Saturday, July 25, 2015

Shameless Plug - Because I can

So I've gotten a LOT of love and support over my latest series of photos (Midnight on the Kenai). I am SO SO SO humbled and grateful for the comments that I've received, some from photographers I've admired for YEARS. So thank you, everyone for your comments.

I've also been asked if one photo in particular is for sale - the Kenai Harbor at midnight shot is by far my most popular photo to date! And after a little work I HAVE gotten a few sizes and prices together and put them on my online store (provided by SQUARE)! I can take either local orders or add shipping and I can get that order to you.

These are JUST PRINTS. I don't have the ability to get professional frames and mats done for the order (as the only place I know I can trust here in Soldotna does charge a pretty penny and so it wouldn't be cost effective for anyone).

Anyway if you're interested you can CLICK ON THIS LINK to order the harbor photo (and later on I should have the Redoubt at Midnight photo as well).


Monday, July 13, 2015

Midnight on the Kenai in July.

I attended Conway Seavey's Concert in the Park on Saturday night. Show went from 8pm to midnight, and was really good! It's hard to think of the littlest Seavey as all grown up, but he is. If you were in the area and didn't go, you missed out on lovely weather and good entertainment.

But that's not what this post is about. I left around 11:30 (a whole 2 hours after I'd planned to leave as I had to be up early for church on Sunday), and on my way home noticed that the sky was bursting with patterns or light. So I pulled over when I got into Kenai and headed for the bluff to see what the river and inlet looked like.

I was not disappointed.

Even the dipnetter campsites were nice to photograph. It was the first weekend and the run isn't at its strongest, yet, so the beaches aren't as littered... yet. I expect that to change this week.

Anyway, here are my favorites from the other night. Love that midnight light!




Friday, July 10, 2015

Farewell, Bubba Jack.

I got the message from my aunt today, the little one-eyed (who soon after became no-eyed) black pug that Judy found out in the middle of the street passed over the Rainbow Bridge. We never did find out how old the guy was - but it was thought that he was at least as old as Yuka, maybe older. Originally the vet we took him to when we found him didn't expect the dog to last a week. Then it was 6 months, then it was 1-2 years. The dog lived nearly SIX YEARS after we found him. He outlived so many dogs younger and healthier than he. We joked he would outlive us all.

He very nearly did!

Bubba Jack never let the fact that he was without eyes get him down. He had very few teeth but still played tug-o-war, popped the squeakers in every dog toy Judy could find, and was EXTREMELY sassy. He didn't need eyes to know when the bark at things (he didn't really need an excuse to bark). He LOVED Judy, so much so that that's how SHE ended up with him and not me.

Once Judy and Gaylord moved to California I didn't get to see him much, but we talked on the phone often. Yes, you read that right. I talked to a dog over the phone. He and I had some epic conversations. I'd talk, he'd bark... Judy would laugh and silently judge me. But it was always the highlight of the evening. He would keep me up on all the latest stuff going on, and how his sister ticked him off. He'd bark until he was tired of barking and then go to sleep. I will miss that.

Now he's off to the Rainbow Bridge to meet up with all those that went before him. He'll be able to see again, and maybe now Yuka and he will finally get to play together. Rest well, big guy. Marf loudly!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dear visiting dipnetters

To the 10,000+ visitors headed down to the Kenai Peninsula this weekend to hit the mouth of the Kenai River and dipnet for red salmon to stock their freezers I have one request - please be respectful. I know, it's the biggest party of the summer for a lot of you. Camping on the beach, there's ample opportunity to drink too much and play a little too loud. Most weekends, that works out great, but when you look at the sheer size of the camping group it becomes dangerous.

So, please, be respectful. Pick up after yourself, catch and kill what you are legally allowed to - don't practice sadism by catching other types of fish and torture it before throwing its corpse back in the water. Keep the crime in your city of Anchorage, don't bring it with you. Kenai has it's own share of delinquents, we don't need the big city's problems as well. So if you feel like you need to have a knife fight, take it home. You're here to fish to supposedly provide for your family, keep that as the only priority.

I know it's hard to use common sense when you're cold, tired, maybe drunk or hung over, but don't go out farther than you need to. Trying to wade into the middle of the mouth of the river will not ensure you catching more fish. News flash, they typically run closer to shore. Our first responders are too busy dealing with knife fights and drunk and disorderly - they can't be floating up and down the water 24/7 to rescue your butt.

With that in mind, don't overload your boat and swamp it. You lose everything, a lot of waste happens, and it's expensive for our town to rescue your butt.

Take your time getting here. I know, I know, the best camping spots go early - but if you're traveling this weekend to get here I hate to break it to you: they're already taken. I was down at the beach the other day and folks are already parked and camped. Sorry, you're too late. So stop playing chicken on an already overly dangerous road system. There are 10,000 of you coming this way, you want to get here, right? So take it slow, give other drivers their space, and enjoy the drive. It should be the least stressful part of your dipnet experience.

When you get to town, don't treat it like a Tickle-Me-Elmo sale on Black Friday. No fights need to happen in the checkout line because the last case of Miller Light, or the last bag of Doritos was taken right out from under you. If you HAVE to have the "fun stuff" bring it from home where your big city has several major box stores that have shipments almost daily. We don't.

Yes, I know we know you're coming. Yes, I know we can be prepared. We are, but it seems like you come in like locusts taking everything! It looks like a warzone in Fred Meyers the entire month of July. That isn't us, that's you. We do our best to host you, try and be a nice guest for a change.

Speaking of locusts, we have tried very hard to accommodate your camping needs, you food needs, your walking needs. Follow the signs. Don't destroy a VERY DELICATE ecosystem just because you can. You don't have to live with the consequences, we do. Maybe if your property taxes went up each year to deal with the extra cost of taking care of the mess you'd think differently - but, then again, I doubt it.

Take your limit and leave. Yes, we see you - taking a few extra. Or worse those groups - who I won't describe for fear of the PC police coming down on me - that get dozens of extras to use in their family owned restaurants. Uh-uh. That's not what Subsistence fishing is. This is a PERSONAL USE thing. You want to sell the fish or cook it up for pay? Yeah, you need to go to the COMMERCIAL FISHERIES. We have several in our area you can go and pick up from.


I know, I come off as sounding crazy angry. It's not just because my 20 minute commute will double for the next three weeks. It's not because I can't use the beach in relative quiet. It's just that this has gotten ridiculously out of hand in the last few years. Yes, I know it's not JUST people from Anchorage - the locals get nutso, too. And trust me, I rant about our issues just as much. But TEN THOUSAND extra potential problems arise when you arrive. So PLEASE, for the love of all things holy, BE RESPECTFUL. Let's make this a positive experience this year. If you promise to play nice, I promise not to rant about you next year.

"They're like locusts... After they've consumed every natural resource they move on..." - President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman, Independence Day)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pug photo fun!

Took these photos of the boys a few days ago. Stitch is not a fan of the noises that the camera makes so he spent most of the time barking. Such a booger. We're working through getting him to settle down and not be such a timid little dude around any noise. He's very naughty in other ways - gets into EVERYthing - but noises scare the bejeepers out of him. We're also working on obedience training but this boy is STUBBORN. I was very spoiled having Yuka from such a young age, as stubborn and naughty as she was she was incredibly smart and learned commands quickly. It's a slower process with Stitch. Right now we're working on sit and come. Neither which is working out too well. Even with super yummy treats. Oy.

Anyway, here are Sushi and Stitch from July 3. I'll have to get more pictures soon.



30 Days of Television: Day 19

Best television cast


I may not watch the show anymore, but I still ADORE the cast of Once Upon A Time - past and present. They are just a great group of people, so giving to the fandom (even now that it is insane and full of hate). They seem to genuinely care about each other in almost a family sort of way, supporting each other throughout the year in all of their endeavors and giving shout outs and encouragement.

Sure, the show is corny and sometimes some of them overact to the point of bllllaaaahhhh, but they all fit their characters (seriously can anyone think of anyone better to play any of the characters?!). The men are ridiculously attractive - Captain Hook never looked so good - the women [used to] kick major booty. All seem to have a *wicked* sense of humor when it comes to the ridiculous storylines (and family tree).

They all love what they do, they aren't taking life so seriously. Team 7 reaches out and engages and encourages fans (Gabe Kouth is my favorite on instagram, Michael Coleman is king on Twitter).

I could've gone with Arrow, or MASH, as they definitely round out the top three on my list. But ultimately it's the cast of OUAT that won out - because I can't think of a single cast member I don't like. They're all amazing and perfect for who they play. So... they win.

(and really SDCC in 2013 wins all kinds of everything.)


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

30 Days of Television: Day 18

Favorite Opening Sequence

This is another hard one only because honestly I don't really think any are overly amazing. But, my friends and family can tell you that I used to rock the crap out of the CSI opening. I mean it's "Who Are You" by The Who - how do you NOT rock out to that?! The clips they used were always in time with the music (golf club to the mannequin head, anyone?), though I honestly haven't watched that closely since William Peterson left the show (I rarely watched after that, and I didn't even watch the latest season they finished this year when Nick left! WHAT?!)

I used to sing along with the opening - sad, I know - we've recently started rewatching CSI from the beginning thanks to it being on Hulu... dad wonders why I don't sing. I'm over it... I'm 30, dang it, time to be a little mature... maybe...


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

30 Days of Television: Day 17

Favorite Miniseries

This really should come as no surprise as all last year (well from June through January of this year) I talked a lot about the Sons of Liberty miniseries that the History Channel created based on the events in Boston that led to the Continental Congress to declare their independence from Great Britain. (Wow that was a long run on sentence. Whoops!) It starred two of my favorite TV actors (Michael Raymond-James and Ryan Eggold), and it's about American history. I was stoked and counted down to the premiere (and was so sad when they moved it from December to January).

I was not disappointed. The miniseries - for what it was - was fantastic. It was NOT to be taken as an accurate portrayal of what happened, it was more to get people interested in finding out who these men were. It was a three night action packed adventure. It left little room to breathe through much of it. It made these stuffy looking portraits come to life. Sure, they made some of them younger and more agile than they were. Sure, they used rumor and innuendo to make the slow parts more interesting. Sure, Paul Revere wasn't in every major battle and political scene (he'd have to be in two or three places at once!). Doesn't matter, it was fun exciting and did exactly what History set out to do! People were talking, researching, and some even complained that they didn't stick closer to the actual history.

I came away with new appreciation for Ryan and Michael, and better still found several new favorite actors (serious Rafe Spall is amazing). For the most part I think all of the actors were type cast (a lot of character actors made up the cast) but at the same time each roll fit so well. Michael was basically a smart@$$ every night who got to kick major butt. Ryan Eggold was the tragic hero, while Rafe Spall was the um... eccentric one. Ben Barnes was the eye candy leading man...

You can read my reviews if you want to get a better idea of the series. But it's really good, and I am the proud owner of the series on BluRay. With the 4th of July coming up this weekend I plan on adding Sons of Liberty to the "must watch" list to gear up for the big day. Oh, and Canada got it right, their history channel will premiere the series on July 4th. VERY APPROPRIATE, neighbors, eh!

ohtauriells on tumblr

Monday, June 29, 2015

30 Days of Television: Day 16

Your guilty pleasure show

Okay, okay... I'm the first one to say soap operas are junk and not worth watching - but, in my defense, Reign is not considered part of that genre. It just plays out like one. The people are pretty, the dialogue is decent enough. I like that it's historical fiction (it's about Mary Queen of Scots and her husband King Francis however it doesn't play out like the real history at all). I think what most drew me to it originally were the costumes... and then Torrance Coombs came on the screen and, well, yeah.

I haven't really liked how the second season played out - not only was it more soap opera drama than anyone really needed - I didn't like the whole Mary able to jump from one guy to the other after being raped. I mean, seriously, be mad at your idiot husband (really dude you were worried Mary would be killed because you offed your daddy? how pathetic are you?!) for failing to protect you because he was out protecting himself, but it makes no sense to get into bed with a man who could literally end your life if he decided to make a run for the crown.

They even ruined Bash and Kenna's relationship for God knows what reason. I really LOVED the courtship they were working on in season 1 after they were forced to wed. It was a far more intriguing storyline than them both cheating on each other because they don't have anything in common. Kind of ridiculous.

And the first half of season 2 where Catherine was going nuts was pretty annoying, too. Honestly I'm surprised the ratings stayed up enough for a third season - I hope they can fix the mistakes of the past season. Though I really am not holding my breath. This is a primetime soap, afterall...

But it's still my guilty pleasure. And I still have hope for Francis and Mary to work things out (Frary forever!)... you know, before the inevitable happens and he dies... because he did leave her a widow in the real history...

Picnic marks start of Iditarod 44, 62 mushers sign up first day

Dad and I got up somewhat early Saturday to make the four hour drive to Wasilla for the Iditarod volunteer picnic that happens the last Saturday in June every year. It's a way for the Iditarod to thank the many volunteers that help the race run smoothly, and is also serves as the ITC annual board meeting/voting and is the first day mushers can sign up for the next year's race. The Iditarod Teachers conference also attends so fans/volunteers/teachers all mingle with the mushers (past, present and future). It's low key, but still a nice way to connect and reconnect when it's hopefully not so cold and you can actually see faces without a parka hood.

This was my dad's first picnic, and he didn't take long to go around and embarrass me by talking about me to people I know or admire, but I should be used to that by now, right? The picnic's attendance seemed lower to me than in years past, but with the fires all over the state that was kind of expected. According to the Iditarod's press release after the event, 37 mushers were at Headquarters to personally sign up, another 25 signed up via mail. There are 5 Iditarod champions already in the mix (Both Seaveys, Martin Buser, Jeff King, and Robert Sorlie) as well as 10 rookies.

The picnic was catered by Golden Corral a loyal sponsor of the Last Great Race - they had pulled pork and all types of picnic goodies. PenAir (another awesome sponsor) flew in Bristol Bay salmon that was the hit of the day for many. The weather played nice as it was overcast but incredibly warm, and the bugs stayed away for most of the day. During the door prizes they announced they still had quite a few volunteer tshirts that they were going to give away - so I'm the proud owner of one - and that sent dad in full on autograph mode. Once again my dad never fails to embarrass, but as I told him - after he dies I get the shirt so in that way I guess I win! ;)

The Redingtons were out and about running the regular tours (as they still have tourists stopping by to learn about the race and the dogs) and a sign was posted saying all proceeds from the tours Saturday would go to the Willow Dog Mushers Association's fund to help the mushers who lost their homes in the Sockeye River Fire! The volunteer sign in area also had a box collecting monetary donations for the WDMA fund. One generous donor took their winnings from a raffle (4-5,000$ worth) and donated it to the fund. It was a good day to show support and solidarity.

The mushers and volunteers soon mingled into their typical groups and swapped stories of the trail, of the fires, and their summer activities. Mushers kids also grouped up and played and charmed their way into whatever it was they needed. Volunteers and teachers searched out autographs and listened and hoped for their number was called so they could win a door prize (I won a tshirt). Overall just a really successful event for the Iditarod.

The press release to read the list of the first 62 mushers to sign up (as well as the order they will draw for their bib numbers during the musher's banquet next year) you can click the link here.

I should be nice to my dad and say that he wasn't the only one embarrassing me... I did it to myself. We sat at Paul Gebhardt's table while eating and we weren't really a part of his conversation, but I always love listening to mushers talk shop so I was eavesdropping. Paul had mentioned DeeDee Jonrowe had been there earlier that morning and signed up but had left before the picnic began (with everything that happened during the fire, I can imagine she didn't want to be overwhelmed). A fan came up with Jeff Schultz's book "Chasing Dogs" (fantastic book, FYI) and asked Paul if he was in it - I had to chuckle at that, of COURSE he is, he's one of the more recognizable mushers racing! - and he said he didn't doubt he was. So she asked him if she knew what page he was on, and he said no. I jumped into the conversation and jokingly said "page 112" - the woman's husband was all "she said 112!" so I had to explain I really had no idea I was just making it up. Paul started turning pages and said something like "well, let's take a look anyway," sure enough he IS on page 112. I swear I am NOT a stalker - well, not much of one anyway - but everyone at the table had a good laugh and I was beet red for a good long while.

The big question I've seen since Saturday is where is Kristy Berington. The Berington twins normally run races together, but lately Anna's been on her own - this mushing season will follow suit. Talking with Anna Saturday she revealed the plan is for Kristy to run the Yukon Quest. Anna made a joke about her sister ditching her, but says it will be an interesting and new experience since she's never run the Iditarod without Kristy (whereas Kristy has run it without Anna). Things could change, Anna said, but that's the plan for now.

And, yes, I did take a few pictures...

The Mushin Mortician, Scott Janssen and wife Debbie
chatting with Paul Gebhardt while Scott fills out paperwork
to enter Iditarod 44.
There are more photos under the tag. To see them: