Let’s Try This Again

northern exposures


I’ve moved – this will be the final post at this blog site. I’m constructing a new one and if you are interested in heading over there, the address is:


Yes, I know. I’m a little delinquent on my postings. But really, a week or two isn’t all that long.

What! It’s been 19 months??? Oops.

Last July, I left Lindsay and my family dehydra-broiling, sizzle-sweltering away in that hellish place some call Texas, I am back in the Arctic where 70˚F is hot and a thing of the past. We’ve already had our first snow.

I suppose I should be remorseful for having left my love behind in such a Dante-esque Inferno but to be honest, I’m just happy as a gray jay that I am 66˚N. In my defense, Lindsay wanted to remain with family this year, and I truly am suffering a twinge of remorse that she must endure a Texas meltdown while I luxuriate in Paradise. Remorse. What a nasty little itch that can be!

Thinking along the lines of Dante-isms, I recall those fateful words on the gates of hell. “Abandon all hope, all who enter here.” The Texas Highway Department really should post that at all roads entering the state, at least in summertime.

Oh, I see that it’s 81˚F in Texas at the moment. Sounds like fall has finally arrived for all you folks down there. Of course, it’s still early in the day. If any of you Texans are looking for a way out of hell, I recommend reservations on Alaska Airlines. Satisfaction guaranteed. It’s 28˚F in Fort Yukon this morning…

Look forward to hearing from you again!

(No irreverence intended)


On the Wings of Spring

northern exposures


Interior Alaska is a land of Serious White for much of the year. November. December. January, February and March. But here comes April and winter’s coat is looking a little tattered. It’s a good thing that next week is Spring Carnival, otherwise the river ice would be two fragile for the games.

I walked to town today under one of those brilliant skies that leave you blind when you go indoors. It was a balmy, 40 degree afternoon. Windbreaker weather – no gloves, no hood required. Delicious!

On the way home I watched the birds flitting through the trees and captured this one feeding on a black spruce. I first thought it might be a juvenile gray jay but the coloration doesn’t appear right. If you know what it is, please leave me a note.

The Wright Choice

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We departed Fort Yukon on Saturday at 3:30 pm on Wright Air, headed for Fairbanks. There are 3 carriers out of the Fort and Wright’s is the only one we will fly. Their Grand Caravans are reliable even in extreme cold and so are their pilots.

Saturday’s pilot warned us that by the time we passed Birch Creek, about 30 miles south, we wouldn’t be seeing much. That was an understatement! Thirty seconds beyond the Yukon it was a white out, so I leaned against the window and fell asleep. At some point I awoke and saw this unknown creek cutting across the landscape below me, so I snapped a quick picture of it just as the snow clouds closed in again.

That was the last thing we saw until the runway lights guided us onto the East Ramp in Fairbanks. The flight normally takes 55 minutes; strong headwinds and zero visibility added another 25 to ours and you should have heard the moaning about that!

Our flight may have been slow, but one of the other planes carrying teachers to Fairbanks lost engine power briefly and began descending over the mountains. I heard there were some screams on that one! The problem apparently had to do with a vapor lock or something as the pilot switched fuel tanks. They landed okay. By the way, that wasn’t one of Wright Air’s planes.

And now you know which airline is the Wright Choice!

It’s An Ephemeral Thing

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Frost. It’s quite beautiful, and that’s too bad.

Maybe if it wasn’t so beautiful it would last longer, but you know the old saying, “beauty is fleeting.”

The high school students are skiing for PE. I can see them set off outside my window and I get a big kick out of watching them. I’ve done this in flat country before, so I know they are learning something very valuable – exactly where each of their 640 muscles are located. I’m so glad I am not in PE!

Because youth, like beauty, is fleeting, and mine has certainly fled! 🙂

Adams Leaning Wheel Grader #3, Redux

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I photographed this old Adams Leaning Wheel Grader #3 back in 2012 and decided to photograph it again for all the Adams’ fans who have visited that post. I would never have guessed there are so many of you out there!

Many thanks to the 300 grader aficionados who have stopped by over the past 3 years. Have another on me!

Warm Skies & Spring Fever!

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Warm skies and Spring Fever are trending! It’s 12˚F outside and climbing to 18˚ today according to our reprieved forecaster. In fact, he says it is supposed to be warm all week long.

Twelve degrees isn’t going to make a Texan think of Spring, but it sure is stirring blood up here. Snow-gos are whizzing down the streets, people are strolling about and a major epidemic of Spring Fever has struck the village.

Kids have it. Teachers have it. I’m afraid the prognosis is poor – high fevers for the final twelve weeks of school resulting in severe learning impairment.

Let’s see, twelve weeks. That’s a week of in-service in Fairbanks and another for high school championship basketball in Anchorage – a hopeless time for learning.

A week preparing for the omniscient, infallible standardized test and another to take it.

There will be the traditional week of Carnival in Fort Yukon followed by an exodus of our students to Arctic Village for theirs.

Uh, so let me do the math here: 12 weeks less 2, less 2 more, and less 2 more equals…6 weeks!

By then, geese and ducks will be winging across the Flats and many of my kids will be seriously hunting. A successful spring hunt will put food on the table for much of the coming summer, fall and winter. Hunting is an excused activity and for good reason.

I love the last quarter of school!

Above Coronado Beach

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A lone pelican above Coronado. The exaggerated colors appeal to me in this instance.

I’ve been re-evaluating a number of my photographs and considering ways to make both black & whites and colors more vibrant. For this one, I used Color Efex Pro 4 which is part of the Nik suite. I have to say, CEP4 certainly extends the range of visionary possibilities.

I can approximate the look of this image using only Lightroom but the color range is vastly shortened. So far I’m impressed by the possibilities.