Allison & Jesse 5

We have been told that retreating glaciers are a harbinger of global warming. You can’t depend on generalities, however. We were in Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm during the Inside Passage cruise, and saw glaciers in both locations. All of them are retreating. Problem is, they have been retreating since well before thoughts of global warming occurred to anyone. Glacier Bay itself when encountered in the 1700s had glaciers all the way to the ocean, miles and miles from where they presently are found, and they have shrunk ever since. The Sawyer Glaciers of Tracy Arm have retreated a long way, too, having left a moraine at the bottom of the Arm at their farthest extent in 1750.

(Click to see image in full size; oh, and click the title link — it’s really cool!) Does this argue against global warming? The nay-sayers of course say it does. All it says, however, is that there are longer-term trends that must be accounted for. And short-term developments that should scare us.

Reports have come in recently of sightings of polar bears swimming from Alaska to find ice in the Arctic Ocean. Polar bears have been known to swim as much as 100 miles to find ice on which to hunt. Problem is, the Arctic ice has retreated 400 miles northward.

Meanwhile, one of the reasons Patricia and I went to Alaska was to see glaciers, while they still may be found (don’t worry too much, however, you’ve still got dozens of years — but they will be smaller). We saw many. Here’s a huge one, Chenega Glacier, not included in the public website. I just about froze my fingers off in the drizzling cold waiting for that friggin’ glacier to calve, which of course it didn’t. There’s a story that when John Wayne was shooting North to Alaska in 1959-60, they wanted a scene with a glacier in the background calving a huge chunk. So they waited. Nothing. They fired howitzers at the glacier. Nothing happened. They finally gave up. Which leads me to wonder how ever do they get those clips of large chunks breaking off glaciers? We know it isn’t CGI. Don’t we? I’m told the only way to guarantee that a glacier will calve is to turn your back on it.


Yesterday was my visit to the Great Minnesota Get-Together — the State Fair. All in all, a rather profitless day, photographically speaking. Just nothing much inspiring. I tried some stuff, and some of it may turn out, but the people shots just weren’t there. I kept seeing gaggles of teenage girls, dressed about ten degrees more sexily than their mothers would usually permit, with one or two adolescent boys usually in orbit. And lots of plain folks. Just, plain, pholks, which means photographically boooooring. It didn’t help that it was very warm and very sunny. It also didn’t help that I went to the Fine Arts Building to see a lot of schlocky photography. Some good photography, granted, but also the usual images the make you ask, “Why?”

Oh, and also Todd Jerde’s digital manipulation of a photo of Brooke, that you can see at the bottom of Brooke’s post. Congratulations Todd and Brooke!


From the only environmental Duo shoot I’ve done thus far.

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