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Catch as Catch Can in Ketchikan

ceg4048

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One thing Texans hate to be reminded of is how much bigger the state of Alaska is than any other state. For almost 100 years Texas, the 25th US state was the biggest, and had the biggest of everything - including hats. That all changed in 1959 when Alaska became the 49th state - with almost 3X the square footage - and it held the biggest mountain to boot. There was a lot of hand wringing in Texas that day pardner.

Took a cruise up the coast with a few stops along the way. Made it to the capital, Juneau. Unfortunately, the weather was horrible, which demolished any chance I would have had to show just how spectacular this place really is. As a result the scenes, although still inspiring, produced only average images. To make matters worse, one had to compete with hundreds of eager shot-happy tourists all jostling for space. It was carnage, simple as that. If that weren't enough one could only spend a small amount of time actually standing still. The scenes were only available via a catamaran(20 knots), train ride (15 knots) or jet boat (over 20 knots). So these shots are only "simulated" still shots with changing composition, low, foggy flat lighting and rain/freezing temperatures. These are the best of a very bad lot I regret to say...

I took only a single lens with me, Nikons rinkiest/dinkiest salute to plastic, the AF Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED. The reason? It's small, as light as a feather, does just about everything and is amazingly sharp. It's a full frame lens and is pointless to use on a camera with DX sized sensor (like the D40) where the amazing 18-200mm VR is more appropriate. True, it doesn't have Image stabilization, does not have a blazingly fast aperture, but mated to a D3 these issues are minimized as a result of the sensors high quality. The D3 itself is nothing more than a tool for the Paparazzi, lacking the ultimate resolution of it's contemporaries, but it's low light capabilities are unmatched. Still, low ISO means low noise so I tried to keep the the aperture as close to f/8 as I could even risking underexposure, which I know I can recover from more easily than a noisy image.

Departure Port

We left from Seattle which was experiencing a drought of all things. I thought this might be a good omen...

This was my first extensive use of a polarizer on digital camera. I was under the impression that they were useless but this is incorrect. They definitely reduce glare reflections while leaving untouched the sky/shore reflections on water, which helps to give a deep foreboding look to all water shots.
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Polarizers can also darken blue skies, which I love to do, however, if the angle of view is two wide the effect is uneven as can be seen here. in this shot the sun is from the right.
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Ketchikan/Juneau


The polarizer was my only weapon to help cut through the haze. Here is Juneau's port.
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For ship spotters, NCL's sister ship "The Pearl".
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Fjords similar to those of Norway. These are all referred to as Misty Fjords.
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Waterfall, glacial melt, in a passage known as Tracy Arm.
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Entering the ice fields. The rock faces are all scarred by the glaciers as they excavate their way and create the valleys.
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Navigating the ice fields was slow, cold and tedious.
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Approach to Sawyer Glacier.
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Up close and personal with Mr. Sawyer.
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Skagway/White Pass

This is an area infamous for the events which occurred during the Gold Rush. This is an 8000 foot climb from sea level up rugged terrain. We took the train up and back.

High Plains Drifter. This plateau is normally under about 60 foot (20 meters) of snow in the winter. No hope of finding aquatic plants here mate. Don't even think about it.
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View of the port from the plateau.
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The sky appeared for 20 miliseconds.
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Skeena River, British Columbia

Although the Alaskan coastline and interior are spectacular, I found their rugged shapes disharmonious from a compositional standpoint. I actually preferred the smooth lines along the B.C river systems. This is the best i could do in the rain, standing in a speeding ski boat.

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Inside the Boat

I guess it should be called a ship. For those who have never seen the inside of a cruise ship here are a coupe of shots. This is what Walt Disney considers elegant. I'm actually proudest of these shots since I really had to think about how to get exposure to the interior without blowing away the much brighter exterior. Then I had to wait for all the alcoholics to leave. Not easy.

A secluded lounge.
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Soho Ba, without the creeps.
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Elegant Dining.
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Stardust Theatre. The shows were pretty good actually, even in rough seas.
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Well that's it. A nice, if expensive trip. I recommend it if anyone is on that side of the world. Hope you enjoyed the pics as much as I enjoyed getting them. :crazy:

Cheers,
 

glenn

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19 Jan 2009
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358
Location
Leicestershire
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i rely like this one.
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is it rely that blue? :wideyed:
nice snaps clive i like them. :thumbup: any fancy fish tanks on board the ship by any chance?
 

chris1004

Member
Joined
27 Dec 2008
Messages
565
Hi Clive

I noticed that you have been absent on here for a while hope you had a good time, the place looks awesome and I relly like your photos thanks for sharing them with us.

Regards, Chris.
 

a1Matt

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10 Mar 2008
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Bromley
ceg4048 said:
Navigating the ice fields was slow, cold and tedious.

...but it made for some great pics :lol: Cheers Clive, I really enjoyed looking at those :)
 

JamesM

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17 Apr 2008
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1,903
Location
The BIG End, South Wales
Wow, not easy to pick a favourite from those images, but I'm going to be different and say I like this the best:

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The Misty Fjords and Tracy Arm pics are also great, and as usual, I love the crispness to your pics, Clive :)

Thanks for the history and story too matey :)
 

Garuf

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30 Oct 2007
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4,960
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Copenhagen
Wow! looks amazing! Did you take any pictures of the train/railway at all? I'd quiet like to see them if you did. :oops:
 

ceg4048

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Glad you like the pics guys. :D

glenn said:
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is it rely that blue? :wideyed:
nice snaps clive i like them. :thumbup: any fancy fish tanks on board the ship by any chance?
Yep they are blue blue blue. The glacial ice is packed down due to their enormous weight so they have about 10X the density of normal ice. The density affects the index of refraction as well as the light absorption. Blue being the higher energy wavelength is the only one to make it back out. Unfortunately there weren't any aquariums on board. :arghh:

chris1004 said:
Hi Clive
I noticed that you have been absent on here for a while hope you had a good time, the place looks awesome and I relly like your photos thanks for sharing them with us..
Cheers mate, yeah that part of the world is breathtaking in 3D. The salmon were beginning their runs up-river and everywhere around they were practicing by jumping out of the water. It was like living in a cartoon.

George Farmer said:
Great series mate. :thumbup:

I love the juxtaposition of the man-made and nature that you've captured so well.
Thanks mate. yes that's the whole idea that permeates living in the Pacific Northwest. Everyone is focused on balancing human needs with the needs of the natural world. I love the idea of this careful balancing act.

a1Matt said:
ceg4048 said:
Navigating the ice fields was slow, cold and tedious.

...but it made for some great pics :lol: Cheers Clive, I really enjoyed looking at those :)
I thought we'd never make it outta there. Icebergs don't mix well with boat hulls. I saw the movie Titanic and I knew it didn't end well at all... :silent:

JamesM said:
Wow, not easy to pick a favourite from those images, but I'm going to be different and say I like this the best:

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The Misty Fjords and Tracy Arm pics are also great, and as usual, I love the crispness to your pics, Clive :)

Thanks for the history and story too matey :)
Yeah that one was for you mate. Geometric shapes galore reminded me of your scape "Without Foundation" :D

Garuf said:
Wow! looks amazing! Did you take any pictures of the train/railway at all? I'd quiet like to see them if you did. :oops:
I just knew there'd be a train spotter in the group. There's always one isn't there? I think there were two or three. Let me have a look..

Cheers guys!
 
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