May 20, 2015 Valdez, Alaska

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

Head in the Clouds and Water, Falling

In actuality, technically, my head was above the clouds!

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

When I awoke this morning, around 3:30 AM, there was a solid gray cloud cover over the area, with just a ray of light shining through here and there.  So, nothing to shoot here below the cloud cover, let’s climb back up Thompson Pass and see what’s happening there, if nothing else, I can do waterfalls with the soft diffused light from the cloud cover.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version, and many of these shots do deserve that you do so.

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

As I climbed the grade up Thompson Pass, I actually entered the clouds I had been viewing from below, soon a solid dense fog bank, all but obscurring the road. So much for any dramatic shots from Thompson Pass, I thought as I continued my climb to the top.

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

But I persevered onward, and upward, and there suddenly appeared a little shimmering of light from above, and then I emerged from the cloud cover, was at the top of Thompson Pass, and, boy, was I ever wrong about no dramatic shots from up here this morning!

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

Here, at the top of the pass, it was as if you were in a plane doing a flyover of the mountains, high above the clouds, yet I was able to set the tripod up on terra firma.

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

Just a magical morning at the top of Thompson Pass, gray and gloomy below, simply spectacular above. As I mentioned in my last post, catching the “Golden Hours” here in Alaska is going to require some severe self discipline, seeing as they occur at some very early, and very late times. Getting out before 4 AM this particular morning, I was well rewarded for the effort.

Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail

Keystone Canyon Waterfalls

Keystone Canyon on the road to Valdez
Keystone Canyon on the road to Valdez

On the road to Valdez, after descending from Thompson Pass, you enter the very dramatic Keystone Canyon, where suddenly, the road is swallowed by immense rock walls, towering over you to all but unimagineable heights. And as you round the first bend in the canyon, you are greeted by a pair of incredibly tall waterfalls.

Keystone Canyon Waterfalls
Keystone Canyon Waterfalls
Keystone Canyon Waterfall
Keystone Canyon Waterfall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning, since the falls were still completely in the shade, I decided to stop and spend a little time ( ended up being well over an hour ), searching out details of rock and spray, looking for that ideal composition of water flowing over rock.

Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail

Extensive playing around with various ISO’s, DOF, and shutter speed settings produces a wide, and sometimes wild, variety of images of the very same portion of a waterfall. One of the things I enjoy about photography is being able to capture images that your eye actually doesn’t see.

Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Trumpeter Swan on Her nest
Trumpeter Swan on Her nest

On this same road I noticed this Trumpeter Swan dutifully sitting on her clutch of eggs. I will have to keep an eye on her over the next few days here, just in case I am lucky enough to catch some newly hatched signets.

Yet More Watercolor Subjects

Valdez Drydock
Valdez Drydock

And lastly, back in the village of Valdez, I found three more potential watercolor subjects sitting in dry dock. Though I know I’ll never get the brushes out this summer while here in Alaska, I swear this winter I will resume my painting career.

Valdez Drydock
Valdez Drydock
Valdez Drydock
Valdez Drydock

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10 thoughts on “May 20, 2015 Valdez, Alaska”

  1. Love your Valdez & Thompson Pass photos. I have been following your blog for a while. I am in Anchorage AK – so welcome!

    1. Thanks, very glad to be here again. I am planning a week visiting McCarthy/Kennecott and then on to Anchorage and the Kenai, any suggestions for wildlife/birds locations?

      1. McCarthy/Kennecott is fun to explore. I really enjoyed the 1/2 day guided hike on Root Glacier and exploring the old mill building. Potters Marsh just south of Anchorage on your way out of town is an excellent birding spot. Some nesting, some passing through. My favorite place to watch scores of eagles is a camp along the beach just before Ninilchik, almost to Homer. Deep Creek campground, right on the beach below a big cliff. Not fancy but you can angle your rig to watch eagles fishing in the river and tidal areas. Watching the young eagles fly upside-down and pass tidbits back and forth in the thermals is remarkable. You can also set up along the river next to the camp and photograph the birds fishing, bathing and hanging out. I try to camp there every year just for eagles.

        1. Thanks so much for the info! Just pulled into Eagle River CG north of Anchorage and plan to explore spots around the city if I can find a way to tolerate the traffic and congestion, then will head farther south. Definitely will check out Potter’s Marsh and Ninilchik.

          1. While in Anchorage check out the coastal trail. Saturday a friend listed about 15 duck & bird species she spotted in the section near ship creek.

    1. Thanks Sheryl

      Hope all is well back there. Took a boat out though Prince William Sound yesterday to see the Columbia Glacier. The mountain scenery here is all but beyond belief, and from the water, just spectacular. Don’t know if you have ever been up here, but if you haven’t, you ought to put it on your bucket list.

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