Alaska Springtime in January Photo Essay
Off the keyboard and camera of RE
Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 26, 2013
Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner
I picked up a new High Tech Gizmo this last week, a Compact Camera System from my favorite South Korean Appleshit Competitor, Samsung. In my last Smart Phone purchase, I ditched my Iphone for a Samsung Galaxy Mega, which is a confabulation of a Phone and Tablet called a Phablet. It’s actually big enough to web surf on and not strain your eyes, and I have a little Folding Keyboard for it also so I can actually WRITE on the thing, and not peck out TXT messages with my thumbs.
My extreme happiness with this new Smart Phone plus the fact several of us Diners are getting together down in Texas Droughtland for our first Convocation and Meeting for developing the SUN Project impelled me to looking into Upgrading my El Cheapo Sony Cybershot camera which is about 5 years old now and WAY out of date for a newer and better camera to record the Convocation proceedings. Said proceedings to include a week long Workshop Course we are all taking at Monolithic Domes, to learn how to build these sturdy Ferrocement domiciles.
I considered dropping back into Single Lens Reflex cameras like the Nikon F2 I used back in my years as Photography Editor for the Columbia Spectator. They are “DSLR” now, Digital Single Lens Reflex. The Professional models from Nikon and Canon run $3000 and Up just for the Camera Body, and this not including the Lens Kit you buy for yourself. Anybody who ever got into Photography either in the Film Era or the Digital era should know what a Rabbit Hole and Money Pit you get into when you go into this Hobby.
I’m not a Professional Photographer though, and never intend to be one at this stage of my life, though I thought about it for a while early on in my Career Jumping lifestyle. I just want a better Camera system to use for Sprucing up my Websites with HQ Pics and Vids. So after a bunch of research on what is now available, I decided on the NX300 Compact Camera System for Samsung. Besides the fact it is competitive on an image level with much more expensive DSLRs, it marries up to the Samsung Galaxy Mega Phablet through WiFi, and all in all is just a fabulous technological marvel.
This article though is not meant to be a Camera Review though, it’s about one of my first Test Uses for the camera as I get back into the world of Amateur Photography. One of the other Diners who will be attending the Convocation IS a professional photographer, and recently upgraded her system to a Canon 5D Mark III, a medium-high end DSLR. We are going to have a Friendly Competition for Image Making at the Convocation. To get ready for this Challenge, I need to Practice with the camera, since my skills are a tad RUSTY after around a Quarter Century of Atrophy.
The subject I chose today for some practice was the EXTRAORDINARILY BIZARRE weather we have been experiencing this January up here on the Last Great Frontier. The Winter started off fairly normal, but going through December unlike all the previous years I have lived here we got NO Sub-Zero days. Decent snowfall though, so it looked like a typical Winter here, snow covered roads, small mountains of Plowed Snow in Parking Lots, etc.
This all STOPPED though about a week ago now though, when the temps went ABOVE Freezing, and the snow collected thus far began to melt. And KEPT ON MELTING. Rainy days, days in the 40s, this has basically washed away now about 90% of the snow accumulated to date, in JANUARY! This sort of Snow Melt doesn’t happen here until March at the earliest usually. So with my new NX300 utilizing just the 20-50mm lens I bought it with (did not switch to the 50-200mm lens I also got for this session), I went on a Documentary Tour of the Matanuska-Susitna River Valley to show what the NEW NORMAL is like up here, with Springtime in January.
Blue Trailer Trash
House in the Trees
It is amazing how non-chalant people are about this up here. “Isn’t this odd”, they say.
I’m like, no it’s not odd if you PAID ATTENTION to the actual data that has been coming out and stopped buying the spin pitched at you by your favorite Talk Show Denier.
Folks, that Lake has never been Ice free before March for as long as I lived here. That Parking Lot is always Snow Covered with HUGE MOUNTAINS of plowed snow. There is NO WAY you could see the House in the Trees, every little branch would have snow on it. Those Stumps should be under at least a foot of packed snow.
I made some jokes about opening a Club Med up here a while back. It’s no joke. We got into the 90s last summer. I think we may make Triple Digits this year.
This climatic change is not uniform by any means. Inside the Diner, WHD reports steady Sub-Zero temperatures in his Habitat of Minnesota:
It’ll be -18F again, Monday. Might have a few days this week in a row, when the temp does not get above 0F. More snow too, than I’ve seen @ this time, in awhile. It will be curious to see about damage to my fruit trees and vines. Wind howling lately too, like it usually does in the spring and the fall. Clear skies and howling winds.
Nuts indeed. With Uber Cold temperatures in MN, while you are getting a Sub-Tropical Winter in AK, are you looking at Global Warming or Global Cooling? DENIERS will latch onto every story of Frigid Temps in the Mid-West as Evidence we don’t have a Global Warming trend in progress. Temps in the atmosphere in any given location do not really tell the story well of the Climate Change though. Really, “Climate Change” does not do justice to what is underway here, it is more like “Climate UPHEAVAL“.
While the temps up here in the Northern Hemisphere are doing a major Tap Dance, down in Oz in their SUMMER they are pitching out temps that are going +50C. Folks, that is 122F.
On Thursday, parts of inland Australia reached temperatures around 50 degrees Celsius, or 122 degrees Fahrenheit, before a shifting air mass is forecast to bring weekend temperatures back to averages in the mid-30s. There were reports of temperatures as high as 54 degrees Celsius, 129 degrees Fahrenheit, in the outback on Thursday.
120+ is some fucking HOT shit, and really not even DEATH VALLEY in the FSoA gets that hot, at least not in past years. Nobody lives long in those temperatures, so if that is the long term course for the Globe, we are all TOAST for sure.
Speaking of Death Valley, what is happening in Sunny California and surrounding mountains these days? Here contributed by Agelbert on the Diner are Sattelite Photos from 2013 and 2104 showing the Snowpack in the Rockies.
Where is the runoff going to come from this summer into CA to irrigate the farmland there? Not like they normally get much rainfall in the summer there, so without the Snowpack to tide them over, water is going to be pretty thin there by around June or so, fuhgettaboutit in August.
The OTHER place they get their water from, Lake Mead which dams up the Colorado River with the Hoover Dam is not looking too good either!
When you talk Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, you are not just talking the Water Issue, you got a POWER issue here also. Electricity from the Hoover Dam powers all those Vegas Lights on the Strip, not to mention the PUMPS that move Lake Mead water over the Rockies to the CA Lettuce Fields. Also powers numerous Plasma TVs and Internet Routers in SoCal.
There is something like 15′ left of leeway now between when the water level in Lake Mead is sufficient to drive the Turbines that generate that power, and when they begin to Cavitate. That happens when air bubbles start getting mixed in with the water, and the managers HAVE to shut them down when that point comes. The equipment will blow itself apart if left to run.
Can the Electricity from Hoover be REPLACED with Fossil Fuel energy? Maybe short term it can, but even if it can it makes the Water Bill a whole lot more than those Farmers can afford to pay, or the consumers of the lettuce can afford to pay either. They are OUTTA BIZ.
This does not of course resolve the issue of whether we have a Global Warming or Cooling event in progress, only that it is VERY obvious we have enormous climate changes underway which affect total rainfall and the ability of given water systems to replenish themselves. To resolve that question, as I see it you need to look not at the Atmospheric temps, but at the OCEAN Temps. The Ocean is a far bigger Heat Sink for energy than the Atmosphere is. It contains MOST of the Gibbs Free Energy extant in the system. It is patently OBVIOUS Ocean Heat Energy has been on a steady increase here for more than 20 years.
How much of the causation for this is Anthropogenic resultant from Fossil Fuel burning and how much is resultant from Geotectonic causes of Earthquakes and Volcanoes is an open question, but either way the Ocean contains an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE more heat energy today than it did in 1990. that energy transfers into the atmosphere in the form of Cyclonic Storms, read that Sandy on the East Coast of the FSoA and Haiyan in the Phillipines.
Even IF the overall Global Temps don’t start exceeding 50C everywhere, you got a LOT of places right now that are facing extremes they never saw before, least so long as Homo Sapiens has been recording them. Much like the Stock Market, what you got here is EXTREME VOLATILITY. Very difficult to plan for any kind of Ag Growing when you do not know WTF will come from one year to the next, Drought this year, Floods the next; Hard Freeze this year, Heat Wave the next, etc.
Where to GO, what to DO in such a situation, eh? Do you simply wait it out where you ARE, and hope for the Best? I think that would be a BAD IDEA in Sunny California right now. JMHO. Not looking too good in Northern Oz either. China? Fuck the Weather, the SMOG will kill you first!
Escape gets tougher all the time here, and figuring out just how to handle what is quite obviously major change in the overall environment is none too easy a task either! More than a few folks have given up on the idea that ANYBODY can survive the combination of environmental & man made catastrophes we now face, and are convinced a NEAR TERM HUMAN EXTINCTION is in the offing. Maybe so, when you gather together all this shit in aggregate it sure does not look too good for the Away Team. As Guy McPherson puts it, Earth is the Home Team, and NATURE BATS LAST.
This may be true, but it is not our meme on the Diner. I can’t really speak for the rest of the Diners who all really have quite their own interpretation on the subject, but as for me, it is irrelevant if in the end Extinction is in the offing. For me,. between NOW and Extinction is the battle I choose to fight. Matters not whether I win or lose the battle either, so long as I Fight with HONOR. No quitting here, no Hospicing, no Kubler-Ross Acceptance of Grief either. Fight until the breath leaves your body. Never say die, never quit.
The CREDO of the Heliopath. It Ain’t OVAH till the Fat Lady Sings.