Slartibartfast Done Good

Tracy Arm dawn . . .

Tracy Arm dawn . . .

The alarm wakes us, and I know we are not sailing at our normal pace . . . we are making our way into Tracy Arm.  Our destination?  Sawyer Glaciers.

I grab my 25 pounds of camera equipment, a sweater, gloves, hat, and scarf, and I make my way to the front of the boat.  The above is one of two pictures I take before deciding this is just not going to work.    I am relatively impervious to all but the most bitter cold, but there is one thing I really don’t like.   Wind.

Cutting-through-four-layers-of-clothing-bone-chilling-teeth-rattling wind.  On my face.  Worse yet, it’s strong enough to push the camera and tripod over, and even when I hang the bag on it for stability, the whole thing is visibly being shaken by the gusts.  What could I do . . . I had to give up on the idea of pulling a Jack and Rose with my camera, and hightailed it to the back of the boat.

Backing into Tracy Arm

Backing into Tracy Arm

Mind you, it was still cold, it was still windy, but not nearly as much.

Before I go on, something about the photos . . . very bad lighting, having to shoot hand-held, having to shoot at a high ISO, and still sometime not being able to get the shutter speed up there, it all contributed to not being my proudest photographic effort.  In part, that is why this post has been so long coming . . . most of these photos required some serious post-processing.  Aside the regular adjustments, some are the result of blending multiple layers, and others have gone through mild HDR processing.  The SmugMug gallery contains 262 photos mined from around 1,800 originals.  For those intrepid enough, the gallery can be found HERE.

This is not a short post . . . enter at your own risk.

OK, you have been warned on all counts, so here goes . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012

The first thing one notices is the ice on the water.  Chunks of it are floating everywhere.  The second thing one notices is the waterfalls.  It seems there is one every few hundred yards.  All of them seem fed by the remnants of winter snow . . . and keep in mind this is September.

Even when you don't see it clearly, trust me; there is water coming down in that fissure.

Even when you don’t see it clearly, trust me; there is water coming down in that fissure.

Alaska Cruise 2012

So, we have water, waterfalls, ice, and rocks.  At first glance one might think this could not possibly keep me entertained for three hours or so.  Ha!  . . . how little you know me!

For one thing, the ice is interesting . . .

For one thing, the ice is interesting . . .

I'm guessing this indicates a piece of ice that at one time rested on the bottom (low tide), and eventually flipped.

I’m guessing this indicates a piece of ice that at one time rested on the bottom (low tide), and eventually flipped.

Ice is difficult to capture, and to do so while (whilst - for British readers) retaining the texture and details.

Ice is difficult to capture, and to do so while (whilst – for British readers) retaining the texture and details.

What mesmerizes me about these floating chunks of hard water, is the deep blue they sport.

What mesmerizes me about these floating chunks of hard water, is the deep blue they sport.

Understandable . . . they have to be freezing their icicle off.

Understandable . . . they have to be freezing their icicle off.

But, beside the intricacies of the floating ice, there is also the coastline to entertain.

As we sailed along, we passed small valleys, and nearly all had a glacier high up on the mountain side.

As we sailed along, we passed small valleys, and nearly all had a glacier high up on the mountain side.

A close-up view.

A close-up view.

Here's a view of the valley.  The structure is part of the back end of the boat.

Here’s a view of the valley. The structure is part of the back end of the boat.

We are sailing in what is a relatively narrow passage.

This looks really close . . . that cliff is massive, so it makes it appear closer than it is.

This looks really close . . . that cliff is massive, so it makes it appear closer than it is.

Oh, Look!! A waterfall!!

Oh, Look!! A waterfall!!

OK, I did mention there are a lot of waterfalls . . .

Sometime just running along the face of the rock

Sometime just running along the face of the rock

Other times forming actual waterfalls.

Other times forming actual waterfalls.

For those two or three people who visit the SmugMug gallery, you will notice some shots have multiple renditions.  This particular shot happens to be a HDR compilation of three shots.  The other shots are different processing to try and bring out more detail and color.  So, for instance, here is another version of the above.

Regular Processing.

Regular Processing.

Did I mention there is ice?

Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012

And rocks; dis I mention rocks?

Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012

And sometimes . . .

Ice and rock

Ice and rock

Or, ice and rock in B&W

Or, ice and rock in B&W

And valleys, also in B&W.

And valleys, also in B&W.

Although I prefer them in color . . . most of the time.

Although I prefer them in color . . . most of the time.

Then I would see a piece of ice I found interesting.  How does that get on there?  Did someone helped it on there?

Then I would see a piece of ice I found interesting. How does that get on there? Did someone helped it on there?

Some of the rocks, which I presume are granite, have a strange property; their pattern gives them what appears to me an “out-of-focus” look.  It took me a while to figure out it was not my lens and camera, but rather, the texture of the rock.

Alaska Cruise 2012

We finally come to where the ship would normally turn to enter an inlet leading to Sawyer Glacier.

Hmm . . . looks a little icy . . . No matter; we have a big-ass ship!

Hmm . . . looks a little icy . . . No matter; we have a big-ass ship!

. . . unfortunately, it was not to be . . . too much ice, they said.

. . . unfortunately, it was not to be . . . too much ice, they said.

Alaska Cruise 2012

OK, the chunks of ice seem a tad bigger, come on!!  We got us a half a million ton of boat!

OK, the chunks of ice seem a tad bigger, come on!!
We got us a half a million ton of boat!

OK, so maybe I don’t mind not trying to recreate the Jack and Rose scenario.  But the ice is really interesting.

It almost looks like it is illuminated by an internal blue light.

It almost looks like it is illuminated by an internal blue light.

But no . . . that's just how it looks.

But no . . . that’s just how it looks.

So, we can’t go into the inlet, and we can’t proceed . . . I fear we are to be stuck here, and as the boat slows and stops, I do a mental calculation . . . we have barely enough food on board for 8 months . . . it’s going to be close, but they should find us in the Spring.

Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012

Where we would have gone . . . looks clear to me!

Where we would have gone . . . looks clear to me!

OK, so maybe there is a little ice there.

OK, so maybe there is a little ice there.

OK, so maybe a lot of ice there.

OK, so maybe a lot of ice there.

We are surrounded!!

We are surrounded!!

I can’t figure out what we are doing, but we are pretty close to the cliffs . . .

But it is neat . . . look!Water coming down . . .

But it is neat . . . look!
Water coming down . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012Alaska Cruise 2012

. . . neat . . .

. . . neat . . .

So, it turns out we are doing a 180-degree turn in place, as if we were on a spindle.  Let me tell you . . . them cliffs looked pretty close.

The front of the boat.

The front of the boat.

The back of the boat . . .

The back of the boat . . .

Where we had come from . . .

Where we had come from . . .

. . . and our propeller churning up the bottom sediment near the cliffs.

. . . and our propeller churning up the bottom sediment near the cliffs.

Don’t let the ultra-wide angle fool you . . . that big hunk of rock is pretty darn close.

By the way, you might have noticed I am no longer at the back of the boat.  By now I had relocated to the balcony of my suite, where my lovely wife kept me supplied with cappuccinos and malasadas.  The woman is a saint.

Hey . . . a valley!

Hey . . . a valley!

Eventually we completed the turn, and headed back out . . .

Leaving the ass-end of Tracy Arm behind us . . .

Leaving the ass-end of Tracy Arm behind us . . .

. . . and heading back out.

. . . and heading back out.

Obviously, you are thinking, we are done.  After all, we are going to pass through the same areas we passed through just a little while ago.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Look, I got coffee, I got fried bread with granulated sugar, and I have my camera and lenses . . . no way I am leaving my post!

Alaska Cruise 2012

Besides, there be ice to immortalize before it’s all gone!

Alaska Cruise 2012

This one is catching a ray of sunshine.Sunshine?!?  Yup.

This one is catching a ray of sunshine.
Sunshine?!? Yup.

The sun decided to visit for a spell.

The sun decided to visit for a spell.

So, it would not hang around long, but long enough to get me a few decent photos.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

Literally, a few.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

But, back to the ice . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012

This to me looks like some kind of levitating force field, hovering this piece of ice off the water . . . but no . . . just some very clear, very dense ice.

Alaska Cruise 2012

More interesting shapes . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012

By now we were in more open water, and making pretty good headway toward Juneau.

Alaska Cruise 2012

And along the way we say some unfortunate chunks of ice who had lost their mobility.

Alaska Cruise 2012

And interesting mixing of clear and cloudy ice . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012

The passing of the boat created interesting visuals, and gave the ice blocks pretty good smacks.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

Don’t know if this was shaped by the waves of passing boats, but . . .

Interesting sculpture.

Interesting sculpture.

Another interesting chunk of ice interacting with our wake.

Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012

. . . as is another . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012

But, and let me stress this, the scenery was also impressive . . . and I dutifully snapped away at stuff.

Looks good.

Looks good.

But wait!!  This is a better view.

But wait!!
This is a better view.

And yet another view.

And yet another view.

One does not know when to stop snapping away.  As soon as you pass one, there is another one striving for your attention.

Alaska Cruise 2012

And it’s not just waterfalls and floating ice . . .

There be color and shapes a-plenty to keep a photographer happy.

There be color and shapes a-plenty to keep a photographer happy.

Did someone mention ice?

I saw me an ice bunny . . .

I saw me an ice bunny . . .

. . . and some sort of ice bird . . .

. . . and some sort of ice bird . . .

. . . and ice creatures not of this world.

. . . and ice creatures not of this world.

And then your eyes are drawn back to the land.

And then your eyes are drawn back to the land.

To things that seem out of place.

To things that seem out of place.

And yet, they do seem perfectly at home.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Oh my FSM!!! . . . it’s . . . it’s . . .

. . . an iceberg!!

. . . an iceberg!!

I keep my eye on it, nightmares of Titanic fresh in my mind . . . the movie, not the boat.  Boy, did that movie suck!!.

The blue ice is nice, but so is that low-hanging cloud in the background.

The blue ice is nice, but so is that low-hanging cloud in the background.

Again, I marvel at the deep blue.

Again, I marvel at the deep blue.

I do like the partially melted edges, rounded by what I presume is the erosion of the water.

I do like the partially melted edges, rounded by what I presume is the erosion of the water.

Having narrowly escaped from having to re-enact the Jack and Rose crappy "die, already!" scene, I look back, and I think that we are now outside the Tracy Arm fjord.

Having narrowly escaped from having to re-enact the Jack and Rose crappy “die, already!” scene, I look back, and I think that we are now outside the Tracy Arm fjord.

Alaska Cruise 2012

I don’t know for sure . . . can’t even look it up, but that looks like the entrance to it, complete with a Blue Guardian ensuring safe passage.

But before I left it, I snapped a panorama of the low-hanging cloud . . .

If you want to see the larger one, you need to click on the photo (it will take you to the SmugMug album).

If you want to see the larger one, you need to click on the photo (it will take you to the SmugMug album).

We are now motoring, and there is one last chunk of ice I want to photograph before heading in to do some serious eating; after all, snacking will only carry you so far.

There, in the distance . . . . . . that is a lot of blue!

There, in the distance . . .
. . . that is a lot of blue!

Alaska Cruise 2012

You might not be able to see them well, but those white specks are birds.

That is one blue piece of ice.

That is one blue piece of ice.

I leave you with the face on ice . . .

. . . it looks pissed off . . .

. . . it looks pissed off . . .

And that is it . . . Tracy Arm.  The next stop is Juneau, and we would only be there six hours or so, so the next update will be fairly short.  Yeah, right!

As I mentioned, all of the above photos, and more, can be found in the SmugMug Gallery.  If interested, click HERE.

As usual, thanks for stopping by, and I hope it was worth your while.  If it was, tell everyone.  If it wasn’t . . . hey, you try making this stuff interesting!!

Neighbors.

Neighbors.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me some recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline nominations whereby one blogger bestows an award onto another blogger, or group of bloggers.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I would much prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would actually mean something to me.

Should you still nominate me, I will strongly suspect you pulled my name at random, and that you are not, in fact, a reader of my blog.  If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards          About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not personally hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.  

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Alaska 2012, Travel Stuff, Writing Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Slartibartfast Done Good

  1. sandra getgood says:

    Some really amazing photographs in that collection…… Since we are in the midst of a blizzard here, I didn’t spend a great deal of time enjoying the glacier and freezing cold weather pictured, but can see myself going back to the smugmug gallery next July, when it’s nice and hot around here and an escape to coolness very tempting!

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Yeah, it’s yet another “too-massive” offering. I suspect the vast majority of people will not even make it through the post, let alone the SmugMug gallery.

      Normally I would link each picture to its respective SmugMug offering (so people could look at individual photos they might be interested in seeing in greater detail), but WordPress is still iffy in handling mixed links, so . . . not.

      Take care in that blizzard . . . and for the record, that is our snow you guys are stealing.

      Like

  2. oneowner says:

    Make that 4 folks that visited the SmugMug gallery. These are breath taking images, even the simple ice photos. As you may know, I love ice photos. Among the best (in my opinion) are the Tracy Arm fjord photos, simply because it’s beautiful and you captured it beautifully. I also noticed some photos converted to black and white and they look great. I can visualize quite a few that would look great in B&W from this series, if you wanted to take a month off and work on them. Nice work.

    Like

  3. seekraz says:

    Stunning photos, Emilio…all of that blue ice is rather freaky beautiful…and I love all of the waterfalls, too…the living water with all of the rich fall colors and rocks…wonderful stuff.

    Like

  4. paigeaddams says:

    Wow – those pictures are amazing! :)

    Like

  5. As always, wonderful photographs, Emilio. I had no idea ice could be blue like that, and the bright green/blue color of the water was amazing at times, too.

    Like

  6. Wonderful photos, Emilio. I’m always amazed at the color of the ice. We were at a glacier in Norway a number of years ago where the ice was that beautiful blue/turquoise. Love these.

    Like

  7. AnnMarie says:

    There’s nothing wrong with any of these photos, they’re as great as we’ve come to expect from you. I’ve seen them all in the SmugMug gallery and there are some that deserve to be poster size! I can’t wait to try to do them justice with my paint brushes . . . no guarantees, though, I’m well aware that Nature is one tough act to follow! But I gotta say that you sure keep good pace with it! Well done!

    Like

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  10. I especially like the blue ice, reminds me of Bombay Sapphire Gin!

    Like

  11. AnnMarie says:

    I’ve already spent over an hour on your Alaska cruise (in SmugMug) and I’m not even done! Excellent virtual trip!

    Like

  12. Pingback: Aurora HDR 2019 Software – Part 2 | Disperser Tracks

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