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1124. Alaska Reflections

Check out some spectacular professional photos from Alaska

SPECIAL EDITION

Amazing Photos from Alaska

While Dee and I were in Alaska on a once-in-a-lifetime tour last year, I purchased some professional photos (with captions) taken by local photographers. From time to time, I am going to break from the normal routine by posting some of these photos. Whether it’s the scenery or the wildlife, they speak of the glory of God. They also take us, at least for a little while, into another world, free from our usual daily distractions. I urge you to take your time enjoying these photos and reading the photographers’ comments. Let God speak to you through them.

 

Glacier Bay! It’s that place! The land of ice and change, bears and humpback whales, mountains and fjords! So many signs in our world… impersonal directives and non-negotiables…but this one is different. I squint a little every time I pass by and it reads clearly: “Welcome home, the enchanted land awaits you!!!” Photographer: Bill Eichenlaub

 

Northern lights, or aurora borealis, are caused by charged particles from the sun colliding into the earth’s upper atmosphere along magnetic field lines. Usually, the color is white or green, but occasionally purple and red can be seen. The various colors depend on what kind of particle is involved (typically oxygen or nitrogen) and how the molecules break apart. Photographer:Sean Neilson

A sunrise of muted pink, blue and purple hues fills this frame. The mighty Fairweather Range is visible in the distance comprised of several peaks over 10,000 feet, including from left to right, the pyramidal Mt. Crillon, flat-topped Mt. Bertha and domed Mt. Fairweather. Photographer: Sean Neilson

This is Taylor Bay and the Brady Icefield just 18 miles west of present day Glacier Bay. This scene is sometimes cited as similar to what Glacier ‘Bay’ may have looked like 1,000 years ago ‚Äď that is, a lot of glacier, a big outwash plain and not so much ‘bay’. If we use this modern day photo as an analog of the past, then present day cruise ship transfers of park rangers would occur in about the middle of the outwash plain and Bartlett Cove park facilities would be located along the green strip of land to the right. The Brady Icefield shown in the photo has a flattish looking, gently sloping surface. But the under-ice land it is resting on is well below sea-level and is quite irregular in shape, just like the bottom of Glacier Bay. Use your imagination to project the sides of the mountains downward, beneath the ice. If you could lift all of the ice in this photo up in to the air it would leave behind a deep U-shaped valley. Two different scenarios are possible in this future ice-less time. The valley could fill with ocean water, just like Glacier Bay. More likely, however, there would be a great glacial lake, dammed up at its mouth by the outwash fan in Taylor Bay. Someday we may have a map of the land that is under all that ice. Until then, it is up to your imagination… Photographer: Denny Capps

 

This is a carving on a tree in Bartlett Cove. The Tlingit have many clans but all clans belong to either the eagle (as in this photo) or the raven group. Each group has rich oral histories and traditions that date back from before the last glaciation of Glacier Bay. Photographer: Bill Eichenlaub

 

Humpback whales compete with brown bears as being the most popular, ‘must-see’ mammal in Glacier Bay. This particular humpback whale is a calf, and it is doing what we photographers always like to see: breaching, where the whale jumps straight out of the water. No one really knows why whales breach‚Ķit may serve as a signal to other whales, it may help them shed dead skin and parasites, and in some cases it may indicate disturbance. Others believe that the whales find some enjoyment in breaching, and do it for fun. Photographer: Tom Bergman

 

Breaching humpback whale juvenile. The majority of the humpback whales in Southeast Alaska, including Glacier Bay, are born on breeding grounds around the Hawaiian Islands. Female humpback whales give birth to one calf at a time. When they are just a few months old, the calves accompany their mothers on the 2,500+ mile migration to Southeast Alaska for the summer. By the time the mother returns to the breeding grounds the following winter, she has generally weaned the calf, who is on its own. Photographer: Tom Bergman

 

While killer whales are frequently found in Glacier Bay waters, they are more seldom seen than humpback whales. Their movements are much less predictable than humpbacks, making a sighting of this species all the more difficult. Researchers photograph the dorsal fin and gray ‚Äėsaddle patch‚Äô just below the dorsal fin because these features have unique markings that make each individual identifiable. By comparing photographs over time, researchers are able to patch together data that illuminates the killer whales‚Äô movements, ranges and life histories. Photographer: Sean Neilson

 

I only saw killer whales once in the two summers that I spent in Glacier Bay, but that one time they put on a great show. This photo is particularly special to me due to the unusual behavior of the animal. This is called a ‚Äėspyhop.‚Äô A spyhop occurs when a whale rises vertically out of the water, most likely to look around and see what is above the water. In this case, what probably happened was that this killer whale took notice of our boat, and decided to pop its head out and get a better view. For animals that spend most of their time with their heads underwater, it is exciting to see such an active display of them watching us. Photographer: Tom Bergman

 

In this dramatic shot, a killer whale has knocked a harbor porpoise out of the water and into the air before catching it in its mouth. Harbor porpoises are common in Glacier Bay and are often targeted as prey by transient killer whales. Photographer: Tom Bergman

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Inclusion of photographs and/or images in no way implies the endorsement of this blog or its information by the photographer or designer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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