Wednesday, October 3, 2012

an afternoon with swans

 many swans stop over at potters marsh about this time of year, en route to warmer climes.  i like to stop by and see what these cool birds are up to.    i am not the only one who enjoys their brief visit to anchorage
 of course, my camera gear is nothing compared to many of the photogs out there.  always a debate in my little brain.  to move forward and gain more gear and more knowledge or to stick to what i have for the most part.  seems like the way these things work though is the more you know,  the more you have, the more you want. there are moments when i ponder it and moments when i have bouts of jealousy at what is captured by those huge lenses.  overall, i've come to peace with the level of photography i am at.  i prefer to keep it simple.  to stick to telling tales with the camera.  i like to write as much as i enjoy taking pictures and this level keeps it less complicated.  i'm also not patient enough for tripod work.  i can't sit in one spot too long before i must move on.
 i do enjoy the photo's that get taken from the cameras of others.  karen is first in line...i thought it was a kinda cool picture.  everyone is happy out there, trying to get their best shot.  there are many photographers and amateur photographers in alaska.  it's a superb place to play with a camera.  you really can't go wrong.  no matter how intense of gear and knowledge you have, the scenery is such that everyone will walk away with a few photos to be happy with.
 guess i'm the same about work.  should i do more, get more educated...
 i suppose it's bad that i am happy with the status quo in my life at times, but then that also means i'm happy with my life, which can't be bad.  if you are always reaching for something bigger and better there may be more disappointment that happiness.  i live simply, i enjoy the little things.  this day it was the beauty at potters marsh and the amazing birds feeding and fattening before heading south.
 once i had enough of bird watching i got in the car and started driving.  i really had no idea what my plan was.  i ended up taking the road to portage lake.  i enjoyed the drive.  always great to get out and about.
 i was up late last night.  the movie i watched was pretty lame.  "restless" i think it was.  it was a bit like "harold and maude" due to one dudes fascination with death.  a story does evolve, but maybe too slowly and strangely.  not strange good though.  i liked "harold and maude" though.
 had my mammo.  at least it's quick.  uncomfortable, but still not as bad as dental xrays.  those are totally gag inducing.
 i stopped at this little lake along the portage road to let the girls out for a break.  the water is that beautiful glacial colour.  the reflection in the saddle above is a hanging glacier.
 blossom got her picture taken.  she's so cute.  i chatted with a friend on the phone.  the timing of it was all good.
 took loads of swan pictures.  they weren't cooperative with my requests for fully opened wing shot opportunities.  wildlife can be like that.  they make you work for your shots.  still fun to watch and to chat with others along the side of the road enjoying the site.  of course some along the main highway get annoyed by all the swan gawkers.  it's just part of alaska in my mind. when driving any road here you must be prepared for sudden stopping and the mass of cars and pedestrians that can accompany that.
 this guy obliged me but he was a bit further away. they are so pretty all fanned out.
 a few were pretty close to the road.  the light out there was perfect when i was out there.
 today got a bit more cloudy. i attempted to walk the powerline trail today after i'd gotten the mammo.
 i turned back quickly as the wind was blowing pretty good and the trail was very icy.  just wasn't going to be enjoyable.  i'll have to return with more layers and cleats.  the moose should be starting to gather in the area for the rut.  i think it would be cool to get pictures of them with this snowy background.
 poor blossom was disappointed i'm sure.  i was super tired and hungry so i just returned home to eat and nap.  we got out to the dog park after a while.
 there was a policeman in the park asking about a couple and a small baby.  i later heard that an amber alert had been called on a 2 day old taken by it's mother from the native hospital. i think it's been called an amber alert off and on through day.  not much information.  the mother left the hospital with the baby against medical advice.  they were trying to locate them as they were concerned for both the mother and the baby.  a mother can leave with a baby, her own so there must be other stuff involved.  perhaps more information will surface as the days go by.  for now i just hope both mother and baby are someplace safe and warm on this chilly night.
 the grey swans are still young.  they look funny with their white wings.
 i was feeling guilty for needing a nap but the truth is i only slept like 5 hours last night and then only 3 hours the 24 hours before that.
 met up with a friend for dinner.  she's got a job that brings her to alaska from time to time.  so we usually try to meet up for a meal.  i worked with her at the vet clinic in los angeles.  eagle rock emergency pet clinic.  many years back we've known each other a long time.  always great to catch up with her.  we stayed at the peanut farm talking for a few hours.
 the birds nearest me kept teasing me with these one wing shots.  brats!!
 we discussed the generation coming up.  they stay with their parents longer and are more dependent than young adults have ever been. the coddled crew.  the parents seem to prefer it this way though.
 it makes us somewhat vulnerable as a nation in some ways.  that coddled life makes it difficult for people to cope when life takes a turn.  i think it's a cause of why so many of the military are having a hard time coping upon returning from active duty.  it's just such a different world in places like iraq and afghanistan.  the kids there have had to grow up quickly and take on responsibilities of adulthood way before they should.  we need some middle ground between the overly coddled and the overly traumatized.
 many kids, especially in urban area's have zero survival skills.  this is generational.  their parents and grandparents probably also have little in the way of survival skills.  this was clear to me after new orleans flooded.  all those people sat there in deplorable conditions waiting to be taken care of.  waiting....
 in alaska, in rural area's i suspect there would be less waiting.  people have to learn to be more resourceful, they are taught more survival skills.  the grammar schools here even incorporate some of that in their curriculum.  i remember last spring we hiked out hatchers pass and there was a group of second graders learning how to build fires and make snow caves.  in southeast alaska they also had survival training classes and even an overnight where the kids put stuff in an old coffee can to be used on an overnight survival course in the woods.  i suspect there are many in large cities who have no clue how to collect water, build a fire or shelter.
 i think there is some renewed interest in some of this stuff.  there are more young families who seem to want to be more independent.  grow their own, make their own.  i think this is a good trend. i know much of this stuff is cyclic.
 you can't always expect to be able to look to the government to save you.  up here if we have a major earthquake it could be weeks before we are able to get assistance.  people will have to help each other.  with this wind storm and the power outages that followed it was clear that neighbors helped neighbors and friends helped friends.  we are so dependent on our modern conveniences, which isn't a good thing.  kids don't even know how to entertain themselves in some cases without all their electronic gadgets.

 rio is killing me tonight.  she gets the stomach deal at times.  gastritis type stuff...the gas is wicked! no lighting of matches in my house tonight.
 shows on alaska are popular. i  think many people like the idea of that life.  not a life many of us could really handle.  there are always those who no matter how little survival skills they were taught seem to rise to the occasion.  i know that happened some in new orleans.  humans are adaptable.  i watched a bit of the reality show, alaska, the last frontier tonight.  i hadn't seen that one before.  it is amazing how capable and resourceful people can be.  it's easier for those who were raised in that environment, but not impossible for the rest of us.  it's not for the weak or wimpy though.

 love when they have their butts up!  they shimmy back and forth first then dive in for a snack, then shimmy and dive again.
 not sure the name of this duck, but the ducks take advantage of the food the swans shake up.
 the resident ducks are still chilling at university lake.  was debating on names for my white duck friends.  fred and ethyl? burt and ernie?
 still want to see if i can find them a more proper home than the lake.  really don't think they'll cope well with winter, though they've done quite well with the cold so far.

 still no way to turn sideways shots, which is a bummer.  come on blogger, help me out here.
 there had to have been over 30 swans out there the day i was there.
 just gave rio some cottage cheese, maybe that will help settle her gut down.  yikes, it's gonna be a long night.
 lots of fall colours south of anchorage.
 the changing water line of the turnigan arm is always fun to watch.
 made chicken noodle soup last night.  as usual, i eat it too hot and i think i've singed my taste buds off a bit.  wish it had singed my sniffer response.
 back to work for two more nights, then i get my stretch off.  always sweet.  where to go, what to do?

 portage lake above, the river coming off the lake below.
 a lone ice berg on portage lake. used to be filled with ice bergs but the glacier has receeded quite a lot.  i think there is still some tidewater, but very little.
 trees looked cool
 this old shack is along the turnigan.  the 1964 quake caused a tsunami that raised up the water and this is a remnant of that time.
 just some reflections from the drive home.
 the drive home went much quicker.  i vegged out for a bit yesterday.
 still need to make those appointments i keep saying i'll make.  now i need to add on heater check and vent cleaning.  i think that will get me ready for winter a bit.  i really should order a cord of wood. probably pretty reasonable this year with all this wood available.  hmm.  that would mean work stacking though.  debate, debate!  i always like to keep wood in case of emergency.  of course, if the fireplace is trashed in the quake, the wood will be somewhat useless i guess.
 along the highway.
 such a beautiful trek.  always good for the soul to make this drive.  remembered at the trailhead that i was nearly out of gas. the light came on.  luckily, i was able to coast most of the way down from the trailhead, but i also have some idea how long i have before i actually run out of gas after the light comes on.  very kramer like.
 was happy to see some lovely fall reflections.  pulled over to capture a few shots.  see what i would have missed if i sat with the swans all day.
 i really can't sit still too long. of course, i seem to be able to veg in front of a television for a few hours when my brain needs to be emptied of all.  television is good for a ruminating brain.
end with these favorites of the day.  have a good one

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