Alaska 2013

Matanuska River 2

In June of 2013 I spent a week in Alaska, visiting with family, some of whom I hadn’t seen in nearly 20 years (It’s the first vacation I’d taken since 2003).  My previous visit to “The Last Frontier” was in 1993, during Christmas of my senior year of high school. I have two sisters, one brother, four nieces, one nephew, three grand-nieces, and four grand-nephews who call this state home.  I stayed with my sister, Sue, in Palmer.

PhotoGrrl Pictures

PhotoGrrl Pictures

90 degree days greeted us in the Valley, while the cooler temperatures of upper 60’s provided pleasant weather closer to the mountains.  The Midnight Sun, our constant companion, kept any bad weather at bay.


Without coordination, my brother Bill who also lives here in Washington, came to visit at the same time.  His kids surprised him with it at Christmas.  Sue hosted a large family get-together, which included her husband’s family.  I met my niece Brittany and my nephew Jeff for the first time.

Both of my sisters, and my sister Joy’s daughter, Brittany, and I spent a day visiting the Portage Glacier, Whittier, and shared an amazing dinner at The Double Musky.


I’ve never spent a day with my sisters.  We laughed until we cried, we teased each other, and on the drive home Sue took us to places where she and Joy grew up.  It was such a special day for me.  Even now, a years later, I tear-up thinking about that time together.  My brothers are great, and I’m glad for my time together with them, but there’s something special about sisters.

Portage Glacier02

Portage Glacier07

Portage Glacier08

I didn’t know it until we went there that I’d been to the Portage Glacier outside of Anchorage once before, when I spent a summer with my brother Marty in 1990.  I didn’t remember much, except watching a movie about the glacier in a nearby observatory; the movie talked a lot about ice worms.





Whittier09                   Whittier07

Despite the constant beauty, I’d been smack dab in the middle of a creative funk that summer, and didn’t really find a zone, but visiting the little town of Whittier woke me up a bit.  The local fishing boats tethered in rows along the docks charmed me; it’s well worth the half hour drive, down a one lane road, one way tunnel, THROUGH A MOUNTAIN!

Cruise ships make this town a port of call, and one was in port while we were there.

Time didn’t permit us the opportunity to check out the creepy, abandoned mental hospital in town, but the image of the dandelions in a beer bottle made up for it.

Matanuska River

That week last June filled me with so much peace.  Allowed me to relax completely.  And, filled me with a lot of love for my crazy family.

*recently I was reviewing a draft to post, and came across this little gem.  I didn’t realize I’d never gotten it on my blog!

A Rain, Sleet, Snow Senior Session Sneak Peak

It’s St. Patrick’s Day 2012, and I wake up at my normal time, but it’s Saturday, so 6:30am seems earlier than it does Monday- Friday.  I’m shooting Dustin Larson’s senior picture today, and though It’s a typical gray-Northwest-drizzle I’m confident we’ll get some shots in between raindrops .  I’m up early because I need to be in Seattle at 9am for a salon appointment scheduled weeks ago, it’s worth the early hour to beat the traffic around the city.  As I go to warm up my car, I’m confronted with a heavy snow fall!

By the time I’m in Renton, it’s no longer snowing, but the rain feels heavy.  I make it on time to my appointment, and regale my stylist with the ridiculous allergic reaction I had to the hair color last time.  She notes in big letters on my file ALLERGIC TO COLOR TREATMENT.  I’m out the door in less than an hour, and just as I’m leaving, it begins to snow in Seattle.  I give Dustin a call, because if it’s snowing in Seattle, the weather can’t be good in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains where he lives.

Back in Black Diamond, I change into warm weather clothes, as the the snow begins to dissipate.  And it being spring (though the temperature doesn’t convince me) the sun comes out, the sleet/snain stops, and the snow melts.  Dustin call with an all clear.  So I head out to Burnett, we hop in his brothers 4 x 4 and we start heading up the mountain. 

Out first stop is the Three Bridges, 17 miles from Dustin’s house, deep into the foothills, at the entry to Mt Rainer National Forest.  There’s a dusting of snow on the ground, and it’s definitely cold and wet.  We’re shooting on the bridge for about 5 minutes, are about to ford the dry-in-winter Carbon River, river bed, when a snow storm just drops.  Pretty amazing to see, across the river the snow just drops down, and comes towards us (the picture below is the start of the storm).

Snow Storm

We pack up and head down to Wilkeson.  Other than having to wait out a hail storm, the weather held off, and the sun even came out.  Below are a few of my favorite shots from the trip, the full post to come.


               DustinSenior_025    DustinSenior_046