March 25, 2012

Here Comes the Sun

Filed under: Aurora,Interesting Things — Susan Stevenson @ 5:48 pm

Now that we have passed Vernal Equinox, the daylight is returning quite quickly. We have more than 14 hours of visible light now – and we’re gaining nearly 7 minutes of daylight per day! I absolutely LOVE this time of year, as I feel my energy levels return and my mood improve. The only downside is that even though the aurora is still visible (and rather active lately), we have to stay up later in order to have dark skies. Soon, we’ll have so much daylight that we won’t be able to see them. I’m trying to enjoy them as much as I can now. It helps that it’s not 30 below.

It is a real joy to wake up and see the sun shining through the trees in the yard though. Although it doesn’t come over the horizon until around 7:30am, the sky is starting to brighten up before 6am now.  Bring on spring!

I haven’t photographed the aurora since last week. I have found my comfortable bed to be much more desirable. It’s amazing how my sleep patterns improve as the daylight comes back. You’d think it would be the opposite, but not for me. Fall/Winter insomnia and Spring/Summer rest. That’s the way the cycle always goes for me.

The aurora is always amazing! Streaks of light Beautiful northern lights
Dancing aurora Aurora Borealis Swirls of light
Aurora Aurora Aurora
Dancing aurora Aurora Aurora over the house
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Aurora Aurora Aurora
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Aurora Aurora Aurora and Big Dipper
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Aurora Aurora Aurora
Aurora and Big Dipper Aurora Aurora
Aurora Aurora Aurora
Aurora Aurora and Venus - bottom center Aurora
Aurora The sky was clear – remarkably clear –
and the twinkling of all the stars seemed to be
but throbs of one body, timed by a common pulse.
~Thomas Hardy ~

The next photo is one of my favorites from a recent evening of aurora viewing. I was standing in the driveway, looking straight up and enjoying the dancing lights. I was shooting with a long exposure, and I heard Steve open the front door. I said to him “Be careful you don’t trip the…….motion detector!” I didn’t get a chance to finish my sentence, as he stepped out far enough to cause the bright floodlight to turn on. I thought for sure that the shot was ruined, and imagine my surprise (and happiness) when the “mistake” turned out to be a pretty cool image of the aurora dancing over the lit up birch trees. I really like it!

Lit up birch trees and aurora borealis

GCI OPEN NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE

My friend Kathee and I met downtown for the Open North American Championship Race. The race starts and ends in downtown Fairbanks and follows a 20/30 mile loop through the city and surrounding area.

I hate to say it, but I was a little burned out on dogsled racing photos – especially after our amazing weekend down in Anchorage for the Iditarod. But there were other events going on downtown, and it was a beautiful day.

We met for breakfast first (The Bakery: a popular local diner, where the food is consistently good, and the waitstaff remembers your name). We then drove downtown, parked our vehicles, and walked to the starting line on 2nd Avenue. They were still assembling, so we wandered in and out of some of the downtown shops.

The fur auction was underway (Alaska Trappers Association), and that was interesting to watch. Animal pelts were on display:  arctic fox, lynx, marten, wolves and wolverines, ermine, mink, red fox, beaver and otter. There was even a muskox pelt.  (You can read more about Alaska’s Trapping Heritage at the ATA website)

Hunting, trapping, etc. are a way of life here in Alaska. While I do neither (and don’t know if I could – as the only shooting I like to do is with my camera), I have nothing against those who do. The meat is eaten, the fur is used to make warm clothing, and any extra fur is auctioned/sold off to supplement family income. There was quite the crowd at the auction, and many people left with beautiful fur pelts and also antlers.

These public events are also great for people watching. People wear their finest fur hats, parkas and mukluks. Others come dressed in carhartts and bunny boots. I love to people watch. I also love running into people I know at these events. We did run into our friend Sherry and her two daughters.

After all the teams left the starting line, there was a Parka Parade. Several women (and one man) walked down the middle of the street showing off their beautiful parkas. I just love the handiwork that goes into these wearable works of art.

When things died down, Kathee and I went to McCafferty’s coffee house for a mocha and a danish. We ended up staying there and chatting for more than an hour. I just love hanging out with Kathee! We share so many laughs when we’re together.

Fox pelts Fur auction We went in an antique store, and the blue glass in front of this window caught my eye
The antique store had a collection of tea cups and saucers. I have two sets that my mother gave me, which used to belong to my grandmother The sign outside the antique store is very big! Kathee stands under the sign for the Ice Museum
Kathee and the race sign - proving we were there Downtown Race Start Randy DeKuiper leaves the start
Look how excited this dog is! John Hanson Jr John Hanson Jr
Run over the photographers! Downtown Mural - on wall of Tommy's Elbow Room Close up of Mural
Close up of Mural Rob Peebles and crowd watchesl Race Timekeeper
My friend Kathee Parka Parade Parka Parade
Parka Parade Parka Parade Parka Parade
Parka Parade Parka Parade Parka Parade
My friend Kathee *photobombed* me. Photobombing is when someone jumps in your photo just before you snap the shutter Reflections in a zipper pull

I have photos to share from a recent roadtrip to Nenana with a couple of friends, but I’m very busy working on images from a photo session I just had this morning. It wasn’t a happy occasion. I was asked to photograph a yellow Lab named Rosie with her family. Rosie is suffering from bone cancer and the decision to send her over the rainbow bridge is imminent. The family wanted me to photograph them all together before they say goodbye. It was a very hard session for me, but I held it together until the end. Then I shared hugs and tears with the family.

I’m going to end this blog entry now, just to get it updated, as I’ve been away for too long. I’ll have another blog entry over the next day or two.

Until next time…

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16 Comments »

  1. I look so forward to your blogs and photos. I’m HOOKED…I miss you girl. XOXO.

    [Reply]

    Susan Stevenson Reply:

    Miss you too, honey! Look forward to seeing you again in July!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Shan Chandler — March 25, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

  2. I feel so lucky to have ‘found’ you out there on the Internet; You bring a whole new world of Alaska to my doorstep. I love you photos and how you capture the spirit of Alaska. Thank you for sharing your talent with the rest of us!

    [Reply]

    Susan Stevenson Reply:

    Thank you very much Kathleen. I am so happy that you are enjoying my blog and my photos. I love to share my little corner of the world with my readers!

    Have a wonderful week,
    Susan

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kathleen — March 25, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  3. Oh Susan I really do love your photography, the costumes look so warm & comfortable & so colorful. Without your photos,the likes of myself & others on the opposite side of the world wouldn’t have the opportunity to enjoy seeing such unusual gear & without your blog I & many others would not realize that your daylight is re-appearing once more nor would we be able to share & enjoy the marvelous site of your winter skies. Thankyou so much Susan for sharing your life with us in such a great way I have recommended your site to most of my friends & they also are delighted with your work.

    [Reply]

    Susan Stevenson Reply:

    What a wonderful comment, Sheila. I am so pleased that you are enjoying my writing and my photography.

    I am so happy about the light coming back! The winters can be so dark and dreary (except for the gorgeous aurora), and waking up to sunshine/daylight is such a joy. Spring will be here before we know it.

    Thank you so much for recommending my site to your friends. I appreciate that very much. I hope that they also enjoy reading me.

    Warmest regards,
    Susan

    [Reply]

    Comment by Sheila Saez — March 25, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  4. More proof that Alaska is SUCH a unique place compared to the rest of the U.S.! This looks like such fun. That little girl in pink with the number 2 is just adorable.

    [Reply]

    Susan Stevenson Reply:

    Alaska is definitely unlike any place I have ever lived, that’s for sure. I love these community events.

    The parkas are gorgeous. I would love to have one! So much work goes into making them.

    Thanks for commenting, Jan.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jan J. — March 25, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

  5. I hope all my NY friends who were dubious about the wisdom of my moving here see each of your blogs. You do a phenomenal job of painting Alaska as the magical place it is. Thanks, Susan! I love, love, love this place called ‘home’.

    [Reply]

    Susan Stevenson Reply:

    I love living here too! It’s so unique, and so beautiful, and the people who live here are awesome too!

    Thank you. I’m glad you enjoy my blog. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Comment by Becky Anderson — March 25, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

  6. Love the Northern Light photos! I never get tired of them 🙂 Love all the dog sled teams also. Those dogs get so Excited!! and the Parka Parade…WOW Beautiful Parkas…I’ll take #5 🙂
    Always enjoy your blog and photos!! Thank-you for sharing 🙂
    Looking forward to your next post!!
    miz liz

    [Reply]

    Susan Stevenson Reply:

    Thank Liz. The parkas were so pretty. One of these days I want a fur one made for me. One of these days…

    I’ve been too tired to stay up late for the aurora. I need to get out there a couple more times before they’re gone for the summer.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Liz McCollough — March 26, 2012 @ 3:28 am

  7. Lots of nice shotsd of the lights. Glad to see you was able to stay up and git thim. ha ha Liked all the fur shots too that was one of the things of going to the sled races to see all the fox hats. smiles. Dont know if you have checked the Decorah Eagle Cam but all three egges have little holes in them so the little chicks should be popping out in the next couple days. If you get on on the bottom where the viwers total is listed to the far right is a square if you click on that it enlarges the picture and right now someone is on the cam to zoom in and out so you can see the eggs better. Lots of nice pic though and thanks for all the lights. smiles

    [Reply]

    Susan Stevenson Reply:

    Thank you Bruce! The aurora has been so awesome this year, but now that the light is sticking around longer, I’m feeling like an old fart and hitting the sack early! *grin*

    Can’t wait for spring. I have been checking that webcam from time to time. Sometimes my internet is so slow, it takes forever to load. 🙁

    The fur parkas (and all the fur hats and pelts) were so pretty. I’d rather see the live animals though. 😛

    Have a fabulous week, Bruce!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Bruce Rufer — March 26, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  8. Hi Susan, well, I have come out of hibernation and am rejoining the blog world. You should skim over to my blog and read all the good news. As usual, I enjoy seeing your photos as well. I will checking in more and more now. Take care

    [Reply]

    Susan Stevenson Reply:

    Hi John! Good to hear from you again. I haven’t had a chance to catch up on my favorite Alaska bloggers, but I will definitely check it out soon! Now I’m curious! 😀

    Take care,
    Susan

    [Reply]

    Comment by John — March 27, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

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