I think John Denver was right when he sang about the sight of eagles flying: such a sight makes our lives full, rich and blessed. The size of their wing span and their silent gliding is magnificent. I would love to photograph an eagle flying right toward me with the low sunlight on her/his white-feathered head and with a twinkle in that yellow-rimed eye.
But I am now convinced that photographers with those images must have placed some salmon on their own heads to catch an eagle flying toward them (just kidding, I think?). And, for that low light, you need to be on the beach this time of year at 11:00 PM at Anchor Point, north of Homer, for the last half hour of light. It’s so beautiful just before the sun sinks behind the snowcapped mountains across the ebbing tides of the Cook Inlet.
The best I could do was to capture an image of an eagle eating the discards of a fish recently caught and filleted, now washed ashore. But as you will see in this image an eagle still provided a dramatic sight in the golden light here in the land of the midnight sun. I fall asleep by midnight and it is still light, and sometimes I awaken at 4:30 AM and it is light.
Most of my trip so far has been within the confines of South Central Alaska (a huge area of course). The wild lands and wild life offer breath-taking encounters. I am not alone; this is the path-way taken by RVs by the hundreds, driven by retirees from the lower forty-eight and younger German tourists. It is also the breeze-way for the buses of the Princess Cruise line. With all this sun and the beginning of various salmon runs, the Alaskans are also taking advantage of this magnificent playground in their own backyard.
But, if you walk paths for a half mile or so, you have the grandeur pretty much to yourself. Then you begin to hear the swishing of an eagle’s wings as it takes off from the tops of the trees or the song (as I did) of a pod of humpback whales frolicking before the face of the Aiaklak Glacier. The whales, of course, were seen from a boat with 16 other passengers.
Although the land is lush and endless, it is interrupted by our human spoils — oil rigs in the Cook Inlet, fish-head lined rivers, rusting cars and abandoned log cabins. Yes, let us remember the heart-song of the Goddess: “Earth my body, water my blood, air my breath and fire my spirit.”
So far I have driven 6,150 miles, but now I am slowing down to find a location and stay for several days to explore its details – from the wild fire-weed to the granite boulders in swift-running creeks. And of course I am compelled to rate the tastes of the halibut (and salmon) at each stop along the way. Belive it or not my favorite Halibut and Chips was served up in Chicken along the Top of the World Highway. Tomorrow, Halibut in Anchorage???