The Creek has been flowing for what seems like months now, but up until a couple days ago it was a foot and a half of water flowing on top of a frozen Creek bed. Over the last two days the water level has dropped at least three feet, probably because the ice underneath crumbled and melted away. Now there’s a thick band of ice along the banks, hanging above the water flowing through the middle.
This is all very different from the past two years when the water and ice all broke up at the same time, resulting in a very rapidly moving Creek filled to the top of the banks with an enormous amount of water and crushed ice. I was looking forward to that this year, but it’s been such a mild breakup that seeing the Creek suddenly drop down to summer levels is a little disappointing.
At least it’s not snowing anymore and things are starting to get green. Most of the birch trees and shrubs have buds that are just beginning to open. There are also several large Tamarack (American larch, Larix laricina) around that are beginning to show signs of leafing out. Tamarack is one of my favorite trees; a deciduous conifer that looks like an evergreen tree in summer but drops it’s leaves in winter. I’d never looked carefully at the buds in the spring—the photo isn’t the greatest representation, but what you’re looking at are the bright green leaf buds, and purplish buds that I think will turn into cones. They’re a very striking tree once their bright green foliage comes out, and I’m eager to see what happens with the cool purple buds that dot the spindly branches right now.
The photo of the Creek at the top of the post (click on the image for a larger view) is a set of nine photos joined together by the AutoStitch iPhone app into a panorama. You can see that it should have been composed of ten photos so the lower left corner could be filled in. In my mind I’d envisioned a sort of running band of photos along the Creek, but it didn’t turn out quite the way I saw it.
Having a camera attached to the iPhone really is an amazing thing. Inasmuch as I carry the thing with me most places, that means I have a camera most of the time. The first shot is of the sunrise I saw this morning riding my bicycle in to work (using the Pano app to make a panorama).
This is a shot of the coffee table we’ve got under the west window. It’s an underutilized spot, but the presence of the window and the Monitor heater next to it means there’s not a lot we can do with it. I used the Toy Camera app to take this shot, which takes a photo and then applies some sort of filter to the image. I’m not sure what filter was used here, but I like the way it looks. Vintagey.
Another gorgeous day in Fairbanks. September is one of my favorite months. The bugs are just about gone, it’s cold and crisp in the morning, and there’s usually an abundance of sun and blue skies. This year has been no exception so far, making it hard to stay in the house. I’ve been out on several excellent walks with the dogs on the trails around our house.
We’re also in the process of getting our road and driveway fixed. We’ve been living here for two years, and both have deteriorated since we moved in. The road is a tough one because so much water runs over it during spring breakup, and I’ve been told that no matter what you put on the road, it will just wash away in a few years.
Still, we had to do something, so we changed the pattern a bit this year, installing a culvert in a particularly bad place, and filling one of the deep spots with very large rocks instead of mine tailings. The hope is that they won’t get carried away in the spring flooding, and may drain well enough that water will cross there instead of running down the road. Time will tell, but at the very least, it should be a much nicer drive this winter, and will be a lot easier for me to keep it plowed.
One of the common destinations on my walks is this pond, on the property next to us. This is the same pond that I photographed and wrote about last April when I went ice skating on it. Once the Creek freezes, I like to walk upstream to this pond, cross it, and return home on the mushing trails. It’s a nice spot.
Another iPhone panorama, this time with the Pano app. I had been using AutoStitch, which makes panoramas from a series of existing photos. Pano takes a different approach: you shoot a series of photos, in order from left to right, from inside the app. After each image, the app asks if you’re happy with the shot, or if you’d like to retake it. If you’re happy with it, it stores it, and then shows you a semi-transparent slice of the right edge of the photo superimposed over the left side of the current camera viewscreen. This makes it fairly easy to line up each shot as you pan across your scene. When you’ve taken all the photos you want, the app joins the images together and saves it to the Camera Roll on the iPhone.
The upside to Pano is that it’s much easier to get well aligned images, as long as there’s enough contrast in the individual pictures to allow you to line them up as you’re shooting. The down side is that the only layout the app can handle is a single row of landscape or portrait shots. AutoStitch can join photos in any combination. The panorama at the bottom of my previous post (our back yard) was built from two rows of four photos (8 images total). The top row included a nicely exposed blue sky, and the bottom row was primarily the tussock–permafrost landscape of our backyard. Even though there are some obvious artifacts in the final image, it would be hard to get such a nice overall exposure with Pano and the iPhone camera.