Friday, December 31, 2010

Day After Christmas Recap

Last one! See my Christmas Eve and Christmas Day posts if you need to catch up :)

Since it was Sunday, C was finally able to come to church with me! We had a fun morning hanging out with my in laws, and then we went out to lunch with my parents. They came over to my house and we exchanged gifts there and ate zucchini bread.
My brother's wife put together a movie watching kit basically: popcorn bowl, popcorn, and a rental store movie pass! They got us one last year too, and it has been perfect! We don't watch a lot of movies, but it's been really nice to have!
Chocolate for my dad.
Snowman chocolate from my brother!
My sister in law put together a gingerbread cookie mix with the recipe, a wooden spoon and an oven mitt! It will be fun to make them!
Are you sensing that the snowman was fun? Yes, it was!

Thanks for tolerating the 3 days of photos :)

Beach Set

Another lovely sunset in Homer. Unfortunately, this one was at temperatures around 15F, so the time for shooting is limited to how long it takes the fingers to freeze! That has become a trend the past couple weeks :)

Golden Beauty

I just adore the way the light looks some mornings. This one was actually taken in early afternoon, but that's Alaskan winter for you! I always try to capture this light when it looks this magical, but I have not really ever succeeded before. I don't consider this one a success either, but it's a start!

Hope you have a wonderful New Years Eve!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

About Alaska

I get constant questions about Alaska. In the interest of providing resources, I thought that I would make a post about it to point questions to. I also came across a great resource - - that is written by Alaskans. Most of it seemed accurate. There were a couple pages that I had issue with, but it's a good resource.

Alaska is huge. Therefore, the stereotypes you may have heard about it may or not be true. Darkness? That's up at the top of the state, around Barrow. Frozen igloos and snow all year? Mmm, not so much. I've never heard of anyone actually building an igloo. Although, where I am at, it isn't really possible, so that could be part of it.

Alaska has all ranges of climates. I live near the ocean, so my town doesn't get as cold in the winter, nor as hot in the summer as it could. That's how Southcentral is. Southeast, where the state capital is, is rainy and muggy, like Seattle. The interior gets very cold, but also very hot in the summer. (Ok, not Arizona hot, but pretty warm)

In Southcentral, we get snow from October to April. It really sticks from November through March. As I write this, in mid April, Spring is finally arriving. That is a relative term, however. Plants won't start growing until at least May. Summertime is the reason I live here. The trees burst with greens. The mountains across Kachemak Bay lose a lot of the snow and turn a bluish tint. On a good, sunny day, usually in July, our temperature can get up to 65, and I've seen 70 degrees a couple times. That might not seem very warm, but we have a dry heat. It's mostly a comfortable warm, not unbearably.

Scenery and Wildlife
Alaska is full of gorgeous scenic views. Driving just 5 minutes from my place yields an amazing view of mountains and ocean. Alaska is a landscape and wildlife photographer's dream. And the wildlife is wonderful, also. Moose tromp through yards and through town. Bald eagles soar over head.

What about culture? Weird quirks? You might want to check out this post I wrote.
Alaska is a bit behind the times. Depending on how you live your life, that might be good or bad. We don't have the latest fashions. In fact, around town, people come to weddings in Carhartts and mudboots. In general, the people around here that actually try to dress fashionably are those in high school and college. And that's about it.

But we are a friendly group. We help each other out often. We're not stuck up. There aren't social classes here. You either survive or you don't.

Christmas Day Recap

Yesterday I covered Christmas Eve. This is Christmas Day.
C loves Werther's candy. A lot. He was pleasantly surprised to find them in his stocking!
C surprised me with a Brandon Sanderson book! I have not read any of this work, (except for WOT) and have really been curious about it. Excited to start this one!
We like to write each other silly messages on our gifts. C is much more clever than I am.
A neutral density filter for my new lens!! Yay! I have used it already and it is wonderful :)
Then it was back to the in laws! C is being the paper boy at his mother's request :P
Me being paper girl so he can take my photo :)
C's mom loves to stuff the stockings full of cheap candy :P
We played Disney Apples to Apples! I got my hands on a Little Mermaid card :)

Stay tuned for tomorrow! Then we have the Day After Christmas festivities! That's right, my Christmas lasted 3 whole days this year!

Snowman on the lamp

There are several different designs of these festive fixtures, but I think the snowman is my favorite!

Frozen Erosion

It is always so fascinating to go to the beach once the temperatures drop enough to see freezing. The smooth looking sand was all ice here. In a couple days, I will share the fascinating effect when Kachemak Bay starts to freeze!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Eve Recap

Today is a warm 23F! Warmest in about 2 weeks! We were down to 2 degrees at Christmas. There is soft, powdery snow falling outside as well.

I guess I could share some photos from Christmas!
C's family celebrates on Christmas Eve. Turns out that 3 of the family members had caught the 24 hour stomach flu bug, and the 11 year old currently had it. We decided to do Christmas anyway, which was a bummer for him! He alternated between the bathroom and the couch, and gave up halfway through opening his presents to sleep.

We attended with a bit of trepidation over not wanting the germs, but so far we have escaped unscathed!
The best part of the night was these sunglasses one of my niece's received. Everyone ended up putting them on for a photo, which was fun!
I documented with shutter clicks and C documented with video :)
My mother in law got all of the girls snow globes that light up! Mine happens to have my name on it!

Tomorrow I plan to post the Christmas day photos :)

Cafe Cups Review

Along the same vein as yesterday's post, the next evening my two girls and I went out for a girl's night out. We ended up at Cafe Cups. I've only ever been there one other time.
Pale Alaskan legs!
Two of us got this salad with a garlic dressing. Unfortunately, it was incredibly potent, and we both kept coughing on the strong garlic flavor. It was alright, but not incredible.
The last time I went, I got an entire cornish game hen. It was really good. Unfortunately, it was no longer on the menu. I got the special of the night, a tenderloin pork with potatoes and squash. I loved the veggies, but the pork wasn't 100% the way I wanted it. A little too chewy, but still good. A bit spicy as well.
All was forgiven when we shared eggnog creme brulee! Oh my, this was incredible!

Cups is a bit on the pricey side, and I'm not sure I will go back anytime soon, unfortunately.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Beluga Lake Lodge Review

I grew up with some amazing girls in my hometown. We did everything together. C grew up with some fun guys, and they did everything together too. Somehow, our paths all crossed in high school and we started dating each other. C and I were the only couple that stayed together, and unfortunately, we all started to drift apart a bit. But every once in a while, we all get together and it is great! We had a triple date last week, and went somewhere I had never been, but heard great things about: Beluga Lake Lodge.
Festive table decorations
The burgers are enormous. C and I split a Malibu chicken sandwich, with humongous, but delicious Jo Jos. It was a wonderful sandwich!
Festive caribou...
The appetizer menu: We got the Cajun Southwest Egg rolls. They were amazing! The dip was a bit spicy, but man, I would definitely get them again!
The sandwich menu. We got the #12.

All in all, we definitely plan on going back!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Nutcracker 2010

I love the Nutcracker, but not enough to go every year. Our community does a phenomenal production, and I got to go this year, and it was wonderful! I knew several of the girls from youth group, so that made it more special!
Excuse the heads in the foreground! I took these with my point and shoot from far up in the theater.
When the Big Dipper popped up, everyone cheered and someone yelled out, "Alaska Pride!"
The giraffe was a new addition this year, and it was really fun!
All of the wonderful cast!

I went to the show with C's grandma, and it was a blast to go with her! Unfortunately, after the show, she managed to lose her keys! We searched the theater, the snow, the car, and everywhere else she had been, but still managed to miss them! We ended up walking to my in laws' house, and thankfully it was a warm evening! More adventure than we bargained for, but memorable!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Solstice Eclipse: Dec 20

 I was so blessed to be able to use my father in law's 100-400mm lens and 2x teleconverter, so some of these shots were taken at 800mm! I shot from my in laws' deck and went inside in between shooting. I watched the entire eclipse, which was timed perfectly for Alaskans! It was over at 1AM our time.