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 (  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



  1. Finally I am getting to see your photos. I haven’t been completely keeping up on facebook so I didn’t know these were posted. As always, your photos are wonderful. I like the dark and moody version of the landscape – very pretty. And I love the picture of the guide. That parka is beautiful! And she looks so sweet.

  2. I can’t wait to see more. I know how spectacular the scenery is in AK

    I did think about you while you were gone.

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