Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city and 40% of the states population call this city home. In early September the last of the cruise liners dock in Anchorage harbour and as the tourist season winds down, the city starts to prepare for winter.
Even though when I arrived Anchorage was starting to wind down, it’s still a vibrant city. With a stroll down 4th Avenue and you are greeted with cafes, antique stores, art and of course souvenir shops. The Anchorage Markets were in their final few days and the traders with their various arts and crafts will soon pack their goods till the following May.
Anchorage is a mix of old and new, buildings that stood before the great earthquake of 1964, to the high rises of a modern city. It’s a city with an amazing harbour with the impressive Chugach Mountains as its backdrop.
Fellow photographers wont find it difficult to locate Stewarts Photo Shop on 4th Avenue. It’s the only photography store in Anchorage and if you don’t have a big wildlife lens, you can always rent one from Stewarts and believe me, if you are heading to Alaska, you’ll want one.
On the advice from some locals, we headed out to some local wetlands for some bird photography and after a quick stop to shoot a pair of Trumpeter Swans, we headed to Potters Marsh, a man-made marsh that contains a large variety of wetland birds including Red Necked Grebes and Yellowlegs. The local photographers mentioned that Potters Marsh was also a great spot to see Bald Eagles, but not today.
Later we headed to Westchester Lagoon and after a short walk we spotted a pair of Sand Hill Cranes and a flock of Canadian Geese. Sand Hill Cranes are impressive birds but are very shy and spook easy. That day the pair put on a majestic mating dance, and we managed some amazing shots. Even the locals who stopped to see what we were photographing commented that they had never seen the dance before.
Heading back into Anchorage later that day, we spent several hours at the Anchorage Museum. The Museum is dedicated to exploring the land, people and culture of Alaska and contained a wonderful and moving display of native Alaskan culture. A visit to the Museum is a must.
Click here for the next stage of the Alaskan journey: The Road to Denali