Monday, September 14, 2015

Looking For The Unexpected

One of the funny things about photography is we may think we have a plan and go out to photograph one subject and discover something completely unexpected and wonderful to photograph.   This is especially true in nature photography where we have very little control over the conditions we are in.  While on vacation I have gotten up at completely unreasonable times to drive a good distance to make photos of sunrise only to find only clouds or fog.   I've gone to Cades Cove several times to photograph Black Bears and not see a single one.

"We may make our plans, but God has the last word

- Proverbs 16:1 (Good News Translation).

We had this happen over and over again while in Alaska.   Here's just a few.

While still at Kantishna a friend told us about an old beaver pond near the airstrip.   No one had seen a beaver there and the people at the lodge thought the beavers may have moved on a while ago.   We had a couple hours before dinner so off we went to see what we could find.

The path to the ponds was more of a magician's  illusion - turn your head and it's gone.   We had been given some good directions and eventually made our way to some pretty ponds. We didn't see a beaver but did see three ducks in a small pond behaving very strangely.  They were swimming back at forth and appeared to be agitated by something.  I don't think it was us because we were pretty far away.   We watched them for a while and noticed something else was in the pond with them.
This pond is not big enough for all of us.
Yep, there was a beaver in that little pond.  He would swim back and forth across the pond.  It looked like he was trying to chase the ducks off but the were having no part of that.   We went to the beaver ponds not expecting to find a beaver and found both ducks and a beaver.

One thing we did find that I didn't expect was grasses on a mound of mud with a dead tree that made a nice pleasing photo.   If I had said we were going to look for mud, a dead tree and a clump of grass to photography people would have thought I was crazy.   This was an unexpected treat.

On our bus ride out we spotted some more moose.

Daddy Moose
It's hard to tell what's going on in this photo.  It was hard to tell when we were looking at it from the bus.  The driver explained what we were seeing is a bull moose that is in the process of losing the velvet off his antlers.   There were shreds still hanging on and some blood stains on the bone.
Momma and Baby Moose
 The photo of Momma and Baby was another long shot.  It was raining and a bit foggy, making the photo a little too fuzzy for me.   I did some Photoshop magic and made it appear to be a watercolor painting on canvas.  Not something I typically do to my photos but in this case it made a poor photo into something interesting.

We had planned to spend another day exploring Denali by bus but the weather turned nasty.  We went for a hike along the Savage River in a blizzard!
Savage River Blizzard
When it wasn't snowing it was blowing horizontal rain.   I couldn't take the lens cap off and make a shot before the lens was peppered with snowflakes.   It didn't look good for exploring or photographing that day.

One the way back to the park entrance we pulled over and started making photos of an area with a lot of Aspen trees with golden leafs.  While we were there the unexpected happened.   The clouds started to break and the sun beamed down on the Aspens and evergreens.   Then a rainbow appeared!


There's gold in them there hills!
OK, you're looking at these photos and thinking "he edited those to make the colors more vibrant."   This is what it looked like!   I told June while we were there that no one would believe how beautiful it was.

Before too long we had lots of company with cameras along the side of the road making photos of the unexpected beauty on a miserable cloudy, rainy, snowy day.

We were blessed that day with even more beautiful scenes.  God had the last word.

Tomorrow's blog will be about our afternoon on the Denali Highway - a 135 mile long dirt road through some of the most beautiful scenery outside the National Park.

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