The Last Day – Alaska Cruise 2017 — Part 1

This post documents our September 16, 2017, arrival and sojourn in Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s also the continuation of my documentation of our 2017 Alaska Cruise which began in November 2017. The documentation began in November of 2017; the cruise itself was in September 2017. With any luck, I’ll wrap this up this year.

Anyway, current and previous posts relating to this cruise are HERE(link).

There’s a gallery at the end of this post and a SmugMug gallery HERE(link) for photos from this day. Photos in SmugMug can be viewed full-size. The SmugMug Folder Containing all of the Alaska 2017 galleries is HERE(link).

You can click on the photos in the body of this post to see a larger-but-less-than-full-size-version. I’m breaking up photos into multiple posts in an effort to keep them manageable. Meaning, composing long posts in the Block Editor (ptui!) is still an exercise in frustration.

September 16, 2017, had me shoot a fair number of P900 and D7000 photos, and the Note II was also pressed into service. Of those photos, the first batch is posted below.

I should probably do a brief introduction . . . 

First off, here’s a repeat of the Princess Patter(link) for the 15th of September of 2017, since there’s no Princess Patter for disembarkation day. However, I have the Vancouver Port Guide and other information HERE(link) Note: that’s a small file (1.4MB) but if you want a slightly better quality click this LINK (10MB).

For them not interested in reading about Vancouver, here’s the map provided in the above links. (click for a larger view). It’s not a great map, but it’s a rough reference for where we went (Stanley Park).

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

As mentioned, I’ll share photos from all three of my devices, and in most instances, readers aren’t likely to care about how a photo was captured because they care more (or should care more) about the photo itself.

Keep that in mind in case you’re wondering if a point-and-shoot camera suffices to document your travels. However, let me reiterate that while the P900 and Note II photos are sufficient for documenting travel sights, they are less-than-optimal for pixel-peeping and I suspect prints from these files would be limited to nothing larger than an 8×10 (if even).

~ ~ ~ ~ here we go ~ ~ ~ ~

We like cruising, and hope to do so again whenever we find a new normal, and said normal includes air and ship travel.

The part we don’t like much about cruising is disembarkation day. Actually, the process begins the prior evening. Guests are asked to have their luggage packed, tagged, and outside their cabin door by 6:00pm. Prior to that, one has to choose a time window for leaving the ship. This is usually based on one’s plans. Some people go directly to the airport (we usually do that, but not this time). Others might plan to extend their vacation and spend a few extra days at the destination port.

We split the difference. When we planned the trip, we couldn’t find a combination of flights leaving that day that would get us back to Hawaiʻi at a reasonable time — that’s right, we were still living in Hawaiʻi at the time — and, because we didn’t want to wander the city with our luggage until the hotel’s 3:00pm check-in time, we booked an excursion. Basically, it’s a way of safely storing one’s luggage, doing some sightseeing, and having someone drop us off at our hotel, all rolled up into one.

Early morning arrival in Vancouver (panorama)

Silly me! I’m getting ahead of myself! One bit that we like about disembarkation days is that we get into port early. Because the port is usually in a large city, I have the rare opportunity of photographing the city’s skyline as dawn is breaking. Sometimes, I turn them into panoramas.

The structure on the left is the port of entry, where the ship docks and we begin the process of leaving the ship . . . and now let me return to describing what I don’t like about disembarkation.

Because the food services shut down early, breakfast is very crowded. And because most services are shut down in preparation for cleaning the ship and getting it ready for departure later that day, there are very few places for people to spend time.

Worse yet, you have to be out of your cabin early (8am if I remember correctly) giving the stewards a chance to prepare for the next set of passengers. Meaning, most people are walking around with some type of luggage. Remember, you had to pack the previous evening, and the bulk of your luggage is already in the process of leaving the ship. BUT . . . you had to have a change of clothes and basic toiletries plus (likely) cameras, electronics, etc. that you would prefer to carry with you.

That means that you’re always in fairly crowded areas and carrying stuff. Not to mention, the actual process of leaving the ship entails being at one of the restaurants at a given time, and waiting for your group to be called, officially checked off as having left the ship, and ushered to a large staging area where you then have to hunt for your luggage among a sea of luggage laid out in neat rows (that don’t remain neat for long).

I know, it all sounds dreadful. . . but not much different than flying. The mechanics are different, but the details are similar; you are in proximity to people you learn to quickly loathe . . . breathe, breathe . . . okay, I’m calm now. Here’s a panorama from the other side of the ship.

The other side of the harbor (panorama)

I’ll get back to the experience of disembarking in a moment, but for now, let’s revel in the quickly changing views of the Port of Vancouver and Vancouver proper as the sun begins to crest the horizon.

The sky already clearing is a nice contrast to the lights adorning the buildings.
These photos make surprisingly good candidates for monochrome conversion

I snapped a lot of photos, and while individual photos are nice, I think the panoramas have more of an impact, especially if one goes to SmugMug and looks at the larger versions on a full-size screen.

I mentioned these types of photos lend themselves to monochrome treatments, so here’s a gallery of a few of those efforts. In a few, I replaced the sky using Luminar 4.

Of course, individual photos let you see a bit more details. These next photos were taken as the sky brightened and we approached the dock, so we were closer than the others (and, I made use of my zoom lens).

Now, while large panoramas are fun to stitch together, smaller panoramas (two photos) are also impressive, especially using photos in portrait orientation. So, Here are three panoramas . . . wide, narrow, and tall.

I know, I know . . . this is repetitive and boring, but, please bear with me. These are not sights I see in places where I normally live. Mind you, I would never want to live in a city this large, but they look nice . . . from a distance.

The orange tilt on the buildings is the reflection of the Eastern sky tinged by the rising sun

You can also (maybe) deduce that we’re going to berth on the opposite side of the port building. Around this time, I decided it was more expedient to pack up the D7000 and associated lenses, sling the camera back over my shoulder, drag one of our carryons, and use the Note II to snap photos as we walked around, waiting to get off the ship.

These next photos are all from the Note II, and because of the lighting, I snapped bracketed photos which I then combined into HDR photos here at home. They may seem overworked, but, believe me, the photos as presented are not that far off from what the Note II captured.

That’s the sun cresting mountains behind us and lighting up the windows of the buildings.
The view from the other side of the ship.
The view aft, away from the city, and still in shadows. A very nice observation deck, that is.
One more view of the sun hitting the buildings. The smokestacks you see are of another ship docked on the other side of the building.

Eventually, we made it off the ship, herded like cattle (much like at any airport), gathered our luggage, and followed the signs for our excursion package, a visit to Stanley Park. I mostly used the Note II and P900 for photos as those are easier to handle while on the move.

I’ll have more scenery photos in the next installment, but for now, let me show you a few things . . .

The sign made it sound as if we were about to do some serious hiking. Note the admonition about shoes . . .

I would say most of the people were somewhat properly shod. Side Note: one of these days, I’ll have to buy a pair of those Jason shoes to see what all the fuss is about and why so many people like them.

But, the ‘wilderness’ area was in pretty good shape with clearly marked trails and maintained surfaces. Plus, we traveled as a large group, so I didn’t miss (much) the implements I normally carry in bear country.

Here’s a quick gallery of some of the photos I took with the P900. Again, almost all of these were bracketed and processed as HDR photos. This was driven by the high contrast between the forest proper and the light filtering through. Rather than figure out exposures for changing conditions, I shot bracketed exposures. I think they turned out fairly well after I processed them with Aurora HDR and Luminar AI.

By the way, you might have noticed different color casts for individual photos. That is another limitation of the P900. Because I’m not shooting RAW, the camera processes the JPGs it saves based on what it thinks it sees, and the decisions it makes regarding the White Balance, aside from probably being racist, are difficult for me to edit or change. Changing the zoom changes the predominant color in the shot, and hence you get different WB values, which are then difficult to match between photos.

For a sense of scale, here is a photo with people in it (lower left).

Again, the dynamic range is pretty wide. No problem for human eyes, but a problem for cameras.

I took a number of shots like the following photo, but since they are all similar, one will suffice.

By the way, the P900’s articulated screen makes those types of photos a lot easier to shoot (and more comfortable on the neck, as well) than with the D7000.

I also like this photo . . .

What is that!?” you ask.

“That” holds up this . . .

Notice the cables on the sides that keep the bridge from swaying.

Yup, those are other people on the excursion with us. No, we did not socialize with any of them.

You might notice some people are not walking. They are stopped and looking down (or photographing) this . . .

That second photo is looking directly down from the bridge. Notice there are people down there (again, a sense of scale — we were at a goodly height above the riverbed).

OK, this is a little detour into shooting video. What I should have done is either use the Note II in portrait (upright) or landscape (sideways) mode, or use the P900 in landscape mode.

What I did is use the P900 in portrait mode. This is me wanting to zoom as close as I can to the action, and wanting to fill the frame. The problem is that when you do that, this is what you get.

It’s certainly watchable (once your perspective adjusts), but not optimal. Now, because I have a few tools, I rotated the video 90° counterclockwise, and I also ran it through Topaz Video Enhance AI. I didn’t play with it a lot because there are many models I could have chosen, but I let it default to a generic best-for-all process. So, here’s what that looks like:

That’s easier to visually process (gravity no longer goes sideways) but it’s small. You could go full-screen, but because I reduced the size of the video, it won’t look as sharp (but it’s watchable).

If you go to Vimeo proper, adjust the browser window to show the video a little larger.

If you go to SmugMug, make the browser window full-screen, and then play the video, you should see it as large as possible (without stretching it to full screen).

If that’s too confusing, never mind, and sorry about that. I’ll do better next time, especially since I missed the woman entering the water. She did a better jump than the guy; it looked as if the guy landed almost on his back (that might have smarted). She did a proper vertical pose, feet together, arms held in.

You can see in the above Note II image how many people stopped to watch the jumpers. Being an engineer and not knowing the carrying capacity of the bridge, I quickly got off the bridge and waited.

Luckily, nothing happened, but if it had, I would have had a dramatic video, I tell you what!

Because the subjects were moving and swaying (a bit), the above photo is so-so because only one of the three bracketed photos from the Note II came out sharp, but it’s a bit blown out.

However, other photos from the Note II did quite well when processed in Aurora HDR. Here are three examples to round off this post and serve as previews for the next installment . . .

And here’s the ending gallery of the above photos (sans video). Unusually short for one of these posts, but hopefully still enjoyable . . . by the way, the panoramas are much better on SmugMug, especially on full-screen mode.

I’m not sure when the next installment will go live, but I won’t say it won’t be long . . . because last time I obviously — if unintentionally — lied.

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


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


If you’re new to this blog, it might be a good idea to read the FAQ page. If you’re considering subscribing to this blog, it’s definitively a good idea to read both the About page and the FAQ page.