Kodiak, Alaska

Editors note:  Today we have a special treat.  MaryKate has agreed to write a guest blog post about her recent trip to Kodiak Island, Alaska.   Sit back ,relax, and enjoy your vacation from my writing!


Five years ago, my birthday snuck up on me. A week or so before the big day, I called my good friend Monette and said “It’s a birthday emergency! I have no plans!” We booked a last-minute cruise, and ever since, our annual Emergency Birthday Trip has become a tradition I look forward to every year – exploring places as close by as the Florida Keys, and as far away as Oregon and Alaska. The trips always involve spontaneity, road tripping, shopping, National Parks (or the outdoors), wildlife, shopping, eating, shopping and exploring. This year, I returned to Alaska to visit Monette in her current location: Kodiak, the country’s second largest island.


These Boots Were Made For Traveling (Courtesy of Monette)

I take a lot of iPhone photos. But for this trip, my Dad let me borrow one of his many cameras since photo opportunities would be plentiful and I knew I might want to enlarge and print some wildlife pictures. He added an all in one 28 to 240mm equivalent lens to his Olympus E-M1 camera and programmed it with an iAuto setting (for fast-moving wildlife) and a P setting (for “Pretty much everything else”). While we had some rare Kodiak sunshine, the lighting was generally overcast and difficult. But with my Dad’s processing, I got some great shots!


Near Reflections: Boat harbor on Near Island

Saturday morning, we drove the Island road system and saw everything from a herd of wild buffalo to majestic mountains and mud flats. Monette said a lot of the vegetation had changed over the last week or so from bright and blooming to brown. I thought this picture eloquently captured the end of a season.

The End of Fall

That night we took an intimate dinner cruise with Galley Gourmet. Marty and Marion Owen were amazing hosts on board the Sea Breaze, where Marion made a from-scratch dinner with fresh ingredients from her garden and Marty steered the boat towards captivating wildlife like Stellar Sea Lions, Horned and Tufted Puffins and Sea Otters. I would highly recommend this dinner cruise for anyone in the area!

Marty said they hadn’t seen whales in a week or two, but sure enough, it was a Birthday Miracle and we found some Humpback Whales to watch and enjoy for about 30 minutes. I have some Humpback pictures from when my Dad and I were in Maine, but I’ve never been able to catch the illusive Puffin (which fly faster than I zoom through an airport!). I found that the P setting on the camera worked a little better.

Puffin Zone

We enjoyed watching this pair of baby Stellar Sea Lions play (the two smaller, darker ones near the middle). To our entertainment – but to the annoyance of the older residents – the babies kept jumping and splashing in and out of the water.

Stellar Viewing

It was an amazing trip filled with beautiful views and memories. And like all Emergency Birthday trips, I’m already counting down the days until next year.

You Otter Be Here

Here are more photos from the trip.  Click on any of the thumbnails to see them larger.


Thanks for stopping by and reading MaryKate’s blog post.  Now, go make some photos!

©2016, MaryKate and Monette. All rights reserved.

9 thoughts on “Kodiak, Alaska

  1. Good job Mary-Kate – great reading!

    In the ‘nature nurture’ debate the blog certainly illustrates nature (literally, and beautifully!) by showing a clear genetic disposition to write and shoot well – but it also shows the importance of nurture: what a great Dad to lend his pre-programmed EM-1!

    1. Thanks, Rhona! He is a great Dad! And now that we learned a little more about what worked well with the pre-programmed settings, I’ll give him another assignment in a few months when my Cousin and I head to China and need to borrow an awesome camera again 🙂

      1. Looking forward to the blog already! (One of our sons spent his Gap Year in China and found it a terrific experience – hope you do, too.)

  2. Hi MaryKate
    Thanks for sending us the shots of your trip. Lots of great photos. Hope to see more in future..I have birthday soon, and a photo shoot is in my mind. What better.

    Portia

    1. Happy Birthday! My Dad lent me his camera again for another adventure this weekend so stay tuned for potential future posts!

  3. I loved reading your blog and the camera settings was wonderful to read! Simplifies things a bit…:) Unfortunately, I could not see your images…am on the road in my RV. Hopefully, I can see them when I get better reception….

    1. Thanks, Dorothy! Hope you’re having a great time on the road. I definitely recommend Kodiak – there is lots to do and see, and beautiful scenery and wildlife!

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