Haines – Alaska Cruise 2017 – Part 3

Note: this is a long post. I mean it; long, long, 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.

This is the third and final post documenting our September 12, 2017, visit to Haines, Alaska, a long-delayed continuation of my documentation of our 2017 Alaska Cruise. Previous posts relating to this cruise is HERE. The following introduction is the same as that of previous posts so that’s something else you can skip.

There’s a gallery at the end of each 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 Haines; those from this post (Part 3) and those of the previous two posts.

You can click on the photos in the body of this post to see a larger-but-less-than-full-size-version. If there’s a panorama, I’ll link the full-size files but be warned . . . they’re typically 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. 

September 12, 2017, had me shoot 734 photos (straight-up photos, no HDR bracketing) and a few videos. Readers should be thankful I pared those down to a shade over 35% of the total. Even at 259, 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

Note: the Haines photos were post-processed at different times and — depending on my mood and the subject and the lighting and the camera — make use of various post-processing techniques resulting in inconsistent appearances. Take them as they are. 

Note 2: Disclosure: a few photos have been digitally altered to add a few things. Nothing that substantially changes the content of said photos; it’s just something I wanted to try and it will only be evident to a few people.

I should probably do a brief introduction . . . 

First off, here’s the Princess Patter for the 12th of September of 2017.  For them who don’t click on links or don’t remember previous posts, we were scheduled to dock at Skagway. For them interested, HERE one can find my photos from my previous visit to Skagway from a 2012 cruise aboard the Star Princess

The Haines Notice explaining why we were changing ports. Here’s the original Skagway description.

Notice the mention of the White Pass railway excursion; we had booked that excursion (something we still want to do and probably will in a future cruise) but the notice had us cancel because the idea of a ferry ride wasn’t overly attractive. Both Melisa and I can get motion sickness and our worry was the 45 minutes ferry boat ride (on a smallish boat) might trigger nausea and make the rest of the day miserable. Also, it would’ve required us getting up at 5:30 in the morning and that wasn’t especially appealing. 

Here’s a map of the whole area, including the previous stops (Disappointment Bay at Yakutat Bay and Glacier Bay NP) and the next planned stop Haines and showing the additional distance to Skagway. Click the picture below for a much larger version (4.4MB).

This is the Haines Port Guide describing the attractions of the area and what little other information a visitor might find useful. 

Right, that be enough background stuff to bore even the staunchest readers to tears. Many — I’m sure — have already tuned out and left. 

~ ~ ~ ~ here we go ~ ~ ~ ~

Wait . . . one more thing; most of these photos are from the Nikon P900. Nine photos (the first nine on the previous post) are from the Nikon D7000. There are no D7000 photos in this post. There are a few Samsung Note 8 Note II photos in this post but not many. Keep that in mind in case you’re considering whether using a point-and-shoot camera suffices to document your travels. 

As mentioned at the end of the previous post, after touring the fort, we ended up back at the boat but I wanted to walk to the point and see these rocks described as interesting and scenic. I gave Melisa my sweatshirt (it had gotten even warmer) and — carrying only the Phone, Nikon P900, and two extra batteries — I headed out for the mile and a half walk (and another mile and a half back to the ship).

This is the first thing I photographed . . .

What? Of course I shot a vertical panorama of the piece.

What? Yes, that’s the smaller version for the post . . . Oh, you want to see the original!

Click HERE (2500 x 10000 pixels, 7 MB).

I may sound like a broken record, but if you click on the link, the full-size panorama will download. Click on it to zoom into an area of interest and click again to zoom out (if you are in Windows; I don’t know nothing about working no Mac . . . perhaps doing something with your fingers works the same way).

Anyway, my interest was both in the flora and the scenery. For the flora, I typically snap multiple photos of the same plant to increase my chances of getting a decent photo . . . of course, if they all turn out . . . you get this small gallery of what I call The Cotton Plant.

It may look like the same photo, but it’s not. As for the name, I used to be intrepid and have books and research stuff so I could accurately name those as Rosebay Willow Herb seeds, a.k.a. fireweed seeds. But, those days are gone; if you want to know what plant it is, do your own research.

Here, I’ll stop to point out the limitations of the P900. Meaning, the above are not bad photos . . . but here’s a photo from our 2012 cruise to Alaska of the same similar plant but taken with the D7000 and a prime lens.

I could probably get closer to that quality with the P900 but it would require more effort than pointing the camera and pressing the shutter release.

But, again, there are two different ways to approach traveling. One is to concentrate on getting the best photos possible (this means 15 lbs of photo gear strapped to your back). The other is to get passable photos with a decent Point-and-Shoot and rely on brilliant writing to carry the day with good (but not excellent) photos.

Or, there’s my way; numb them with hundreds of photos and incoherent ramblings.

Some kind of orchid
Alaskan Batman
Some kind of pine cones
Deadly Alaskan berries!

I kid about that last one. Wait . . . I kid but I don’t know; they could be deadly Alaskan berries . . . but probably not.

However, the reason I snapped the photo is that I liked the texture and coloring of the leaves. Here, look at them again.

Possibly deadly Alaskan Berries plant . . . with nice leaves.

I also liked these leaves . . .

Nice colors and texture

By now, I’m a long way away from the ship . . . and it makes for a nice photo. The Coral Princess is the same ship we took on our trip through the Panama Canal earlier this year. The links I’m sharing are for posts I published during the cruise. A proper account of the cruise will eventually be published but keep in mind I’m still documenting our 2017 Alaska Cruise.

I can’t be bothered to look it up, but the above photo is probably at 300mm-400mm zoom. Here’s the P900’s maximum zoom:

You can tell the weather has warmed up because you can see a lot of atmospheric distortion because of the evaporation. It’s even more evident if you go to SmugMug and look at the full size photo.

This photo is not at the full wide angle:

Just a few notes for people who are not photographers . . . that’s a scene with a wide dynamic range. The trees are dark and in the shade, the water reflects a lot of light, and I’m shooting into the sun. The reason you can see as much detail as you do is that I edited the photo to scale down the highlights (why the clouds look as they do) and brighten the shadows (why there is some noise in the shot).

Again, perfectly fine for the blog, but I wouldn’t want to print this much larger than an 8×10. A better camera (RAW file and larger sensor) would likely have produced a shot that I could manipulate even more and allow me to get more from the scene as far as quality. Probably.

Here are a few more shots from that location:

And here I am at my destination, the point listed as being very scenic and worth visiting.

The rock formations and scenery I hoped to see wasn’t there. I mean, the rocks were there, but the lighting and shadows were absent. I also think the tide was at the high point and made the formations less photogenic than in the brochures.

But, that’s not to say I had nothing to photograph . . .

Just to be clear, these are not the rock formations I had come to see. These are just rocks at my feet that I found interesting. Plus, you know, deadwood always offers interesting “hidden” faces and figures.

These next shots are me trying various “artistic” compositions:

Ah, you want to see the full-size panorama without bothering going to SmugMug? Well, then, click on this photo and then click on it again to zoom in and out. It’s only 1MB and it’s not a super-great panorama but you know me; I hate wasting photos I take.

1MB — 4800 x 920 pixels

Here’s another gallery of various pebbles and rocks I found interesting (yes; I’m easily entertained).

Yeah, not great stuff . . . I guess you had to be there to appreciate them.

Here’s another shot of the deadwood . . .

. . . and a shot of some alien stuff that will probably hatch and exterminate humankind . . . or, just seaweed . . .

Sometimes, here mundane stuff can offer a decent photo . . . decent by my standards, anyway.

By the way, don’t be surprised if some of these photos show up with B&G&W treatments in future posts; they seem uniquely suited to monochromatic adventures.

This next series showcases a piece of bark I was tempted to bring back as a souvenir . . . but left in its natural setting. Interesting texture and colors, though.

By now, I had spent a fair amount of time away from Melisa and was having withdrawals pangs. I hastily snapped a few more photos of the local geology . . .

Note the duck in the third photo . . . it gives a sense of scale to the rocks.

Here’s a photo from the same area taken with the Note 8 Note II and processed two different ways:

Note II photo – processing 1
Note 8 Note II photo – processing 2

Anyway, I’m heading back and almost immediately I’m in conflict . . . I want to rush back to Melisa but I also see lots of photogenic stuff I want to document. I compromise by walking fast in between stopping to take photos.

Wait . . . what’s that black thing?

Remember I mentioned the woolly worms in the first Haines post? Well, I found out what plants they like.

I don’t know which end is which, so you’re looking at woolly worms asses or woolly worms faces. Take your pick . . . but choose wisely. By the way, they are voracious eaters.

This next grouping is of a couple of thistle plants . . . I think.

I have no idea what this next plant is . . .

. . . but I can sure make up a name: Sitka Burnet. I like the sound of that.

These next two photos are — once again — here because I liked both the colors and the textures of the leaves.

The thing is, when I focus on stuff, almost everything is interesting (to me) . . .

Grass seeds
OK, this one I didn’t identify . . . but I only looked for five minutes or so.

Here’s a small gallery of orchids(?) . . .

I say those are orchids but for all I know, they are a variant of snapdragons or something from an other planet.

For intrepid individuals (and curious, too) these are a few resources for identifying Alaskan flowers:



There are other sites one can find by doing a search.

Here are a few more plants I photographed on the way back to the ship and the company of Melisa.

And then, I neared the ship . . . 

Note 8 Note II photo
Note 8 Note II photo

. . . and approached it via the adjacent beach.

Note 8 Note II photo
Shell we check this out?
Neither of those sets of footprints are of my making.
I like this composition.

I have a version of this photo from the Note 8 Note II . . .

This piece of driftwood was imitating a dead fish . . .

. . . and the same driftwood  from the Note 8 Note II (poorly composed — badly cropped — because it was difficult to see the screen in the sunlight) . . .

This dead fish was imitating a piece of driftwood . . .

I kid; just a piece of bark.

. . . and yet another piece of driftwood . . .

This is where I did something I regret . . . I took the following photos with the Note 8 Note II. I mean; I don’t regret that; I regret that I didn’t also take a shot with the P900.

That’s a piece of driftwood and I liked the fact it looks like a waterfall. Not only that; of the two photos I took, only this one is passable and barely so.

Here’s the same photo with different processing . . . Don’t ask what’s that reflection-like area on the upper right. I don’t know. Perhaps it’s a lens flare or maybe a smear on the phone’s camera lens.

While happy to have the photo at all, I’m less than happy with my sloppiness given I really liked this piece the moment I saw it.

Satisfied I photographed the crap out of the place, I went back to the ship and we enjoyed the International Cafe and various foods items. Soon it was time to leave . . . but not before I snapped a few more shots of the place . . .

. . . and the day was done . . . and so is this post.

Here’s the gallery of all the above photos presented in random order:

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


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