What’s going on in Alaska?

Last week Tracy took her boys to the Alaska State Fair - and they won a first prize blue ribbon! Rick and Gunther entered the Carhart Fashion show as a father-son team. With a cute baby and a silly man - how could they loose!  Rick won a warm heavy Carhart coat that he will get a lot of use out of. Alska State FAir

 They also had a moose wander through their property.

moose on the loose

I also have the many images from the Alaska trip, the last 2 weeks in July, on my Flickr account. I have a site that gives all the sites where various family members/photographers have uploaded images - take a look at http://www.wallyspicephotography.com/AlaskaJuly07.htm With my FLickr account it is easiest to look at any sets you would like - smaller groups - these are listed on the site above.

More Images from the July Alaska trip

I have been trying to work a little on the Alaska photos. I have most of the files that were taken by most of us - we have a lot of photographers in the family so there were always a lot of cameras going.I have been posting them on my flickr site - which is one where anyone can view and even download any size image - that makes it great to share with family and friends and anyone interested. http://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyspice/ With my images, it is best to look at the sets - that is where they are in a better order. These sets include: their home and grounds in the mountain setting;  Their immediate area on the Knik river, looking toward the Knik glacier at times; Our hike on the Matanuska glacier; Our 3 day RV trip south to Seward and area; our 3 day RV trip north to the Denali area; A set of great images of just baby Gunther; and one set of misc People images before the ceremony - many with the baby; and I just finished the set on the renewal of vows ceremony. There is still more to go - especially some family group shots  etc after the ceremony etc.

These are from our hike right on the Matanuska glacier - which was really awesome.

MAtanuska glacier hike

MAtanuska glacier, group , shell

Tracy and Gunther in Fireweed

Baby Gunther

The first collages from the Alaska trip

I have slowly made some time to go through the many images we have from our trip to Alaska where my daughter Tracy and her husband Rick renewed their vows. These are some from the wedding in their front yard. The groups are Wally with her 2 girls - Julie and Tracy and the 3 grand kids - Aaron, Steven, and the newest baby Gunther.

Tracy and Rick and baby Gunther

Tracy and Rick

Wally's family

Wally is back from the Alaska trip

I just got back from spending about 2 weeks in Alaska - Julie is still there until Friday. My youngest daughter Tracy and her husband Rick were renewing their wedding vows on Sat July 21st.  We treated the celebration as a family reunion - so that friends and family from the "lower 48" could witness their renewal ceremony, see their new home in the beautiful mountain setting and get to know their beautiful state. For parts of the trip we rented an RV, which,  along with their pop up trailer and tents,  made  for some great time exploring the area.
Their baby boy is now 9 months old and the highlight for myself and most of us was getting to know this darling little guy. Needless to say we had a great time.  I will post images soon - we certainly took plenty.  I am trying to get used to Michigan time (& temperatures) and catch up on some more important images that need to be uploaded and worked on for my my wedding couples first, but promise to work on this also as soon as I can take the time.

My Grandson Gunther in Alaska is 5 months old now

Tracy has been posting the cutest images of Gunther in Alaska. He is 5 months old now and so cute. What a personality that is showing through even in the photos.  Sure wish I could be there more often. Tracy and Rick will be renewing their vows, and family and friends from the "lower 48"  are all gathering there the last 2 weeks of July to celebrate and enjoy Alaska.  We will all be going and making the plans now - I'm really looking forward to that -  See her images on www.flickr.com/photos/spicegirl 

Grandson Gunther in Alaska

grandson Gunther in Alaska

Back Home from a Great Trip to Alaska

Alaska grandma &Gunther Hello everyone -    (MORE COLLAGES BELOW THIS TEXT!!) I just got back home from a 2 week trip to visit my daughter Tracy, her husband Rick and her darling new baby boy - Gunther Johann Polzin in Alaska.  It was so great to finally hold and get to know my new little grandson - he is now 12 weeks old. The weather was not that much colder than here - averaging in the teens and 20's - but they do have a lot more snow - a good 3 feet.  The sun came up around 9:30 in the morning and went down about 4:30 - not that bad - we had some great clear days but also a lot of cloudy days where you could not even see the majestic Chugach mountains in front of their new home in Palmer Alaska.  We did see about 6 moose! Unfortunately, I never did see the northern lights - it was either too cloudy or they were not out...

We took a lot of images obviously - Tracy has been posting them on her Flickr account, and updates them often for all of the family & friends in the  "lower 48" - take a look - no need to ever sign in  - These are so precious - http://www.flickr.com/photos/spicegirl/

Gunther 10-12 weeks

Alaska Snow

Tracy Gunther Wally

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all - Best wishes for a great 2007!! Happy New Year

This is an image Tracy posted from her Flickr site - it is the view facing north directly in font of her house in Palmer.  I did work a little photoshop magic on it.  What a perfect winter wonderland post card look! 

Staghorn aurora northern Lights

I just can't get over the norther lights images they have been posting - this is called a "staghorn" formation - how awesome.  I may be traveling up to visit some time soon and dearly hope to be able to photograph this myself.

Happy Holildays

Hope you are enjoying the holidays and the joys of this busy season. We did some family images of our own immediate family here also. This is Julie and I and her sons Aaron and Steven.

Our family

My daughter Tracy and her husband Rick are great photographers themselves and it was Rick's idea to photograph with the real bear skin run and moose antlers. Interesting & creative! Gunther is about 5 weeks old in these.

Gunther Family

DPPA Competition

The November 21 Detroit Professional Photographers Association meeting was a print competition -  We follow the very strict PPA (Professional Photographers Of America) Rules, even though, as a local affiliate we do not actually earn merits. This is the every first time I have ever entered.  Normally Candid wedding images don't score as high because we don't take the time to really set them up to perfection during a hectic wedding. I did have a few I wanted to try though and my "Ring Bear'er" at the Detroit Zoo did OK. I got out some of my favorite images from my Alaska travels  and did the best with my whale "Actic Bliss" which scored high enough to earn a merit. Julie entered her Vegas infra red "Vegas Peace".  It was actually very interesting and exciting. Breeching whale

Ring Bear-er

The First Images of my new grandson and the new Family in Alaska

As I said a post back - Gunther Johann Polzin was born Nov. 2nd to my daughter Tracy and her husband Rick  in Palmer, Alaska.  They came home Saturday - and I was so thrilled to see some images on her Flickr site late Sunday - every time I looked there were more coming online.  They are absolutely breathtaking and incredible - Tracy looks so content and  beautiful holding that gorgeous baby boy. He is so precious and darling - not that I'm prejudiced of course.  I just want to hug all three of them!!  Even their dogs had such a tender introduction to their new Brother. Sequoia is very protective and has not let him out of her sight.  Sitka, the big St Bernard is still keeping her distance. See all her images on her Flickr site - http://www.flickr.com/photos/spicegirl/   No password is needed and she has it set so that anyone can download any size image. It is great to not have to wait for her to send a DVD of the high res images to work with.

Welcome new baby Gunther

Baby Gunther & Tracy

Rick and Gunther

Gunther and the dogs

Tracy and Rick had their baby boy November 2, 2006

My youngest daughter Tracy had her baby yesterday up in Alaska - a little early.  You saw the big belly pics a few posts back - she was huge then, with a projected due date of November 22.  Well,  Gunther Johann Polzin was born on the 2nd - weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces and 21 1/4 inches long - with a full head of dark hair. Mother and son and dad are doing great.  Grandma is having a hard time - wishing she were there!!  But they did take photos and promise to keep that up.  She is coming home Saturday and will post some images on her Flickr site as soon as she can get to it. Keep checking her Flickr site and I will post some here as soon as I see them - not that I'm an anxious grandma or anything!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/spicegirl/

Tracy is due in less than a month!

My youngest daughter Tracy is very pregnant and due to have her little boy November 22nd.  She is huge and doing fine - still working at the hospital as an IC nurse.It is very hard for me and Julie to be so far away at this special time in her life. She has been posting images to a Flickr site that anyone can look at. The site is http://www.flickr.com/photos/spicegirl/ if anyone would like to browse any of her great images.  She just figured out away to change the settings so that anyone can download the images - even high res ones - so please bear with me as I post some personal collages.

Tracy pregnant 

We sure wish we could be with her - it is very comforting to know that she has so many very close friends and co-workers that all look out for each other.  Not many have close family up there so they all adopt each other and are truly "family" - for that I am so thankful.

She has gone through this pregnancy with her very close friend Bonita who had her little girl October 23rd.

On October 20th her friend from work - Irene,  had a very nice shower for her at a restaurant in Anchorage for all her co-workers and friends.  They took up a collection in her unit and Irene was abler to buy almost everything Tracy had registered for at Baby Depot - a division of Burlington Factory that is very popular up there.

Tracy's baby shower

Tracy commented on this photo with Irene:"Irene was such a gracious host. I couldn't have dreamed of a better Shower. Although I wish my family and out of state friends could have been there."

In the area of her new house in Palmer there are 2 other couples that they are very close with.  The girls work together at the hospital.  Candice and Angie  had a small "Tea Party" shower for Tracy and Bonita at Candace's House September 14th - which was also so nice - look at the cute "carharts"

Sept 14th shower

Rick is busy making a "greenhouse" for Tracy on their new property.  They were thrilled the learn that their old house in Wasilla sold and the couple wants to move in November 1st.  They still have a lot of stuff stored in that garage so this will hopefully serve as a temporary shed to store all that.  In the spring they hope to build a garage and Tracy will have a great greenhouse.

I am working with  1 bride who just had a baby, 3 brides who are due in November and 1 due in January - so they are letting share in their joy some. Thank you girls.

We are super busy between now and Christmas, so I cannot possibly leave now, but I will be going up to visit her for 2 weeks or so in January.  I'm really looking forward to that.

Tracy & Rick’s new House in Palmer Alaska

Tracy and Rick moved into their new house in Palmer in August and are really loving it.  It sits on an acre with a beautiful view of the mountains which is what they always wanted. This is quite a bit larger  than the house in Wasilla (which is sold now also) - for their expanding family.  We fell in love with this natural burl wood in our Alaska traveling in 2003 - so I know they love the banister made of this - the loft is awesome. It's a huge dream kitchen.  The master bedroom is upstairs, the baby's room downstairs, with room to partition off another bed room on the main floor. They have 2 baths and an "arctic entrance" -  which is like a large mud room - no one has basements in Alaska because of the perma frost. Tracy & Rick new House Tracy & Rick new house 2

view from new house

What great views - it has been raining a lot - so how lucky to catch a rainbow and to have clear enough skies to see the spectacular northern lights.  That is the Knik river they see. Rick took these last 2 awesome photographs.  Great Job!

Tracy & Rick’s new House in Palmer Alaska

Tracy and Rick moved into their new house in Palmer in August and are really loving it.  It sits on an acre with a beautiful view of the mountains which is what they always wanted. This is quite a bit larger  than the house in Wasilla (which is sold now also) - for their expanding family.  We fell in love with this natural burl wood in our Alaska traveling in 2003 - so I know they love the banister made of this - the loft is awesome. It's a huge dream kitchen.  The master bedroom is upstairs, the baby's room downstairs, with room to partition off another bed room on the main floor. They have 2 baths and an "arctic entrance" -  which is like a large mud room - no one has basements in Alaska because of the perma frost. Tracy & Rick new House Tracy & Rick new house 2

view from new house

What great views - it has been raining a lot - so how lucky to catch a rainbow and to have clear enough skies to see the spectacular northern lights.  That is the Knik river they see. Rick took these last 2 awesome photographs.  Great Job!

Web cam for bear viewing in Alsaka

National Geographic is hosting a new webcam on Alaska's McNeil river - which is home to one of the largest concentratrions of brown (or grizzly) bears. 
 
This is a near-mystic wildlife mecca where  up to 10 people (mostly photographers but also wildlife researchers etc), chosen by lotto, can  fly to a lodge and be on a platform area, very close to where the bears are fishing and playing.  Sometimes up to 80 bears will converge here.  These bears have grown to trust the humans here, and go about their business, knowing they will not be harmed.
 

The site for this very cool bear web cam. It is at
It uses real player - which can be downloaded for free.
It's great to watch and you can hear the water and seagulls... 
 
Daily Camera Operating Hours:

5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Alaska Standard Time. For best views, watch from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Alaska time when a Pratt Museum interpreter will maneuver the cam. Alasaka is 4 hours behind us.
 
I just an intersting article in my Alaska magazine talking about newly re-written state rules governing this area that is raising hackles.  Land not far from this may be designated for hunting.  I'll try to get a link to the articles.
McNeil River Bears

Photo - Anchorage Daily News 

 
 
 

Happy Summer Solstice and news of Tracy in Alaska

Today is Summer Solstice - the longest day of the year and the start of summerThis is part of my youngest daughter Tracy's e-mail post today: TRACY WROTE :

As most of you know, I am 18 weeks pregnant. we had our first ultrasound yesturday. That was so exciting! It seems so real now! (I still can't feel the baby move. ) We found out that we are having a BOY!!!   We are so happy. I even shead a bunch of tears of joy during the ultrasound. I couldn't help it.

Today is Solstice and we are having another big get together with our friends up here.We are going to have a big dinner, Rick is firing up the smoker, and we are going to have a bon fire.  Today is the longest day of the year. we have about 20 hrs of sunlight and 4 hrs of twilight. It never really gets dark, this time of year. But from tommorrow on we start to lose a little bit of light every day, til winter solstice (Dec 21) that is then we start gaining it again. Happy Solstice!!  Love Tracy, Rick and the little one.

Wish I could join them at their party- The weather in the Palmer/Wasilla area by her is a high of 63 and a low of 50.  Sunrise is officially at 4:12am and sunset officially at 11:43 - as she said - even the dark time is more like twighlight.  They are still below the arctic circle - so the sun does fall below the horizon (Just not that far) - if they were above the arctic circle, there would be no darkness at all. In the most northen areas of Alaska - like Barrow - the sun will not set for months!!

 Happy Soltice

Family BBQ at my house with Tracy

The Sunday after the wedding (May 21) we had a BBQ at my house so all the relatives could visit with Tracy here.  - Yeh - I made sure we took some group shots - Tracy has only been getting home about once a year - so it is important.  They're used to it! Included are my brother Gunther and his wife Sandy and daughter Candice; Brother in law Steve and son Todd (wife Pat & son Eric not pictured); My Ex Russ; Tracy, Julie and the boys - Aaron and Steven, and myself. 

Family with Tracy collage

We had a great time - just wish it would have been a little warmer.