Juneau is located on the upper Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska.  It is nearly 600 air miles from Anchorage and 900 miles from Seattle.  Juneau is the capitol of Alaska and the only transportation in or out of Juneau is by air or boat.  There is no road linking it to the outside world. 

The one thing that has amazed me about the cities in Alaska, is most of them still look like a small town.  Even Juneau.  On my first visit, I could not believe this small, rural looking city was the capitol.  I guess I am used to the crowded big cities of the East.  There is plenty to do and see here.  There are museums, fishing, hiking, whale watching, helicopter rides, float plane rides and camping.

On my first visit, I took my first helicopter ride over several glaciers and landed at Dog World where my friends and I rode the dog sleds.  We also had time to visit Mendenhall Glacier.  This visit we decided on a photo safari excursion.  This included whale watching and a trip to Mendenhall.  Our guide was a photographer who gave us a crash course in taking better nature photos.  He offered assistance to everyone, no matter their skill level or what type of camera they had; be it a DSLR or point and shoot.  I was able to pick up a couple of tips that helped me that day as well as now. 

This first photo is just to show you what type of boat we were on for the whale watching.  It was completely enclosed with windows all around.  The guide would raise the windows for a better view and picture taking opportunity.  The boat fit approximately 14 guests plus the guide and the captain.  I felt it was a nice way to view the whales, but then I have nothing to compare it to.


Lots of whales were spotted that day.  The captain had a radio that he could monitor the whereabouts of the whales.  When there was a sighting, he headed in that direction.  The one thing I wanted to see, as well as, several other folks on the boat, was the breeching of a whale.  That is when the whale comes completing out of the water.  I hear it is a spectacular sight.  We were not that lucky on this day.  But, I had a great time!  It was hard to capture that ultimate shot, but I did my best.  Knowing what I know now, whenever I return, I will rent a lens with a longer focal length to get really up close and personal.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f/11  1/500  ISO 400

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f/13  1/500  ISO 400

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200mm  f/11  1/500  ISO 400

We spent about 2 hours on the water then returned to shore, boarded a bus and rode about half an hour to Mendenhall Glacier.  Once there, our group hiked a couple of the nearby trails and stopped for nature photos.  We made our way to the visitors center and saw our first real views of the glacier.  It was just as spectacular this time as it was the first time.  Here are some of the nature photos I took along with a couple of Mendenhall Glacier.

This first photo was taken as we walked along the trail.  I took several photos standing and kneeling.  Not happy with what I was getting, I finally got down on the ground and took this.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f/11  1/100  ISO 400

I have no idea what type of plant this is.  It just looked interesting.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f/5.6  1/60  ISO 400

I must have taken about 15 shots of this waterfall/babbling brook.  I was experimenting with slow and fast shutter speeds.  Not having a tripod it was hard to get a really sharp image at the slower shutter speeds.  I wanted to create that soft, blurred water effect.  I did not want the crisp, stop action on the water.  For hand held, I think this turned out pretty good.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 28 mm  f/16  1/30  ISO 400

This view is from the Visitor’s Center overlooking Mendenhall Lake and Glacier.  You can get a sense of how vast this glacier is by how small the folks are in the left foreground.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 60 mm  f/16  1/250  ISO 400

For this last photo, we moved to a different viewing location. I turned the camera to a vertical position and wanted to capture the reflections in the lake as well as the glacier.  It creates a different feel.  I like the contrast of the ice in the background and the lush greenery in the foreground.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 40 mm  f/18  1/30  ISO 400

Posted by: lle2010 | March 2, 2011

Week 9 2011 – City by the Water

I recently visited the city of Havre de Grace, MD.  It is a small quaint city in Northeast Maryland at the mouth of the Susquehanna River on the Chesapeake Bay.  I met friends for lunch on a cold, cloudy Sunday afternoon in February.  I arrived early and decided to explore the main street in town.  Being a Sunday and very early in the season, most of the shops were closed.  However, I did manage to find an antique store open and it was fun to browse around and see if I could find any treasures.  Not having a lot of time, I did not find anything, but I have since learned that Havre de Grace is home to five museums, 50 antique vendors and countless festivals.  I will return in the Spring/Summer and see what kind of “damage” I can do to my wallet!  Once my friends arrived we were seated at our table and enjoyed a 3 hour plus lunch laughing and enjoying the view of the water.

This first photo is of the bridge in which the Amtrak trains use.  Each time a train crossed, I was unable to capture that picture.  But this is what I did get.  Because the day was cold and gray, I felt this photo should be a black and white one. 

Canon 40D  18-200 mm at 130 mm  f/11  1/125  ISO 100

I know that at first glance, this next photo looks pretty blah and maybe uninteresting.  I took it because there are so many lines in the image.  If you look you will see vertical, horizontal and angled lines.  They are everywhere.  I found it fascinating.

Canon 40D 18-200 mm at 60 mm  f/9  1/200  ISO 100

These last two were fun to take.  As I was walking to meet my friends, I came across this display outside one of the shops.  It was very colorful on such a drab day and it made me smile.

Canon 40D  18-200 mm at 24 mm  f/10  1/200  ISO 100

This is a close up of the frog in the cart.


Canon 40D  18-200 mm at 50 mm  f/11  1/200  ISO 100

Posted by: lle2010 | February 25, 2011

Week 8 2011 – Disney Dream

This photo was taken on a very sunny morning.  I was sitting in Vista Cafe, on the Disney Dream, enjoying a cup of coffee.  I liked the way the life-preserver and chairs were in the shadows.  The first few shots I took, everything was too dark.  I made an adjustment and opened the EV +2 and this was the result.  It gives the impression of a very bright moonlit night. 

Canon 40D   18-200mm at 35mm  +2 steps  f/18  1/500 ISO 640

While walking on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, I spotted this humming bird.  It took several shots before I got this one.

Canon 40D 18-200mm at 200mm  f/7.1 1/250  ISO 100

This was taken of the new Disney Dream ship when it was docked at Castaway Cay.  I was standing on the deck of one of the private cabanas located on the family beach.

Canon 40D  18-200mm at 80mm  f/7.1  1/160  ISO 100

Posted by: lle2010 | February 21, 2011

Recap of 2010

I know that I haven’t posted since November 2010.  With the holidays, travel and work there just didn’t seem to be time.  I know that should not be an excuse but it is the truth.  I would like to thank everyone who visited my photo blog last year.  Your support and comments kept me wanting to post more photos. 

When I reviewed what my goals were in starting this blog, I believe I accomplished most of them.  I did learn to use my camera more efficiently, and had fun in the process.  I wanted to post a photo each week of the year.  While I may not have posted every week, I did manage to bring you much more than 52 photos to view.  I did not take the opportunity to shoot all the types of subjects I wanted, but I have learned I do a pretty good job with landscapes and that makes me smile.  I have also learned a bit more about editing software, but not nearly enough.  I have much to learn where editing is concerned.  But, as I have been told many times, if a photographer takes the proper photo to begin with, there shouldn’t be a lot of post processing!  This year I will post photos throughout the year but it may not be every week.  There is a lot going on right now, but I do find that my photography is a nice way to escape the pressures of everyday life.  I hope that you will continue to pop in and see what is here and please, leave a comment.

My goals for 2011 are:

  1. Continue to post photos as often as I can.
  2. Learn to shoot different subjects.
  3. Learn more about editing software.
  4. Read at least 4 books about photography.
  5. Continue to have fun.

Again, thanks everyone!


Posted by: lle2010 | November 1, 2010

Week 45 – Hubbard Glacier

This was my second visit to Hubbard Glacier.  The first was four years ago when I sailed Celebrity Cruise Line.  I was in awe of the glacier then and more so this visit. 

You might ask what is so awe-inspiring about a wall of blue ice.  It’s kind of hard to explain, but I will try. When the ship visits the glacier, it is an all day event.  We slowly move into the bay.  The Captain takes his time, for few reasons.  He wants everyone to enjoy the beauty of the bay and the glacier, but more importantly, he doesn’t want to hit a hidden iceberg.  There is floating ice every where in the bay.  Some are just small pieces and some may appear small but may descend deep into the water.  Safety is always first.  Once we arrive at the wall, the Captain will slowly turn the ship 360 degrees so no matter where you may be on the ship, everyone has an opportunity to view all aspects of the glacier.

Hubbard Glacier starts from its source on Mt. Logan in the Yukon and stretches 76 miles to the head of Yakutat Bay in Disenchantment Bay.  The face of Hubbard is over 6 miles wide.  The wall you sail along is 300 to 400 feet high from sea level and about 300 feet from sea level to the bottom.  The glacier is advancing and therefore you will hear it creak and groan as it moves.  It is a very active calving glacier.  On this visit the guests on the cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, was treated to a spectacular show.  Even the Captain was excited by what we saw.  Keep in mind he sees this glacier every week.  We experienced the calving of a 300 foot wall of ice crashing into the bay.  It was unbelievable!  We saw many smaller calves take place but this event stole the show!  To give you an idea of how much strength this kind of wall crashing into the water has on a ship, let me give you a few stats about the ship:

Tonnage:  90,090 gross tons
Length:     962 feet
Beam:       105.6 feet
Decks        12

When that wall of ice exploded into the water, that was the only time we felt the ship rock during our 7 night cruise!  It continued to rock for several minutes.  The folks on the deck were hollering,  clapping and the ships horn was blowing.  I don’t think I will ever forget the excitement of that moment.  As you scroll through the photos you will see that I have 16 photos of this event.  I started shooting just as the wall started creaking.  I had the camera set to rapid fire and shot each frame as it broke away and hit the water.  I hope you enjoy it.

We are at the mouth of Disenchantment Bay approaching Hubbard Glacier.  If memory serves me correctly, the Captain said we were about 7 miles from the glacier.

As we got closer to the glacier, we could spot seals on the floating ice.  They were like little dark dots.  I had to crop this image to bring them in a little closer.

We were about 4 miles from the wall.  You can see how blue the ice is.  Where ever you see black in the ice, that is the silt that has accumalated.

I zoomed in on a section of the ice to show just how blue it can be.

The next photos are thumbnails.  Like I mentioned earlier, I had the camera set to rapid fire and here are 16 of the photos.  Just click on them to see the larger image.  This event was over in about 10 seconds.



I had to have someone take my photo with Hubbard Glacier in the background.

This last photo was taken at the end of the day.  The ship was heading out of the bay and we were on our way to Juneau, Alaska.

Posted by: lle2010 | November 1, 2010

Week 39-Week 44

No post for these weeks.

Posted by: lle2010 | September 15, 2010

Week 38 Mt. McKinley and the Train to Seward, Alaska

The morning we left Denali, it was a bit overcast but we had hopes that the skies would clear.  As it turned out the sun came out and we had a beautiful sunny day!  As a result we were able to experience a very rare sight.  We were among the approximately 30% of folks who actually get to view Mt. McKinley/Denali.  I have to tell you, it was majestic!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Mt. McKinley is also know as Denali, “The High One”.  Mt. McKinley is the highest mountain in North America. At its highest point it is 20,320 feet tall.  The mountain is also know for it’s extreme temperatures.  Temperatures have been recorded as low as -75 degrees f with wind chills as low as -188 degrees f.  Fortunately, we did not have to experience those kinds of temperatures.  We had a mild, sunny day that I believe was in the high 60’s – low 70’s.  The first time we saw Mt. McKinley was from the bus.  I took photo after photo.  As our trip progressed, the motor coach stopped twice and each stop offered its own vantage point for viewing.  Below I have posted my two favorite photos and then there are thumbnails you may click on to view the other vantage points. 

Many of you have told me you wanted more photos.  I will try to pick the best ones and place them in the post as thumbnails.  I hope you enjoy them!

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  1/320  f 8  ISO 100

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 100 mm  1/400  f 11  ISO 100


We arrived in Anchorage late that afternoon.  Our group took a little time to walk around the city, before checking into our hotel.  That evening we all met up and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Simon & Seaford’s.  The next morning we all were up bright and early to board our train to Seward.  Royal Caribbean Cruise Line occupies the last car on the train.  The car sits higher that the others and has a glass dome ceiling.  No matter where you may sit you will have a spectacular view of the country side.  Below are photos taken from the train.  If you would like to read more about the train and its amenities visit, www.alaskatravel.com/alaska-railroad/seward-anchorage.html

I loved the peacefulness of this scene.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 130  1/160  f 6.3  ISO 400

This next photo is the only eagle photo I have.  I like the fact that the eagle is in the foreground and in the distant is an airplane.  I have also included two versions of this photo.  In the second one I placed a tungsten filter in the post processing.  It is fun to experiment.  You never know what you may come up with.


I like how the clouds are hovering over the tree line and the way the morning light softens this photo.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 50 mm  1/125  f 8  ISO 400

This was the first glacier we passed.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 150 mm  1/800  f 11  ISO 400

It was difficult to capture the engine of the train.  I can’t tell you how many times I tried.  The photos were either blurry or too much reflection on the glass.  This was the best I could find. 

This next photo was taken on Kenai Lake.  The water was so calm, not a ripple.  This caused the lake to appear as a mirror.  The reflection of the mountains was unbelievable.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 35 mm  1/125  f 9  ISO 400

When we arrived in Seward, we boarded a bus that took us to the Alaska Sea Life Center.  This is Alaska’s only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center.  We spent about two hours touring the center.  There are puffins, jellyfish, sea lions and other sea life.  Here are just a few of the animals I photographed.  I really liked the jellyfish.  I probably stood at their window for 30 minutes.  I find them fascinating



These photos may not be as sharp as I would like them to be.  They were shot handheld, no flash at 3200 ISO.  The room was very dark.  A tripod would have given a better result.

I loved this puffin.  He stands so proud.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 90 mm  1/125  f 6.3  ISO 400

I have no idea what kind of animal or sea life this is.  I should have taken a photo of the sign.  duh! 


This last photo was taken outside of the Sea Life Center. 

Next week Hubbard Glacier.

Posted by: lle2010 | September 5, 2010

Week 37 – Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska


Lions, tigers and bears…would you believe…caribou, moose and bears! 

Denali National Park and preserve covers 6 million acres or 7,370 square miles.  That is larger than the state of Massachusetts.  It was originally established to protect the large mammals that call the park home.  Denali, which means “High One” is the name the Athabascan native people gave the largest peak (Mount McKinley).  The mountain range that is home to Mount McKinley stretches 600 miles.

On our visit, we boarded a park service shuttle bus which actually is a renovated school bus.  Because we were with a tour, we were picked  up from our hotel.  Within approximately 10 to 15 minutes we arrived at the entrance to the park.  If you are driving a private vehicle, you are only allowed to go to mile 14.   A park ranger will stop you at that point and you will be asked to turn around or you can pick up the park shuttle bus.  However, you will have to make prior arrangements for this service.  The road actually goes for about 90 miles.  The shuttles are only allowed to travel to mile 61.  Our bus took us to that point.  Oh and I should point out that the road is not paved the entire 90 plus miles.  Because of all the rain we were experiencing, and not having a paved road, the bus windows became very dirty very quickly.  This offered a challenge for our spotting and viewing the animals.

Along the way, our guide Matt, spoke to us non stop.  He pointed out wildlife, told stories of the park and gave us a wonderful overview on the history of the park.  Whenever he stopped the bus for us to view the wildlife, he would film the encounter and we all were able to view the animals on the drop down video screens.  Trying to take photos was a real challenge.  One, it was raining rather hard at times, and two everyone wanted to get the best shot and viewing position possible.  And, who could blame them.  Also, in our excitement, it was hard to stay quite.  You don’t realize how loud you are until you have to be quite.  Sometimes the least bit of noise will scare the animals  away.  I think we forget just how keen their hearing can be.  If you are on a bus that stays quite, and are patient, the animals will come right down to the road and cross your path.  That is exactly what happen with the grizzly bear.  Our patience paid off when the momma bear and her two cubs made their way down the side of the mountain and crossed the street in front of the bus.  We all had to be quick with the cameras because bear move very quickly!  The photos I have posted may not be the very best, but they were my very best given the shooting circumstances.

Cub #1

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f5.6  1/200  ISO 400

Cub #2

  Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f5.6  1/100  ISO 400

Momma Bear

 Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm f5.6  1/160  ISO 400

During the day we not only saw the bear, but we came upon dall sheep, moose, caribou, and eagles.  We did not get to see any wolves, fox or lynx.  There is actually 37 mammal species and 156 species of birds recorded in the park. On our outing we really only saw a very small number of the animals that reside in the park.  I did not take any eagle photos, they were too far off to really get a nice photo and that was the same for the dall sheep.  But, here is what I got of the caribou and the moose.   By the way, the difference between a caribou and a reindeer is the caribou lives in the wild and the reindeer lives in captivity. 


Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f5.6  1/160   -1/3 Exposure Comp.  ISO 100

Heard of Caribou

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f5.6   1/160   -1/3 Exposure Comp.  ISO 100

Bull Moose

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm   f5.6   1/160  ISO 100

As the day progressed, the rain stopped and some of the most beautiful rainbows were displayed.  There for a while, every time the bus made its way around a curve, there was another rainbow.  Here are a couple of photos from that day.  The first one was a close up taken from the bus and the second was taken when the bus made a stop at a viewing area.  It was breath-taking!

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 170 mm  f8   1/400  ISO 100

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 60 mm  f11  1/400   -2/3 Exposure Comp.  ISO 100

The following is a photo of one of the river beds.  The water that flows is gray in color.  We were told this is glacial water and is gray due to the silt in the water.  I do not remember which river this is in the park.  I really wanted to show the gray color and the fact it was moving quickly.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 90 mm  f13   1/400  ISO 400

When our tour was complete, Deb and I asked Matt if we could be dropped off at the Visitor Center instead of returning directly to the hotel.  He told us it was not a problem and that there was a free shuttle bus from the Visitor Center to our hotel.  We wanted to make sure we got our National Park Passport books stamped.  It has become our mission to get as many stamps as possible in our passports.  When we finished touring the Visitor Center we were making our way to the bus stop and this was the view we saw.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 70 mm  f7.1  1/125  ISO 100

The following  flower (I believe a Dahlia) was growing in a planter tub just outside the entrance to our hotel.  I mentioned last week, that the flowers were vibrant with color.  This is one of the examples.  I just wish I had a macro lens to really capture the detailed beauty.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 50 mm  f5.6  1/60  ISO 100  External Flash Canon Speedlite 420EX

The one other special site we did not get to see, was Mt. McKinley/Denali.  The rain and clouds did not allow us a view.  At this point we prepared ourselves that it just may not happen.  Alaska is a very rainy, overcast state in the spring/summer.  But, were we in for a surprise on our way to Anchorage the next day!

If you would like more information about Denali National Park and the National Park Passport book, you may want to visit the following web sites:




Posted by: lle2010 | August 29, 2010

Week 36 – Fairbanks, Alaska

Finally!  I have taken the time to put together some photos of my recent trip. 

On Sunday August 15th, I left on my second Alaskan vacation.  The first trip was made in June 2006 and I really thought that would be my one and only time I would ever get to Alaska, the “last frontier”.  But, as luck would have it, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line offered an 11 night land/sea package that was just too good to pass up.  So, Deb and I started planning the trip about 1 1/2 years ago.  With the help of our trusty travel planner, Beci with MEI/MouseFan Travel, we were able to make the trip happen.  Originally we had several of our usual travel companions signed up but due to unforseen circumstances they all dropped out except for Darlene, Jim, Chris and Beci and of course ourselves. 

We all arrived in Fairbanks a day before the actual tour was to begin.  I would highly recommend this to anyone taking a cruise and especially if you are travelling across time zones.  Arriving from the East Coast there was a four-hour time change.  I left the DC area around 2:30 pm east coast time and arrived in Fairbanks around 8:30 pm Alaska time which made it 12:30 am my time.  It was really nice having a day to relax, sleep and start adjusting to the new time zone.  It made a world of difference.

Fairbanks is in the middle of the state.  The temperatures range from -65 degrees in the winter to 90 degrees in the summer.  The day I arrived the temperature was 93 degrees.  One of the first things I noticed was how rich the color was in all the flowers that were planted.  It was so rich that I first thought they were fake!  Even though the growing season is short, the days are very long and with all the additional sunlight the plants thrive.  Because Fairbanks is only 188 miles from the Arctic Circle where the sun neither sets during summer solstice or rises during the winter solstice, the longest official day in mid June has over 21 hours of sunlight and the shortest day in mid December has less that 3 hours of sunlight.

When our tour officially began on Tuesday August 17th, we all met in the lobby and boarded a motor coach for our first excursion.  We were taken on a very short drive to the Riverboat Discovery (www.riverboatdiscovery.com).  There we had an opportunity to shop for souvenirs in the gift shop and then we boarded the paddle boat and was taken on a ride down the Chena River.  We had the opportunity to see a float plane, a dog mushers camp and the most interesting to me was the Chena Indian Village.  We spent approximately an hour learning about the ancient Athabascan Indian culture.  Native Alaskan guides who have worked and lived in Alaska took us on a tour of the camp.

When we returned to the dock, we again boarded the motor coach and headed to Denali.  Next week I will post photos from our day in Denali National Park.

This is the paddle on our boat.  I liked the red color.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 120 mm  ISO 200 1/100  5.6

This view of the Chena River was from the top deck of the paddle boat.  I thought the scene was a bit dark and adjusted the camera settings and the result is the second photo below.  I like both photos, but this one has a more dramatic feel.  I wanted to post them both to show what a couple of changes to the camera settings can do for an image.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 35 mm ISO 100 1/200 with an aperture 10

By changing the exposure to +2 and adjusting the shutter speed and aperture, I was able to allow more light in and brighten the photo.  Again, it just depends on what effect one might be looking for.  I think each photo is nicely done but each has its own “feel” .

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 35 mm  ISO 100 1/80 with an aperture of  7.1 and +2 on exposure

This is the outside of one of the cabins at the Indian village.  I liked the items hanging on the outside wall as well as the texture of the wood.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 20 mm  ISO 100  1/30  3.5

This was one of our guides.  She is modeling an Athabascan Yukon-style women’s winter parka with a sunshine ruff.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  ISO 200  1/50  5.6

Posted by: lle2010 | August 29, 2010

Weeks 28-35

I know…there is still nothing posted.  I assure you that new photos will be here very shortly!


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