Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn. ~ John Muir


The Scenic Seward Highway

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Welcome to Seward, one of our favorite cities to visit in south central Alaska.

David and I have driven along the Seward Highway many times already and it’s one of the most scenic areas in Alaska.

Few roads in the United States can offer the diversity of scenic landscapes and unique natural features so concentrated in one area. This 127-mile road, linking Anchorage with Seward, passes through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. The landscape varies from the milky waters of Turnagain Arm to the icy blue glaciers that hang almost to the sea. Wildflowers and waterfalls brighten every corner of the highway as it glides below towering mountains that pierce thick, heavy clouds and pristine landscapes.

Depending on the season, passengers may see endangered beluga whales cruising up and down the arm (spring through fall) or black ice floes playing bumper car after breaking loose from the shore (spring).

Moose and mountain-roaming Dall sheep wander the lush Chugach State Park (the nation’s third-largest). Farther south, toward Girdwood, salmon and hooligan (smelt) attempt to spawn in valley streams before they’re devoured by eagles and bears.

More creatures are easily seen at the non-profit Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage Glacier. There, injured, ill and orphaned creatures roam in large lots on the 140-acre complex, giving visitors who pay the entrance fee up-close views of elk, caribou, moose, coyote, Sitka black-tailed deer, bald eagles, grizzly and black bears, and musk oxen.

This stretch of highway is one of the most avalanche-prone in the nation. Scars from the 1964 Good Friday earthquake, which measured a near-record 9.2 magnitude and killed 115 people, are still visible around Girdwood. Ghost forests litter the area; the dead trees are remnants of once proud forests that were killed off when sea water rushed in, killing the root systems, after the ’64 quake.  The glaciers visible from the road slowly are shrinking, likely because of global warming.

Like the gold prospectors, hunters, fur trappers and native peoples before them, today’s drivers will find a mother lode of adventures along the road.

Situated at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula, Seward is one of Alaska’s oldest and most scenic communities. Known as the “Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park”, Seward is a picturesque town located 126 miles south of Anchorage. Visitors can easily reach Seward via theThe Seward Highway Scenic Byway, and the Alaska Railroad.

4.0 sec at f / 22, ISO 200, 18 mm (12-24 mm).

Alaska SeaLife Center: (Highly Recommended)

The Alaska SeaLife Center is the world’s first marine science facility designed from the start to combine a research mission with wildlife rehabilitation facilities and public education. The center welcomes some 150,000 visitors per year to better understand the rich underwater ecosystems of Alaska. While the center’s Steller sea lions, octopus, harbor seals, and puffins remain visitor favorites, there is always something new to see. Among the many species of fish, crabs, birds, and other sea creatures, visitors will find a touch tank open for gentle exploration and learning. This amazing structure was designed by Livingston Slone, an architecture firm based in Anchorage, Alaska. Proceeds from the Exxon Valdez spill were contributed in building this amazing aquatic & research facility. To read more about the history of how the Alaska SeaLife Center came to life, please proceed to this link to read more. It’s well worth your time. Alaska SeaLife Center ~ Research History 

Stay tuned for a new journal post in the near future… :)

Mount McKinley/Denali ~ “The Great One”

Mount McKinley/Denali ~ 1/8000 sec at f/4.0, ISO 200, Canon 50D, Tokina 12-24 @ 24mm. © Jena A. Haferman

Here is a slideshow of some of my images from our flight around Mount McKinley/Denali this past February – I hope you enjoy! Thank you for your time, I appreciate it!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Life has been busy these last few months, but then again it’s going to be busier this summer! I have a lot of new content coming soon. One other note, I recently changed the format of my journal website to something more bold. Let me know what you think!

Can’t wait to see Alaska in the  summertime; wonderful wildflowers, landscapes and wildlife!

In February of this past Winter, David and myself along with our dear friends Scott and Mahala had the privilege of going on an amazing flight around Mount McKinley/Denali. It was the most amazing time of my life. Approaching the base of the mountains, it was overwhelming to see her scale and grand size. I may be a tiny person, but flying next to 20,320 feet of solid rock made me feel even smaller. It gave new meaning to being in Alaska.

Life is incredible.

You must make the most of it every day.

Find who you are as a person.

You will regret not doing the things you wanted to do in life.

I’m very happy with where I am. Being with David and sharing these experiences is incredible.

The Koyukon Athabaskan people who inhabit the area around the mountain referred to the peak as Dinale or Denali (“the high one” or “the great one”). In the late 1890s, a gold prospector named it “McKinley” as political support for then-president William McKinley. The Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain to Denali, which is how it is referred to locally. However, a 1975 request by the Alaska State legislature to the United States Board on Geographic Names to do the same was blocked by Ohio congressman Ralph Regula, whose district includes McKinley’s hometown. Members of the Ohio congressional delegation continue to protect the McKinley name, blocking attempts by the Alaska congressional delegation to get the Board of Geographic Names to change it to Denali. Thus, “Denali” is correct according to the Alaska State Board, while “McKinley” is correct according to the national Board.  ~ Information taken from Wikipedia

Stay tuned…

Shock and Awe

Friday evening turned out to be one the most thrilling nights of my life, as well as David’s.

I received a text message from David that afternoon regarding an aurora borealis storm that was predicted. I was excited! I wanted to get home, get my batteries charged and get a small nap in before the highly anticipated adventure. David briefly looked outside our bedroom window around 8:30 p.m. and the aurora was already making a beautiful appearance. We immediately got our gear into the SUV, our warm winter clothes on, and ventured out into the darkness to see what the crystal clear skies would show us.

The drive on the Glenn Highway made me think about the many road trips I’ve had on this curvy and hilly stretch.  Far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, you are surrounded by grand mountains, beautiful lakes and pristine landscapes. The area that spreads out around you on a clear winter day, is entirely different at night. The darkness blankets everything around you. But overhead the stars whirl as you dip around each corner, past the invisible rivers and towering mountains.

On a beautiful crisp winter day, you pass by King Mountain as it towers over you. Trickling water from the Matanuska River flowing along the side, and wildlife making its appearance when they want to.

Night time is something to be prepared for. When the skies are perfectly clear, stars fill the black void. You can even see the Milky Way when you’re looking within the right angle.

David and I stopped just a few miles beyond Matanuska Glacier. The skies were glowing green and a subtle yellow. We knew this was the beginning of a good thing.

No more than 5 minutes after getting our camera gear set up the skies were set on fire. I was simply in Shock and Awe. It was amazing watching the ripples of light dance across the sky above us. The waves they produced were so magical. Colorful bands swirled across the darkness; they were bold and soft at the same time. While standing behind my camera I carefully composed and adjusted my shots. The result? NAILED IT! I was ecstatic! I kept shooting multiple angles, trying to include the mountainous landscape. In the end I produced some of my best images.

Being in Alaska has brought me happiness in my newfound life. David has opened my eyes on being adventurous and living life to the fullest. I have really enjoyed being out in some of the most pristine landscapes, mountains ranges, beautiful wildlife and now the Northern Lights.

This is an experience I wish everyone could witness in life. You must put this on your bucket list.  Seeing the aurora borealis in Alaska is a magical moment that will last a lifetime.

Enjoy these images from my Shock and Awe journey…I hope you enjoy them, as much as I did capturing them.

More to come soon and until next time, keep smiling!

Aurora Borealis - Glenn Highway

Aurora Borealis dancing across the sky along the Glenn Highway.

Aurora Borealis - Chugach Mountains

Brilliant aurora rippling across the sky, and illuminating the Chugach Mountains.

The Alaska Highway ~ An Epic Adventure Part One

As many of you know, I made a life-changing decision this year, a change that I felt in my heart when I was in Alaska for the first time back in May earlier this year.  The decision made was to make Alaska my new home. A home where I feel naturally content, blessed, and happy with my heart, and my inner-self as well. Wisconsin Rapids, will be my home forever, a home I know I can go back at any given time my heart desires to. My family, friends and the pooches (Sage and Micah) are all at home for me. The unconditional love I receive from them is never-ending, their support is more than I ever imagined, and their happiness is what makes my life more grateful. I’ve accomplished a lot in my life, from being born a premature baby, surviving with hearing impairment, hardships, and importantly the many wonderful, and memorable times as well. My decision to move to Alaska was based on who I want to be as a person within my hearts content, my love of photography, nature, and conservation of Alaska’s lush history of mountains, rivers, glaciers, cultures, and distinctive climatic weather. That’s not all. Spending time with David in those 3 weeks, made me realize who I was missing in my life. We both have high-respect for each other with who we are together as a couple, what we love to do in Alaska, and even our own values and morals in our lives. David has brought me much joy and love in my life, I am blessed to have him be there for me on all avenues into our future.

Kelsie "Sweet Blue" is the baby of the three!

We have many goals, adventures, and photo opportunities to achieve, yet we will do them one day at a time. Makes it more fun! Before I get into details regarding my drive up to Alaska, I will say this: “If you want to achieve something epic in your lifetime…Drive to Alaska.” If I can do it, I know you can as well. With this being said, I say it’s time to share my journey back “Up North” to home.  Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee, tea, or even a cold beverage – whichever suits you! Just know that you’ll be smiling by the end of my journal post. I promise.

August 16th~August 20th:  Monday, August 16th was the beginning of an epic adventure I been planning/waiting for. I had spent the evening before at David’s parents home in Gleason, WI. They are such wonderful and special friends in my life, and I could not be any happier to have given the chance to join them on their trek up to Alaska, to visit their son, David. Not to mention, they had brought along their 3 adorable Shelties too. Kelsie (Sweet Blue), Molly (Munchkin), and Sasha (Sweet Girl)! I have nicknamed them over our journey “Up North” and they don’t mind! :)

Sasha "Sweet Girl" is the oldest of the three.

We also had another special friend come along on our journey, and she is very adventurous, sweet, and full-of-life! Annie is very dear friends with the Taylors, as she had recently just purchased a new motor home. Her quest was to visit Alaska, of course! Here we all are ready for this to begin – bright and early on this morning. We departed at 8 A.M., bright and early! And I was feeling anxious, a little nervous, full of happiness, and ready to head up to my new home.  The first day we drove to Bemidji, Minnesota…our campground was very nice, and along the way we made several stops to enjoy the views and scenery along the way.

Molly "Munchkin" is the middle girl!

I didn’t take any photos, as I was trying to get “used” to driving long periods, and wanted to focus my time on just that! I will say, it took me a long while to get used to the driving part, but I never had a dull moment in doing so. We continued to head through Minot, ND, and then across the border into Saskatchewan. We stayed in Saskatoon for an evening, and eventually made our way through Lloydminster, AB to Whitecourt, BC, then to the famous Mile 0 in Dawson Creek, BC. This is where the Alaska Highway starts, and will continue for some 1800 miles into eastern Alaska.  Driving by the Mile 0 starting point, made me emotional and will never forget crossing the starting point, I knew I was close to being home.  As we made our way up the Alaska Highway, I began to capture the most beautiful scenery, lush lands, mountains, and even glacier-born lakes with its turquoise blue waters. More images and stories to follow soon. Thank you for your patience, and I love you all so much!

Here is a quote to end this post:

To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world. John Muir

This is where it all starts - The famous Alaska Highway marker in Dawson Creek, BC.

First Journal Post on my Epic Adventure back to Alaska ~

Good evening everyone, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada!

I apologize it has been a few days of driving, and I now have the chance to post my first blog on my journal site. I’m happy to have this time to do just this! The last 3 days have been long, tiring, but most of all – adventurous, enjoyable, and many wonderful memories to be cherished. I’m with David’s parents, and dear friend Anne, as we all caravan together to Alaska. We are taking our leisurely time, really!! I don’t think I’ve encountered such a relaxing drive(s) yet we all are in it together.

My last weekend in Wisconsin was one of the best and hardest weekends ever. I spent it ALL with my loving parents, family, and friends .. even the pooches Micah and Sage. It was hard leaving home, knowing it’s a life I’ve lived for years – but I know my heart is on the path to a new, and adventurous life I look forward to very much, and to be with David and continue our journey together. We have a lot of ideas, places and things we want to do already. My family and home in Wisconsin will never leave me – that’s a fact.  I also know my family is always HOME for me. :) My Aunt Mary, Uncle Roger, and cousin Molly came down to visit me on Saturday along with my best friend Erin, and her boyfriend Kevin! Great times that day! Had several good bouts of laughter and tears (happy ones too!) .. Sunday was the day I knew it was my time to leave home – and the house I’ve known for years in my life. I was feeling mixed, from anxious, contentment, excited, sad, tears and smiles.  See, a mix!  My Aunt Jenny, Uncle John provided me with a feast for dinner at their home in Wausau. My mom, Uncle Jay, and dear family friend Heather came with me on the “first” leg of my journey. I was SO happy to share my stories, laughter, and the scrumptious food! Then it came time to leave for the Taylor’s in Gleason, where we would initially start our epic adventure on the next Monday morning.

I do not have any images to post as of yet, I promise to have some soon once we get to the more picturesque areas and eventually into Alaska. I may even take some this evening of the pooches (Molly, Kelsie, and Sasha) … Taylors 3 adorable Shelties! Something sweet, and happy.  Right  now we are in the midst of making din din, Tagliatelle Contadina (known as Dave’s Spicy Pasta) dish! LOVE this. Tomorrow we embark on to Edmonton, Alberta – then slowly work our way up to Alaska from that point.  I do look forward to getting my picture taken in front of “Welcome To Alaska” sign!

I know this is short and sweet, but I had promised everyone I would at least post when I have the chance. Going forward I hope to add images, and more short stories along our way. I love you all so very much, and you are thought of by the minute! Din din time soon!!

Be back later!

My Journey and Adventures in Alaska ~

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the delay in posting this, but it has been a long, and crazy week getting settled back in Wisconsin, but I started this last week while on vacation and just never had time to finish it. David and I got busy meeting up with friends, and spending quality time together before I left for Wisconsin late Saturday evening.


Presently here in Alaska the weather is – simply GorGeous!  I am sitting outside of David’s place enjoying blue skies, soft puffy clouds, and temperatures in the upper 50s and lower 60s. Tomorrow it’s predicted it will get around the 70 degree mark with same blue skies and perfect conditions to spend the day shooting!  We will be meeting up with friends for dinner, and bonfire, not to mention sunset pictures perhaps along the Sustina River again, otherwise we will find another hotspot!  Either way, my last “full” day here is going to be a wonderful time, and this chapter of my journey “Northward” is just the beginning of many new paths to cross in my lifetime.

The last couple of weeks have been extremely busy, relaxing, amazing, incredible and life-changing here in Alaska. Words cannot describe the feelings I have, which I’ve never felt before and will not let go. My life has been looking for this for a long, long time and I’m finally happy with what I have found and continue to explore! Good things happen to those who wait, and when the time is right it will happen to you in unexpected ways that will simply make you smile. David and I have been blessed with a strong connection on many levels of values and morals in our lives, and we continue to discover more each day. I am going to summarize the events and explorations we have done in the last couple weeks, along with some new photographs. :)   Enjoy!

On our way back to Wasilla on Sunday from Homer, we stopped along the Old Sterling Highway and found a very serene resting spot at Kenai Lake. Grabbed our camera gear and shot a few images while relaxing for a bit before continuing our drive back home.   The water was turquoise blue in light hues, and made excellent color combination with the brilliant blue skies with puffs of bright white clouds we had that day.

Kenai Lake, along the Old Sterling Highway - very peaceful spot located within the Kenai Mountain Peninsula.

The week following our long-weekend in Homer was simply relaxing at home, making some delicious dinners together and enjoying the long days of sunlight. I took a day or two to head into Anchorage w/David to shoot for the day while he was working. I was in the mood for black and white photography, so I aimed my camera at various mountain ranges along the Turnagain Arm and Cook Inlet. Here is my favorite shot, as I hope to get this printed as well.

Turnagain Arm facing towards the Chugach Mountain Range

Last weekend we took a road trip to the Eastern interior of Alaska, along the Glenn Highway. The main highway system that leads many tourists/adventurers/RV’s into the state from the Yukon Territory of Canada. This part of Alaska is stunningly beautiful and very different terrain and mountainous areas as well as the famous Matanuska Glacier and river.

We had interesting weather on our drive “East” .. first it was sunny and just a few clouds in Wasilla, and about half way to Matanuska it started to rain. We thought we’d be in for some icky weather once we got closer to Matanuska, but boy were we wrong, it turned out to be beautiful! Sunny and puffy clouds in the sky.  We made a stop along the Glenn Highway to snap some shots of Gypsum Mountain – here is a few to share.

Gypsum Mountain - Glenn Highway, Alaska. Beautiful patterns of colors with the bright blue sky made excellent photography conditions.

A close up shot of Gypsum Mountain, showing the various colors and patterns embedded within the ridges.

As we continued our drive eastward within the Chugach National Forest – the land and environment is so vastly different from the coastal regions. It is just as scenic as anywhere else here in Alaska – there is NEVER a dull view. Its massive mountain ranges hover all over wherever you go – even some parts on the Glenn Highway it does flatten out to resemble a unique looking forest of trees, and openness of beauty.  We finally reached our destination of the famous Matanuska Glacier/River area – and what a sight to see! Let me say, it is one big a$$ glacier! Wow. Yet, Child’s Glacier is one of the biggest in the world, and Matanuska Glacier made me feel smaller than a dang shrimp. :)  David and I eventually hiked our way down the glacier, onto the main body of ice – and what a feeling that is!  I never had so much fun on this  historic piece of ancient land – and David and I thoroughly enjoyed it!!! I managed to climb down a crevasse 4-5 feet deep to be “surrounded” by glacier ice, and within a melting stream of glacial water, jumped across a stream numerous times, to even getting my hands wet and dirty from playing with the ice bits and glacier stilt. :)  Life is a blast when you let go of the ropes and let it guide you on adventures you will never regret.  Here are a few shots I took on the glacier…

Glacier melt stream on Matanuska Glacier - blue hues are stunning to experience with your eyes.

Wide angle shot of the Matanuska Glacier - beautiful!

We hiked on the glacier for a good 3-4 hours that afternoon, and we sure enjoyed it, and will be DO that again in the future. :) We made our way back home to Wasilla that evening, and the drive home was perfect. Sun was shining, and comfortable temperatures to enjoy. Then on Sunday we decided to take a road trip up to Talkeetna to see the famous Mount Denali/McKinley. We fell in love with Talkeetna, it is a very quirky and cute town with many small shops and a few eateries. We had a delicious lunch, walked through the small shops browsing around for gifts to take back home. Saw MANY neat home-made gifts, as well t-shirts, hoodies and hats.  Before we arrived in Talkeetna, we stopped along at a viewing point to see Denali WAY in the distance, but she was as grand as ever. We did some macro shooting of some interesting plant life, I never shot macro photography much until now. I love this technique, very fun and yet challenging. :)  Here is an image I managed to get … pretty neat. :)

This could be early lupine, a beautiful wildflower that is famously seen in Alaska's wildlands.

We stopped at the Talkeetna Lodge and Resort to get a better view of Denali, and again .. WOW!! She is just majestic to look at and I could have easily stared at the Alaska Range for hours. However, the clouds were not cooperating with us, so we decided to head back home and try next time, which would be Monday evening as the weather appeared to be much better for viewing Denali. We had a relaxing evening at home and David made us dinner, and we worked on some images.

Monday evening arrives, and we had awesome weather that day, so we made our way up to Denali once again. We stopped at a viewing point just south of Denali National Park, and my jaw dropped once again. :)  I tried my first panoramic image of Denali, and it came out pretty good for a beginner. I have yet to work on finishing it and will post it as soon as I am done.  We were there for a good hour or so, and we then decided to head back home as it was getting late.

Now, heading back to Wasilla was a gorgeous drive, and a very surprising one. I kept my eye on the sky for any hint of a sunset for us to shoot, I saw this hint of pink in one soft cloud above us .. I said, “David, I think we have the beginning moments of an amazing sunset, we should pull over.”  We had planned to go to Willow for this sole purpose, but we knew we had to pull over NOW to capture its colors and light.  We found a spot within minutes of deciding to shoot this sunset, as we walked down to this grassland/mossy area .. guess what we saw? Denali/McKinley in the distance AND this amazing sunset! Ohmigod! We couldn’t believe it! We picked the perfect spot, at the perfect time. We hurriedly got our gear set up and boom, we were shooting away and witnessing this gorgeous sunset together. It was just awe-inspiring, and I couldn’t have been happier to share it with David by my side. :) He worked on a panoramic of the sunset, while I did some regular shots – and I shot well over 50 images, but managed to save a few that got the right color and exposure. Here are a few to share.  You can see David’s amazing panoramic on his website at SixtyOneNorth LLC . PLEASE take the time to review his website and journal posts, you won’t be disappointed, I promise. :)

Beautiful sunset with Mt. Hunter (left) and Denali (right).

Here is an image of all 3 major mountains in the Alaska Range, from left to right - Mt. Foraker, Mt. Hunter and Mt Denali.

The final week in Alaska was just as fun, relaxing, and enjoyable as can be. I spent a few days at home relaxing and getting some things ready to head back home. A couple of days I went into Anchorage w/David to shoot for the day as well do some last minute shopping.  Friday night we met up with our dear friends, Tim and Marci at Moose’s Tooth for dinner, and what a blast that was! We were there for a good 3-4 hours whoopin it up and having the best pizza ever! Afterwards we went up to their house for a huge bonfire, S’mores and awesome conversations and tons of laughter around the fire. GOOD TIMES! We called it good at 2 a.m. and there was still a hint of lightness in the sky, again LOVE IT! Saturday morning comes, and that evening was the time I fly out back to Wisconsin. Needless to say, David and I had another beautiful day together, we spent it hiking, rock climbing and had ourselves a picnic at our favorite spot, Bird Point. :)  I honestly did not take one picture that day – I was simply enjoying our time together, and being a model for David while he did some shooting of his own. :)  Being a model photographer is a TON of fun! I think about this day, and every day I have experienced in Alaska when I have the chance. It brings me tears of happiness, and what can I say, Alaska and David both have stolen my heart, as well gave my heart a home full of adventure, love, fun, laughter, and many smiles.  This journey is not over – it’s just begun for myself, and for the both of us.  If you ever have the chance of a journey in life, don’t hesitate – DO IT!  This journey has helped me find my calling in life – and I’m truly happy and in love and full of this great immeasurable feeling I call: Life Is Good. :)

I thank you for taking the time to read this journal post, and there are many more to come in the future. For now, it is the Memorial Day holiday weekend I will take the time to simply enjoy my time with family, the pooches, and be outdoors in the gorgeous sunshine and warmth.

To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. ~ Helen Keller

First Week of Adventures in Alaska – Inspiring and Beautiful

Hello from Alaska folks!

I am finally able to dedicate some free time to write a journal post about our first week here in The Last Frontier State of Alaska!! One thing before I get into detail about our adventures; Alaska will BLOW your mind away, and I am still in AWE about it here. I am so in love with this state already, and have seen MORE of Alaska in 6 days than a normal “vacationer” would have seen in their week-long trip.   People who visit Alaska cram so much into their schedules, they don’t take the time to explore, and walk into the wilderness hiking, and or even climbing cliffs to see the views. If you visit Alaska, DO just that, explore and feel nature in your soul, you will be blessed and inspired. :)

Here is a view of Portage Glacier Mountain located south of Girdwood, Alaska.

April 30th – This day was my first day of FUN flights, and views from my seat on the airplane. The day was considerably long, tiring and full of excitement! The flights went very smooth with no problems whatsoever. My “neighbor” on my flight from MSP to ANC (6 hr inflight time), his name was Jim. VERY nice guy, lives in Kenai, a small community along the scenic Sterling Highway. Made great conversations and learned a few new things about Alaska. My flight landed, and I was SO anxiously looking and waiting for David to come find me.  He arrives, and we had a very warm and special moment – not to mention bursts of happiness!! :) We had gone out to eat at Snow Goose Pub and Brewery in downtown Anchorage – with the most incredible view of Sleeping Lady.

May 1 & 2 – Today we drove down to Seward for the weekend, and what a friendly and small fishing community. The drive down on the Seward Highway was impressive!! Soaring mountains on both sides of the highway, delicate and light turquoise blue lakes and rivers along the way. The turquoise color comes from the glacier melt, which is called Glacier milk. Incredible color. Will have this gorgeous color in my future house someday, it’s so relaxing and calming. We left home at 11 a.m. and arrived at our lodging at a Cabin on the Cliff at 8 P.M. Cozy and comfortable place to stay, but we had some issues with the hot water, and well we made the best of it! :) We had made several stops along our journey to shoot dall sheep, a friendly stellar sea lion in the harbor, playful sea otters, and incredible scenery. We at at Ray’s Waterfront Restaurant, where I had my first 1lb of fresh Alaskan King Crab. O M G! Ate the whole plate clean, and will do it again. We met up with a professional photographer/friend of David’s. He and his wife met us for breakfast on Sunday morning, and we had a very lovely visit. Making many new friends along the way here in Alaska has been an absolute blast.  On Sunday, we did the most indcredible 4 1/2 hour boat trip out into Resurrection Bay/Pacific Ocean on the Kenai Fjords Boat Tours. I never have seen such beauty surrounding the edges of Alaska, and into the Pacific Ocean. The weather was PERFECT – sunny and temperatures in the upper 50’s.  I saw my first humpback whale (fin only), but it was an incredible sight to see and feel its huge presence near our boat.  We finally started heading back home to Wasilla after our boat trip, and made a stop at Potter’s Marsh to shoot some lively Arctic Tern, and wildlife. Beautiful weekend, incredible food and many new friends. What can I say? :)

Stellar Sea Lions resting on Cliff

A group of Stellar Sea Lions resting on cliff with a view of Bear Glacier in background, this was taken on our Kenai Fjords Boat trip.

May 3rd – Today was a day of rest for me, as David had to return to work for the week. I simply slept and took the time to recuperate my energy! I had been on the go-go since I arrived at Milwaukee airport and went non-stop til Sunday evening. It was muchly needed. David made some delicious dinner for us, and we relaxed and watched a movie at home.

May 4th – Today I went into Anchorage with David on his way to work, and took his SUV for the day. My first day exploring Alaska by myself. I LOVED it! Driving down the Seward Highway being surrounded by mountains gave me goosebumps! I made several stops to shoot at Potter’s Marsh, Beluga Point, Bird Point, Girdwood, Portage Lake/Glacier, and some smaller stops along the highway to look for Dall sheep. The weather this day was beautiful – sunny and in the upper 50’s again. After I picked up David at work, we went home to make dinner and from our living room we can see Pioneer/Twin Peaks mountain range. We had the MOST amazing alpenglow view and the face of the mountains were a blazing hue of pinks and purples. A beautiful sight to end our day .. :)

Alpenglow Pioneer Mountain

Beautiful Alpenglow on Pioneer Mountain, just a mere 5 minutes from Wasilla, AK.

May 5th – Today was another day of staying in and working on images and relaxation before we had our share of FUN on this Wednesday evening. David and I met up with our friends Tim and Marci for a cookout at their home, and we then went up to Talkeetna for the evening for a huge bonfire along the Sustina River, at Sustina River Lodging. BEAUTIFUL setting, and unfortunately we were not able to see Denali, but we felt her presence!  The four of us, along with the owners of the lodge joined us for a lovely visit, and great conversations. We made S’mores and had Alaska Amber beer (GOOD STUFF!), and it was even raining off and on. Which made it even more rustic and fun. :) 

May 6th – 9th – This was our long weekend in Homer, Alaska. We had another gorgeous day of weather and well into the weekend. Sunny, breezy and temps in the 50s.  The drive was 4 hours from home, and we went along part of the Seward Highway and onto the Sterling Highway. Again, views that are awe-inspiring! This time we stopped at a few spots for photo ops and we came across a secluded spot right off the Sterling Highway, we shot there for awhile and it was so nice to hike and see views along the Six Mile Creek.

This is a view down the Six Mile Creek, located just off the Sterling Highway

As we made our journey to Homer, we spotted our first moose up close! This was the FIRST time I have seen a moose so close, and they are absolutlely beautiful creatures. Not to mention BIG!  We stopped along a coastal region along the Cook  Inlet to shoot some sunset, and David got a few of me “werking” in the field with him. :) We finally reached to our apartment that overlooks the Katchemak Bay and Homer Spit, we stayed at the Fire and Ice Lodge. BEAUTIFUL place, and we felt like we were at home in a cozy apartment with many ammenities and gorgeous views. :) We were incredibly happy staying here, and will return another time in our future. 

Our plan was to explore the Katchemak Bay Shorebird Festival which was held this weekend along the Homer Spit areas. We went out several times to different places and saw few shorebirds. Disappointing as we were hoping to capture some images of these delicate and beautiful birds, but they either came early or late this year as we didn’t see many. However, we came within walking distance face to face with a moose grazing for food. Talk about an experience and to watch them in their own habitat and observe their actions is quite incredible.

Moose Grazing along Beluga Slough

This moose was within 20-30 feet from us as we were hiking along the Beluga Slough in Homer, Alaska.

We woke up Saturday morning at the crack of dawn – 4 A.M. to go shoot alpenglow/sunrise along the Homer Spit, and even the moonrise over the Kenai Mountains, as well eagles and the beauty of this area. Our mission didn’t go as planned as there were clouds looming over the bay area, but that didn’t stop us from our day of exploring! We eventually had a full day of shooting wildlife and headed back to the apartment around 3 P.M. for much needed sleep and relaxation. David made us the best home made dessert EVER – fresh fruit w/vanilla ice cream and a good coating of chocolate sauce – and it’s a recipe we will be keeping in the books.

We left Homer on Sunday around Noon, and as we made our way back to Wasilla we stopped at a few secluded spots to shoot some beautiful scenery of course!  There is never a dull spot here in Alaska,  you have to find and explore your way around to capture and feel the serenity this diverse area of nature gives you. David and I are naturists at heart, and we love being out in the field shooting together and even taking a good 15 minutes to simply breathe in the fresh air, sunshine, and even if its raining lightly – we’ll enjoy it. :)

This upcoming weekend we hope to get up to Denali and do some scouting for photo ops, as well stop and see Matanuska River/Glacier – even going to try to attempt a small hike ON the glacier. That is something I’m really looking forward too, if it’s possible. We have a few other places we want to check out and explore as well, but only one day at a time here! OH – one other thing, I am told I gotta try my first Sushi. Yes, sushi is BIG here in Alaska, and the adventerous Jena here is willing to do that. I’ll keep you posted on what happens with that! Before I close this post – I will say this: Whatever you want in life, or wish to have – if it’s in front of you, grab ahold of it before it is too late. You may never have that chance or experience again.  For me to be here is a life changing experience, and each day it just gets better and I am blessed for everything David has done for us, as well providing me such a beautiful experience here. We have an incredibly strong connection together, and it’s such a natural feeling for us.  My life has been waiting for this for a long, long time and Alaska is my new home away from home. I feel it in my heart. One day at a time is the key to finding what you want in life, and simply wait for things to fall into place a the right time – it’s worth it.

More pictures and stories will be shared soon – I’m going to do a weekly post on the events and places we go and explore together, and Life is BEYOND Good for me and I cannot express that enough. 
Keep smiling – I will be back soon, promise. :)

Eagle - Homer Spit

Immature Eagle flew within 20 feet of me with his fresh catch from the Katchemak Bay in Homer, AK.