The Big Island

After a great deal of thought and planning (and testing) we made a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. Our last trip to the Big Island was over 20 years ago and this island (and the world) was quite a bit different. It was also a time before we had children. This time we spent about a month in a small rental house on the west side of the island and spent our days exploring, hiking, playing board games and reading. We all fell in love with the Big Island. It’s so peaceful, the people are incredibly kind and the food was delicious. I’m completely addicted to loco moco and Kona coffee.

It was a very special trip and I am happy we were able to spend it together as a family.

I brought along two cameras, a medium format Hasselblad (square images) and a 35mm Leica M6. And many rolls of Kodak film.

Our first RV trip

We have always wanted to rent a RV. Daydreams of getting an Airstream and exploring the southwest or perhaps the Pacific northwest. One of those things on the wanderlust to do list. But we never did it.

So a few weeks ago, we rented a RV. It wasn’t as cool as an Airstream. While new-ish, it looked like it was straight out of the 70s. But getting a RV rental isn’t easy as many of them are taken this time of year and that is especially true during this pandemic. Our original plan was to drive north into Vermont. But the campgrounds in Vermont discouraged visitors from Massachusetts given the Covid cases spiking in our county.

Instead we found a campground in the Berkshire Mountains. We loaded our clothes, supplies, food, coffee(!) and camera gear and headed west. Driving a RV is quite different than our electric sedan. The RV is massive, it’s loud and drives like a boat. But it’s super fun. A feeling of indepence. We had everyting we needed in our little house on wheels.

The fall colors in the Berkshires were fantastic and so was the crisp morning air that greeted us each day. And it was fun to get away and just enjoy time together hiking during the day and relaxing each evening in our camper. We missed having our daughters with us on this trip but they are in college now. I can totally picture my son getting a RV with his friends when he’s older.

I am grateful for our getaway. I’m now even more excited for a future trip to the southwest :)

(Color photographs made with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak Portra film. Black and white photographs made with a Leica M-A and Kodak Tri-X film. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California).

Foggy mornings

(All images made with a Hasselblad 503cw on Kodak Tri-X 400 film. Developed and scanned by FW Photos in Texas).

Early Spring, 2020

Some photographs before the quarantine.

(Camera: Hasselblad 503cw / Film: Kodak Tri-X 400 / Developed and scanned: Richard Photo Lab)

Inside Passage, Alaska

After leaving Tutka Bay, the last week of our Alaska trip was an exploration of the Inside Passage, which began in Sitka and ended in Juneau. The landscape and wildlife in southeast Alaska is magical and Glacier Bay National Park felt like a dream.

Alaska is a remote place, especially coming from the east coast of the United States. It took a long time to get there and a long time to get home. It’s challenging to get around once you make it to Alaska. But it’s so worth it and I hope to get back, again and again.

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(Cameras: Hasselblad 503cw and Leica M3 | Film: Kodak Portra 400 | Lab: Richard Photo Lab)

 

Kachemak Bay & Katmai National Park

We took a small bush plane out of Denali and then a train to Anchorage where we spent a night. The next morning we boarded a sea plane and flew to Kachemak Bay. We stayed at Tutka Bay Lodge which was located in a perfect spot. Right on the water, surrounded by gorgeous mountains. This part of Alaska was dramatically different than Denali but beautiful in it’s own way. It feels remote but is just a quick 20 minute boat ride to Homer.

We spent the next three days at Tutka Bay and would enjoy each day exploring the local trails and getting out on kayaks.

The highlight of our stay was a gorgeous flight to Katmai National Park to see the brown bears. The bears were so calm and focused on eating that they barely paid any attention to us — even though we were completely fixed on their every move.

I was really sad to leave this special place. I hope we can make it back again in the near future.

Our next stop was meeting up with my parents and Lauren’s mom for a cruise. But I’ll leave that for my next post.

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(Cameras: Hasselblad 503cw & Leica M3, Film: Kodak Portra 400 & Kodak Tri-X 400, Lab: Richard Photo Lab in California)

Denali National Park, 2019

We have always wanted to see Alaska. We have made several attempts to travel to Alaska over the years but for one reason or another we had to postpone

At long last we were able to make it work. Alaska is over 2x the size of Texas but with only 700k people. It’s hard to get your head around the size of the state and getting around isn’t easy if you want explore various parts of the state. You can only access about 20% of the state by car so you need to see other areas by bush plane, boat or train

Our trip had three parts: three days in Denali National Park, three days in Kachemak Bay/Katmai Coast and then a week of southeast Alaska.

This post is about our time in Denali National Park. I’ll write up two more posts later this month about the rest of the trip.

Getting to Denali was quite a journey. We flew from Boston to Seattle then to Fairbanks. We spent the night in Fairbanks and took a five hour train to the park entrance. Cars aren’t allowed past the visitor center. To get to the lodge requires a four hour bus ride from the park entrance or a 1 hour bush plane. We took the bus in and plane out to get the full experience and I’m glad we did.

Lodging is limited in the park if you aren’t camping. We stayed at the North Face Lodge which is minimalistic. Each room has the essentials and nothing more. There is no wifi in the park or cellular connectivity anywhere. But the setting of the place, staff and food were truly fantastic. The days were magically long with 20 hours or more of full sunlight followed by a few short hours of dusk. We spent our days hiking and relaxing over a book after dinner. One of our most memorable days was getting away from a wandering grizzly bear.

Denali Park is absolutely stunning. I do not know how to adequately describe it properly and my photographs below do not fully capture the beauty of the place by any means. But one thing is for sure, Alaska has the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen in the United States.

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All photographs taken with a Hasselblad 503cw and Leica M3 and Kodak film. Other gear in my backpack here.