Monday, September 24, 2007

Giant Fall Picture Frenzy

So, a couple of posts back I was whining about how it was raining? And how I might go out anyway, but, you know, ew? So the weekend before last I put on my "Alaskan women kick butt" outfit, grabbed my camera and a bucket and went out into the woods to slay some cranberries and take pictures. What a ravishing sight I was with my giant fleece pants, black wellies with the cool red stripe around the top, red raincoat, blue baseball hat with rain-crazed gray hair sticking out over my ears, as I slogged along swinging a bright orange bucket. Anyway, it's been nonstop photos since then. I started with the high bush cranberries leaves above and just kept going!

There's this one:

This is a pond near the ski slope on Eielson Air Force Base. You can't tell from the picture, but I'm standing on squishy ground in about a foot of water, praying that I'm gonna be able to take this picture fast enough not to vanish forever into the bog goop that's sucking at my boots.

This one ...

... was taken out at Chena Lakes Recreation Area at the River Park. I didn't have to worry about sinking into bog goop here, but I did kind of wonder if there were any bears around, hiding behind the trees and sizing me up, thinking about how I might make a fine last minute snack before hibernation.

This one ...

... is a pond at Chena Lakes Recreation Area, River Park. By the time I took this, I was feeling much wiser. I didn't stand in any glop and I was only about 4 feet away from my open car door.

This is also at Chena Lakes Recreation Area, but at the Lake Park. Actually, just a few feet away from the boat launch there. Can you believe the colors of the trees? After I took this one, I actually managed to put the camera down and pick some cranberries.

Then, this last weekend I went even further south:

This is an anonymous hillside somewhere between Salcha and Delta Junction. And, below, is a picture of Munson's Slough, Salcha, Alaska:

So, there you go. You'd think I'd be pretty tired of autumn by now, but no! Now I'm leaving for a week and a half to spend some time in southcentral Alaska, where the fall weather is lingering and, hopefully, so are the leaves. So I won't be posting for a while. Just to let my army of devoted readers know ... all two of them.

P.S. I apologize that you can only click and enlarge some of these pictures. Blogger was experiencing indigestion when I uploaded them, and only some of them are clickable. Curse you, Blogger, curse you!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Picture shortage

Okay, the title isn't really accurate. I don't have a picture shortage. Because, god knows, I'll point my camera at virtually anything that holds still long enough. And, if it's moving, I'll make another bad stab at panning. So I have a boat load of pictures. But none of them are about anything I currently want to write about. And see up there in the Snaps North banner, where it says it's an illustrated journal?

So I made big plans for a picture taking/cranberry picking weekend (that's right, MizMagee can multi-task!), but now look - it's raining. So do I want to slog out to the dank and dripping woods and muck around on sloppy ground foraging for berries and photos? Well, I might. But as a certain cynic, philosopher and relative of MizMagee's often says, "Meh."

Saturday, September 8, 2007

After autumn is, um, summer, right?

In keeping with my cheerful, sunny spirit and innate optimism ... ick, okay, I'll start over: In spite of my general air of grumpiness and my normally pessimistic assessment of life, I seriously love autumn. I just pretend this will be the year that winter doesn't arrive after autumn fades. Autumn is my favorite season. How can you not love autumn?

Okay, it's true that, in spite of nearly 60 years of pretending, winter has followed autumn with an impressive and perfect regularity, but the moment the leaves start to change I forget all about the fact that I live almost precisely 130 miles south of the arctic circle in the heart of the subarctic boreal forest. A place where, on the shortest day of the year, the sun hoists itself a meager distance above the horizon, looks across the frozen landscape, loses heart and plummets sadly down and out of sight again, and we're left freezing various mentionable and unmentionable body parts off in the dark and entertaining ourselves by seeing who comes up with the weirdest manifestation of seasonal affective disorder.

Instead, autumn arrives and I happily run out and admire the fabulous color of the same leaves about which I will later mutter inventive curses while fishing them out of my rain gutters and raking them into towering piles on my lawn. I take giant breaths of crisp air, fragrant with the scent of the forest floor, forgetting the fact that the forest floor smells that way because mold, my favorite allergen, is busy making compost out of the fallen leaves. Do I care? No. Because nothing looks as amazing as a stand of bright yellow birches against a deep blue sky, unless maybe it's a stand of bright yellow birches, illuminated by a shaft of sunlight breaking through the clouds, and posed against the dark background of an autumn storm.

So pass me some kleenex and Nasonex, and don't you dare mention snow. I'm in denial.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fresh green fractals

Woooo! Look at this cool thing. Is this amazing or what! It could be anything: the surface of some misbegotten virus, intelligent life from another galaxy, a clump of fossilized pollen spores from the Cretaceous Period. And I found it at [...dramatic pause...] the Tanana Valley Farmer's Market. Yep, it's broccoli. In all its healthy green goodness. Boy, I love the Farmer's Market, but this just beats all. The first time I laid eyes on this crazy stuff (Romanesco Broccoli, sometimes called Fractal broccoli) I knew I had to own it, take it home, put it next to my kitchen window to backlight it, and photograph it. And, I'll admit, it's the first time I've gotten excited about something at the Farmer's Market when my main purpose wasn't to take it home and consume it. Although I will, when I'm done using it as a model for distant universes and life forms. I've always thought fractals were amazing, but I've never purposely cooked and eaten any before. I don't think. Okay, off to do more research on fractals!