L’éclaircissement of the forest


Above: Fog rises from trees as smoke from a fire, a forceful wind whisks away the previous night’s downpour. Taken at Mountain Lake on Orcas Island, Washington. 

I learned a new French word the same day I took these pictures, and it fits perfectly. Éclaircissement: a clearing up of something obscure. 

The dynamic and fluid scene changed rapidly. I struggled to find an element to incorporate into the foreground for depth perspective — instead focusing on the swirling patterns. 



Forget-me-nots on Alaska Day (observed)

Today is (observed) Alaska Day. The official Alaska Day is Oct. 18 and recognizes the U.S. flag raising at Fort Sitka on Oct. 18, 1867. 

The U.S. flag replaced its Russian counterpart following the purchase of Alaska for roughly $7 million. Alaska Day is being observed a day late this year because it is a paid holiday for state employees. 

Since I didn’t post about it yesterday the observance also gives me another opportunity. It’s impossible to find one photo, or even a group, to represent all Alaska has to offer. Instead I chose Alaska’s state flower: the forget-me-not. 

The tiny blue and orange flower is hard to spot, and equally difficult to photograph.


Fog lifts from a hayfield

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”



My happy place is a state of being — the culmination of numerous factors. A breath of fresh air in sun or snow. Freedom to run through the woods, twisting along a skinny trail. A beer and a dance floor with great live music, or a slow sunday with a cup of hot coffee.

Of course looking through a viewfinder is often a happy activity for me.

Catch of the day


Above: Expect more of a “fishing perch” than a “fishing hole” when dip-netting the Copper River in southeast Alaska. Spirit Mountain pokes above the big and fast glacial-fed river that’s full of silt and very cold. Copper River Reds, the salmon in the net, are some of the most sought after in the world. 

The river is also an excellent of the Weekly Photo Challenge of boundaries. Rivers are some of Earth’s most common boundaries. For the fish in my net it is a boundary of left and death, or for a person if they fall in. 


Sometimes sweeping is necessary — a time- and labor-intensive technique during which the fisher sweeps the net with the current, resets and repeats.


Even when fishing is done much work is left to be done. Here a king salmon is butchered. 

Tracks Diverge


Tracks diverge — one true, one to the right — distances diluted by Georgia’s morning fog. 


Sky blends with river and birds take flight in anticipation of morning light. 


Soon, sun cuts the clouds.

Fall around Fairbanks


Above: The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute, with a satellite-receiving dish on the roof, sits tucked among trees as a runner makes her away along trails far below, visibly only by a bright blue jacket. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game the boreal forest, that which is found around Interior Alaska, is largest terrestrial ecosystem on earth. 

Interior Alaska’s fall comes fast, and leaves even faster. With only a small variety deciduous trees we don’t get a large variety of color, but the bright yellow leaves among dark green spruce still make dramatic scenes. It can take less than one week for trees to shed their leaves if a hard frost is followed by a strong wind or rain. 

Sun streaks through smoke


A sunset on Orcas Island, Washington, illuminates smoke from a nearby campfire.

I like how the qualities of the above photo mesh with the two following abstracts photos: grass floating in water. All three pictures have a smooth quality and share cool green tones. The sun streaks, a more literal picture, still offers plenty of room for the imagination to wander. In contrast the two grass pictures offer very little reference, perhaps a few small dragonfly if you look closely. 

Orcas-4 Orcas-5


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