Insights / Photography

Snowflakes, Karma and God: When things don’t go as planned

Cottonwood, trees, alaska, winter, landscape, snow

Excited at the prospect of photographing snowflakes (one of my favorite winter activities), Marty and I booked flights to Anchorage, Alaska. Though it’s only a 60-minute flight north of Kodiak Island, it’s usually enough change in latitude–as Jimmy Buffet might say–to produce nice snow crystals. But this year was different.
When we arrived in Alaska’s biggest city, temps hovered around 30 degrees. Too warm. For good, single snowflakes, I needed a range between 0 and 15 degrees F. The forecast didn’t look good. I felt like a Prisoner of Weather. Fortunately, we had friends to visit, a Costco run to do, and Christmas gifts to buy. I put my snowflake gear away and picked up my regular camera. Here are some images from a couple photo-walks, plus a little serendipity I think you’ll enjoy…
My friend Kate is always up for a hike. She knew I craved snow, so we drove to Eagle River Nature Center where we found snow and ice-encrusted trails. Since the day was overcast and gray, I “thought” in black and white.


snow, bird house, alaska, landscape

I discovered this bird house, abandoned by the trail. It looked like a smiling Old Fisherman.

The next day, we drove out to Portage Glacier to see what we could find. That’s my motto. I love to go outdoors without an agenda. To be receptive to Nature’s gifts.

Ice bubbles, alaska, winter, photography, snow, ice, sculpture

Ice bubbles formed along a stream near Portage Glacier outside Anchorage, Alaska.

stream, ice, bubbles, snow, river

I could spend hours playing with ice formations along rivers, streams and ponds.

For years I’d heard about a fishing boat that once belonged to Joe Redington Sr., the father of the Iditarod sled dog race. It sits, abandoned in tide flats of Knik Arm. I thought, with a little snow on it, the old boat would make a good photo subject. I was not disappointed, and Kate and I were glad the ice was thick enough to hold our weight.

fishing, boat, Anchorage, Alaska, Knik

Abandoned fishing boat in the tidal mudflats near Knik Arm, Alaska.

Funny, the twists and turns of life. Here I was in Anchorage, hoping to photograph snowflakes. No such luck, but for those few days, I knew better than to whine and to take advantage of the hand that Nature dealt me.
I had to smile though, when I spotted this snowflake pendant around Kate’s neck. It was sort of a karmic joke, as if God was saying, “Do you think for a moment that I don’t know of your wants and needs? Behold, I created a snowflake for you.”

snowflake, silver, jewelry, necklace, photography

While talking with my friend Kate, I noticed this snowflake pendant around her neck. “It’s made from silver recovered from film processing.” How perfect was that?

No Comments

  • deborah
    February 10, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    Gorgeous, haunting and joyous. Thank for sharing your gift.

    • marionowen
      May 19, 2015 at 10:21 AM

      A very belated thank you, Deborah!

  • luanne43
    December 12, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Loved this! I learned something too! Didn’t
    know about the silver left from film processing!

    • marionowen
      December 12, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      Pretty fun, eh? I might have found someone who knows who made the pendant.

  • Helen Raschick
    December 12, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    I just scrolled back to look again at my favorite photo, the cottonwood in snow. It’s SNOWING! Nice touch!

    • marionowen
      December 12, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      Let it snow, YES! I think it’s a special feature of the WorkPress blog people during December… Either way, it’s kind of fun.

  • Jayne Hurlbut
    December 12, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    Thanks for the happy post from Alaska! Merry Christmas Marion!

    • marionowen
      December 12, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      Oh, and a very, very merry Christmas to you, Jayne. I hope all is well in your inner and outer world. I hope our paths cross again.


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