September, 2006:

More Alaska Photos


I’ve upload more pictures from Alaska. Believe it or not this blue is completely genuine and just like it was like down a glacier crevasse. I’ve not image processed this shot all all.

It’s Not About The Bike

It\'s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to LifeBought this book at Seattle airport and read it on the journey home and then finished it in the couple of days after.  I’d been meaning to pick it up for some time.

For those who don’t know it’s the story of how Lance Armstrong beat cancer and recovered to go on to to win the gruelling Tour de France an epic 7 times, although the book only covers up to his second victory.  If you’re expecting a standard sports autobiography this book isn’t for you but if you want a true story of triumph over adversity then you could certainly do worse.

Image Recovery

Felt I should post having had a moan about it previously. Following our return from holiday I set about recovering some of the pictures I lost from the memory card that corrupted. The software I used was Zero Assumption Recovery which is does more than just flash card recovery but for images is completely free. It recovered all but two of the photos we’d taken on the card and in fact got back a load that I’d formatted off several months ago! A very impressive piece of software and highly recommended.

I can also recommend Rawshooter Essentials which is another bit of free software for working with RAW images – but I suggest you get it sooner rather than later as the company who make it have been bought by Adobe and it may not remain free forever.

Alaska Pictures

[thumb:832:l]I’ve chosen a selection of our Alaska photos and processed them to look their best (or at least as far as my photoshop knowledge allows). It’s a lot better than just dumping an entire set of photos onto the gallery as I’ve done previously. Used the Rawshooter program for the first time which has some excellent facilities for processing Raw camera files as well as some nice little features for tagging images with priorities for processing. No point reading this anyway – go read the gallery! I’ll be adding comments to the pictures this time too.


Day 10 – Today we’ve travelled to the Denali Lodge and gone on a tour 20 miles or so into the National Park. We managed to get a sight of Mount McKinley or as the natives call it, Denali – The Great One. It’s the highest mountain in North America and apparently the largest in the world by volume. The park was really nice and scenic but wildlife was thin on the ground. Apparently we missed a wolf sighting by a few minutes.

The big news though is the aurora we saw last night – it was breathtaking and a true spectacle. We were out with the camera from around 10pm last night till 1.30am but every minute was worth it. I reckon we’ve got some brilliant shots.

Only negative of the day was a corrupt memory card causing me to lose our photos from the train ride up until we got to the dog sled camp. Oh well, but the light show certainly made up for that.

Northern Lights

Northern LightsDay 9 update: Last night around 10 pm, our ranger told us that the northern lights were out. We went to look outside, couldn’t see much to start with but about an hour later we had a magnificant display of colour. There was no cloud in the sky and the view was breathtaking. We stayed out until about 2 am as thats the time the locals say the best sights can be seen. Got plenty of great photos.

This morning it is much cooler and there is ground frost. Next stop – Denali National Park!

McKinley Lodge

huskyDay 9 – Today we are at the Lodge. Weather wasn’t great yesterday but much clearer today. That said we still can’t see the top of Mount McKinley/Denali which is 40 miles away. In a couple of hours we are going to an Iditarod dog sled camp – Kathryn is desperate to see some Husky puppies.

Hopefully we will get a chance to see the Northern Lights this evening – although it might mean being awake at 2am. The cloud yesterday certainly gave us no chance.

Mt McKinley

Mount McKinleyDay 8 – Today we left our ship behind and boarded the train for our long journey to Mount McKinley. The train took almost 6 hours and we had some fantastic views along the way. We eventually arrived at the lodge early this afternoon and although we have been having some rain, we had a lovely walk around the grounds. They were not kidding when they called this lodge a ‘wilderness lodge’… absolutely nothing nearby – the closest form of civilisation is an hour away by bus. Unfortunatly we have not been able to see the mountain due to mist/cloud, but hopefully we will see it tomorrow.

The people at the reception said that they have been seeing the northern lights from this lodge over the past couple of weeks, and said they will call us to let us know if its visible.. no matter what time it is!

Glacier Bay

Day 6 – Glacier Bay – Yesterday we went here, its basically an inlet with a number of glaciers on either side. We got to within a quarter of a mile of John Hopkins’ Glacier. On the way out we spent 3 hours on deck watching for whales and managed a couple of small sightings. Kathryn got a better view than me as I was stuck behind the camera. Definetely got a flipper in one picture though. Kathryn did get a good picture of some seals surfacing.

We had some great weather, the naturalist on board said its the best weather that Glacier Bay has seen all summer.

Alaskan Adventure

We haven’t blogged as much as we’d like but here’s how it’s been going.

Day 1 – Vancouver – After arriving in Vancouver we had an overnight stay in a fantastic hotel – it was reall good. US Customs were backed up on the day we were boarding the ship so we ended up on a free tour of the city while they killed time. Vancouver seems a great city and Stanley park seemed realy nice.

Day 2 – time spent at sea getting used to the ship – my old sea sickness kicked in a bit but not so bad. Kathryn had no such trouble. Took a jacuzzi out on deck, not that cold at all. Very wet and rainy though.

Day 3 – Ketchikan – went on a canopy adventure – basically a load of zip lines and rope ladders 140ft up. The longest zip line was 250 yards long and you got up to 30mph across it. Saw a bear from the rope bridges feeding below.

Day 4 – Juneau – this was amazing – did some shopping in the morning before going on the Extended Glacier Trek. A helicopter ride across 2 glaciers before being dropped off and walking the ice for 4 whole hours. We even climbed out of a 50 feet deep vertical crevasse!!! A stunning experience, words cannot do it justice.

Day 5 (today) – Skagway – again did some shopping in the morning and then went on our tour. The weather today and yesterday was glorious – the best they’ve had in 2 months according to the guides. Todays tour was a wildlife tour and we got some good photos of eagles but the star of the show was a 500lb female grizzly who popped out of the forest a matter of yards from our bus. Got some good photos of her feeding before she got spooked and swam to the other side. Tonight we’re eating in the onboard steak house.

Have fun – we certainly are!