I put together a post about some interesting jet traffic at Anchorage from a visit I made long ago. While jet freighters are a big deal at Anchorage, the area is also known for its more unusual prop traffic. Some of these are vintage and others are types that have fallen out of favor elsewhere but continue to have a use in Alaska. Here are some shots of the various props I got to see while on that trip in the mid-2000s.
A step back in time to the mid 2000s. I had a work trip to Anchorage having been invited up by a potential client to discuss their business. We lived in Chicago at the time and I needed to fly to Seattle to connect to Anchorage. (Interestingly, the return leg was possible to make direct overnight.). I had not expected Anchorage airport to be too much. I knew, even then, that it was a hub for freight traffic across the Pacific but I did not think it would be that busy.
When we landed and I walked down the jet bridge, I looked out of the window to see rows of 747s, MD-11s and DC-10s. It was quite an eye-opener to see just how many large jets were laying over there. There was a steady stream of movements too. These planes were not just waiting around for business. The airport downtown was another reminder with everyone I spoke to in the bar being a crew on layover.
The meetings went well but didn’t lead to anything. The timing of the trips meant I had some time to kill so I spent a bit of time out at the airport watching the arrivals and departures. There were the unusual locals that Alaska is known for and the props will definitely be worth a separate post. For this one I shall share the jets that came and went. Many of these are types or operators that have ceased to be. It was a great thing to see and I’m glad I got the chance to be there, however briefly. A specific trip up is something I would like to try and do at some point. All those Alaska Airlines points have got to be worth something!
Moran State Park provided a great place for some hiking. It is a pretty shady and damp environment, though. As we were heading down one trail, we came to a bridge over the river. The bridge seemed to have most of its surfaces covered in moss. The lack of direct light must have made it an ideal location for the moss to thrive.
Our walk in Moran State Park included a diversion up the hills to see some falls. There were two that I was expecting to see. The first of these was Rustic Falls. It was not supposed to be a big waterfall and that was the case. However, it was quite pretty. I wandered down to the water’s edge to try and get some shots of it. I was using the M6 which comes with a tilting screen. That really makes like so much easier when trying to get a shot very low to the ground. No need to lie on the earth or to fit a tilting eye piece. Just tilt the screen up, put the camera as low as you want, and get the shot. I wish my higher end cameras had the same capability!
The misty mornings at Orcas were not only pretty atmospheric to wake up to but they also could make for interesting shots of the ferries. As the banks of fog rolled in and out, the boats could disappear and reappear. As they backed out and spun around, they could be right on the edge of disappearing. Since we were facing south, the whole scene was backlit which made it look even more interesting.
Driving up to the summit of Mount Constitution, the road twists and turns a great deal. Some of the curves have a steep drop off which will not end well if your vehicle were to leave the paved surface. Consequently, there are plenty of concrete posts along the edge of the road to try and stop you going too far wrong. However, it is so shady and damp within the woods the cover the side of the mountain, these posts get no light and have become home for moss. It looks so thick that you wonder whether the car would even be scratched it you hit one!
Orcas Island is the location for Moran State Park. It includes Cascades Lake which makes for a nice hike. We extended the hike slightly to include some waterfalls but they will get a post of their own (or two). In the low winter light, the lake looks really beautiful. The trail brings you out in little bays but you are never too far from the water. The trail is not along the shore and the terrain is a little steeper than you might expect but it is still a pretty simple hike. Meanwhile, you get to enjoy the lovely views so it doesn’t feel like too much exertion at all.
While hiking through Moran State Park, we came up to a road. As we got there a vintage car of some sort was coming towards us. Annoyingly, I had changed the camera to its base ISO to photograph some waterfalls and hadn’t reset it to auto ISO. It was dark in there so, when I shot the passing vehicle, the shutter speed was way too low. It means the shots were blurred but it actually wasn’t as bad as I had expected.
The Washington State Ferries service is the main way of getting between the San Juan Islands but it isn’t the only one. On a previous trip to the islands, I had posted about an operator of a small ferry. That post is here. The operator is San Juan Ferry and Barge. The boat in the original post is the Henry Island but they have a second, similar boat. This is the Nordland II.
The Nordland II came past us while we were staying in Orcas a couple of times. It had a truck with what looked like propane on board. I imagine moving from place to place with a hazardous cargo is easier when you charter the boat yourself. The front ramp means they can load and unload at any number of launching ramps around the islands which makes them super flexible.
They are based at Friday Harbor and, while we were walking around the waterfront, I saw them in the marina. The Nordland II was making a trip out so I got a shot as they pulled out (along with a friendly wave from the crew!). The Henry Island was still moored up so I grabbed some shots of it while I could.
With the ferries coming and going to the terminal at Orcas, I was able to have plenty of chances to take photos. I did get standard shots of the boats in low light conditions. They are not easy to shoot since they are constantly moving. No long exposures at low ISOs are possible so it is high ISO and the associated noise. However, I did decide to experiment with some long exposures and blending of shots. The boats make a curving approach to the terminal. I thought this might make a nice long exposure. It worked okay but the curve is a bit disguised by being too low down to really appreciate it. However, it was fun to try.