Report from the field, part three

raven Corvus corax portraitAnd so, we conclude our photo tour of Juneau Alaska, courtesy of Jim Kramer, unless he complains that I didn’t feature a particular image that he thought I should (you’ve seen fewer than half of what he sent me – I’m playing the editor game here.) It was a business trip with only three days of photo opportunities, so he accomplished a lot, despite the weather.

Seen here, a raven (Corvus corax) poses for a portrait. While their territory covers an awful lot of the North American continent, they aren’t to be found in Kansas, where Jim lives, or much at all in NC – I think I’ve seen them at a distance while at Pilot Mountain, but that’s it. They appear to be plentiful in Juneau, however, if the photos I received are any indication. These are pretty good light conditions to tackle subjects of this nature, by the way – the textures and subtle coloration of the feathers would likely have been lost in brighter, higher-contrast light, plus the associations we have with ravens tie in well with somber and moody conditions. A raven in a field of daisies just isn’t going to cut it.

view of Gastineau Channel from Mount Roberts
In recognition of Jim’s flat Kansas residence, we shall gaze upon more of Alaska’s ridiculously implausible heights and mountains, such as this view from the Mount Roberts Nature Center looking across Gastineau Channel to Douglas Island and the town of Douglas, just across from Juneau, the barest hint of which appears at bottom. This is from an altitude of about 550 meters (1800 feet,) which is less than halfway up Mount Roberts itself.

misty mountain near Juneau
I have no idea what peak this is – we shall call it “Squishy.” Don’t look at me that way, just because you’ve forgotten your classic literary references…

runoff down mountainside in heavy mistIt’s safe to say that if you prefer dry air, open fields, or lots of sunlight, Alaska is not for you. But that’s minimizing the dramatic and rare vistas, and even if you don’t want to live there, it can be a fascinating visit – I admit I’m envious. It’s the kind of remote and impressive landscape that you expect nature photographers to be inhabiting, instead of, you know, college towns in North Carolina…

Gold Creek, Cope Park, Juneau, Alaska
Jim’s comment on the part one post now has me identifying this as Gold Creek in Cope Park, probably named appropriately because Juneau was primarily established by the gold rush – there aren’t too many other reasons to form a city in the margin between the channel and the steep mountains, way the hell away from everything else. If Jim found any gold there, he’s been keeping it mum – I’ll wait and see what kind of new photographic equipment he suddenly acquires…

some Alaskan viewI am thinking this is looking northwest from Mount Roberts, and that splash of green is the marshy area of the northern part of the channel where the airport sits, but that’s the best I can do until Jim pipes up. I like the framing, especially with the trees reaching for the distant peak, and notice the depth provided by the layering blue haze.

wildflower in Alaska
Yeah, I know, now we’re getting into the kind of stuff I normally show here. It’s not exactly intentional, it’s just that there are too few nice scenic landscapes to be found anywhere in this area at all, so I’m forced into doing semi-abstract little tableaux. Lucky for you that the traffic noise never comes through.

Nugget Falls on Mendenhall Lake, Juneau, AlaskaThis is Nugget Falls, which empties into Mendenhall Lake not too far from the base of the glacier. Probably not a place to go tubing, no matter how xtreemcooldood you are.

mist on the mountainside, Juneau, Alaska
Serious humidity. I doubt anyone there is going out each night to keep the plants watered…

unknown mountain on flight from Juneau to Seattle
Jim extended the camera up on a really long selfie-stick for this one… no, huh? All right, fine, it was from the plane on the trip back, as Jim says, about 40 minutes into the flight between Juneau and Seattle. Playing with the map, I have a faint suspicion that this is Mt Ratz, but it’s only a guess. Pretty dire-looking peak though, ain’t it?

And I close with a photo that appeals to the humor that both Jim and I possess – since we’re both atheists, a lot of people figure this is right up our alley anyway. The figurehead over the door is great, but don’t ask me why the windows are mismatched, or why the European spelling of “centre” is used. Just for class, is my guess…
Unspeakable Acts Research Centre, Juneau, Alaska

2 comments to Report from the field, part three

  • Jim

    The third image in was looking east further up what I assume to be more of Mount Roberts from the top of the tram station.
    The plant is a dwarf dogwood, they only get to be 4-8” tall.
    I do feel the need to point out that Juneau is located in a temperate rainforest; so yes it does rain quite a bit.
    I would love to go back and explore more without an 11 year-old tethered to me.

    • Al Denelsbeck

      I still like “Squishy” better.

      And I stand corrected – I probably should have said that Juneau is not for people who don’t like humidity.

      Now, since you have determined that you can get away from the homestead for a few days, you need to start looking at where the next trip will be (and if we will meet there.)

      Thanks for the use of your images, and for your clarifying statements! Definitely an interesting place, and you gave a great impression of the locale and conditions.