High Seas Adventure

On our next day in Glacier Bay National Park we had ourselves booked in for a half day kayak tour...the first time we had tried something like this. As you can see from the attached, the seas were high and rough, but we forged on having quite the adventure paddling around Bartlett Cove for a few hours. I took along my waterproof camera for the ride, firstly to make sure we got an image of us to prove we did in fact go out, and the other image here is some form of sealife hanging off the docks we paddled under and through. 
I'm in Olympia in Washington state as I write this as we have left Alaska behind and we are already noticing the huge difference in many ways after just one night. Off to find some waterfalls today in the Columbia River Gorge, the border between Washington and Oregon.

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No. 56 - Glacier Bay National Park

On Monday we flew into Gustavus and then a 13km drive took us into our 56th USA National Park. That first night I captured a nice sunset at Bartlett Cove where the Lodge is located....and the next day we did the full day boat tour up into Glacier Bay where we got to experience some amazing sights. On waking it was raining heavily which didn't look to promising. Fortunately the weather started to clear not too long into the journey and by the time we got to the good stuff the conditions were awesome...... great clear light with breaks of sunshine and fantastic clouds. I really couldn't have asked for much more. This is just a couple of quick images, the 2nd one showing some awesome "calving" of the glacier face as it breaks off and crashes down into the sea. Each of the 5 new parks here in Alaska has been awesome and I was thrilled to realise the last one on the list will probably give me my best images.  We have another day here before we fly out on Thursday - we are doing a half day kayak trip that should be interesting (to say the least!)
Don't worry, we're not headed back home just yet....we are flying down to Seattle for a 9 day road trip back to Los Angeles via Nevada and Utah - plenty more to see!


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Nugget Falls in Juneau

We are spending a day in Juneau in south east Alaska before heading over to Glacier Bay National Park on Monday morning. The main attraction here is the Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls, a very spectacular combination that we are staying only a couple of kms from, so we walked up here in the morning. Photo viewing locations are quite limited so I was pretty happy with this one on a grey, dreary Sunday morning - luckily I caught a view that doesn't show the many visitors to this spot. Very soon after this the rain started and has led to a damp Sunday afternoon....good to get that out of the way now!
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Spectacular Alaska

I'm sitting in the airport at Anchorage waiting for our 8.10pm flight down to Juneau after we arrived back from the 4 day visit out to the Lake  Clark/Katmai area.
After Wednesdays exciting day with the bears, Thursday was back to more of what I like best - spectacular Alaskan scenery. We were flown around for the day in the seaplane to the 2 different parks we are visiting on this leg of the trip. Firstly down south to Katmai National Park where the scenery was incredible, including this close up fly-by of the active Mt Martin in the Valley of the 10,000 Smokes section of the park. After lunch spent inside an old volcano on the shores of an amazingly blue lake, we headed north up to Lake Clark National Park, where a visit to the Twin Lakes was equally spectacular. 
Next day we did the hike over to Tanalian Falls and Kontrashabuna Lake. A very awesome and powerful falls that allowed some great access for photography, and to finish off this catch up post, a colourful sunrise this morning outside our cabin at Port Alsworth where they tether the seaplanes for the night - not a bad way to end an awesome 4 day leg of the trip.
Off to Juneau tonight for a couple of nights and then on to Glacier Bay National Park...look for our upcoming kayak trip pics to come!



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A Feast of Bears

On Wednesday we flew by floatplane into our 55th USA National Park - Katmai. Best known for its feasting bears we were treated to a greet day of watching the bears on one of the many rivers, and especially lucky to spend quite some time with one mother and her 2 cubs. As you can see from these, especially the second one here, they were very close! A real taste of the wilderness on this day....with more to come!

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Welcome to Lake Clark National Park


On Tuesday we took a fantastic scenic flight from Anchorage down to Lake Clark National Park (look that up on google maps!). A very small plane that only had 4 people on board and the terrain with flew through was very rugged and beautiful. Checked into the lodge and this evening this view is what we got to see just out in front of our cabin!
Tuesday we are off to Katmal National Park where we will get to view the many bears feasting on the salmon....should be awesome as we are being flown in to the park on a floatplane.......wow!
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Seal Time

On Monday we had a fantastic time doing the all day Kenai Fjords National Park Glacier Boat  and Wildlife Tour out to the farthest part of the park...the Northwestern Glacier. Many, many highlights throughout the day, when the weather was great - we saw seals, otters, bald eagles, humpback whales, orca whales and plenty of amazing ice formations. This is just a sample of the abundance of seal life we witnessed today.
Tomorrow we are off to Lake Clark National Park....a very hard to get to location, by small aircraft and then we'll have a few days there and also a visit to Katmai NP by seaplane!

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Harding Icefield Hike - Kenai Fjords National Park

On Sunday we did the 13km hike to the top of the Harding Icefield. One of the hardest, and longest hikes we have done, taking us nearly 9 hours.....however the views all the way were spectacular, especially once you reached the top. This is just a couple of quick images...one at the top and another to prove we did it! The weather improved drastically today  and the small amount of rain we had on the way down was worth the rainbow it produced. Gotta admit we are a bit tired and sore tonight, but no regrets whatsoever!

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A Bit Wet and Wild in Alaska

Saturday here in Seward didn't quite work out as planned...the heavy seas and constant rain led to the cancellation of our Fjord Boat Tour, so we filled in the day around town, visiting the Alaska Sea Life Center, then a walk on the beach and some time playing around with some running water, here at a local stream. We have re-scheduled the fjord tour for Monday as the weather is improving over the upcoming days and tomorrow we are doing a big hike up to the top of Exit Glacier.
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Not a Bad Way to Start the Day

One of the benefits of sleeping in the car is that you wake up to some pretty special views right out the front windscreen....like this one on Friday morning at Glacier View RV Park. Sort of makes up for the uncomfortable front seat! Off to Kenai Fjords National Park this afternoon....our 53rd USA National Park.
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Moose Morning Magic

It's 10.14pm and I'm sitting in the car at the Grand View RV park where we are spending the night sleeping in the car.....about 110 miles east of Anchorage. Had a great early morning start to the day, still in Wrangell Nat Park where I was lucky to catch this big guy before he headed off into the distant trees. Tomorrow we head down to Kenai Fjords National Park near Seward where we have more exciting adventures planned!
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Three Day Catch Up

We are staying at a very small place called Slana in the far north of Wrangell-St Elias National Park, and the internet connection is very good, so a chance to post a few images, one each from the last 3 days. Firstly another glacier hike image that gives a great idea of the scale of where we were hiking around on Monday...then a nice end to Tuesday from the Gakona Overlook, looking toward Mt Sandford, and lastly from a hike we did today in the north, and far less visited section of the park, along the Caribou Creek Trail.
Off to the Manakusa Glacier tomorrow.....apparently quite different from the previous one we hiked. I'll be interested to see how so much ice can be so different!


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Wow! in Wrangell


On Sunday we made it into Wrangell - St Elias National Park. We had 2 night planned inside the park with the highlight to be the all day Glacier Hike on Monday - Deb's birthday. So we had Sunday afternoon to fill in and whilst the plans were to do the historic mill tour, after talking to some locals we decided to take the big plunge and do a 70 minute flight over the park. It was expensive and fantastic! A few people had said this was the best way to get a feel for the largest park in the USA, and they weren't wrong. It was amazing...and this single image is just a very small taste of what I have to share when I get back home. 
And so on to Monday where the all day Glacier Hike was another incredible adventure. First time for us to wear crampons as we spent  5-6 hours on the ice, had an amazing close call with a back bear, and we had a couple from the Ntherlands to share the day with, and luckily one of them was a very keen photographer as well as we made many, many stops for photo opportunities throughout the day. And Debbie got to open her Birthday cards whilst we had lunch sitting on the glacier! This image is one of the first I took.......and once again I have many fantastic images to work through. We also had a great guide in Kristen who really knew all the best spots to visit. So its been amazing start to the trip.....with plenty more to come!
And I just want to dedicate this post, and trip, to my mum who has been very instrumental in getting us to Alaska!

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Alaska At Last

At last.....after 35 hours of travel we finally made it into Anchorage Alaska around midnight Friday (yes, we went back a day!). First full day had us heading east over to Wrangell - St Elias National Park, (our 52nd USA National Park,) about 400kms distance  where there were some great long distance views of the massive mountains, occasionally peaking through the clouds. Its surprisingly mild here and really does feel like late summer. And of course I also managed to find a very nice waterfall not that far from where we are staying - Liberty Falls. Tomorrow we head into the park proper for a couple of nights, the highlight will be the all day glacier hike we are doing on Monday (Deb's birthday!). Another strange thing is that its 9.37pm as I write this and the sun doesn't set for another hour!

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Up the Creek

Just thought I'd set this one up for a post whilst we are travelling over to Alaska. This is from last weekends Shepparton Camera Club workshop when one brave member decided the best vantage point at Lal Lal Falls was from right in the middle of the fast flowing water just downstream from the 110 foot falls. Luckily for me I was in a great position to capture this. Make sure you click on this for a bigger look as I have left it much larger than normal.
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North to Alaska.....

....almost! By the time you read this we will be on our way. I managed to make a quick trip out to Mt Warrenheip at lunchtime on Thursday to catch the low lying mists on a grey, bleak day. If you look closely you can see the rosella sitting in the trees in the first one.
I'll have to see what the internet access is like on our travels, though I'm planning to post some awesome images as often as possible. So stay tuned.........!


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On The Edge

I've been a judge at the Lal Lal - Moorabool Photographic Group's Annual Competition the last couple of years and was once again asked to judge this year. The exhibition weekend is August 23/24 and as I will be Alaska at the time, I was asked to come down a bit earlier than normal, which is why I was down at Lal Lal Falls on Wednesday afternoon, not that I need an excuse to visit such a great location. This time from quite a different position - right at the top of the falls looking over the edge!
If you get a chance pop down on the weekend of the exhibition - they get a great selection of images from all over....and you can combine it with a visit to the falls!


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A Real Bonus - Holloway Falls

With preparations for our trip to Alaska taking priority this week, the last thing I expected to find was a brand new waterfall within my 42km radius of Ballarat. Not too far on from Moorabool Falls out on the way to Mt Egerton, and also running into the Lal Lal Reservoir, is Black Creek and after some information passed on to me by someone who knows the area very well, I headed off to make the trek down the creek to see what I could find. When you head off on these searches you never really know what to expect, and after passing by a number of pretty nice smaller cascades along the creek I came across this very pretty, narrow gorge with just the right amount of water flowing to enable me to get down to the base of the falls. I would think that after the recent rain at the end of last week the timing was perfect as too much water would prohibit access down to this spot but the few days since then had allowed the flow to drop back to the perfect level. Many thanks to Erica for guiding me to this one....I doubt I would ever have found it otherwise.
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Ice Potpourri

Another freezing cold start to the day on Monday (minus 4.5!) gives us a very cold run of days the like of which I haven't seen before. I didn't have to travel too far today to get something quite interesting....out into the backyard! The birdbath was totally frozen and the potpourri of leaves under the surface, with some early light on them, was really nice. Of course I then had to see how it would look if I broke the ice......!


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Minus 4.6!

Sunday morning was the coldest we've had in Ballarat for a long time, and a great way to start day 2 of the Shepparton Camera Club weekend. We all met at Lake Wendouree and the crystal clear conditions provided some great opportunities. The first image here shows one right on sunrise and then a little bit later when the sun really lights up the 3 little islands on the west side of the lake. The ibis are really flocking there at the moment and with a bit of patience I captured a couple of nice fly-bys. 
I have many images to work through, but for this first post I've also included a set from the previous day when I managed to capture quite a range of different bird images. Birds are not my speciality though I do like to grab them when they fly by, especially if I can include them in a landscape context.




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Winters Morning

I'm posting this at 2pm on Sunday afternoon...its the first chance I've had to post an image from Saturday as I've been hosting a group from the Shepparton Camera Club who have ventured down for the weekend. A freezing cold morning on Saturday of minus 3.5 degrees...however the conditions from the top of Mt Buninyong, and Mt Warrenheip were fantastic.....there was even some nice patches of snow left over from the day before. This is a quick post from the side of Mt Warrenheip where the low lying fog stayed around for a long time.....as you can imagine I have a lot more images to go through.....
And have I mentioned we are off to Alaska next Friday......?!!
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Snow Time - Big Time

Friday was a freezing cold day here in Ballarat with a top of only 4 degrees. However the rewards were the best snow in town for quite a while. I dashed up to the Botanical Gardens around 11.30am and grabbed this set. And just after lunch I got to run a lap of the lake in some more snow showers...the first time I've ever been running in the snow. Forecast is for fine, frosty and sunny over the weekend....should be great for photography.



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Row Row Row Your Boat

The local Ballarat schools have all started their rowing programs in the last week or so and an early morning visit to Lake Wendouree gives ...