Glacier Bay – Alaska Cruise 2017 – Part 1

Note: this is a long post. If you just want the photos, go to the bottom and check out the gallery sans the witty, incisive, profound, and irreverent banter.

I have been remiss in documenting the September 2017 Alaska Cruise aboard the Coral Princess. I figure I should repeat the opening of the previous 2017 Alaska Cruise posts, in part because nothing has changed . . . I’m still remiss.

A few congressional investigations and special counsel probes will reveal I am not to blame for this egregious behavior. It’s all lies, I tell you. You see, I’ve actually been doing lots of work on the Alaska Cruise stuff, but that summabirches at WordPress lie about what I’m doing. They insist I’m secretly working on Project 313 — whatever that is. Fake News!   

You want proof? I have me 221 photos ready to post. You heard right; two-hundred-and-twenty-one photos. So many photos — and a few videos — that one post (no matter how biggly) cannot contain them all . . . and (again) that’s for just one day — September 11, 2017.

The Coral’s main gathering place: food, music, shops, and stuff.

There is a gallery at the end of this first post and a SmugMug gallery HERE. Photos in SmugMug can be viewed full-size. Note that the SmugMug gallery will contain all the photos from Glacier Bay; those from this post (Part 1) will be in there when the post goes live and those of the next post(s) (Part(s) 2(3,4,n+1)) I’ll add as the posts go live.

You can click on the photos in the body of the post to see a larger-but-less-than-full-size-version. A few of the big panoramas will link the full-size files but be warned . . . they are huge. Huger than people have ever seen before. Don’t click on those links unless you’re enjoying a biggly Interweb connection. Also, if you have biggly Interweb but you’re reading this on a phone — which is sad; VERY SAD — I wouldn’t bother with the full-size photos because they are HUGE; huger than anyone else’s huge photos. 

We begin with a few photos from inside the ship. It’s early morning, the light outside is not that good, there’s fog hiding the scenery, and the air has a definite chill that makes the interior of the ship seem even more inviting than it is. 

There is a lot of art strewn about the ship. I’ll probably do a post of just the art but, meanwhile, it serves as a decent intro buffer for the glacier photos proper. 

I should have snapped a better photo of that glasswork . . . heck, I probably did. I have a lot of photos from the cruise and it’s probably worth repeating the stats as a way to explain the glacial pace of my updates.

I shot 8,859 photos, broken down thus:

1,478 (3.8 GB) from the Samsung Note II using the Open Camera App.
3,108 (28.5 GB) from the Nikon D7000 with either the 50mm or the 70-200mm lens.
4,273 (28.0 GB) from the Nikon P900

Granted, some of those are HDR-shots (three shots of the same scene with -1, 0, +1 exposure range). I probably won’t do that again as all three cameras did a good job at exposing the photos and I’ve yet to use any of the HDR shots. 

So, for instance, September 11 had me shoot a total of 1,018 photos (straight-up photos, no HDR bracketing) and a few videos. Readers should be thankful I pared those down to a shade over 20% of the total. Even at 221, most people’s eyes will glaze over and either briefly scan one or two or skip the lot and go investigate the mysterious Project 313. 

I kid, of course . . . I’m not done processing all of the 1,018 photos and 221 is just what I have right now; there will be more. Remember, these are only from September 11, 2017.

Note: you will see different processing as the photos have three different cameras (although the majority are from the D7000). Also, the lighting kept changing throughout the excursion into Glacier Bay and depending on the angle of the Coral Princess relative to the sun, it made for continuously changing shooting conditions. Also, as I processed the photos, I tried different adjustments and when I found some I liked better than the previous, I didn’t always go back to reprocess the earlier photos. 

I should probably do a brief introduction . . . 

First off, here’s the Princess Patter for the 11th of September of 2017.  For them who don’t click on links, we were scheduled to pick up the Glacier Park National Park Rangers at 9:00am at Barlett Cove. For them interested, here’s a map of the area (part of the pamphlet published by the NPS).  

Wait . . . before that, here’s a map of the whole area, including the previous stop (Disappointment Bay at Yakutat Bay) and the next planned stop Haines (was supposed to be Skagway). The picture below can be clicked for a much larger version (4.4MB).

This next map is from the Glacier Bay NPS website (again, click for a larger version – 3.5MB). 

For them who don’t click, here’s the inset (clicking will get you a slightly larger version)

The Patter says we would visit the Margerie Glacier and later the Lamplugh Glacier but we actually had time so we went all the way to the John Hopkins Glacier (via the John Hopkins Inlet). 

In the interest of being thorough, next to the Margerie Glacier sits the Grand Pacific Glacier. One final note . . . from the entrance of the park to the Margerie Glacier, one travels roughly 65 miles by boat. It takes a while.  

Here’s a bit more information:

For them who be wanting the information provided by Princess, here are Princess Glacier Bay flyer and Princess Glacier Bay flyer 2

Right, that be enough background stuff to bore even the staunchest readers to tears. ElBob — I’m sure — has already left. 

That is a mani-shots panorama of the sights as one travels up the park. The intrepid — and those who have a great Interweb speed — can click HERE to get the full-size version (18MB – 23,800 x 3,530 pixels). If you click on the link, the original will open in a new window and you can then click on the photo to zoom in and out of the various portions of the panorama. I’m writing these instructions here and I won’t repeat them for the rest of the panoramas. 

The above panorama comprises roughly a 100° arc and is composed by merging photos shot in landscape mode. This next panorama spans 180° and is a tad smaller because I zoomed out a bit. 

Click HERE for the original (14MB – 14,530 x 3,540 pixels).

If you do click on it, you’ll note it’s fairly grainy . . . that’s the post-processing; it still looks pretty good at about 50% zoom, but degrades significantly at full zoom. How do you get 50% zoom? Well, you can’t by using the magnifier (clicking) as that toggles between full zoom and fit-to-window. You can, however, use the Cntl+ (Cntl key and the Plus key) to gradually enlarge the photo (use the sliders to move back and forth and up and down to view different portions of the photo). Cntl0 (Cntl key and Zero key) will reset to normal view. 

If all that is too complicated . . . well, I can’t help you. Do a search into how to control what you see on your screen. 

Here’s a photo using the awesome zoom of the P900 . . . 

Here’s a panorama shot with the P900. 

I’m not including the original here because the resolution is not as good as the other panoramas. If you want the original, go to the SmugMug album. 

Here are a few more photos (the gallery at the end will have a few more yet, but they are similar so not worth adding here). 

I should mention the contrast (dynamic range) of the scenes was rather high and these photos have all been processed to balance the highlights and deep shadows. 

So, 65 miles of amazing — but similar — scenery. Needless to say, there were a number of visits to the International Café and strolls inside the ship, mostly to warm up. 

Note: you cannot get a coffee to go from the coffee shop unless you have a mug. That’s because they don’t serve coffees in disposable cups while within the boundary of the park. Why not? Because people are idiots and they can’t be trusted to not drop trash from the ship. 

As the ship goes up toward the end of the arm, the scenery gets a bit closer. Also, the zoom function of the P900 “brings” it closer. This is looking forward from the ship.  

Here’s the thing . . . in good light, that camera is amazing. 

About now, I’m losing some of my B&W fans . . . Fear not, B&W fans!

What’s actually happening is me playing with various B&W conversion options because I wasn’t pleased with the color versions of the photos. I mean, they are pretty good, but there’s a fair amount of haze in the air and removing it alters the colors a bit. Leaving it in, it makes the photos “soft”. 

Hmm . . . maybe I should invest in an ExpoDisc. But, the lighting changed so fast that I don’t know if it would have been more of a bother than a hinder. As it was, I juggled two cameras and — occasionally — the phone. 

Here are a few more shots (even more in the gallery at the end) . . . 

One of the problems with these shots is there’s no sense of scale . . . I got an answer for that. 

That’s mostly a side view . . . and that lady looked she would move a lot earlier than she did. 

Here are a few front views (these are all with the P900).

If you click on that last one, you’ll get the full size, but it’s only 1.5MB (4,500 x 900 pixels).

Again, the P900 is awfully good at “reaching out”, as it were. It doesn’t have “pixel-view” resolution when reaching way out there, but for what it does, it’s impressive especially since the D7000 even with the long range doesn’t do much better at those distances.  

There are more of these, but I’m including only a sample . . . 

I should have paid more attention, but I believe these next shots show the entrance to the John Hopkins Inlet and a glimpse of the Lamplugh Glacier. 

We would be getting in there on the way back. Meanwhile, looking forward, some bad news . . . 

That’s our first glimpse of the Margerie Glacier (the white bit roughly in the middle) and the Grand Pacific Glacier (the brown/gray mass to the right of the white bit) but it looked like a fog bank would impede our viewing. 

I resolved to just shoot the ripples of our passing . . . 

. . . but then . . . 

. . . the fog left and Margerie Glacier greeted us. 

These next two shots are both panoramas . . . one taken with the camera zoomed out a bit . . . 

(click HERE for the original — 20MB – 19,400 x 3,680 pixels)

. . . and one taken at a higher zoom . . . 

(click HERE for the original — 25MB – 25,725 x 4,046 pixels)

Both of those were taken with the D7000 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 combo and offer pretty good detail for them who want to see things up close. 

Of course, the P900 is no slouch . . . 

Again, there is no sense of scale . . . or, is there?

At one point, the ranger announced there were sea otters to the side. Everyone looked and only those with binoculars (or a P900) spotted them. The photos below are tight crops of shots at the P900 full 2,000mm zoom.

Up to now, I’ve shown photos in chronological order (there may be a few minutes discrepancies because I didn’t synchronize the camera clocks) but now I’ll show two photos out of order . . .  

See that piece of ice in the middle of the frame and in front of the glacier?

Here’s a better look . . . 

That’s about how far away the otters were, but more to the left of the glacier, and that block of ice is smaller than the ones they were on. It doesn’t mean anything to anyone reading this but I mention it because even in person the eyes and brain mess with your perspective.  

When the ranger mentioned the otters, the majority of people didn’t see them. Even when they were pointed out to them, they still looked no more than black dots in the field of view. 

The brain has a hard time adjusting the scene based on what we know about otters (how big they are). That wall of ice is at least ¾ of a mile across and probably closer to 0.9 miles. Here are a couple of Google Earth images of the place from 2015 . . . 

That crew ship is about 900 ft. long and is sitting a half a mile from the face of the glacier. The place is big, I tell you . . . but it doesn’t look it when you’re there because you don’t have a frame of reference. 

All I can do is show you stuff and hope you can imagine larger than you imagine. The face of the glacier is supposed to be around 250 feet tall. For comparison, the United States Capitol is 289 feet tall. 

Wait . . . I just checked . . . do you remember this photo from earlier?

The mountain behind the glacier shows as 1,808 feet tall as measured on Google Earth. 

Anyway, enough me trying to impress you with my ability to measure stuff . . . 

See the stuff that looks like rocks jutting out from the water in the foreground? Look again. 

That is the Grand Pacific Glacier. Those are rocks and dirt, but they are sitting atop thick ice. The face is listed as being over 300 foot tall.

The gallery has higher contrast versions of those photos. 

This next panorama covers about one (1.0) mile of the 1.4 miles comprising the full width of the glacier face. 

Click HERE for the full-size version (9MB — 12,820 x 3,550 pixels)

Here are a few more close-ups (again, more in the gallery at the end) . . . 

While I was shooting those, I took the opportunity to look around . . . 

Click HERE for the full-size version (1MB — 4,570 x 885 pixels). It’s a lower res version so not as big as the others. 

Now, this next photo is listed (chronologically) as belonging here, but I think the phone clock was set different than the camera clocks. Again, that’s something I’ll have to remember to synchronize in any future trips. 

I think — but can’t be sure, that was when we left Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers. BUT . . . there’s fog in the photo, and I don’t remember it coming back in. Honestly, I have no clue when this was shot. It’s at the very back of the boat, is all I know. 

Why show it, then? Hey, it’s a shoe selfie! People want to see my shoes.

Let me get back to the close-ups of the Grand Pacific Glacier . . . it’s not very visible, but you’ll see it when it’s pointed out . . . 

You might have to click on the images to see it, but the glacier is melting; rivulets of water are running down the face and dripping from the unsupported edges.

But, back to the Margerie Glacier . . . 

Those are big panoramas. They photos composing them were shot in portrait mode, so more photos are required to get the full width. I won’t link both originals, just the B&W version.

Click HERE for the B&W original (32MB — 22,400 x 5,910 pixels)

This post is getting long on the tooth, so I’ll close it off with a few close-ups of the glacier’s details (more in the gallery).

I have 102 photos remaining of the original 221 . . . and I’ll be adding more to the total. 

This might take a few additional posts to cover. 

And, yes, I know I’m overdoing it . . . but, that’s what I do. These photos are as much for me as for my readers, perhaps even more so because I’ll look at them again whereas readers are unlikely to ever look at these again. 

For them who just wanted the photos, here’s the gallery of the above (without the large originals of the panoramas):



That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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

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

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re  likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.