Yes, another bird- and another artsy fartsy bird at that! This is a ptarmigan, perhaps a female or a juvenile (can’t remember), and it is the state bird of Alaska. This info is courtesy of my Park Service son-in-law, so I am breaking with my policy of not identifying birds, because I’m always wrong- or at least I believe everyone who identifies a bird incorrectly for me. Crossing my fingers here. . .
It was our youngest grandson, Henry who spotted it as we were walking a trail at the Nature Center. It was motionless in the grasses and probably scared out of its mind. I said, “Oh, look a grouse!” We all gathered on the trail watching it, as I snapped 4 or 5 shots. Then Justin gave the command to Penny, the golden retriever, who promptly flushed it out and away flew the grouse/ptarmigan/chicken(?) into the woods.
I gave it the clipping mask and stroke treatment, because it’s fun and I just can’t stop doing it. . .
Like every other photographer, I’m drawn to reflections. This one caught my eye at the Eagle River Nature Center in Alaska. I loved the contrast between the bits poking above the surface of the water and the watercolor swirls beneath.
I sometimes get bored editing landscapes- a little clarity and contrast, maybe a little vibrance, some dodging and burning, some sharpening- and done. Since joining the photo group, I’ve tended to use Nik Color Efex Pro or sometimes Silver Efex (both photoshop plug-ins) to edit my landscapes – because that’s what they all use in class. Now I am trying to use Luminar, because Google, who bought the program, is no longer supporting or updating the older programs. And we all use the TK Actions panel as well.
I decided to try doing a black and white in Luminar- but I ended up having to do a lot more more afterward in Photoshop, because I couldn’t figure out how to get the look I wanted. And when I was done getting the look, I decided I really wanted a color image after all.
Here is the black and white, edited in Lightroom, Luminar, and Photoshop. This was taken in the Matanuska Valley in Alaska.
And here is another view from a slightly different angle (and with a different focal length) of the same scene, edited mostly in Lightroom, with just a little work in Photoshop.
Sometimes you CAN have it both ways!
And now that I see them together, I think I like the black and white better after all. Maybe.
Here’s one of the many beautiful vistas we saw in Alaska- a view of the Matanuska River.
There is the Thumb Butte here in Prescott, and it turns out there is a thumb in Alaska as well- near the Matanuska glacier.
One of the highlights of our recent trip to Alaska was taking the tram up the mountain at the Alyeska Ski Resort, where our daughter’s family skis. They are all accomplished skiers, but the thought of those little guys up on the steep ski runs at the top strikes terror into this grandmother’s heart! BTW, those are glaciers on the nearby peaks!
One of the iconic Alaska views- mountains and trees with fireweed in the foreground. I couldn’t manage to frame it with the Matanuska Glacier as a background (I might have fallen off a cliff. . .), so I settled on this view. Fireweed is just about everywhere in Alaska at this time of year.
My daughter and son-in-law moved to Alaska just one year ago and have worked so hard to not only upgrade their house, but to create areas to grow vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers. Here’s a peek at part of what they’ve accomplished:
Yes- it really is this pretty- everywhere you go, everywhere you look! Mountains, glaciers, water, flowers- Alaska is beautiful!
This was taken at the Eagle River Nature Center.
Blast from the past- the sun going down in Alaska.
Another digital art/alternative landscape/multiple exposure piece from Alaska.
I’m kind of at the point where I don’t know what to call my work anymore. Is it digital art- but it’s all photography? Is it multiple exposure- but it’s done in photoshop? Whatever it is, I enjoy doing it!
Editing photos for creative expression, relaxation, and just plain fun is an essential part of my photography life. I don’t paint or do crafts- so I create with the camera and the computer. I respect and enjoy traditional photography, but I sometimes like to tiptoe a bit onto the photography wild side.
Yesterday I revisited some of last summer’s photos from Alaska. At the time, I was fascinated with the stark shapes of the rocks and peaks jutting out of the sea, but I was disappointed in many of the resulting shots when edited traditionally. But I had so much fun creating the “alternative landscapes” below.
Icy Eklutna Lake with some intentional camera movement:
Our son-in-law took us for a drive over to Eklutna Lake, which was not yet completely frozen. The icy shoreline proved irresistible to kids and dog who immediately were running and sliding and having a great time.
I realized I haven’t posted as many black and whites as usual- and I do love black and white. So I converted today’s image into a monochrome, although I think I like it better in color.