. @ f13

This is a School Bus coming towards the camera. I found that vehicles coming towards the camera required a much smaller aperture because of the brighter headlights, as opposed to tail lights which are of course dimmer.


Time Taken: 6:39 am – Focal Length 80mm – Exposure: 25.5 sec. @ f5

By using the remote release I was able make my exposures begin and end exactly where I wanted them to. In this case I waited until the vehicle had completely entered my viewfinder.


Time Taken: 6:41 am – Focal Length: 80mm – Exposure: 22.2 sec. @ f5.6

This vehicle was a pickup truck. The short red line at the top left resulted when the driver braked briefly before entering the corner, causing the brake light at the back of the cab to illuminate.


Time Taken: 6:54 am – Focal Length – 105mm – Exposure: 33.3 sec. @f22

Another School Bus approaching the camera. I stopped the lens down to f22 on this shot to eliminate overexposure, but because the bus was travelling much slower than the previous one I left the lens opened for a longer period of time to allow it travel completely through the frame, thus resulting in overexposed areas once again.


Time Taken: 7:00am – Focal Length: 105mm – Exposure: 17.1 sec. @ f11

This image was very underexposed and I was forced to do lighten it about 1.5 stops using Nikon Capture NX. Luckily, it’s easy to do this when you shoot in RAW format.


Time Taken: 7:07 am – Focal Length: 105mm – Exposure: 14.7 sec. @ f10

Another underexposed image, but I only adjusted this one about 2/3 of a stop in  Nikon Capture NX. Again, I timed my exposure to capture both ends of the lights in the image. If I had let the vehicle travel through the frame, increasing the exposure time, the image would have been considerably brighter. 


Time Taken: 7:15 am - Focal Length: 86mm – Exposure: 11.7 sec. @ f7.1

Notice in this photo how blue the snow is beginning to appear. This is caused by the morning sun as it gradually lighten the sky, changing the scenes white balance characteristics. Because to camera’s white balance is set to tungsten, the colors in the image are beginning to change. Only areas actually lit by tungsten lights have correct coloring now.


Time Taken: 7:15 am – Focal Length: 86mm – Exposure: 19.2 sec. @ f7.1

Another case of a driver applying brakes before entering the corner, as seen by the shorter and brighter lights on the left. I purposely stopped this exposure just before the vehicle exited the frame at the top.


Time Taken: 7:19 am – Focal Length: 86mm – Exposure: 20.2 sec @f8

This small compact car left a fairly simple light trail. Another somewhat underexposed image but I left it basically they way I found it in the camera. The bluish cast to the snow is partially by the under exposed image, but mainly because of the changing lighting conditions.


Time Taken: 7:24 am - Focal Length: 86mm – Exposure: 16.9 sec @ f10

I shortened the exposure on this shot to include only a small length of the vehicles tail lights. It too is under exposed but if I would have adjusted my aperture setting to f5.6 the overall exposure would have been much better.


Hopefully someone found these pictures and information interesting. As I study them myself  it’s obvious to me that I have a tendency to under-expose rather than over-expose. That gives me an indication of what needs to be done differently the next time I try this. In addition to varying my exposures a little more, I think I’ll also try zooming the lens in and out during some  my shots.

So, if you find you’re becoming bored with your photos why not try doing something different with your camera equipment? Do some experimenting. Digital photography is cheap. There’s no film to be developed and you can instantly see the results of your experiments.

I myself think it’s a perfectly good way to pass the unusually long winter months many of us are enduring.

Coping With Cold’s

Date: February 22, 2010

Official Sunrise @: 8:20          Photograph Taken @: 8:26

Temperature: 34°          Wind: None

Photographer: Ron Day          Camera Used: Nikon D200

A very pretty sunrise this morning as seen from my deck. Another mild winter day is in store for us with temperatures expected to reach the mid to high 30′s, dropping to the mid 20′s tonight.


“I plan on living forever.  So far, so good.” 

~Author Unknown~


Coping with Colds

I originally had a dentist’s appointment in Anchorage this morning at 10:30, but we’ve had to re-schedule it. Becky and I both have colds, bad ones, that we evidently caught when our grandchildren spent the weekend with us recently. I don’t think a dentist would appreciate checking out my mouth while I have a cold and I really didn’t feel like driving to Anchorage feeling like I do, especially while I’m on medication.

Becky leaves for Washington D.C. on Wednesday, along with three others from her work, to attend a national Chiropractic event being held there. She is really looking forward to the trip and is hoping her cold is gone by then. I’m pretty sure she’ll be much better by Wednesday, but you might keep her in your prayers anyway.

Because of my cold I stayed at home yesterday, watched the NASCAR race on television, worked on the computer for a while, then went to bed early. Because I was being basically lazy I have nothing much to blog about today. If I start feeling better today I may go out for a little bit.

I hope everyone else has a good day. 

Dakota Shoots While Brylan Celebrates

Date: February 21, 2010

Official Sunrise: 8:23          Photograph Taken: 8:15

Temperature: 33°          Wind: None

Photographer: Ron Day        Camera Used: Nikon D200

Looking forward to more rain today, according to the weather predictors. Today’s high temperature should easily be 5° and tonight’s low around 25°. Unusually mild around here for it still being February


“If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.”
~Doug Larson~


Dakota still shooting well in league

Yesterday was a day of grandchildren again. Early in the morning I picked up Dakota and took him to BearPaw Archery for league shooting. He is doing well this year, lacking only in consistent consistency from day to day. When he is able to keep his arrow groups tight on every round of shots he will be tough to beat.

Dakota stands beside a nice group of arrows on his league target. I’ve told him that I buy him a steak dinner every time he puts all five arrows in the bulls eye during league shooting. If these arrows had been about three inches lower he and I would be eating well today.


Judy Vanderwilt of Bearpaw archery assists a young archer during Saturday morning’s Kid’s League.


Dakota and I play around with a mannequin head at archery league while we wait for his turn to shoot. This wasn’t exactly conducive to good focus and concentration when he next went to the line. But we had some fun taking this picture.

Brylan turns three years old

After archery was over we went out to Randy and Jenny’s home to help celebrate Brylan third birthday with a small party in his honor. All of the usual aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents were there, plus of course, his brothers and sisters and parents. It was quite a group when you think about it.

Brylan was pretty excited about this day, eyes bright with laughter, and excitement in his little boy voice. When I first arrived I sat down at the kitchen table, next to his birthday cake, and he came running over to show it to me. Climbing into the opposite chair he told me all about Tow Mater and Lighting McQueen, the two famous movie stars who adorned the top of his cake. He and I then examined his cake very carefully, trying to pronounce each color of the icing properly and counting each and every candle. We had a very nice visit, Brylan and I, lasting at least a full 2.5 minutes before he was off, scooting across the floor with a cousin to look at the stack of brightly wrapped gifts in the middle of the living room.


Are those excited birthday boy eyes, or what? Brylan could hardly contain his excitement as he and grandpa examined his third birthday cake.


Because he loves the movie Cars, and watches it nearly every day, Brylan is very knowledgeable about it’s characters. Here he is describing some of Tow Mater’s antics to me.


After all of the guests had arrived it was at last time for Brylan to open those gifts. With cousins and  siblings gathered with him in a small group on the floor he wasted no time in getting to it. There were many of toys, of course, but there were also new clothes, new boots, and a brightly colored coat for playing outside. With all the cameras flashing, people gathered round laughing and talking, and all eyes on him, Brylan knew for sure that he was King Of The Day. He was a happy grandson, and grandpa was happy, too.


 Brylan, (top) Dalton, Dayton and Kiley intently study Diego’s Jeep, a newly opened gift. I’m not too sure why they were just sitting there like they are, with hands held in laps, not touching anything. Maybe  it was just an awkward moment, or perhaps they were simply discussing the best method of getting the toy out of the box.


 As Kiley helps pick up wrapping paper, Dalton helps Brylan open yet another birthday gift.

After all of the presents had been opened, spread  nicely across the living room floor, Mom carried out that nice birthday cake and lit every candle. Brylan smiled broadly as we sang Happy Birthday to him then easily blew out his candles to thunderous applause.


With Aden assisting, Brylan blows out the candles on his “Cars” birthday cake.


After that it was mostly  free for all as the children discussed which new toy to play with next, who broke what, and who’s cake and ice cream was spread for several feet down the hallway floor. It was a good time for all, adults included. Who can “not” have fun at a birthday party when there are so many happy kids around you?

Next up it’s Dakota, in March, when he will be fourteen years old.


Destiny and Paisley politely shake hands in greeting at Brylan’s birthday party.


Gramps Day is happy to take his turn at holding baby Destiny.


Kinsey, Brittany and Kiley figure out exactly what’s included in one of Brylans birthday gifts.


Uncle Cody and Chief, a new, very pleasant, Rottweiler puppy.


Brittany and Umpa Roy enjoy the festivities while sitting together on the couch. 


 A moose ‘most missed

Just as I was posting today’s blog Becky called me on my telephone to tell me there was a moose in our yard. I glanced out of my studio window and sure enough there was a moose in our yard, a young cow.

It’s uncanny how Becky is always right when she says there’s a moose in our yard.

I was able to get fairly close to the animal, closer than I was comfortable with to tell the truth. I took several pictures but I liked this one of her looking into the morning sunshine the best.


A few minutes later, on her way to church, Becky stopped in the middle of  Bayview Drive to take a picture of the moose, also. 

Avalanches and death in Alaska

Date: February 18, 2010

Official Sunrise: 8:29          Photograph Taken @: 8:25

Temperature: 30°          Wind: None

Photographer: Ron Day          Camera Used: Nikon D200

A beautiful sunrise this morning, although it didn’t happen where I thought it would. The sun is currently rising much further west, or to the right in this picture, but because of the cloud formations  this morning it lit up this part of the sky. In the distance wind is blowing clouds of snow from the sharply pointed mountain and they are being illuminated by the sun. It’s a beautiful sight but I don’t think I’d like to be on the top of that mountain this morning. I guess I should look at my maps to see if I can find a name for that mountain since it is in many of my sunrise photos.


When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking.
- Gail Sheehy


Another fatality caused by thin ice

A worker was killed on Tuesday when the Hydro Ax he was operating fell through thin ice at a remote lake. Although the machine was only partially submerged ice had blocked the door and the man could not escape. He drowned as the cab filled with water. You can read more about this tragic accident here.


Avalanches bring tragedy in central Alaska

 Warming weather is raising the risk of avalanches in central Alaska. Already there have been several avalanche related deaths.

An avalanche yesterday closed the Seward Highway near Girdwood for several hours. No injuries were reported.

Earlier this week two men on snow machines were killed when another avalanche on the Kenai Peninsula swept them away .

On Saturday a cross country skier was killed in an avalanche near Eagle River. 

I think people would be well advised to stay away from avalanche prone areas for a while. That’s my opinion at least.


An eagle above my studio

As I glanced out of my studio window yesterday I was surprised to see a Bald Eagle soaring by at tree top level. Quickly grabbing my camera I rushed outside to take his picture. When I looked above me he was circling ever so slowly directly overhead, posing, as if waiting for me to take his picture. Sadly, my camera was still set for the sunrise pictures I’d taken earlier: manual focus and the self timer set for ten seconds. Well, the pretty bird didn’t have ten seconds to wait, gave a small twitch of his wings and sailed on over to the neighbors house to see if someone there was ready to take his picture. Evidently no one was, so he decided to give me one more chance and came back, but much higher than he was before.  I had my camera ready by this time and managed to get a shot or two before he waved goodbye.

I’m still kicking myself for not getting a picture when he was right above me head. I think I learned a lesson here. From now on, hopefully, my camera will always be ready for action.


More dentistry for me

I told my dentist yesterday that I was getting tired of my teeth. He said he could understand that.

 After having much work done to them over the past three years I thought I was through.  For a long time I was in no pain and I had a pretty smile. But a few months ago I began to experience some discomfort above the gum line on the right side of my mouth. I told myself it would go away but of course it didn’t and I finally told Becky about it. she sent me to the dentist. 

Yesterday he told me that two old root canals from years ago had failed and were infected. He said surgery was the only way to cure the problem and that it had to be performed quickly to prevent the infection from damaging other of my teeth. He referred another physician to do the work while he wrote out a prescription for Penicillin. As he was leaving the room he looked at my face, noticed that it was becoming swollen and red, and asked me to lie back in the chair once again.

With his assistant on one side of me and he on the other he pulled out some type of instrument and aked me to open my mouth.

Just before he inserted the instrument into my mouth he said:

“You might feel a little pinch here.”

Dang! I hate those words.

Anyway, it felt like more than a pinch, bringing a tear to my eye as it did,  but he was able to drain the infection, relieving the swelling. I immediately felt much better. After only two or three doses of penicillin the pain in my mouth is nearly gone. I hadn’t realized how much it was affecting me over the past few weeks.

But I still have to have the surgery, even though I don’t want too. As expected Becky just called me from work to say she’d made and appointment for me with a dentist in Anchorage next Monday morning at 10:30.

“Oh boy.”

Playing in the wind with the Ravens

Date: February 18, 2010

Official Sunrise: 8:32          Photograph Taken @: 9:01

Temperature: 42°          Wind: North  with gusts  20 – 25 m.p.h.

Photographer: Ron Day          Camera: Nikon D200


Luke 12:24

 Consider the ravens:
They do not sow or reap,
they have no storeroom or barn;
yet God feeds them.
And how much
more valuable
you are than birds!


Very blustery this morning with a pretty strong wind out of the north. A thick blanket of clouds overhead and hanging low on the mountains across the way. For some reason I could feel excitement in the air this morning. Maybe it’s because the wind is very noisy, I don’t know. The Ravens felt it too, I think, cawing loudly to each other while they rode the updrafts. Occasionally I’d hear fighter jets from Elmendorf flying overhead, just above the clouds, as they quickly made their way north. They also seemed louder than normal. Maybe it’s a Spring feeling, or at least a changing of the seasons feeling. Whatever it is, my adrenaline was pumping and I got almost as excited as those silly ravens you see out there above the canyon. I felt an urge to Caw right back at them. Very loudly.  

 But I didn’t.

Well…OK, I did.

But only once or twice.

Possibly three times. 

I don’t have a whole lot planned for today. Becky is working at home today so I’ll try to stay out of her way, I suppose. When I stepped outside this morning in the dark I could hear water trickling down the downspout from the snow melting on the roof. Haven’t heard that sound for a while. It sounded good to me but I don’t think the folks who’ll race in the Iditarod next month will like it. They really need some winter weather for their sport.

It seems strange to hear about all of the snow and winter weather in the south and east while Alaska, at least this part of it, is having some very mild weather at this time. I’m pretty sure it will all end before too long, the nice weather I mean, and our winter will end the way it usually does, really cold.

Well, I hear my Raven friends calling to me outside. They want me to come out and play with them again. Either that or they brought some friends along to teach me a lesson for the way I acted this morning.

I knew I shouldn’t have called them those names.




Sunrise in Wasilla

Date: February 17, 2010

Official Sunrise: 8:35           Photograph Taken 9:0

Temperature: 36°          Wind: North less than 5 m.p.h.

Photographer: Ron Day          Camera: Nikon D200


“Retirement is the time when you never do all the things you intended to do when you were still working”


Facebook users are relating their weather to Alaska


Date: February 16, 2010

Official Sunrise: 8:38          Photograph Taken: 8:32

Temperature: 33°          Wind: None

Photographer: Ron Day          Camera Used: Nikon D200

Now this sunrise photo is ordinary, isn’t it? It’s not really very pretty this morning but it’s mild. Temperatures in the 30′s again, warm enough that I was able to sit for a while on the deck, waiting in vain for something to happen in the sky. Our high today will be in the upper 30° range while tonight’s low temperature should be in the mid 20′s. There’s no snow called for but it wouldn’t surprise me if we got some, or maybe rain. Those are heavy gray clouds over Pioneer Peak and they look as if they are up to something.


“Why do Ifeel like I live in Alaska! I mean I always wanted to go and see it but I didn’t realize I made the trip!!!”

~Kelly Porter on Facebook~


What they’re saying about Alaska on Facebook

Unusual winter weather has severely affected residents of normally mild states, leaving them frustrated and bewildered.

Yesterday I searched for the word “Alaska” on Facebook. It didn’t take long to find out what those snow-bound outsiders were thinking. It took only one hour to collect the following comments.  


“Its snowing again?!?! Where the hell I live – ALASKA?”

“OK, I feel like I have moved to Alaska… waiting to see a Moose run past the window at any moment…the snow is makin me crazy…i need sunshine!”

“waiting on the snow…again, I think we live in Alaska”


“off to bed, I think I may have to pull my snow shoes off the wall for tomorrow, what is going on around here, we live in PA not in ALASKA, all I can say is we better have an awesome summer for playing ball, swimming, and cookouts!”

“I love snow so much, I am thinking about moving to Alaska! No, wait, Iowa probably has more snow so I’ll just stay here!”

“It’s freaking snowing AGAIN! Unbelievable! I feel like I’m living in Alaska. Guess I’ll slip slide my way through tomorrow. I’m glad that I have four wheel drive, but it does not help if you slide off a mountain.”

“I am so sick of cold weather. This IS Mississippi not Alaska for Pete’s sake!”

“Made it home, it looks like we live in alaska when you look out my window”

“Rich is snowed in…here in Alaska-bama.”

“I am so sick of seeing snow… If I really wanted all this I’d move to Alaska…”

“pennsylvania is the new Alaska”

“its freaking snowing again and again and again and again and again,,geez will it ever quit, i live in Ohio not Alaska…….burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”

“Its a broken record…more snow. I told the wife that if we wanted to live in a snowy place, we should move to Alaska. She said “I don’t think so”. Some day, Alaska here we come!”

“feel like i’m in alaska”

“enough already! If I wanted to experience this much snow, I’d live in Alaska.”

“OMG- what a drive!! If you don’t have to be on the road, don’t go on it. I feel like we live in Alaska and all it does is SNOW!!! come on spring……”


“Is OHIO the new Alaska..snow and all?”

“More white s*@t fell today. I don’t even think I’m in Kentucky anymore, more like Alaska! I HATE SNOW!!”

“Lynchburg and Roanoke combined have had more snow than Anchorage Alaska this winter.”

“Like wtf do we live in alaska now in the city i mean dam it snowed 3 times in 3 weeks….”

“think I fell asleep and woke up in Alaska. The snow is so deep that my poor kitties are almost covered up when they try to walk in it.”

“Isn’t it a beautiful winter wonderland?? Only problem…. fools keeping closing the schools. What’s with that?? I lived in Alaska 4 years and only remember school being closed twice. I think one time was for the volcano and not snow.”

“Are we living in Alaska ???? Sure feels like it….Geezz, it can stop snowing anytime….”


“Its like alaska spit on indiana!! too much snow!!”

“Well I guess I moved to Alaska and didn’t know it.. I mean come on how much snow can one guy take?”

“Omg is this Ohio or Alaska?!?!”

“snow sucks, I do not want to go to work tomorrow. We might as well be in the Alaska. I bet it is nice there.”

“THUNK i lived in kentucky not Alaska….. BOOO snow”

“Is this Pennsylvania? or Alaska?”

“It was warmer in alaska today. I mean how messed up is that. This cold weather needs to be over.”



Vehicles already breaking through thin ice

We’re currently having some mild weather in South Central Alaska with temperatures reaching into the lower 40′s during the daylight hours. Snow is beginning to melt, the roads are clear and dry, people are wearing lighter clothing. Unfortunately, especially for careless drivers, ice on local lakes is getting thinner, too. Already there have been reports of cars plunging through thin ice, disappearing into the cold waters below.

Today the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman carried an interesting story concerning one of these cars and one man’s effort to have signs, warning of thin ice, posted at dangerous locations.

You can read the Frontiersman article here. 

Another interesting article, this one containing many photos of vehicles that have fallen through thin ice, can be found here:

Flat Lake, Alaska. Photo’s of vehicles that fell through the ice.





Spending Valentine’s Day weekend with five Grandchildren


Date: February 15, 2010

Official Sunrise: 8:41          Photograph Taken: 9:08

Temperature: 41°          Wind: From NE at 12-15 m.p.h.

Photographer: Ron Day          Camera Used: Nikon D200

A springlike morning, but not quite, with a cold blustery wind blowing from the Northeast. I felt some raindrops on my face but they didn’t stay around for too long. One thing about blustery winds; the ravens love them. They like to catch updrafts from the canyon in front of my house. The one in this mornings sunrise photo was sailing by very fast and I was lucky to catch him as I did, making a sharp right hand turn.

Today’s weather is calling for a high of 35°, which we’ve already topped, and a low tonight of 25°. Winds are expected to continue.


Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old. 

~Mary H. Waldrip~


More Time Spent With Grandchildren

I didn’t get to post a blog yesterday because things got a little complicated and busy at our house. On Saturday another grandchild, Dalton, began to show signs of a cold and by Saturday night he was feeling pretty bad. I ended up sleeping downstairs in the recliner to keep an eye on him while Becky took Destiny upstairs to sleep in our bed.

On Sunday neither Dalton nor Brylan went to Sunday School because of  their colds so they stayed at home to keep Grandpa company while he watched the Daytona 500 on the television. In the afternoon we dined on a wonderful Valentine’s Day dinner Becky had prepared, with Brittany’s help.

It was scrumpymunchydelicious.

Later in the day, at about 4:00 p.m., Randy and Jenny returned home from Lake Louise. They had a great time, even though the temperature as they rode their snow machine on the lake was minus 5 degrees. Becky treated them to some leftover Valentine’s dinner before they packed up all of the kids and their gear & headed home with them, leaving our house very quiet and somewhat lonely.

Becky and I really enjoyed the weekend with our grandkids. Even though we were pretty tired and slept unusually soundly last night, we always look forward to more time spent with them.


On Saturday afternoon Dakota got his hair cut. He and Grandma spent quite a bit of time going through magazines in the waiting area, looking for a cut that he liked. When she was finished the stylist had given him the looks of a young man instead of a boy. At least that’s what Grandpa thinks.


Dalton and Brittany playing a game of Go Fish in the middle of our living room, ignoring the television. I like seeing young kids playing card games and ignoring television. It gives me hope.


On Saturday morning Brylan was still feeling the effects of Friday night’s fever, crawling onto the couch for a nap. Later he began to feel better as his fever went away. 


PlayDough was pulled from the toy closet again on Saturday as once more the kids gathered around the kitchen table to make fantastical things from it. As you can see here Brylan is feeling much better, although his sister Brittany still feels a need to take care of him.


 Dalton, early Saturday morning, gives me a special smile as he sits at the kitchen table. He had just gotten out of bed and I loved his morning hair. The night before, I’d tried to fix the tags sticking out of his pajamas at the back of his head, until he told me he’d pulled them out on purpose because they made his neck itch.


Brittany holds up the dress that her sister Destiny will wear to church the next day. This will be Destiny’s first dress. At church Destiny became the most popular person in the congregation, passed from hand to hand during the sermon. Her quiet demeanor and wonderful little smile are hard to resist.


As a special project Grandma helped the kids bake a beautiful Valentines Day cake for dessert on Sunday.


Brylan chills out in Grandpa and Grandma’s living room while his two sisters sit quietly in a nearby chair. Quiet moments like this don’t happen all that often with five grandchildren in the house.


I love this picture of Destiny smiling at her Grandma while big sister holds her in her lap. Brittany is a wonderful sister and helps take care of her little sister and each of her little brothers. And how can I not smile back at Destiny? 


Late Saturday afternoon Dakota and I went out to his home to put their dog, Mark, back inside. Mark is a very big American Bulldog and is loyal and loving towards his family. Here he jumps in joy when Dakota appears. After Dakota un-hooked his chain he made a surprising run towards the house, dragging Dakota through the snow as he held onto his collar. It was a funny sight but, sadly, I missed getting a photograph because my little Canon G9 wouldn’t focus quickly enough. Darn!


After he had taken care of Mark,  Dakota had a few things he needed  to do on their home computer. Here he gives me a nice smile as he waits for the computer to boot up.


 On Saturday Becky and the kids had baked a special Valentines Day cake. In the evening they all gathered around the table to finish decorating it. Well, Destiny didn’t help too much because she so little, but Grandma thought she should be included anyway. In this picture Brylan is feeling much better, but Dalton isn’t feeling that great as his cold begins to worsen.


Just before bedtime Dalton’s cold was getting the best of him. He’s trying to watch television here, but his heart just isn’t in it. Soon after this picture was taken Grandma gave him some medicine and he crawled beneath the covers of the hide-abed. 


On Sunday morning Dalton and Brylan didn’t go to church because of their colds. Instead they stayed at home with Grandpa. Here they are trying to not be bored, doing the funny things that Grandpa asks them to do, like hold their hands in the air. I had a hard time keeping them in the hide-abed and finally relented, letting them get up and get dressed.


After the rest of the family returned home from church we celebrated Valentines Day with a special dinner, featuring a heart shaped meatloaf and special Valentines cards and candy in each of our plates. This poster, announcing our special event, was created by Brittany and hung over the entrance to the dining room.


Poor Dalton. He was feeling a little better at dinner time, but because he’d slept so poorly the night before he just couldn’t stay awake. This is where he stayed while the rest of us were at the table eating. But don’t worry, after his Mommy and Daddy arrived a little later Grandma fixed him a special plate of food to take home with him.


Here’s our special Valentine’s day dinner with everyone in attendance except Dalton, who was sleeping, and Grandpa, who was taking the picture. The heart shaped meatloaf proved to be especially delicious. Each of us also received a special Valentine and some candy.  Brylan is wishing he could open his candy in this photo, while Dalton’s candy and card remains untouched on his plate.


Another Alaska blog about Grandchildren

Each morning I read a couple of other Alaska blogs and I thought some of  my readers might enjoy reading this one which talks about:

The Birth Of A Grandchild.



A house full of grandkids for the weekend

Date: February 13, 2010

Official Sunrise: 8:47          Photograph Taken: 8:51

Temperature: 28°          Wind: None

Photographer: Ron Day          Camera Used: Canon G9


“There’s no such thing as fun for the whole family.” 

~Jerry Seinfeld~


 A pretty day ahead I’m thinking. The temperature is really mild this morning, reminds me of a few months ago. The high will be near 35° and the low tonight near 25°. I’m looking forward to a good day today.

We’re taking care of all five grand kids this weekend so I’m having to rush writing my blog a little bit. Please forgive any typos or strange sentences you might find.

Oh yes, I feel like I need to make a promise, today.

“Judy, there are no lies in today’s blog. I promise.”

Judy is my sister. She’s not sure if she found any humor in yesterdays blog and I guess I can’t blame her.

I’m just glad she didn’t tell Mom on me.   


A Busy Day With The Grandkids

Our weekend with the grand kids has started. Yesterday I picked Dakota up at noon and we went to Bearpaw Archery to shoot our bows. Actually he made up a league session that he missed and I kept score for him and practiced with my old recurve bow at the same time. He did pretty good, scoring a 239, and I need more practice, scoring a 126 or something like that. I’m getting better, even got a few bulls eyes, but there were far too many arrows completely off the paper. Sunday night is my first league session with the old bow and if I’m going to be competitive I’ll need to be a lot better than I was yesterday.

After Dakota and I stopped at Dairy Queen for a bite of lunch we came back to my studio where he helped me download a couple hundred “Easy Listening Hits From The 60′s” onto my computer and my IPOD. These CD’s are the one’s Becky bought from a TV Infomercial and gave to me for my birthday last month. Great songs that I used to sing when I was younger. I know the words to nearly every one, and now I can sing along with them while I work if I want to. 

I really like my birthday gift.

Dakota knows much more than his Grandpa when it comes to IPOD’s and music. He’s sitting in my chair, the one where I sit each morning as I write this blog.

Later in the afternoon Randy and Jenny brought over the rest of the kids on their way to Lake Louise for the weekend. Jenny was very hesitant to leave her kids for the whole weekend, especially Destiny. I told her not to worry and go have fun with Randy, not to call us, just go have fun in the snow with her husband. Hopefully she’ll take my advice.

So I had three hours to spend with the kids before Becky would get home from work. At first I thought it would be easy because Destiny was asleep when she arrived. But of course once the other kids started playing and being loud she woke up and it wasn’t easy anymore.

Dalton was hungry and wanted to eat, Destiny was fussy and wanted held, and Brylan was suddenly running a  fever, complained of a tummy ache, and acted listless.

Oh boy.

I had my hands full until Becky got home, but Grandpa’s are good for it and I survived.

Dalton and I playing with the self-timer on Grandma’s Canon SD 780 camera.

Later, after Grandma arrived to relieve me, we cleared the kitchen table, brought out the PlayDough, and Brittany, Dalton and Brylan worked and worked until they had each made a nice plate of PlayDough breakfast. Well, Brittany and Dalton made breakfast’s. Brylan made an apple. He still was feeling pretty rough and had a hard time really getting into the PlayDough thing. But he tried.

Brylan eyes the PlayDough apple he’s made. He wasn’t feeling well, was running a fever, but still made an effort to have some fun.

Brittany serves up some PlayDough breakfast. Looks like we’re having sausage, hash browns and pancakes.           Hmmm Hmmm. 

Destiny, feeling pretty content after Grandma changed her diaper, fed her some formula, and held her in her arms. Perhaps Gramps should try a little harder in these areas.

Meanwhile Dakota watched television and Grandma sat in the recliner with Destiny, who no longer was fussy, probably because Grandma changed her diaper and gave her a bottle.

A little later Dakota went to my studio and came back with a little gizmo that I didn’t know I had, allowing him to plug his IPOD directly into our stereo so it would play his songs through the bigger speakers, or something like that. Anyway, when I went to bed at 9:30 CCR was blasting through the house and Grandma was singing “Proud Mary” while dancing across the living room floor holding Destiny in her arms.

I hollered good night to the kids from the top of the stairs, but I don’t think they heard me.

When I awoke this morning Becky wasn’t in bed with me. She’d slept downstairs in the recliner. When I went down at 6:30 Destiny had become fussy and Becky had just taken her out of the Bassinet. In the dim light of the flames from fireplace insert, I spoke quietly with Becky for only  a minute before I heard a small voice in the darkness behind me.

“Hi Grandpa.”

It was Brylan, calling to me from the hideabed where he and Dalton had slept. I picked him up and gave him a hug. He seemed to be feeling better but was still a little warm, I could smell fever on his breath. We gave him another dose of medicine and sent him back to bed for a while.

After making sure it was OK with Becky I poured myself a cup of coffee and went outside to my studio to write today’s blog. And that’s where I’m at now.

In just a little while Dakota and I will run out to his house to put their American Bulldog, ”Mark” outside for the day. Tonight we’ll go back to let him back inside for the night.

I will keep you posted.

A story about the police and me.

Date: February 12, 2010

Official Sunrise: 8:50          Photograph Taken: 8:44

Temperature: 30°          Wind: From the North @ 5 m.p.h.

Photographer: Ron Day         Camera Used: Nikon D200


“When you’re in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out.

A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, ‘Damn, that was fun.’”



Something’s Happening Here?

Yesterday was interesting. The police came to my house at 9:30 in the morning to arrest me. Evidently someone told them I looked similar to a suspect wanted in an Anchorage bank robbery last month. They hauled me down to the station and put me in a holding cell for a couple of hours, until they finished an ID check on me and compared my face to one they had on a poor quality video that was taken during the robbery. Fortunately for me they finally decided that I didn’t look at all like their suspect and they released me at around three o’clock in the afternoon. They wouldn’t give me a ride back home, though, they said they were much too busy for that. Since Becky was in a day long meeting I had to call a cab. The ride home cost me $56.28.

Jenny and Randy are leaving tonight for a snow machine Poker Run at Lake Louise and we’ll have all five grand kids through the weekend. Should be a lot of fun. I plan on making a portrait of them together in my studio if they’ll let me. Today, since there is no school, I’ll pick Dakota up early and he and I will go shoot our bows at Bear Paw Archery for a while. Actually, I think he’ll make up the league session he missed last Saturday because of the bad weather and bad roads. Becky and I are looking forward to having the kids all weekend. It promises to be interesting and probably loud at our house. Jenny and Randy won’t return home until late Sunday night.

I’ve spent some time recently going through my old negatives and scanning interesting ones to my computer. I’ve put many of them on my Facebook Vintage Photography page. I’ve made it open to the public and my blog readers are welcome to view it if they wish to. The following link should take you there. There are two pages of photos so don’t forget to check out the second page.

My FaceBook Vintage Photography page

Since this blog has a lot to do with Alaska sunrises, and because I don’t really have any other photos today, I’ve included four of my favorite sunrise pictures from the past few months.


January 29, 2010


October 24, 2009


October 24, 2009


January 22, 2010

Have a wonderful day, everyone. Spring, with it’s nice weather and fun things to do, can’t be too far away. I guess we just need to be patient for a while longer.

Oh, and before I forget, that first paragraph, the one about the police and all of that. Total fabrication. A lie. A story that I made up in my mind as I wrote it.

In reality, nothing at all happened yesterday. Nothing.

I guess I just wanted to see if anyone was really reading this.

I sincerely apologize if I’ve upset anyone.