Tag Archives: Alaska

Our Top 20 Pictures of 2013

Traveling in 2013 – Our Favorite Pictures

After traveling for about 7 of the past 12 months, you can imagine how many pictures we took along the way.  That is why it was so hard to narrow down the list that (I think) represents the best 20 pictures.  Each picture brings back memories and reinforces how fortunate we are to have been able to experience this in 2013.

1 – Oregon

Crater Lake has to be the most beautiful lake on earth.  We felt a connectedness to nature as we sat along the top rim of rocks overlooking the lake.

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake, Oregon

2 – Grand Tetons

It took 3 days to get this picture, as the first 2 days were overcast.  It was worth the wait, the old barn in the Grand Tetons is very photogenic.

Old Barn in Grand Tetons

Old Barn in Grand Tetons

3 – Oregon Coast

I took this picture without even getting out of the car.  I figured it would be just another picture but once I started reviewing the pictures at the end of the day, this picture really grabbed me.  I love the saturated blue hues juxtaposed with the grey trees in front.

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

4 – Whistler

After taking the gondola to the top of Whistler mountain, we spotted this small lake at the top, which really stood out among the mountains in the background.

Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler, British Columbia

5 – Rosemary Beach, Florida

Just minutes from our front steps, we took this picture on the beach as the day was coming to a close.  We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place.

Rosemary Beach, Florida

Rosemary Beach, Florida

6 – Point Reyes, California

I love seeing the waves come crashing in during Spring at Point Reyes National Park in California.  Notice at the end of the peninsula is the Point Reyes lighthouse.

Point Reyes National Park, California

Point Reyes National Park, California

7 – Washington (State)

We came upon this rusty old truck when hiking in the Olympic National Park in Washington State.  One of friends once told me that anything old and rusty photographs well.  I agree.

Washington State

Washington State

8 – Alaska

We were on a photography tour when the guide showed us how to simply point our camera towards the sun when pointed right behind plants.  I was surprised how this little trick created such a cool picture.

Alaska

Alaska

9 – Grand Tetons

The Grand Teton mountains make a great backdrop to this lake we saw just outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons

10 – Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco offers so many great photo opportunities, the iconic Golden Gate bridge never disappoints.  We missed a better shot of the bridge.  One day fog was hovering all the way up to the middle of the bridge but we could never get into a good position to come out with a good picture of it.  I also used Photoshop to take out all colors but red for a cool look of the bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco California

Just the reds of the bridge

11 – Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone provided so many great pictures but this one stood out.  I love the foreground reds with the smoke coming out of the geyser in the background.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

12 – Cannon Beach, Oregon

Haystack Rock is probably one of the most photographed places in Cannon Beach. One day we were strolling the beach and found ducks going for a swim in the ocean. This felt very odd, as I had never seen them do that before. They lined up perfectly with Haystack Rock in the background for a great picture.

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

13 -Vancouver

Vancouver and the surrounding British Columbia area is incredibly beautiful, especially in the summer. We snapped this picture on the way from Vancouver to Whistler.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver, British Columbia

14 – Butchart Gardens, Victoria

We took lots of great floral pictures in Butchart Gardens so it was hard to narrow it down.  I really like the aperture of this picture, with the flower focused while the greenery of the background takes a backseat.

Victoria, British Columbia

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia

15 – Alaska

I love photographing waterfalls.  We came upon this one in Alaska and it did not disappoint.  I set the shutter speed (ISO) at about 100 and set the aperture small enough to maximize focus (around f/10). That gives the water a more silky look as it falls.

Alaska Waterfall

Alaska Waterfall

16 – California Coast

The California coast is beautiful. I love the color of the water, the green grass and the orange cliffs.

California Coast

California Coast

17 – Alaska

The shadow of the rock is what struck me when I snapped this picture.  People stack these rocks — we saw lots of this when traveling around Alaska.  Not sure why they do it, but it does create a nice photo opportunity.

Stacked Rocks in Alaska

Stacked Rocks in Alaska

18 – Washington Coast

We stumbled onto this secluded beach when traveling along the Washington coast.  A lot of debris gets washed up along their shores and the trees are heavily washed by the thrashing ocean.

Washington Coast

Washington Coast

19 – Glacier Bay, Alaska

The glacier is obviously awesome but I happened to catch this seagull in mid flight, which adds a new dimension to the photo.  He was changing his direction, almost stopping on a dime.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

Glacier Bay, Alaska

20 – Husky in Alaska

How can you resist photographing such a cute puppy?  This Alaskan Husky will most likely run the Iditarod in Alaska when he grows up.

Alaskan Husky

Alaskan Husky

Glaciers and Dog Sleds in Alaska

Visiting Alaska – The Final American Frontier

Alaska has been on the bucket list for a while now so we took an incredibly calm Norwegian Sun cruise from Vancouver to Alaska via the inner passage.

Norwegian Sun

Norwegian Sun

Our 11 day route took us to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and then onto a land tour in Denali National Park.  We are not really cruisers but we may change our minds after this trip.  The cruise had great food, great shows and incredible views.

Our Alaskan route

Our Alaskan route

If you would like to see a slideshow of this trip, click here: http://www.webetripping.com/Gallery_USA_Alaska.asp

Ketchikan

After 2 days of sailing, we arrived at Ketchikan, a small town with a population of 8,000 and aptly named the “Salmon Capital of the World”. While we were there, we saw more salmon coming into the bay than I have ever seen — they lined the top of the water.

Ketchikan

Ketchikan

Ketchikan

Ketchikan

Ketchikan was home to a thriving Native American population in the early days and boasts more totem poles than anywhere in North America.  There is still a small population of Native Americans  (just under 17%) living here and they are very proud people with a strong heritage. When we visited, we witnessed a tribal dance and they allowed me to participate.

Steve attempting a tribal dance

Steve attempting a tribal dance

I was struck by the beautiful totem poles and art pieces. We attended a presentation by one of the artisans that continue to create totem poles for other towns.

Our final excursion here was to attend a lumberjack show.  OK, it sounds corny (and parts of it were), but these guys are great athletes with skill and agility.

Lumberjacks

Lumberjacks

Juneau

In Juneau, we had an incredible excursion where we took a helicopter up to the top of a glacier where dog sleds were awaiting our arrival. The ride up was breathtaking, with incredible 360 degree views.

Once we landed, we met the friendly Alaskan huskies before embarking on a several mile ride upon the glacier in the dog sled. Many of these dogs have participated in the Iditarod, a yearly 1,024 mile dog sled adventure across Alaska. You may notice that many of the dogs look more like muts than Siberian Huskies. That is true, they are mixed but are chosen for speed and endurance.

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Our final excursion in Juneau was to visit the Alaska Brewery, home of the best Amber Ale I’ve ever had.

Alaska Brewing

Alaska Brewing

Skagway

In Skagway, we met a team that participates in the Iditarod and petted new Alaskan Husky puppies.

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At this site, they had a room that was refrigerated to 40 degrees below zero to show how it might feel if in the Alaskan wilderness. We threw on big coats and hung out for about 5 minutes in the brutally cold room.  Invigorating!

Lynn in 40 degrees below cold

Lynn in 40 degrees below cold

We also took a chance at panning for gold. Altogether Lynn and I found about $20 worth of gold.

Panning for gold

Panning for gold

Panning for gold

Panning for gold

Our final excursion was a photographer’s tour where we ventured into Canada to take some cool landscape pictures.

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Glaciers in Glacier Bay

The most thrilling part of the cruise was visiting the incredible glaciers. Our captain was incredible, he was able to maneuver the ship so that everyone could get great pictures of each glacier. We saw all the glaciers in Glacier Bay and woke the next day to Humboldt Glacier. We hung out at each  glacier for about an hour, saw the glaciers crumbling into the sea with grandiose sounds that reminded me of thunder.

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Denali Land Tour

After leaving the cruise ship, we went straight into a 4 day land tour where we visited Anchorage, Denali National Park, and Talkeetna. Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska with a population of about 300,000. It felt like a small town that was heavily dependent on tourism.

Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage Alaska

At Denali National Park, we participated in a 7 hour tour of the park where we saw caribou, moose, grizzly bears, and many birds of prey. The highlight for us was seeing Mount McKinley, the largest mountain in North America at 20,320 feet. The guide said that only 30% of the people that visit Denali get a good view of McKinley because of the clouds. We were lucky to be in that 30%, as we enjoyed great views.

Mount McKinley

Mount McKinley

Moose antlers are heavy!

Moose antlers are heavy!

Denali National Park

Denali National Park

On our way back to Anchorage, we rode the train to a town called Talkeetna. The TV show “Northern  Exposure” was modeled after this town but was actually filmed in Roslyn Washington. Their claim to fame is that they elected a cat mayor of the town 15 years ago and we were able to visit where he hangs out in the gift shop. They like him because he never raises taxes and lets government stay out of people’s lives. Hmm, he must be a republican!

Train to Talkeetna

Train to Talkeetna

The Mayor

The Mayor

Talkeetna

Talkeetna

Talkeetna

Talkeetna

Well that concludes our 3 month summer vacation. We are now returning to Florida to enjoy the rest of the summer, the fall, and then hunker down for the winter. I hope you enjoyed these posts.