Tag Archives: Becky Day

Easter? Really?

Because of unusual weather conditions the Easter Bunny had to hire out some special help for our part of Alaska this year. This snowshoe hare is fully equipped to traverse the deep snow we received over night and throughout the day today, the day before Easter. Here he is shown making some trial runs in our driveway to make sure he's ready to make deliveries tonight.

Here in Wasilla we awoke to even more new snow on this day before Easter, 2012. When I stepped out the door this morning there was nearly five fresh inches on top of the old stuff, and still snowing hard. As I write there is now fully eight new inches on the ground…and yes, it’s still snowing hard. With this new snow I think we have now established a new snowfall record for our part of the state, surpassing the old record which was set way back in 1952.

Becky just pulled out of the driveway to run some errands in the PT Cruiser and for a moment it seemed questionable to me whether or not she was going to make it, she was pushing snow with the front cowling and the wheels were spinning pretty good.

It looks as though I need to get the snowblower out of the garage once more this winter. The driveway needs to be cleared so we can celebrate Easter with our children and grandchildren as planned tomorrow.

Darn! I thought I was through with that thing for the year.

 

Deck Time Is Good

Luckily Becky and I spent a lot of our time over the weekend shoveling last winter’s snow from our deck. By the time Monday rolled around with bright blue skies and a warmish sun it was clean and dry. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the deep snow still skirting it you could have convinced yourself that it was nearly summer again.

And seeing as the sky was indeed blue, and that the sun actually had some warmth to it, I decided to take some time out from my awfully busy schedule and get some much needed deck time. I grabbed my camera, a few lenses and a cup of coffee, then settled down in a wicker chair for a few minutes to watch the world unfold in my neighborhood.

And I was still there a few hours later. In fact I spent nearly the entire day out on our deck yesterday, watching airplanes, spring birds, and clouds too. I also listened to the neighbor kids playing outside and mothers calling to them to come in for lunch. And I heard dogs barking, chainsaws buzzing, and heavy equipment growling.

Yep, it was a nice day, all in all.

A day that made me sort of believe that Spring was going to come along like always.

There were many Ravens fluttering about in the sunshine and cawing almost continuously from tree branches a little deeper in the forest. This one circled above me a few times before making this daring sweep directly in front of my field of vision.

Hearing my neighbor warming up his Piper Super Cub across the canyon gave me sufficient time to pre-focus my camera and double check the exposure before he took off from his private airstrip. He returned a few hours later and since I was still sitting in my deck chair I was able to get a few shots as he landed, too. That's the south shoulder of Pioneer Peak in the distance.

When I heard unusual noises coming from inside the house I tried to ignore them at first. But then they got louder, and even more unusual, so I turned in my chair and saw our step-kitty, Tweety, trying to catch and eat a house fly that was trying to enjoy the sunshine coming through a window. It got real exciting a few moments after this shot. I think I like this picture the best out of all the pictures I took yesterday.

 

An Autumn Drive Is Pretty

On Saturday, as a kind of spur of the moment thing, Becky and I took a quick drive up the Glenn Highway to look at the fall colors and perhaps make a few photographs as well.

We did all right on both counts.

Along the way I stopped to show Becky where I should have been standing last autumn when a semi hauling a load of propane missed a corner and sent its trailer nearly 200 feet

Becky frames a photo from the exact spot where I should have been standing when a semi went over the guardrail, sending its trailer full of propane 200 feet down the embankment in front of her. You can probably see why I like to stop there in the fall. Beautiful scenery everywhere you look.

down a steep embankment. It was at a spot I’d been stopping to photograph quite regularly last year, and by my calculations would have been there at the exact moment of the accident except for some unexpected events that kept me at home that day. The long scar in the forest where the trailer slid down the mountain is still there.

Becky seemed quite impressed, and a little nervous about standing there.

On our way we also stopped by our son’s cabin for a while, and even talked about buying a piece of property up there ourselves.

Wasilla just doesn’t have that “Alaska Feeling”  anymore. We’ve been missing that feeling quite a bit lately. Maybe we should look into some property along the northern reaches of the Glenn Highway.

Becky took this picture of the Matanuska Glacier. I like the way she's included a lot of pretty blue sky and colorful foliage, and yet still kept the glacier as the focal point of the image.

We were back home in about four hours, early enough to catch the sunset and to watch the full moon rise from behind the far reaches of the Chugach Mountains.

It was a good getaway, especially for Becky. I’m pretty sure she needed a little break from her regular weekly routine.

Have a good day everyone.

Hatcher Pass and Rain

I’ve been spending a bit of time on Hatcher Pass with my camera again. There was quite a spell when I just didn’t have the desire to spend much time up there because I felt that all of my pictures were beginning to look alike. And in fact, I’m pretty sure they were. But now that I’ve decided to return I’m finding new perspectives and new inspirations.

On Saturday Becky & I spent an afternoon around Summit Lake, and over on the Willow side of the pass too, taking a few pictures and just looking around. It was raining steadily, and the road and hillsides were busy with berry pickers, but we managed to while away about four hours anyway, despite those impediments.

I tried to fashion some rain covers for our cameras out of large baggies, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be applying for any patents on my invention. It worked, sort of, but was mighty unhandy and awkward to use. I guess I’m going to have to send off for one of those authentic rain covers I found on the Internet at fifty dollars each, especially since it looks as if it going to be raining from now on in Alaska.

I also made the drive to the top of the pass on Sunday evening and also Monday night. From my house I am able to see if there are any interesting clouds up there and it doesn’t take too much to persuade me to make the drive if there are. Besides, now that the sun is beginning to set a reasonable hour, I don’t have to stay up all night long waiting for interesting lighting for my photographs.

I don’t know for sure yet if I’ll be going back up today, since it is presently raining and the clouds around here are low and gray. But conditions could change, I guess. I’ll just wait and see.

Below are a few of our photos in Hatcher Pass from the past few days.

Here's Becky photographing some flowers on Saturday using the DIY raincover I made for her camera using a large baggie and a rubber band. It worked, kind of, but it's not something I plan on marketing right away.

Here I am photographing an old bus that's been rusting away among a grove of spruce trees for hundreds of years...or at least fifty anyway.

A really nice picture that Becky took of some Daisy looking flowers.

Berry pickers, two of many that dotted the wet hillsides last Saturday. I really wasn't this close, in fact I was so far away they didn't even know I was even around. I just cropped the very center out of the picture to make it look like I was right there with them.

On Sunday afternoon it was nice at my house but, as I found out, raining furiously at Hatcher Pass. I kept driving anyway and as I topped a ridge I saw this spectacular scene before me. It lasted just long enough to pull to the side of the road and grab a few pictures. No time to even set up my tripod.

My pickup parked in the road in the rain, just after I shot the previous photograph. Obviously it was very wet up there.

This is from last night. I photographed from this exact location for over two hours, until the sun had set. I was really hoping for more spectacular lighting in the clouds, but this was about as good as it got. Still not too bad of a picture though.

Have a nice day everyone. Hope it’s not raining at your home. Unless, of course, you want it to rain.

 

Local color discovery is surprising.

Loaded the cameras into the car yesterday afternoon and Becky and I traveled to Palmer in an attempt to get out of the house and perhaps find some local color to photograph. We were fairly successful at getting out of the house, but finding the local color was somewhat of a bust.

The color we found in Palmer. Grayish mountain & sky, lavender & green wildflowers, graffiti splattered on a bridge abutment

Oh, there’s color alright…if you like green. Dark green,light green, medium green, blue green, gray green……you get the picture. It didn’t help that the sky was covered with gray clouds either. Everything here on earth, at least our part of the earth, was in the cloud shadow and looking very flat, very uninteresting.

So we just sat in our car beside the Matanuska River eating the burgers & fries we’d picked up before leaving Wasilla. Even the river wasn’t very pretty to look at. Gray with glacial silt & running swift because of recent rains. No trees along the banks either, not even interesting rocks or boulders, just muddy sand. Some rafters and their dogs floated by but we didn’t

My picture of Becky from a tunnel running underneath the Old Glenn Highway. Somewhat blurry but I like her pose.

even think to take their pictures, just looked at them for a while. With our hamburgers finished we decided to get out of the car & take a stroll & maybe look for something  to photograph along a paved bike trail nearby. We didn’t find too much, just some lavender wildflowers.

In a tunnel underneath the Old Glenn Highway we took a few moment to take each others pictures. The one I took of her turned out somewhat blurry

Her picture of me in the same tunnel. She won the best picture award.

because I used too slow of a shutter speed. Her’s however , the picture she took of me, ended up looking pretty darned good. Not because I’m such a handsome guy either. She just had an interesting background and decided to use the onboard flash for some fill lighting. It’s one of the better pictures she’s made of me. I like it.

After we left the river we drove on up to Independence Mine on Hatcher Pass. Nothing was happening there either, so we just came on home, our quest to find local color on a gray summer day in central Alaska ending up with surprising results.

Turns out the local color was us.

Thanks for stopping by on this rainy Sunday in Alaska. If you would like to leave a comment about this article please do, just click on the word Link at the end of this sentence. [Link]

Valdez, Alaska

Becky and I drove to Valdez from Wasilla over the weekend. In the twenty-five years we’ve lived in Alaska we’d never been to Valdez so we figured it was about time we paid that little city a call. And we’re glad we did. It’s a pretty town, well kept and clean and the people are friendly for the most part. We really enjoyed our time there.

Our home away from home was a pleasant and comfortable room at the Brookside Inn Bed & Breakfast where Susie, our very nice hostess, took good care of us and served breakfast, a real breakfast, each morning. It was sure nice to have a private room and a nice warm bed waiting for us at the end of the day after we’d been out taking pictures until late at night.

Although we drove around town quite a bit our favorite spot was across the bay near the Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery where we enjoyed photographing a wide variety of wildlife, and other people who also come to watch the wildlife too. with very little effort on our part we saw eagles, sea otters, sea lions, seals. We liked photographing all but of these animals but we liked the bears best of all, even though they were the reason we stayed out late because they usually didn’t like coming out until the sun was going down.

The weather was beautiful on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, until clouds began to move in, bring some rain with them. We didn’t care, though, and just kept shooting pictures until we’d taken over a thousand of them.

Valdez is less than 275 miles from our Wasilla home, about a five hour drive under good conditions, and we are both asking ourselves why we’d never been there before. Rest assured though, that we visit again, very soon.

I spent nearly the entire day yesterday preparing some of our Valdez photos for a SmugMug gallery and I’ve very happy to say it is now ready for viewing. If you would like to see some of the things we liked in Valdez we invite you to follow this link [Link].

If you would like to leave a comment about this article please click on the word Link at the end of this sentence. [Link]

We Visit Talkeetna, Alaska & The Transportation Museum

On Saturday Becky & I decided to make a run to Talkeetna, Alaska to take some pictures and on the way we made a side trip to the Alaska Transportation Museum just outside of Wasilla. The sky was very overcast and we hoped that, added with the recent rain we’ve had, we could get some colorful and highly saturated images of the old vehicles there.

We weren’t disappointed and once we began seeing promising things on the LCD screens of our cameras we stayed longer than we’d planned. But that really didn’t matter anyway. It was Saturday after all and it certainly wasn’t like we had a schedule to keep.

There’s always a lot of things to take pictures of at the museum and although we’ve seen all

The Alaska Transportation Museum just outside of Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Becky Day)

of it many times it’s always different, depending on the weather and the time of year. We have a good time wandering around the large display yard with our cameras every time we visit and Saturday was no different. But the day was slipping by so we hopped into the PT Cruiser and headed to Talkeetna to see what was going on there.

The drive hour plus drive was uneventful, even with the ridiculously heavy traffic we on encountered. As  I Drove I reminisced with Becky about the old days, when we first moved to Alaska in the mid 80′s, and how the drive to Talkeetna was a pleasant outing with not nearly as many vehicles on the road and the ever present opportunity of seeing moose by the side of the road, sometimes even a bear. That’s just not so anymore. The highway is much wider now, and the traffic heavy. Wildlife stays away for the most part. Besides, a person is much to busy with driving to be looking for animals anymore.

Boy, Talkeetna was roaring when we pulled into town. People walking everywhere, including down the middle of Main Street. We were lucky enough see a car backing out of a parking spot just in front of us so we were able to park right away instead of driving around searching.

We walked up and back down the entire length of Main Street twice. Now that may seem

The Wildflower Cafe in Talkeetna, Alaska where Becky & I enjoyed a nice lunch yesterday. (Photo by Ron Day)

like a long ways to those of you who have never been to Talkeetna, Alaska. But it’s not. Talkeetna’s main street is only a quarter mile long, if that, so it wasn’t really a big deal to us. We walked into a small restaurant, The Wildflower Cafe, & had a real nice lunch. Just a hamburger, but it was very tasty and the burger was huge, not some dinky thin little piece of meat you get at most fast food joints.

Sitting at an outside table we enjoyed a leisurely meal while watching the tourists walking by. Talkeeta has become, especially in recent years, a popular tourist destination, and I guess that’s alright, too. It really is a colorful and interesting little community.

Becky began to feel a bit queasy a little later so we shortened our outing a little bit & headed back, arriving home around 6:00 p.m. It had been another full Saturday for us and Schnitzle, our Dachshund dog, was excited to see us return, especially when he saw the little white box holding a small portion of our hamburgers from the Wildflower Cafe.

Be sure to check out all of the photographs Becky & I took yesterday. I’ve posted all 111 of the images on our SmugMug Gallery [Here].

If you would like to leave a comment about this article it’s easy to do. Just click on the word Link at the end of this sentence and begin writing away. [Link]

Take care every one and have a great day.

A Morning Fathers Day Hike

Becky and I took a nice hike this Fathers Day. Although it was early when we left the house this morning it was well worth it because we were able to get to the mountains well ahead of everyone else and had them all to ourselves for the most part. The only other hikers we saw were two men and three dogs coming up the trail as we were headed back down.

It was a good long and somewhat strenuous hike, too. We’re not exactly in good condition after several months of winter…and we’re not exactly young anymore either. Nonetheless, I think we did pretty good for ourselves. But, ahem, we aren’t exactly dancing around the house this afternoon either. It more like gimping around as we nurse painfully tight muscles in our legs…and in a few other places, too.

Our main mission for this hike was to take some nice pictures, but there still isn’t too much color where we were and it took more than the usual amount of creativity to fill the viewfinders of our cameras. Besides that, I put the wrong Compact Flash Card in my camera before we left. It was a one Gig card and I meant to put in a 4 Gig. I didn’t catch my mistake until after we’d reached the top of the mountain. That’s when my camera started flashing “FULL” at me.

ARGH!!!!

Anyway it was a good way to spend the morning and we’re glad we did it.

When we returned home, and after I’d eaten a nice late breakfast of steak & eggs that Becky fixed me for a Fathers Day treat, I walked out to the studio to look over the images we’d shot. Initially I was disappointed because neither one of us had brought back anything especially breathtaking. Like I said, it just wasn’t very colorful up there on top of that mountain, winter was still a recent memory where we were, very recent.

But then I started looking at the pictures I’d taken of my wife and began to chuckle to myself. Becky has lots of fun when we take pictures together, like we did this morning. She’s fun to be with and she enjoys learning and practicing photography, a skill she’s becoming very proficient in.

All of that showed in the pictures I took of her so I decided to post some of them in todays blog. I think you’ll enjoy them, too.

We'd just reached the top of the first steep hill when Becky looked at her watch. It wasn't even 6 a.m. yet and she made sure I knew it too.

We passed many small streams and she explored each one with her camera.

She's not a water drinker especially, she really doesn't like it, but after a few steep climbs she was willing to take some long refreshing sips from the water bottle she'd stashed inside of her jacket.

Our morning hike was along a road that is still closed to vehicular traffic for a couple more weeks, until the snow melts a little more. Here Becky stands beneath the sign announcing we were entering the Summit Lake Recreational Area. Summit Lake was our goal...and by gum we made it too. The lake was less than a mile from here.

Nearer the top we began to encounter snowdrifts such as this one. I asked Becky to sit on the snow and give me a good pose for a picture. She did it, but I can guarantee you she didn't sit there long. She said it was too darned cold and only gave me this one shot.

After we reached the still frozen lake we spent nearly an hour exploring its shores and walking the trails around it. It's a small lake but is still a popular tourist destination during the summer months. Becky had a wide angle lens on her Nikon D200 this morning and really enjoyed taking extreme close-ups with it.

As we made our way back down the mountain we noticed that some fog had rolled into the valley where her PT Cruiser was parked. Beckys stopped beside a pile of interesting but dirty snow to get a picture of it.

This is my favorite picture of the morning. We'd just reached the summit and had split up to take various photographs. I looked back over my shoulder and saw her standing on the mountain top, gazing out over the valley far below. Using a telephoto lens I took this picture without her knowledge. Out of the many beautiful sights we saw this morning, this one, to me, is the most beautiful.

Thank you for checking in on us today. I hope you enjoyed reading about our Fathers Day adventure, and looking at the pictures too. If you’d like to leave a comment simply click on the word Link at the end of this sentence to go directly to the comment page. [Link]

Becky & I Photograph A Wedding On Saturday.

Becky and I were honored to have the privilege of photographing Andy & Helen’s wedding on Saturday. The ceremonies were held at the beautiful home of Dr. Jim Martin and his wife Cindi here in Wasilla. For a while the weather had everyone worried somewhat, with dark threatening clouds hanging in the sky for most of the morning, but by mid afternoon most of the cloud cover had lightened, even allowing some blue sky to show through in places. At that we all breathed a sigh of relief since the wedding was scheduled to be held outdoors on the Martin’s lush green lawn skirting the shores of Wasilla Lake.

Andy, in his Class A's, beside a beautiful Brown Bear. (Photo by Ron Day)

Helen awaits her wedding day on a beautiful spiral stairway. (Photo by Ron Day)

For the last couple of years or so Becky has been helping me photograph wedding ceremonies and I’m very pleased to say she has turned out to be quite a valuable partner in this endeavor. She is very creative when it comes to composing pictures for the bride and groom. I think her thought process, a woman’s, sees things happening during a wedding that most men, including myself, tend to overlook. Her pictures add a whole new dimension to the albums we present to our clients. Yesterday I put a 12-24mm wide angle lens on her camera for part of the day and told her to experiment with it for a while. She’s never used such an extreme lens before but you wouldn’t know it by the pictures she produced. Some of them were amazing and gave me actual goose bumps when I looked over yesterdays pictures early this morning. Needless to say I’m quite happy.

Andy and Helen and their families and friends were very gracious and kind to us yesterday. It was a simple, yet very beautiful event with Helen wearing a beautiful white gown as she was escorted down the aisle by her two children where Andy awaited her wearing his striking Class A uniform and a beret. Pastor Jim Hearn Of the Settlers Bay Community Church officiated from a small grassy point of land which juts out into the lake. It was such a beautiful setting, breath taking actually. A gentle breeze was blowing inland from the lake, not too hard but just hard enough to keep the few mosquitoes present at bay and away from the 50 or 60 guest who were there to watch Andy & Helen repeat their vows to each other.

Afterwards everyone was treated to an absolutely delicious meal which had been in preparation since early morning right there in the Martin’s kitchen and in barbeques on their spacious deck overlooking Wasilla Lake. A brightly covered tent was set up in the yard, providing nice shelter from the sun, or rain, whichever happened to come along. Fortunately it was the sun yesterday.

Many warm toasts were made to Andy & Helen after the meal. Some were humorous. others brought on tears, but all wonderful. It was obvious that Andy and Helen are well thought of, and their friendship is valued by scores of people.

Later, the wonderful day closed with a couple hours of loud festive music, dancing and laughter under the tent. It was great fun for everyone in attendance, It was also great fun for Becky and I to photograph, but a 9:00 p.m. the music stopped and the newly wed couple made their way to their decorated car, entered the backseat, and were driven away by one of their friends while they waved goodbye from the cars opened sunroof.

Afterwards, as promised, everyone pitched in to clean up. In less than an hour the Martin’s yard and house was spotless…..completely clean. No one would have ever been able to tell that such a large and festive event had taken place there only hour before.

As I said, Becky and I felt very privileged to have been a part of yesterdays celebration. We feel very good about the nearly eleven hundred photos we returned home with, too. We’re sure Andy and Helen will be pleased with them when we present them with their completed wedding album in a couple of weeks.

Helen prepares for her marriage to Andy. (Photo by Becky Day)

Helen is escorted down the aisle by here son and daughter. (Photo by Ron Day)

Andy & Helen preparing to repeat their wedding vows in beautiful surroundings. (Photo by Becky Day)

Pastor Jim Hearn conducts the ceremony with Wasilla lake behind him. (Photo by Ron Day)

Andy and Helen, now husband & wife. (Photo by Ron Day)

A beautiful couple on their beautiful wedding day. (Photo by Ron Day)

Guest file by the newly weds under gorgeous blue skies. (Photo by Becky Day)

Andy & Helen on their way to the tent to eat their first meal together as man and wife. (Photo by Ron Day)

Guests mingle after they've finished eating the delicious meal. Becky caught me here as I photograph two lovely ladies in the bright patch of sunlight.(Photo by Becky Day.

After dinner, Andy and Helen toasted chocolate covered strawberries instead of wine. Andy looks as if he's perplexed about the strawberry idea though. (Photo by Becky Day)

A little later they joined in with the dancing fun. (Photo by Becky Day)

Becky shoots low with the wide angle lens I asked her to use for some of the wedding pictures. (Photo by Ron Day)

Visiting with guests under the colorful tent top. (Photo by Ron Day)

A show of sparkling new wedding rings in a bright Alaskan sun. (Photo by Ron Day)

After I'd photographed their rings Helen had a surprise to show Andy, his name written on the sole's of her shoes. (Photo by Ron Day)

The last dance of their wedding celebration. (Photo by Ron Day)

Andy & Helen walk to their car as they prepare to leave. (Photo by Becky Day)

Once inside they take a seat as they wait for a friend to drive them away. (Photo by Becky Day)

But then, on a sudden impulse, they slide open the sunroof and stand up, smiling and waving to their friends as they depart. (Photo by Becky Day)

Thank you for visiting Alaska At Sunrise. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this wonderful wedding Becky and I photographed yesterday.

If you’d like to leave a comment please feel free to do so. It’s pretty easy to do. Clicking on the work “Link” at the end of this sentence will bring you to the comments page where you can write away at your hearts contents. [Link]