Friday, July 29, 2011

Arrival at Anchorage

The weather report for the upcoming week promised us rain and heavy clouds in Anchorage. Instead, at least today the weather is surprisingly fine.
I can tell you: it is a long, long way to Alaska, but the views from the flight to Anchorage were fantastic. Alaska as you'd expect it: with lots of empty space, arctic tundra, dense vegetation, wild and bent rivers and huge glaciers! And yes, we saw all of this on our arrival by air, and this was just a glimpse of what lies ahead. And bye the way: Flying over the Eastern Fjords of Greenland was more than fantastic, Greenland is definitely on my To-Do list. The first night we camped on a tentground around Anchorage, in the middle of Bear Country as they call it here. But moose have to be expected too outside - or at least hopefully outside - your tent. Since Anchorage is huge as Alaska we decided to stay in a backpackers hostel for the next couple of days and although it was already fully booked the owner gave us his room for rent. Here is an I-Pod pic of the hostel.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Into the Wild - everything begins with a map

Our tour is starting tomorrow, and I've finally managed to create a map where you can follow us on our travels through Alaska.
The plan is the following:

  • Flight Vienna - Amsterdam - Minneapolis - Anchorage
  • 3 days exploring Anchorage
  • Flight Anchorage - King Salmon - Brooks Camp
  • 3 days in Brooks Camp at Lake Brooks, hoping to photograph bears
  • 4 days Valley of 10,000 smokes and to the Novarupta vulcano
  • back to Brooks Camp, flight to Anchorage
  • 15 days in the Interior of Alaska
    • Denali National Park
    • Wrangell - St. Elias National Park
    • Kenai Fjords
  • Flight via Juneau to Skagway
  • Walking the Chilkoot Trail from Skagway over the Golden Stairs and the Chilkoot Pass to Lake Bennett
  • back from Lake Bennett via Yukon and Whitepass Railroad
  • Inside Passage on the Alaska Marine Highway from Skagway to Ketchikan
  • Flight Ketchikan - Seattle - New York - Baltimore
  • Starting to work!

go to the entire map and route description! --> Alaska Travels

Sunday, July 24, 2011

3 pairs of underwear

Preparations for Alaska are on their height at the moment... we're leaving soon and although I'm still working on my first scientific paper and try to calm down Bernhard who starts getting nervous, I found some time to write down a gear list for the upcoming trip. And here it is - take it as a tip if you want to make a trip similar to ours... and by studying the list you'll see: there is not much room for clothes, instead, I carry a lot of camera gear. :)

gear list Alaska 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lost and found... almost

Sometimes you take pictures, store them, and forget them. And then - maybe years later - you browse through your external harddisk and here they are!

In my case I'm talking about pictures of classic cars that I made on several occasions. You'll find a gallery on my homepage now, have a look at it.

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In case of post-processing I have to say: Nik Software Color Efex and Dfine work great on such things!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Photo gear on the trail

I was often asked about the gear that I take with me on my journeys. Well - that depends on the journey. When driving in a car, I can take everything with me and then just leave unnecessary things in the car depending on the situation or whilst going for a hike.
Things changed when I started riding the world on a motorcycle, and carrying photographic gear on a motorbike isn't that easy any more. All my single cylinder motorcycles are real vibrators (I'm a woman - I'm allowed to have such things ;) and vibrations can be deadly for SLRs and expensive lenses - and if you drop your bike on one of those bad gravel roads, it's not good for your gear either. But still you can take a lot of things with you, although I used to carry the sensitive camera equipment in a heavy backpack which is the safest and most 'shock-absorbing' solution.
And now I do not only have to carry my photo equipment on my back, but also the clothes for a month, the tent, sleeping bag and camping mattress, a cooker, cooking utilities and - depending on the trail - even food and water for several days. Heavy, isn't it? So I really have to decide about the essential photo gear, and here is a first list of my equipment:
  • Canon EOS 5D
  • Canon 100-400 L IS USM f4.5-5.6
  • Canon 16-35 L USM f2.8
  • Canon 24-70 L f2.8
  • Canon remote control for EOS 5D
  • Canon Speedlite 580 EX
  • Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW - Street&Field System
  • Lowepro Lens Exchange Case 200 AW - Street&Field System
  • Lowepro Street&Field Chest Harness
  • Manfrotto carbon fibre tripod 055CXPRO3
  • Manfrotto hydrostatic ball head 468MGRC4
  • Skylight, UV-filters and Polarizers
  • Neutral density filters (ND 3.0 and ND 0.8) and graduated grey filters
  • SpyderCube
  • GreenClean Sensor Cleaning Kit
I will carry the camera and an attached lens in front of me with the chest harness system, where there is enough place for the 100-400 too - I want to have it by hand because of the wild life shots... there is simply no time to put down the big 85 L backpack when an eagle suddenly appears. In the big backpack I will carry the wideangle lens which I will not use as often as the standard 24-70 and the 100-400, and landscape shots need time, and often a tripod - so I have to put down the backpack then anyway.
We'll see if the plan is going to work then...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Let's go to Alaska!

The main purpose for this blog is to stay in touch with friends and family while Bernhard and I explore the United States and work at the Johns Hopkins.

Preparations are going on and on... almost endlessly. Booking flights. Booking camps. Trail permits. Backcountry permits. Ferries. Busses. Cars. Organizing two visa. An apartment. Transportation for a laptop and spare clothes....

And I'm really caught by terms as Inside Passage. Glacier Bay. Black Bears. Novarupta and its Valley of 10,000 smokes. Denali. Brown Bears. Yukon. Whitepass. Grizzlies. Bald Eagles. Chilkoot Trail. Wrangell. St. Elias. Misty Fjords.... the list is endless too.

Besides I'm really busy doing stuff for university, wedding photography and working as freelance for a medical technology company in Innsbruck. And time is flying by. So I just wanted to start this - let's call it - small blog about our travels and experiences in the United States - in Alaska, where Bernhard, my husband and I will spend a month mostly trekking and taking pictures - and Baltimore, where I will be a research fellow at famous Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Dep. of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery) - a chance my supervisor at the University of Applied Sciences in Linz, Thomas Haslwanter, gave me. This blog - hopefully it will become a blog now - will be updated every now and then, but to start with, I'll show you a pic of me testing out my new 85 l backpack (an American one - from Gregory - I thought they should know how to build backpacks suitable for Alaska... we'll see).

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The worst thing about going to the U.S.: I do not only have to leave home, but - although these are only material possessions - I also have to leave my motorbikes, my mountainbike and my books. The good thing: Bernhard is with me all the time - so there's nothing to worry about :)