Alaska, Friends

This Alaska

This Alaska place.

I have had a real strong love/hate relationship with it the past year or so. I love Alaska. I love Ketchikan. I love the rain and the beautiful sunny days and the busy summers and quiet winters. I do. But standing by as friends come and go never gets easy. Being stuck on an Island, a million and one miles away from the people you want to hang out with is a challenge in and of itself. You may only be a few thousand miles away -but it doesn’t matter. You are separated by oceans and lands and miles.

Making new friends has never been a strong suite of mine…so being stuck on an island while your friends move in and out of your life is, well, challenging.

I haven’t done much traveling this year, so being ‘stuck’ on the island has taken its toll.

Yes, I love Alaska. But sometimes…

When it takes you 30 minutes to make a 5 minute drive. When you have to stop and go a million times. When tourist literally jump out in front of your car and give you a brief heart attack. When you just want to go into a shop and not see a billion and one faces -many of who you know and many of who you don’t. When you just want a moment of peace -yet there is none to be found…

And then you go for a hike. Into the vast wilderness. The great unknown. The peaceful calmness of the mountains, the silence. The cool wind and the beautiful scenery. The friends.

When you stand in the mountains of Alaska…you feel so small. You realize just how big this world is and just how small you are. You realize just how small your town is, and the problems in it. You realize there is so much beauty -even in the smallness. You are reminded.

This place? This Alaska?

Is quite simply amazing.

Taking in a deep breath of fresh mountain air is sometimes the remedy that can make everything better again.

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Photography, Travel

The Grand Canyon

A few weeks ago, we were in Arizona.

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Mom and I had one day together, a car, and nowhere to be…so we punched “The Grand Canyon” into the GPS and took off for a mini road trip.

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After driving for about three hours we passed a sign that said something about the Grand Canyon, but the GPS said we were still a bit away.  We kept driving.

…and driving…

…and driving.

We came across this gem, and assumed we were close.

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But then the main road turned into a dirt road and we started going down…not up.  Finally, the GPS announced that “You have reached your destination!  You are now at the Grand Canyon.”

Except that it wasn’t the Grand Canyon.  In fact we were pretty much the opposite of the Grand Canyon.  We were at the base of some ugly looking rock hills, with a dirt trail snaking around them.  “Isn’t it BEAUTIFUL!” mom gasped.  I was less than impressed.  I chucked the GPS in the back seat and took off back up the dirt road.

“Are you sure we are going the right way?” Mom asked.

“You are heading the wrong direction.” The GPS piped up from the back seat as if answering mom.

“I think that was the Grand Canyon.” Mom said again

“Turn around, you are leaving your destination.” GPS continued.

It took some maneuvering but finally, after a few wrong turns -we found ourselves at the Grand Canyon.  The real, Grand Canyon.  The Grand Canyon West.

It was much prettier there.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought my good camera -all pictures are camera phone pictures which I suppose is better than nothing.

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When mom tries to use the phone to take a picture it goes something like this.

Mom: Smile!

Me: Cheese!

*Silence*

Me: Mom? You taking the picture?

Mom: ….

Me: Mom?

Mom: SMILE!

Me: MOM TAKE THE….

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Alaska, Photography

Only in Alaska

So yesterday afternoon I was feeling a bit cooped up, it was raining and I hadn’t been outside for a walk for a few days.  I can’t remember the last time I picked up my camera (post summer blues) so I decided that I would take the dog for a walk on the beach.

It was raining, which meant I could let her off the leash and not have to worry about anyone else being there to scare her.  So off we went.

This is what I originally had planned on photographing. Maybe spending a few minutes perfecting a shot like this.

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The rain, the birds, the low tide -I had some ideas I was planning to perfect…but then something caught my eye.

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Now that in and of itself isn’t that unusual.  There are people out surfing on occasion, but this person didn’t appear to be surfing…in fact, I couldn’t be sure what they were doing.

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I watched a few more minutes…

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…and then this happened…

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I couldn’t be sure if I was seeing things, but from what I could tell this person was doing handstands…on a surfboard…in the ocean…in the rain.

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I am still not sure what, exactly, was going on -but it was sure impressive, especially considering I slipped about four times this weekend.  On solid ground.

Alaska, Summer - 2016

Under the Sea

We got out underwater camera film back the other day.  I laughed…because these pictures.  They are anything but the amazing underwater pictures I was expecting.

You know the type -the ones that look amazing and completely capture the awesomeness that is under the waves.  I’ve seen them all -I know what I was looking for -and then what I got?  Well, they just made me laugh.  But also because they sort of make me happy.  The time spent snorkeling (while challenging!!!) was awesome.

I am probably dating myself but if you remember using disposable cameras (and waiting for the film to get developed) you will have a general idea on what we were up to.  But you also have to remember that we had big rubber gloves on, so navigating the camera wasn’t exactly what one would call…easy.  There were a lot of shots of the glove!

I kinda want to go back, you know?

This guy was a really cool shade of purple when you looked at him under the water -almost like a neon, glow in the dark color.  Of course the picture just shows a little purple blob.  It was a sea urchin, for those wondering.

13615226_1161818690506533_8770453448368351017_nPatrick Star!

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An attempt at a thumbs up

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Under the sea!  See?

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While the hardly counts as “Under the sea photography” -I think I am going to work on brushing up on my “on land” photography before I attempt anything….well, professional.  So this will have to do for now.