My Top 10 Photos of the Summer (From Alaska)

Glacier Bay sunset

I have been on a blogging hiatus this summer, mainly because I haven’t had much internet access out here in the wilds of Alaska. During this summer of Trump, that hasn’t been a bad thing. With readily available internet, I’d have spent an unhealthy amount of time reading about the antics of the GOP presidential candidate, then following that up with hours of Jon Oliver and Samantha Bee videos to help me cope. One great thing about Alaska is that you can escape from the drama of the world, and during an election year, that is a beautiful thing.

Instead, I have pursued offline activities, traveling up Glacier Bay several times, going on many hikes and visiting nearby Juneau. I even stayed up late into the night a few times watching the northern lights.

So, here are my top 10 photos from the summer. At the bottom is a poll where you can vote for your favorite if you’d like. Voting is very important, especially if you live in Ohio or Florida – there is great pressure on people in those states to get it right in November by not picking the outrageous, orange, racist guy. Luckily, this poll will have less pressure. Just pick a photo you like.

Without further ado…

Glacier Bay sunset

Halibut Point Sunset

I took this photo at very low tide, braving slippery rocks covered with slimy seaweed but suffering for my art was worth it, I think. We get lots of incredible sunsets in Glacier Bay, but this was probably my favorite.


Glacier Bay Northern Lights

Sky on Fire

Last week I experienced the best northern lights show I’ve seen in my 12 years in Alaska, and by far the most photogenic. Bartlett Cove was a mirror, reflecting the ethereal light that illuminated the north sky all night. Occasionally, shafts of light, like a magical chandelier, would knife down from straight overhead, dancing and pulsing. Strangely, I had the song Strawberry Fields Forever, in my head, and the line “nothing is real” made a lot of sense to me during the surrealistic light show.


 

Leaping mountain goat

Leap of Faith

A baby mountain goat on gloomy knob in Glacier Bay National Park took a leap of faith over what to him must have looked like a bottomless abyss. He spent several moments gathering the courage to make the jump after his mom nonchalantly strolled over it.


Sawyer Glacier calving

Sawyer Glacier Calving

I’ve been lucky enough to see and photograph some massive glacier calvings this summer, but this was the most photogenic. The crashing ice from the blue glacier sent up a spray of brown silt-laden water. It sent waves across the bay that rocked the boat. Awesome.

Note: there is no such thing as global warming – it was invented by the Chinese to steal American jobs.


flock of seagulls

Flock of Seagulls

Seagulls gather by the thousands in Glacier Bay, and one evening the sun cut through a gap in the clouds and illuminated a flock of birds as they took flight, soaring about in a Hitchcockian swarm. A seagull by itself isn’t very interesting; a flock of one thousand seagulls is pretty incredible.


Seagulls and Sea lions

Seagulls and Sea Lions

Speaking of flocks of seagulls, after a bald eagle landed in the middle of their cliffside nests, they took to wing by the hundreds and returned to the cliffside to dive bomb the massive eagle, basically harassing the hell out of it as it sat smugly among their nests. The sea lions were content to watch from the rocks and not get involved in bird drama.


Marjerie Glacier
Margerie Glacier

This photo probably took the least amount of creativity – God and Canon did the hard part. I just snapped a photo of the massive glacier and uploaded it to the internet.


Fireweed

Field of Fireweed

Most people don’t realize just how colorful Alaska can be during the summer. On the open flatlands near the Gustavus beach, purple lupine and white cow parsnips grow in May and give way to fields of fireweed in June. It is one of my favorite places to take photos and watch a sunset.


Bald eagle on a tree

‘Murica Bird

I love Glacier Bay because there are lots of bald eagles, and being a truly patriotic American I get a feeling of pride whenever I see one of these birds. When I see them eat dead seagulls, scavenge stinky fish carcasses or invade Iraq, I feel less national pride. This eagle posed for me atop a tree just begging me to snap his photo.


Whale Tail

Whale of a Tail

The good news: right at the start of our whale watching tour three humpback whales dove right under the boat, their massive tales so close it seemed as though we could touch them. The bad news: we didn’t see anything this incredible for the next three hours. Nonetheless, anytime I go whale watching I am always amazed at the grace and power of these giant animals.

As promised, you can vote!

45 Comments on “My Top 10 Photos of the Summer (From Alaska)

  1. Welcome back to blogging Jeff. You have witnessed and photographed some amazing events and I am so envious of your Northern lights experience, a bucket list item that has been elusive to me. I think the whole world is worried about who is the next USA president ….can we hope for people voting sensibly? Thanks for your post to cheer us up with such stunning images😄

    • Thank you Gilda. Glacier Bay is a really stunning place and I’m happy I could spend the summer here again. I think we will do the right thing in November, but I’m not sure.

  2. He’s baaaaaaaack…
    Thanks Gawd, Jeff has returned the cybervillage. And he’s brought his trademark humor, and those photos of his! I think many people are going to just love that first image in the header, but for me, the seagulls and sea lions has everything I like to see in a photo…well, besides a thong model, but I suppose they are rare in Alaska any time of year?

    • I like the seagulls and sea lions too. That was a really cool sight to see all those birds going berserk and the sea lions just chilling.

      It is exciting to sporadically be back in cyber village. I’ll have to see what everyone was up to this summer.

      Perhaps I can get you a thong model this winter in Thailand – I think they have more than we do in Alaska.

      • OK…I’ve heard they do have thong models in Bangkok (I actually heard a rumor that is why they named it Bangkok).

  3. So glad you are back! I’ll bet it was a difficult job narrowing it down to your top ten! Looks like you had an amazing last summer in Alaska. Are you ready to jump into the chaotic life of Bangkok?

    • Thanks Laura, It was hard to narrow down to 10, especially some of the northern lights photos. We had a relatively sunny summer in Alaska and it will be hard to go back to chaotic and hot Bangkok, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it right around the time to come back to Alaska next year 🙂

      • I thought this was going to be your last year in Alaska. Looking forward to hearing about your Bangkok adventures.

      • Yeah, I thought it would be my last also, but I’ll be back next summer. Winter in Thailand, summer in Alaska. Not bad.

  4. WOW! I did vote for one, but I could have chosen a lot more. I adored the baby goat jumping over the abyss – what a great shot! (Still voted for flock of gulls, though; the light is so beautiful.) Welcome back to the real (crazy) world!

    • The light on the flock of gulls was amazing and I really had no idea how to shoot it, so I just zoomed in and out and blasted away. That was a really cool experience to see all those birds. Thank you for voting and for the feedback!

  5. Jeff!!! See how everyone misses you. I liked when you said that you have pursued offline activities. A city dweller like me needs to keep that in mind. I haven’t been to any beach, climbed any mountain, and done any hike since I started the new job — eeek! Anyway, glad to have you back, and as always your landscape photos are truly beautiful!

    • I have missed my online friends too. I need the book version of your blog posts so I can sit by a fire and get caught up.

      I think it was good for me to have limited internet this summer but I’ll be glad when I’m back in BKK and have blazing fast internet again. Thanks for the compliments and maybe we will meet in person this winter.

      • I’ll be in Hong Kong for Christmas. Other than that you can find me in the Big Durian. Who doesn’t love fast internet connection? But from time to time we’re always reminded that going offline is good for our body and soul.

  6. Welcome back, Jeff … and you did it with an outstanding collection of photos.

    Although I voted for the Northern Lights (can’t help it, they just fascinate me so much), it was a tough call with the Halibut Point sunset and Margerie Glacier.
    So much WOW!

    • Thank you Joanne. Alaska is so beautiful that taking nice pictures is easy! The northern lights are hard to vote against because they are so unique.

  7. Wow just wow Jeff. Gorgeous photos. Okay I can’t vote because I have three favourites: Halibut Point sunset (please tell me how to get the water to look like that – is it tripod and long exposure?), flock of seagulls, and field of fireweed. I’m blown away by the depth of field – I just can’t seem to get that and I suspect it really is an equipment issue – just don’t have a good enough camera. One day I will finally cave and get a full frame, full DSLR.
    Alison

    • Yes, the Halibut Point photo was with a long exposure using a neutral density filter and tripod. The ND filter is the only filter I ever use but it can be fun and effective when used right. I like it too because I can do a one-minute exposure and have time to watch the sunset and animals in the meantime.

      I just have a basic DSLR camera and want a full frame too! On the fireweed I think I shot at f/11 or f/13 to get the DOF.

      I can’t wait to read your posts about the Middle East when I get time. I have missed my online friends. Where are you headed after your summer in Canada?

      • We’re off to Yucatan and Cuba, and parts of Central America – Guatemala and Costa Rica keep being mentioned. Yucatan and Cuba are definite, the rest we’ll make up when we get down there.
        A.

  8. Yay! You are back and haven’t been eaten by a Grizzly. Jeff I voted in your poll but really how could one be enough? To say your photos are stunning doesn’t begin to give my full opinion.
    As to the US politics, this Canadian just shakes her head.

    • Our politics are really crazy right now – I feel like a person waking up from a coma would think you were pranking them if you said Donald J. Trump was one of two people who might be president.

      Thanks for the compliments. Taking photos in Alaska never gets old!

  9. Missed reading your colorful posts! I, too, haven’t been blogging much lately. I just try to keep up here with my Haikus which doesn’t take all of three minutes to create. There you go with your Alaska again. I thought the Northern Lights didn’t show up till winter? What time was that photo taken?

    • We can start to see the lights in late August. I took that one about 1:50pm, but you could see them about 9:30pm that night – you could still see the orange from the sunset on the horizon with the lights overhead.

      Are you still in Ashville or have you moved on to your next gig?

      • Wow, I didn’t know they can be visible when there is still light. Most articles or tips on viewing them require darkness and a cloudless sky. 🙂 We’re back in Florida. Travel nursing on hold indefinitely for now due to circumstances beyond my control. Sucks, but such is life.

      • They are usually best when it is the middle of the night, but sometimes shortly after sunset they will start to appear. It seems like 11pm to 3am is the best time to see them in general.

  10. Beautiful summer you’ve spent, these photos are a tribute to how one should live life 🙂 Very good to have you back and wish you a fine autumn ahead…

    • Thank you Randall. We had a lot of good weather and many great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and take photos. Have a great autumn too and I’m looking forward to getting caught up on your blog.

  11. The northern lights photo might have gotten my vote but for one thing you missed. Where is the whale breaching? Come on Jeff, you seriously dropped the ball on this one. If you are going to go to that much trouble to create such an amazing scene, why not just finish the job? Jeez. Some people.

  12. Your photos are always excellent Jeff, but the time off must have supercharged your batteries when you were taking these shots. BTW, thank goodness for John Oliver and his routine reamings of that narcissistic clown Trump. Since my internet is good, I’ve been getting a regular dose of the Donald, and with each passing day, it only gets worse. And with each poll, it gets scarier. If I weren’t afraid of being struck by lightning, I’d pray. ~James

    • I think prayer is okay – Trump has been saying he is the world’s biggest Christian and he hasn’t been struck down yet!

      Thanks for the compliments on the photos. Where I live there are only a few areas to take photos, so I end up revisiting the same spots again and again which leads to a better crop in the end.

  13. These photos are just stunning. I voted for the goats because it made me smile, but the sunset with the gorgeous tidal zone is out of this world (as are all the others).

    • Thank you Caroline. That tidal zone sunset was special to see in person, and watching that goat was cool too. Alaska is just too much fun.

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