Juneau – The Phone Files

We’re in Vancouver . . . great city, fast-paced, and I’ve had one of the best hamburgers I can remember at a place called Doolin’s Irish Pub (connected to the hotel we’re staying in, so not far to go — although, we did go for a walk-about).

Melisa had the Fish-n-Chips which was also good. Even got to listen to one of our favorite Pogues songs. 

But, this post — if I can finish it before I crash –is about Juneau.

That’s dawn looking out of our balcony . . . the things is, while I like that shot, I missed a number of better ones as the light changed and I watched in awe . . . and forgot I had two cameras plus the phone and none of them were in use. Still, as I said, I like that shot. 

Invariably, people get off the boat and hit the shops. I do as well, but my main interest are the various bits that capture my photographic interest . . . 

Occasionally, I spruce them up a bit using Pixlr.

I also like to photograph signs and displays adorning the various walkways.

. . . I spruce them up as well . . . 

The visitor center provided me with a number of texture photos for when I do more Deep Dreams.

That’s the building, but I took closeups of the various textures. They should work well.

Sometimes, certain buildings attract my interest . . . I can’t explain why, but I obediently snap a photo. 

That last photo reminded me a bit of the Abbey Road (?) Beatle’s album Probably, because of the mountain.

Those metalworks figures adorn the wall of the parking garage and Library. 

Here’s another version of it.

I mentioned before there is a fish culture here; lots of decoration featuring fish or fish-related activities. 

However, bears are a close second.

I missed this Saloon the last time we were here. Not that we went in now, but I did snap a photo.

Despite the obvious lack of customers, this was a busy place. 

I don’t know what that building is, but I like the colors combinations. 

But, as I said, shops and suveniers. 

So, that looked primed for some work . . . 

That is a quilt. If there’s a quilting shop in the area, Melisa will usually find it . . . and I don’t mind. These too will be used for some of my Deep Dreams efforts. 

But, I can also play with them here . . . 

Not a very involved variation, but one I liked.

Given my gravatar, this quilt I had to snap.

Honest, I thought this was a penguin until I looked at the photo . . . But, no penguins up here, but there are whales and there’s a history tying whales to both the original tribes in the areas and the subsequent explorers.

Here’s a variation of the above.

I thought the star on the “penguin’s” beak was great . . . But I suppose it’s passable as a whale’s tail.

OK, one more quilt, also about an iconic animal of the North.

Enough inside and quilts; let’s head outside . . . 

This is a sculpture or decoration outside the visitor center. It intrigued me enough to play with it more than once. 

Here’s another angle . . . 

These shots were all shot with the phone with this post in mind.  I did shoot a nuber of other photos  . . . A word of advice for people considering the P900; excellent camera, but it chews up batteries. I was shooting an egle when my first battery died. By the time I replaced the battery, the bird was gone.

This sign deserves multiple treatments. 

More photos from the P900, but not really that many more. 

Considering these are all from the phone — a now ancient Samsung Note II — and at least to my poor and tired eyes, they look pretty good. 

As usual please excuse errors. 

I mean, feel free to mention them so that I can correct them, but don’t feel that you have to. 

Posted in Writing Stuff | 20 Comments

A quick update from Ketchikan

Don’t mean to mislead people, but the title refers to the location where this is being composed, and it’s not — in fact — a post about Ketchikan. 

By the way, in this Internet Age, I won’t be including a whole lot of background information about the places we visit. That’s what Google is for. 

That’s one of le lounges on the ship. I beautified it a bit, but it looks pretty nice all on its own. 

As I mentioned before, the visit to Glacier Bay was very nice because the weather was just about perfect for both viewing and for photography. By that, I mean it was bright enough to get decent photos, but not so bright that the ice would reflect back too bright. 

Once back to the condo, I’ll do proper updates with names and better photos. The panoramas from the phone as not as good as I would like because each app has different speeds they prefer. 

My current app of choice for shooting photos with the phone is Open Camera

The Captain said this was the closest they have ever got to the glacier . . . 600 feet. 

The face of the glacier is about 400 feet tall. We did see a bit of calving and it’s both visually and aurally impressive (sure hope I spelled the word correctly . . . and used correctly, too). The ice makes a *very* loud sound when it cracks; a sound that travels across the water and hits with a level disproportionate to what you imagine given the distance and scales involved.

We saw more than one, but we only got close to two of them.

I snapped hundreds of photos with both my D7000 and the P900. One comment about the P900 for anyone interested in purchasing one. Get extra batteries. 

Wait, one more comment, this one directed at the Nikon engineers responsible for arranging buttons in the back . . . move the movie record/stop button to a location better suited and more natural to rest one’s thumb. I will have to edit most of the movies because the act of hitting stop jostles the camera when hand-held. If using a tripod, it’s no problem.

The other button is the one switching between the viewfinder and the preview screen. Move that button next to the new location for the video record/stop button. 

Oh, and add RAW processing while you’re at it. 

Seriously, I’ll take the buttons as they are if you add RAW. 

Having said that, given a cursury review of the photos, I think I’ll be happy with most of them. 

And now, a selfie.

That’s me, sitting at the back of the ship as we left Glacier Bay and headed toward Haines. 

This is Haines . . . 

These were taken whilst standing in the middle of the street pretty much in front of the local IGA (for all you foreigners, it’s a supermarket). Surprisingly, the prices were not outrageous despite this being pretty much in the middle of nowhere. 

Also, Sheldon has a museum here. 

They wanted $15 to visit the inside . . . I opted for a few outdoor photos. 

That is a neat polished rock and a small evergreen. Across the street, there are a couple of colorful buildings . . . 

I thought that combining the two might be a good idea.

There were a number of sculptures adorning the space around the museum . . . 

Most of the scenery photos were shot with the P900, so this will have more close-ups and macros than anything else. But, don’t worry . . . you’ll eventually see about 300 other hotos from Haines. Some might even be good.

This next photo is of a coring(?) or boring(?) machine called The Keystone Driller. It was used to sample the ground by drilling out a bunch of dirt and checking for gold content. 

This was taken during a walk to the “new” part of the town. The “old” part consists of the original fort. Again, more when I do proper post. 

I didn’t make it down to read the little sign accopanying this display, but my guess is that it has something to do with either dogs or wagons or both.

This next shot is of the ship moored to one of the piers. As I mentioned, we stopped in Haines because a rock slide hit the pier in Skagway. That means that ships scheduled for Skagway were redirected to other ports. Haines usually gets one ship a week, so they were happy for the business. In contrast, Skagway can get up to four ships a day. 

While I’m at it, here are some signage . . . 

Noth sure what that’s supposed to signify since most people do that without being told. 

Here is one more of the ship.

The Coral is one of the last remaining jet-powered cruise ships. The sucker can really move when it wants to, but the noise can be verwhelming . . . that’s why they give you earplugs for when it’s under sail. 

The fort part of Haines is a mix of beautiful Victorian-style homes . . . 

. . . Homes that are being renovated, and older still historical buildings. Some people have old stuff on display in their yards.

To the upper right of the frame, you can see a small cannon . . . I presume it’s a version of a harpoon gun for whalers, but I suppose it could also be an actual cannon from the original fort. 

. . . I wish I could have cannons in my front yard . . . 

I also saw a number of fun guys during our walk . . . 

At the center of the historical area there are ruins of the original bunkhouse. Within those ruins, there are works of art. Had I not been told about it, I would have assumed it was just an area where people threw their junk. 

I’ll have the brochure of the place when I do a proper update, but meanwhile, enjoy some of the art. 

I call that “time stands still” . . . the crank and chain used to turn the hourglass were rusted and inoperable. 

There were some art pieces I couldn’t get to because of overgrown plants and rubble blocking the way. I think this is a work in progress.

Here are a few more things . . . 

One of those photos is a panorama, but since both are scaled down to the same size, they are indistinguishable from each other. 

It’s difficult to see because I’m shooting against the light, but that is the ship in the distance. In the foreground is a tidewater pool where I skipped a few rocks. From there, I headed back to the ship, taking a lot of macro shots along the way. 

Some of them with the phone.

That last one is the end of a piece of driftwood . . . actually, a piece of driftree. 

I played around with it a bit . . . 

It kind of looks like a wood waterfall . . . or maybe, some type of cosmic cloud. 

So, tomorrow we are at sea, and Saturday we are in Vancouver. That means no Internet. Our phones will be off lest Canadians steal our data. 

If I have a chance and am bored, I might do a quick post before we leave, but it’s not likely.

Thank you for spending some time with me and my photos.

Posted in Writing Stuff | 8 Comments

Deep Dreams “Other” Files.

We are in Juneau and the Internet here is excellent. However, we just got back from walking around and we’re scheduled to leave in a bit longer than an hour from now. That doesn’t leave me with much time to prep and load up photos.

Ergo, I’m posting my Objects and Other Deep Dream Files. I know people are expecting Alaska updates, but for a variety of reasons — chief among them the fact we’re on a cruise — preparing posts is not high on my list of priorities . . . if I even had a list of priorities . . . and if preparing posts were on that list.

Believe me, there’ll be time enough for that once I get back to the condo. Suffice it to say the weather has been nice, we like the ship, and each stop so far has been nice.

With that said, Objects & Other . . . 

Don’t ask me which style photo I used because I don’t remember. Just enjoy this gruesome remnant of a horse (I think).

This is a treatment of my fly ashtray . . . and here are two more. 

I’m flying through these because the laundry will be ready soon and it will eat into my Internet-Is-Good time.

This is a photo of a bell we purchased in Maine — or one of them other New England states — back in the last Century. 

Here are three more variations . . . 

Next up, one of my thrift stores photos treated with something or other . . . 

That reminds me . . . cruise people are — an occasion — an annoying bunch. My main complaint is a lack of situational awareness. By that, I mean the propensity for a group of people to stand and talk at crucial parts of the passageways connecting different parts of the ship. Also, when walking down aisles, walking slowly and abreast so as to block the whole aisle. 

By far and away, the most annoying are the zig-zaggers. Employing stealth radar, they know when you’re trying to pass them on one side or another and they pull Galdalf’s “You. Shall. Not. Pass.”

Most annoyingly, when you do manage to pass them, they give you a dirty look. 

The ones I deal with most easily are those walking abreast toward me. Rather than move over and hug the wall as they swagger past, I stop on my tracks and do a Rock of Gibraltar to their Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean; they have to walk around me. I generally smile, but occasionally give them the “you are a waste of human flesh look” . . . not that they care.

That’s a mural from a bar in Canon City combined with a drawing of mine.

This next one is of the Hula Dancers in Kona.

This clown is usually employed in the role of style photo, but here it’s used as the main subject.

It’s combined with the sewing machine style photo. 

Few would recognize this above original photo as being a tree trunk shot during one of our Florida trips from a few years ago. Here’s another version of it using the sewing machine style.

By the way, one of the things I did while on the ship is take photos of every piece of art and decoration that I found interesting . . . and you readers will suffer through in the coming weeks.

You’ll be practically chained to artsy stuff, and speaking of chains . . . 

That’s the chain from a whaling ship anchor on display in Kona. 

Here are a few more versions . . . 

Those two are pretty close to each other as far as effects go. 

Here are a couple of abstracts I won’t even try to explain . . . 

Oh, OK . . . the first is the sewing machine treatment of a snow drift. The second is a flower treatment of a log.

The ship is moving, so I need to put this up before I lose the Internet connection.

I don’t have time to proofread, so please excuse any spelling mistakes. The phone is not conducive to great typing.

Let me leave you with another treatment of snow. The original of this shot is in B&W.

Yes, yet another sewing machine treatment. 

Thanks for reading.

Posted in Writing Stuff | 12 Comments

Anchorage Ted Stevens Airport

Note: I have no idea when I’ll be able to post this. The town of Whittier only managed to provide me with a 3G cellular signal. While that was sufficient a few years ago to let me post at nearly every port of call, it’s now insufficient for me to even load one photo. I’m composing this and when I can, I’ll add the photos and published. But, it could be no one will hear from us until we get back to Hawaii. And, won’t that be awful.

I like this airport. It’s small, easy to navigate and it has a few things for me to photograph as we wait for stuff to happen. Specifically, getting on the Princess Cruises bus that will take us to Whittier and the Coral Princess, the ship we will be sailing. 

That’s a big ainting that I’m photographing almost straight up. That’s why it looks wide and short. In actuality, it’s closer to being a square, but due the shallow angle, you get this squashed panorama look. It’s a nice look just the same.

Next up, a piece of etched glass. Or, perhaps, plastic. You never know these days. Whatever it is, the backlit effect is something I liked and photographed. As it turns out, fish art is something that you see a lot up here in Alaska. I guess they have a lot of fish. 

The area where we waited had a display of stuffed animals. Mind you, these are not stuffed animals for kids; they are actual animals that were killed, their inner squishy stuff replaced by some sort of dry stuffing, their eyes replaced by eye-like marbles, and mounted behind a plexiglass so that people might admire the wonder of nature.

This could be a relative of the guy that kept us company as we ate out dinner just the previous evening. I wonder if they appreciate the irony of me seeing them both and pondering their lineage. 
I did a bit more than that . . . I played around with Pixlr and came up with this variation.

Next up, an albino beaver. 

I wonder if the pieces of wood in the display were actually chewed by live beavers or if some guy took a stab at coming up with something that looked vaguely like beaver-chewed-wood. Of course, most people — including me — would never know the difference. 
I played with that photo a bit, giving it a more dramatic look and in the process making it more albino-like. 

Next up, we have a bear. Not just any bear . . . it’s a grizzly. Just look at those claws . . . claws that were no match for a bullet. 

I tried teaking the photo because I didn’t like the way it turned out. The lighting was harsh and some of the hues were not quite representing correctly in the photo. 

Guess what? This is not much better. What you need to do, dear readers, is imagine a National Geographic-like photo in the place of what I’m offering up. 
By the way, interesting factoid . . . If you get attacked by a black bear, your best chance of survival is to fight back. Not so with a grizzly attack. If one of these guys (or galls — don’t want to slight lady bears) attacks you, your best bet is to curl up and play dead as you protect your nead and neck. 

So, here’s the thing when I read stuff like that . . . I’m thinking my best bet is to walk around with a Ruger Alaskan. And, that’s only if I can’t carry an high-power rifle. 

Next up, we have Smiley. 

I think it’s actually meant to be a snarl, but I think the effect is not quite what the taxidermist intended. 
Then, there were these guys (actually, a guy and a gal) also waiting to board a plane. Beautiful animals. I asked the owner if I could photograph them. The closest dog got up and approached. The owner said to not get near it as it would bite me. I heeded his advice. 

Actually, it was refreshing . . . invariably, most dog owners will say something like “Oh, don’t worry; my dog doesn’t bite.”
I’m then always reminded of Peter Seller as Inspector Clouseau (sp?) . . . If you are a Pink Panther fan, you’ll immediately know which scene I reference. 

Shortly thereafter, We boarded a bus that would take us to Whittier. I can’t do a link here, but it’s an interesting town to look up. For one thing, the only road in shares a tunnel with the train tracks. The tunnel is 2.5 miles long and 18 ft. Wide. A tight squeeze for the cruise busses. Since it’s a single lane tunnel, traffic switches on the half hour. First one way, and then another. 

I will have a a video of the crossing once we get back to the condo. Meanwhile, here’s the sight as we exited the tunnel:

So, by some twist of (good) fate, we were the first ones of our group to board the ship. We breezed through the check-in thanks — in no small part — to Melisa’s organizational skills when it comes to planning a trip. We had all the paper and vouchers ready and within a few minutes were going up the gangplank. No one was even in sight behind us. 
We went to our room . . . 

Here, let me jazz that up a bit . . . 

The bathroom and closet are small but serviceable.

However, the shower is not much bigger than I am (I’m talking circumference). Frankly, I don’t know how bigger persons can use it without getting water all over the place as they get intimate with the shower courtain. 

. . . Best not think about it too long . . . 

We didn’t tarry long before making a beeline for the Horizon Court . . . The Food. I don’t plan on taking many photos of food because you can’t eat and take photos at the same time.

Here are a few shots of Whittier.

See the colorful building in the back? The entire population of Whittier lives in that building. Look up the write-up on the town. It’s interesting. 

As I finish this, we are in Haines because of a problem with the pier in Skagway. Yesterday we did Glacier Bay. Lots of nice photos and excellent weather. 

I’m hoping this will post before we leave tonight, otherwise it will post tomorrow while in Juneau. 


Posted in Writing Stuff | 11 Comments

In Alaska

I like Alaska. This is my third visit here. The first was in 2001. At that time, we rented a motor home and tooled around covering 2,200 miles of roads. Our second visit was via a cruise (documented in this blog — just search for Alaska Cruise), and now we’re doing another cruise. Where the first one was a round-trip from Seattle, this one is a one-way from Whittier to Vancouver.

But first, we had to get here . . .

We flew United from Chicago to Anchorage. For them interested in such things, that’s a 7 hours flight. We used to weather such flights a lot easier before the airlines started packing passengers like sardines.

Aside the mad rush to secure an overhead bin, aside the fact that even though your assigned seat space has shrunk the average American has done the opposite, and aside the fact that our best chance to pick up some sort of virus is sitting in a confined space, it’s still amazing that we can shoot around the world in just a few hours.

That said, neither of us can sleep on a plane . . . Although, I’ve come up with an idea which helps me at least rest for a good part of the trip. Here’s what I do . . . Wait; first, you know those half-moon-thick stuffed things you buy to wrap around your neck so that you can sleep upright?

Yeah, them things. Well, they don’t work. They might work for some people, but not for me. So, keeping that in mind — that the main problem is that you cannot lay down and it’s difficult to sleep sitting up — here’s what I did and will do on the flight back to Hawaii. I take the blanket they give you and fold it so that it’s a long narrow strip. I then have it across my eyes and I wrap the ends around the headreast portion of the seat (not around the seat, there’s a portion that allows the blanket’s ends to be wedged in and secured) and that keeps my head from flopping around as well as block off any extra light.

Even if I do fall asleep, my head is held up. I may devise an actual device that does this and patent the idea. Doh! Now, someone will steal it, I’m sure. I hope they’ll have the decency to pay me some royalties or at least a fixed amount for the idea.

We are in Anchorage for a day, and that gave us the chance to go for a five mile walk around Lake Hood. Lake Hood is the largest and busiest Seaplane Base (I assume it’s only the US, but it may be the world . . . Wait; I’m one of the people who actually clicks on links . . . It’s the world.)

The lake shore is lined with little inlets like this one, each with a plane in it.

It’s difficult to see in the wide shot. Once I get back to the condo, I’ll be able to post better photos and videos (yes – videos; I have a few below, but I have better ones).

Each of those inlets have a little cabin next to the floating docks where the planes “park.”

Here’s one of the signs about the place . . .

Let me try to link a few movies I took using the phone. The first video is shot using the Open Camera app (I suggest people look at it; it takes nice photos) and I was trying to adjust the zoom as the plane approached, passed by me, and then receded from my position.

*** NOTE *** these suckers are loud; start with the volume low and adjust to your individual preference.

The next video is of a plane taking off . . . This is even louder because they gun the engine to get airborne.

And a couple of more planes landing . . .

If those don’t show up as inline videos, just click on the links.

I saw a few other things during my walk . . .

I think that’s some sort of bug burrowing into that second mushroom, but I couldn’t get a clear enough photo to identify if that was the case.

I now want to put up a photo from the local paper. This photo is from the paper Alaska Dispatch News and credited to Loren Holmes. I have my name on it because I modified it, but I claim no copyright or any rights . . . But, I do want to point out why I’m duplicating it here.

This is a photo of a spruce tree that was knocked down by some recent high winds here in Anchorage. Now, take a look at that photo and the tree in particular. See if you can discern a figure. Specifically a big creature-like thing in a sitting position. You should be able to see the face (two eyes, a flat nose, and an open mouth) and just below what looks like two knees and shins. If your imagination is good enough, you might even see the arms on the side.

Now, here’s the thing . . . If you don’t see it, I can’t help you.

OK, maybe I can help a little. I drew that with the right arm resting on the knee, but there’s another interpretation that has the right arm supporting the head. Take your pick.

In other news, these were our first meals in Alaska. I had baked Halibut and Melisa had a very good Chicken Ceasar Salad . . .

. . . and as we ate, this fellow kept an eye on us . . . I don’t think it blinked even once.

Well, this was a long post . . . let me leave you with a shot from O’Hare airport. This is a particularly difficult photo to resolve because the overhead windows are pretty bright as opposed to the ground level.

This photo was tweaked using Snapseed . . . I think it did a great job bringing out the upper details of the skeleton. The original photo was very washed-out to the point that it was difficult discerning the head and neck.

Well, we’ve made it all the way through to the end. As usual, please excuse errors. I proofread, but it’s a small phone and I’m old. My attention wanders.

Tomorrow we board the Coral Princess . . . basically, a floating restaurant. We have been training for years, so we’re confident we’re up to the challenge.

Posted in Aeroplanes, Alaska, My YouTube, Photography, Photography Stuff, Scenery, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A couple of travel days

Had all sorts of intentions of doing a decent post but, instead, I must content myself with posting a couple of photos from the phone.

That’s a flower treated with some Pixlr. Here’s another photo of it similarly treated . . . 

. . . and that’s it. 

Tomorrow is another travel day, so unlikely I’ll have another full post up until Friday. I know how disappointed everyone must be . . . 

. . . Please; be strong. It’s only a couple of days.

Posted in Stuff | Tagged | 8 Comments

The Deep Dream Dolls and Bugs

Dolls and Bugs seem like an odd pairing, but it’s more about the number of photos in a post than the actual content. 

Oh, OK . . . it’s also about the content. I thought the pairing might be fun. We begin then, with not so much a doll as a stuffed animal. A horse, to be precise. This was no small horse. It was large enough for a smal kid to sit on. 

And the treatment is, of course, the sewing machine. 

Next up, a doll I thought looked a lot like the actress from CSI (the original series), Marg Helgenberger.

I can’t remember this treatment either, but it suits the doll . . . but not as much as this next treatment . . . 

Eh, I guess they both fit in their own way.

This next doll is treated with a drawing of a clown as the style.

I’m thinking I should remember this doll character . . . but I don’t. Perhaps some of the readers who make it this far might know it. Regardless, I do like this treatment for this particular doll . . . Puppet? Stuffed reppresentation of a child’s nightmare? Whatever.

This last doll is some type of raggedy something or other whose features have been smoothed out by a simple style photo. An improvement, for sure.

Bugs. It turns out not many bugs are suited for style treatments. Moths, them being a good size, do somewhat better than most. 

Actually, this next one is a little better.

Butterflies are also suited to certain treatments.

Neat, no? How about this next one?

Not all larger bugs give results that are this good. This dragonfly resisted most attempts at beautification . . . 

. . . But even it cannot resist the power of the sewing machine!

As you get to smaller subjects, like a wasp, finding a good style photo becomes more difficult.

That one, however, turned out pretty good. 

Flies are even smaller, and care must be taken in choosing a suitable style.

That one looks nice, as does this next one, even if  little plain as far as details.

I guess it’s really not that difficult finding decent conversions.

That’s blended with one of my doodles. I thought it turned out pretty good.

This next fly was also a decent subject to play with.

That’s blended with a cactus from the Jashua National Park. 

I’m not sure what conversion I used, but I like the effect. Then, of course, there’s the sewing machine style . . . 

Is there anything the sewing machine tyle can’t improve?

This next one is probably my favorite fly conversion and it’s arrived at by using a scanned page of a Jacovitti Cocco Bill comic.

So . . . That’s the Dolls and the Bugs. I hope it has been a pleasant journey to here. 

Some might be wondering if there will ever be anything but Deep Dream posts. Well, of course! . . . But not until I finish posting all the Deep Dreams I have. 

But, rest assured that I’m likely to mix in other stuff and perhaps even some *gasp* opinion pieces. 

Truth be told, I’m avoiding the news as much as possible, at least while we’re traveling. If I see what’s going on, it starts feeling as if we’re drifting into a parallel and mostly screwed-up universe.

I actually suggest the same to others. Just read the weekly news roundup and you’ll avoid the stress of the 24-hrs news cycle where all people do is yell at each other and stress the fact we are all — for a variety of resons — screwed.

ttfn, Disperser.  

p.s. as always, please excuse what are likely stupid mispellings and other errors. This way of posting stuff is not exactly optimized for speed and accuracy. 

Posted in Photo-effects | Tagged , | 8 Comments