Alaska Outdoors

Cowee meadows are flanked by conifer forest. (Courtesy Photo / Mark Schwann)
Cowee meadows are flanked by conifer forest. (Courtesy Photo / Mark Schwann)
This raft of sealions were playing escort to our local resident humpback whale, Flame, out near North Douglas. I was able to get just enough shutter speed at 1/1250th to stop the action and keep a balance with my ISO in these low light conditions being careful to keep in consideration the movement of the boat. Again, the more time you are out the better you get at it. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)

Focal Point: A total reset for 2021

The start of a new year lends us the opportunity to look back through our photo files.

This raft of sealions were playing escort to our local resident humpback whale, Flame, out near North Douglas. I was able to get just enough shutter speed at 1/1250th to stop the action and keep a balance with my ISO in these low light conditions being careful to keep in consideration the movement of the boat. Again, the more time you are out the better you get at it. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)
Trail Mix crew members Justine Webb, Sarah Wallace and Allison Mickleson move bridge approach timbers into place. (Courtesy photo / Ryan O’Shaughnessy)

Fundraising goal met for Treadwell Ditch Trail improvements

Trail Mix raised more than $230,000 from more than 300 donors, enabling completion by 2023.

Trail Mix crew members Justine Webb, Sarah Wallace and Allison Mickleson move bridge approach timbers into place. (Courtesy photo / Ryan O’Shaughnessy)
Winter sports enthusiasts set up for a run at Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Eaglecrest Ski Area)

Maybe it’s raining at sea level, but Eaglecrest is chillin’

Get up there. Good weekday conditions precede a rough forecast for the weekend.

Winter sports enthusiasts set up for a run at Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Eaglecrest Ski Area)
A dipper has captured two small fish. (Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: Even at solstice time, wildlife is everywhere

Sometimes you don’t need to even leave the house to see something interesting.

A dipper has captured two small fish. (Bob Armstrong)
Howard Pass
Howard Pass
Female golden-crowned kinglets have showy crowns too, but without the extra color contrast of the males (Courtesy Photo / Mark Schwann)

On The Trails: In the court of the golden-crowned kinglet

These birds have appeared in “On The Trails” several times, but never as the main feature.

Female golden-crowned kinglets have showy crowns too, but without the extra color contrast of the males (Courtesy Photo / Mark Schwann)
"I hope that we will move toward greater disaster preparedness and mitigation," writes  Sonia Nagorski. "That way, the next time a remote Aleutian volcano erupts or a landslide drops into a fjord, our community and others around the world will not be caught off guard and can jump into action to respond effectively and cooperatively to persevere on this beautiful and mighty planet that is our home." (Courtesy Photo / Unsplash)

Sustainable Alaska: Building resilience on a restless Earth

To avoid compounding natural disasters, we need to aggressively tackle climate change.

"I hope that we will move toward greater disaster preparedness and mitigation," writes  Sonia Nagorski. "That way, the next time a remote Aleutian volcano erupts or a landslide drops into a fjord, our community and others around the world will not be caught off guard and can jump into action to respond effectively and cooperatively to persevere on this beautiful and mighty planet that is our home." (Courtesy Photo / Unsplash)
Springtails are non-insect arthropod. Most springtails can hop about using a forked appendage on the abdomen. They are among several arthropods that are active in the snow. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)

On The Trails: Wandering woodpeckers and active arthropods

By Mary F. Willson For the Juneau Empire A female hairy woodpecker visits my suet feeder regularly, and I’d bet any money that she is… Continue reading

Springtails are non-insect arthropod. Most springtails can hop about using a forked appendage on the abdomen. They are among several arthropods that are active in the snow. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
In low light, it is important to get close. On another overcast day in Juneau, I sighted a young black bear cub up a tree taking a nap while mom grazed. I was able to pull over, turn off my car, get out and take a show with my Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200, 1/250, F2.8 and ISO 800. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)

Focal Point: How to nail low-light photos

In Southeast Alaska, you have to learn to shoot when the skies are gray.

In low light, it is important to get close. On another overcast day in Juneau, I sighted a young black bear cub up a tree taking a nap while mom grazed. I was able to pull over, turn off my car, get out and take a show with my Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200, 1/250, F2.8 and ISO 800. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)
A winter caddisfly, sometimes called a snow sedge, walks down an icy ridge on the shore of Mendenhall Lake. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On The Trails: Early winter walks

By Mary F. Willson A visit to the lower reaches of the Herbert and Eagle rivers usually turns up something of interest. A recent warm… Continue reading

A winter caddisfly, sometimes called a snow sedge, walks down an icy ridge on the shore of Mendenhall Lake. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
Eaglecrest Ski Area, seen above, is delaying its opening until colder weather and snowfall replenish areas affected by warm temperatures and heavy rainfall. (Courtesy photo / Chris Miller)

Eaglecrest opens for the season

The ski area will be open almost every day through Jan. 10

Eaglecrest Ski Area, seen above, is delaying its opening until colder weather and snowfall replenish areas affected by warm temperatures and heavy rainfall. (Courtesy photo / Chris Miller)
A multiple-exposure photo of the winter-solstice sun arcing over the Alaska Range, taken from the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus on Dec. 21, 2012. (Courtesy Photo / Todd Paris)

Alaska Science Forum: Time stands still on winter solstice

Alaska Science Forum: Time stands still on winter solstice

A multiple-exposure photo of the winter-solstice sun arcing over the Alaska Range, taken from the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus on Dec. 21, 2012. (Courtesy Photo / Todd Paris)
Mark Emery wrestles with an alligator in Florida. (Courtesy Photo / Mark Emery)
Mark Emery wrestles with an alligator in Florida. (Courtesy Photo / Mark Emery)
The author drew a coveted elk hunt on Etolin Island a few years ago. In five days, he and his two buddies saw zero elk, but it still ranks as one of his favorite all-time hunts. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went to the Woods: My ticket to paradise

Sheep. Goat. Caribou. Bison. Not necessarily in that order.

The author drew a coveted elk hunt on Etolin Island a few years ago. In five days, he and his two buddies saw zero elk, but it still ranks as one of his favorite all-time hunts. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
Ice plates pile up on the shore of Mendenhall Lake on Dec. 4. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On the Trails: Ice and quiet

It’s not an exercise for everyone, of course. You have to be ready for it.

Ice plates pile up on the shore of Mendenhall Lake on Dec. 4. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
Humpback Whale blows over by Outer Point, Douglas Island.

Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Reader-submitted photos of Southeast Alaska.

Humpback Whale blows over by Outer Point, Douglas Island.
Eaglecrest Ski Area, seen above, is delaying its opening until colder weather and snowfall replenish areas affected by warm temperatures and heavy rainfall. (Courtesy photo / Chris Miller)

Eaglecrest holds off on opening as poor conditions persist

Cold weather and snow guns will help to ready the slopes for shredding.

Eaglecrest Ski Area, seen above, is delaying its opening until colder weather and snowfall replenish areas affected by warm temperatures and heavy rainfall. (Courtesy photo / Chris Miller)
This photo shows Craig George north of Utqiaġvik (then-Barrow) on May 28, 2010. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Weird Arctic report tells the same story

It is not your mother’s Arctic anymore, and don’t expect the changes to stop.

This photo shows Craig George north of Utqiaġvik (then-Barrow) on May 28, 2010. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Courtesy Photo / Jason Hollinger, Flickr 
A familiar lichen genus is Cladonia, some of which are known as “pixie cups.” These make stalked cups that contain little asexual granules made up of bits of fungus and algae that are enough to start a new lichen individual. These tiny granules can be splashed up to a meter away by a raindrop, but they may also travel by wind.
Video

On The Trails: When it rains, it spores

Rraindrops have been put to work to disperse spores, seeds and more.

Courtesy Photo / Jason Hollinger, Flickr 
A familiar lichen genus is Cladonia, some of which are known as “pixie cups.” These make stalked cups that contain little asexual granules made up of bits of fungus and algae that are enough to start a new lichen individual. These tiny granules can be splashed up to a meter away by a raindrop, but they may also travel by wind.
Video