Earth Day Solitude

Yesterday's theme was solitude. I spent the entire day hiking in Eagle River Valley without another soul around. Snow fell throughout the day, adding to my peaceful surroundings. Pictured here is Dew Lake, where I stopped on my way to search for another lake a few miles further back and across the river. I found the hidden lake, or Knob Lake, as it's named on local maps. It's a location I will revisit when the time is right, or if I just need a bit of solitude.

Colin


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Earth Day 2019

Happy Earth Day 2019! This day will always remain significant to me for many reasons: https://www.colintyler.com/news/2015/4/22/from-ashes-to-adventure-one-year-in-this-big-giant-life?rq=from%20ashes%20to%20ad
In keeping with tradition on this date, I am off to explore a location that is new to me and thankfully the rain has turned to snow for my day hike excursion. I took this image last year on Earth Day in Hatcher Pass, Alaska. Exactly one month later it made the Daily Dozen at National Geographic Yourshot.

Colin


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Feather Detail

After photographing this pair of swans in the same small body of water for five consecutive springs, it can be difficult to come up with new and interesting compositions. In this instance, I decided to let go of the big picture and just appreciate the exquisite detail in the feathers.

Have a great day out there and maybe try look at a familiar scene from a new perspective...

Colin


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Wildlife Morning

Last week I had one of my most memorable wildlife encounters since taking up residence here at the Nature Center. I watched a bull moose cross the creek between the viewing decks while a pair of trumpeter swans was upstream and moving toward the Salmon Viewing Deck, where I was standing. Just as the swans turned a corner and headed my way, I heard something behind me and looked back to see a lynx run across the entire length of the viewing deck and off into the woods past the moose! Unfortunately the lynx didn't present an opportunity for a photo but the memory of the event will always remain with me.

All in all, it was a nice start to the day and a solid reminder of why I choose to live here!

Colin


Bull Moose crossing the creek at the Eagle River Nature Center

Bull Moose crossing the creek at the Eagle River Nature Center


Trumpeter swans at the Eagle River Nature Center

Trumpeter swans at the Eagle River Nature Center


Black Bear Family

Yesterday I had the privilege of observing a sow black bear with two little spring cubs feeding in a cottonwood tree. The cubs were learning to break off branches and eat the seeds, discarding each branch after it was stripped clean. I watched them for nearly 3 hours from a respectful distance until they descended and moved on. Perhaps most encouraging was the fact that fellow human observers were keeping a safe distance as well - nobody approached the tree or let their dogs run loose, which is much appreciated by the staff here at the Nature Center but most of all, by the bears. 🐻

Colin

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Swan in April Snow Shower

Trumpeter swan in April snow shower. I was happy to see the snowfall yesterday and a bit disappointed that more didn't accumulate. I went looking for the swans again this morning but did not find them. Maybe they were just out of sight someplace or it is possible that they have already continued their migrational journey north. If the latter is true, then it was a short stay this year.

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Spring Bull Moose

 Another sure sign of spring - bull moose are sprouting new antlers. Look closely in front of the ears and you will see the start of a new rack. During summer months, bull moose focus their energy on antler development, which can grow up to an inch per day. A fully developed set of antlers can end up weighing more than 50 pounds and span 6 feet in width. Photo taken recently at the Eagle River Nature Center. 

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Return of the Trumpeters, 2018

Timing is everything. I’ve said this on several occasions and today certainly won’t be my last. Often it’s a matter of coincidentally being in the right place at the right time while in other instances, it is far greater than simple fortune. It is a matter of connecting with an energy that resides in every one of us - call it divine, if you will. By calming the ego and believing in one’s purpose,magic can and will reveal itself. 

After an especially powerful yoga session this morning, I set out to create something beautiful to share. The sun was shining bright and the air was still. As I passed a friend on the trail we stopped to chat and I remarked that the pair of trumpeter swans that returns to the valley each spring should be arriving soon. I’d barely finished my sentence when we heard the telltale call of the swans and looked up to see them directly above us on their approach to the creek. They circled a few times, giving me a brief opportunity to get my camera & lens out of the pack, adjust my settings (I shoot strictly in manual mode), and capture a few frames before they landed. 

I always cherish my time with the swans on their migrational journey northward and this year, for the first time, I was able to greet them as they arrived. Once again, I look forward to the moments we will share. 

Colin

PS - If you have not already done so, please view my galleries of swans photos from the previous three years:
2015
2016
2017

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Happy Vernal Equinox, 2018!

Happy Vernal Equinox! Today marks the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and we just passed 12 hours of daylight here in South Central Alaska. I decided to leave my home turf yesterday and explore Portage Valley, south of Girdwood. A friend and I skied up toward Byron Glacier. The skies were clear and the wind was ripping, which made for some interesting scenic images with my telephoto lens. At 400mm, I could isolate the top of Bard Peak and focus on the lines & textures. Black & white always brings an ethereal mood to a wind-blown landscape.

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Worth the Wait

I waited nearly 4 hours for this moment today. This cow moose has twin calves. After a bit of browsing this morning, they bedded down for a few hours in some tall grass and brush, mostly out of sight. I'd considered throwing in the towel; I was growing hungry and have a number of tasks to accomplish today but when you've got subjects like these with soft, overcast light, sometimes you have to wait in hopes that patience eventually pays off.

Treetop Dining

Here is something you don't see every day - a large black bear 50 feet up a tree eating cottonwood seeds. Black bears are excellent climbers and have claws designed for this as compared to their grizzly cousins, who are more adapt at digging than climbing. Still, it always amazes me to see an animal that is several hundred pounds appear so at ease in a treetop.

Spring in the Valley

Hello and happy Monday, friends! Seems I’ve been wrapped up in some major spring-cleaning and other demanding projects and haven’t posted in a while. In that time, Eagle River Valley has gone from showing the last traces of winter to an explosion of color and wildlife. I’ve been getting out for brief hikes here & there and to catch the last bit of late evening light, but yesterday I met up with a friend and went for a nice 9-mile trek. I was fortunate enough to capture a rare, white calypso orchid while it was still in bloom, spot a couple of black bears, and witness many signs of the oncoming season. The sun is now setting after 11 pm and the valley is full of life.  I look forward to chasing more light during the long days ahead.

Colin

 

 

Moose, Swans, and Moon

Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean the light is gone. A few nights back I was photographing the swans at sunset when a moose walked onto the scene. I was hoping that the swans and the moose would line up in the frame but that seemed like I was asking for the moon when, lo and behold, the moon showed up too.

I stuck around until the light was too low to continue shooting, watching them feed together - their faces just inches apart at times, possibly foraging the same aquatic vegetation. It made me think, this interspecies harmony could be a lesson for mankind.

Happy Monday, everybody. Have a great week and be peaceful to one another.

Colin