Friday, February 29, 2008

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Today's photograph was taken at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, mile 79, Seward Highway, Portage Alaska. The grizzly may be captive but he is still wild.

The AWCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Alaska's wildlife through public education. The center takes animals that are injured or orphaned year round and provides a spacious enclosure and quality animal care. Animals that can be released into the wild are and those that cannot be are provided a permanent home at the center.

I personally do not like zoos, I do not believe in keeping wild animals in cages or on concrete slabs, but I would recommend this place. It is not a zoo and there intentions are good. Your admission price is going to a good cause and the animals are kept in areas much like there natural habitat.

I forgot about these photos and just recently found them, so expect more in the future.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Canada Geese...

These lonely Canada Geese were at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management area. They were far out numbered by the tundra swans and snow geese, maybe that is why I spotted them on the other side of the road walking away. They eventually honked a few times and flew away.

There is several species of geese in North America but the Canada Goose is the most common. It can be spotted by the large size, black head and neck, and prominent white cheek patch of this bird makes identification easy, along with their distinctive "V" shaped flying pattern and honking calls. At least ten subspecies or races of Canada geese have been identified, with differences primarily noted in size, voice, and plumage.

That's all I have time for today, its off to work I go.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Middle Creek Wildlife Area

The snow geese photographs were taken last March at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, Kleinfeltersville, Pa.

In the spring the snow geese migrate north and Middle Creek is one of their stops. At the height of the migration as many as 100,000 to 150,000 snow geese can be found at Middle Creek along with tundra swans, Canada geese and many other birds. The day we were their we even watched two white tail deer feeding in the area. It is really worth the trip to watch these birds. When the whole flock takes off it is an amazing site. I plan on making the short trip again this year.

For additional information on Middle Creek and the snow geese visit;,

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tufted Puffin

This is a tufted puffin, one of the many wildlife species I was excited about seeing when we traveled to Alaska last year. I had seen the many photographs of these beautiful birds and had my expectations set high on viewing and photographing. When will I ever learn, I know I am to old it's to late to learn.

We did see many puffins on our two cruises but they were always far away for there size and are a little scared of boats. Only being able to get so close to them there size and the fact that the ship is swaying as much as twelve feet side to side causing me to shoot with one hand and hold the groceries in with the other this is the best shot I got.

It was still a great time and even though I didn't get the photographs I expected I really enjoyed watching them. Maybe next time I can get better shots. We still need to do the inner passage and that area of Alaska.

For more information on the Tufted Puffin and his relatives visit these sites;,,,

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mount McKinley

Mount McKinley or Denali in Denali National Park, Alaska is the highest mountain in North America at a height of approximately 20,320 feet. Denali is so tall it creates its own weather and has recorded temperatures over the years at –100 degrees.

The first recorded attempt to climb Mount McKinley was by Judge James Wickersham in 1903, via the Peters Glacier and the North Face, now known as the Wickersham Wall. This route has tremendous avalanche danger and was not successfully climbed until 1963. The first successful attempt came on June 7, 1913 when four Americans reached the summit. In 1990, Alaskan Norma Jean Saunders became the first woman to officially document a solo ascent of Mount McKinley. She climbed the West Buttress.

Today’s post could go on forever just with all the climbing attempts, successes and deaths to occur on Denali, but if you are that interested just Google it.

This photograph was taken in July 2007 from inside the park. The day before we were as close as you could get to McKinley without needing a special permit. That particular day was beautiful but McKinley created its own storms and was never visible. In over a week we only seen the mountain two times and both times it was here one minute and gone the next.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Danny Byers...

I had planned to put up two photos today but didn't get a second ready in time, so Danny you get the spotlight to yourself. Being my little site don't worry the light is fairly dim.

This photograph was taken at the down town Shippensburg fire in July 2006. Danny spotted the blaze on his way to work and went back to the Viggies to drive the Wagon.

Danny joined the Vigilant's in the early to mid 70's and worked his way up the ranks holding the position of Fire Chief for a number of years. Danny currently serves as President of the company. Byers also worked at the Letterkenny Army Depot Fire Department and served as chief of that organization also before retiring last August.

When I was working up the photograph for the site the idea I had was just more portraits of firefighters but after a comment I made a few days ago on my other site my description of the image has changed.

Danny is one of the firefighters that helped to mold me into a fireman, he may not remember it but he took me into (or should I say pushed me through) my first interior job. The incident occurred on the Mainsville Road on a Saturday back in July 1979 or 1980, Larry Kerns was driving the 1963 Seagrave and I was riding the seat, no one was getting out and it was a reported entrapment. Larry had me pack up and Danny pushed me through the building, the fire went out. I mentioned Larry he was another along with Gerald Holtry, Rick "Pap" Sanders and my father. I thank these guys and others that I failed to mention for turning me into a fireman, of course they may have messed me up for the modern fire service also.

Because of these men and many others before and after them the Shippensburg Fire Department continues to be one of the best organizations around blessed with lots of manpower and good firefighters. Many have gone on to make the fire service a career and I am sure many more will in the future.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fire To Art...

Okay I post two photographs now what do I say. It’s not like I am at a loss for words often. Both of these were taken in Shippensburg July 2006 at a multiple alarm fire. I have posted other photos from this fire on the site but do not have time this morning to go back and find the links to them. Both of these have been altered greatly in Photoshop to appear as paintings or artwork. Hopefully I won’t misspell or screw up any of the names but the first photo is of Ed Hoover, Newburg FD using the hose, Jeremy Heckman, WEFR on the ladder, Todd Sherman, WEFR and Waleed Nruriden, WEFR. I know the title of the photo is just a little screwed up by by borough SOP’s WEFR’s assignment is in the rear of the structures and the have been lucky enough over the last few decades to catch plenty of fire their. The second photo was taken in front of the building and shows two unidentified Pleasant Hall firefighters advancing a hose line over a ground ladder.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Don't Know What To Say...

As I mentioned earlier this week everything after Monday would be fire department related images. Well I have them ready through Friday and they may not be what you were expecting. All have been worked over in Photoshop to change their appearence. And you know I am just rambling on like this because I really have no idea what to say.

Both of these photographs were taken at the Washington DC muster in September 2005. The top image comes from an Ahrens-Fox and the bottom one from the Newburg Hopewell's American LaFrance.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We Don't Need No Engine...

The next few days will be fire department related posts and after that I don’t know how much longer I am going to keep going. Between finding time to keep two sites running and coming up with images and things to say it is getting harder to do. Maybe if the fires would move a little closer to my area I could come up with some more material to cover me for awhile.

Today’s post was shot on 5th Street in Harrisburg, as the truck company was moving in to take another fire from the wagon. As my partner and I approached the fire with our ANSI and OSHA and NFPA and AFU (you figure out the last one) approved reflective vest on (so the fire could see us and the rodents would not run over us) he let me know he had it with his mop and that the wagon could return and if the Hill companies were still looking for the scene send them home also.

Okay really these were shot while we were filming a segment for Engine 21 the fire safety show that airs on CBS TV 21 every Wednesday evening.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidents Day

The original version of the holiday was in commemoration of George Washington's birthday in 1796 (the last full year of his presidency). Washington, according to the calendar that has been used since at least the mid-18th century, was born on February 22, 1732. According to the old style calendar in use back then, however, he was born on February 11. At least in 1796, many Americans celebrated his birthday on the 22nd while others marked the occasion on the 11th instead.

By the early 19th century, Washington's Birthday had taken firm root in the American experience as a bona fide national holiday. Its traditions included Birthnight Balls in various regions, speeches and receptions given by prominent public figures, and a lot of revelry in taverns throughout the land. Then along came Abraham Lincoln, another revered president and fellow February baby (born on the 12th of the month). The first formal observance of his birthday took place in 1865, the year after his assassination, when both houses of Congress gathered for a memorial address. While Lincoln's Birthday did not become a federal holiday like George Washington's, it did become a legal holiday in several states.

In 1968, legislation (HR 15951) was enacted that affected several federal holidays. One of these was Washington's Birthday, the observation of which was shifted to the third Monday in February each year whether or not it fell on the 22nd. This act, which took effect in 1971, was designed to simplify the yearly calendar of holidays and give federal employees some standard three-day weekends in the process.

Apparently, while the holiday in February is still officially known as Washington's Birthday (at least according to the Office of Personnel Management), it has become popularly (and, perhaps in some cases at the state level, legally) known as "President's Day." This has made the third Monday in February a day for honoring both Washington and Lincoln, as well as all the other men who have served as president.

Friday, February 15, 2008

More Harrisburg, Pa...

Today’s two photos will finish up my week of Harrisburg, Pa. photographs. Remember if you click on the image it will get much larger and to make it easier for people not familiar with the city I used red arrows on the uptown shot to help you out. The first photograph is of the Harrisburg Transportation Center located in the downtown district. From here you can pick up a cab, train or bus for your trip in or out of the city. At the far left of the photo is Market Street and at the bottom center is Chestnut Street and the Mulberry Street Bridge.

The second photograph shows the uptown neighborhood that HFD Station #1 is in. I have attached two red arrows to help you out the one points to Station 1 home of Wagon 3, Tower 2 and the Captains, this is the station that holds the city together and keeps the citizens and visitors safe. The second arrow, two blocks back points to the Reily Hose Company #10. The Reily was built in 1899 and has been closed as an active fire station for years. Today it is home to the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum. You will notice the rail cars towards the bottom of the photo, years ago you could board the train in this area also, but those are days long gone.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day

Todays post was supposed to be about Valentines Day, but my mood this morning changed that, so the photograph is all you get today. This was taken last fall on Third Street in Harrisburg while peeping the on duty shift extinguishing a tan bark fire.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

City Island, Harrisburg, Pa.

Today's post was to have multiple images but blogger does not want to work right this morning and with the streets the way they are I really need to get to work. So you will just have to settle for this one. This is city island, in the middle of the Susquehanna river, Harrisburg, Pa. The island has change allot since I was young, we used to go to concerts on the island to see bands like Krokas, Judas Priest, Def Leopard and many more. Since then the island has been transformed into a family entertainment area with rides, minor league baseball, soccer and football. The island has also been flooded many times, and with any luck will not flood again until after I retire. Can you name the four bridges in the photograph?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pennsylvania Capitol Building, Harrisburg

Harrisburg has been an important transportation center since the days of riverboat traffic. Its western boundary is formed by the Susquehanna River. This location played an important part in its selection as the capital of Pennsylvania in 1812. Because of its location, Harrisburg played a large part in the early development of the Pennsylvania canal system and the subsequent development of the railroads, highways and airlines. Today, Harrisburg is one of the most important commercial centers and distribution points in the East.

In colonial days, John Harris operated a ferry at Harrisburg. His son, John Jr., laid out the town of Harrisburg in 1785, and gave land to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that was later used for the Capitol grounds. The capitol building is an Italian Renaissance-style statehouse. It is an example of outstanding architecture, with collections of art and sculpture, including large murals. On the floor of the main hallway, tiles show Pennsylvania's history, symbols, insects and animals.

At the dedication of the Capitol building in 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt described this structure as "the handsomest building I ever saw". The capitol dome rises 272 feet. This vaulted dome weighs 52 million pounds, and was modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. It's beautiful staircase looks like one from the Paris Opera. Over 100,000 people per year enjoy a free tour of Harrisburg's Capitol building.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Play Ball...

The next few days will be photographs taken from the Pa. State Police helicopter over Harrisburg last summer. When I got this one ready I really didn’t know it would be so cold today. Today’s post had to due with spring training being right around the corner and ballplayers soon reporting to camp. Of course since I got the photograph ready my Caps moved back into first place, the Bears moved into second place alone and Dale Jr. won at Daytona. With as poorly as the Orioles and Senators play maybe I should not be in a hurry for the season to begin. This is Comerce Bank Park on City Island and the Harrisburg Senators playing an afternoon game. Lets hope this year they don’t have to many games where the players on the field out number the fans in the stands like it did this day.

Friday, February 8, 2008

After The Fire Life Begins

This photograph was taken in July 2005 between fishing bridge and the east entrance to Yellowstone. In Yellowstone life begins after the fire. Many of the trees in the park are lodgepole pines. The cones of these trees are sealed by resin and only release their seeds after the cones have been exposed to extreme heat. It has also been found in Yellowstone that bears frequent areas recently burnt for better feeding. More on wildfires in Yellowstone can be found at this link

The flower in the photo is common in areas damaged by wildfires they are called fireweed. To learn more about fireweed check out this site

Thursday, February 7, 2008

If I Only Knew Her Husband Was Coming Home...

A couple of weeks ago we got to spend the weekend in Binghamton, NY for the AHL All-Star game. We went up with our friends the Holtzmans and had a great time. While there we had some free time and took a walk downtown. The city can be compared to Harrisburg with its population. The downtown is filled with beautiful old buildings, but most are boarded up and vacant.

While strolling down one street we heard a man screaming for help. Looking up we saw him hanging from a window on the 5th floor. It seems he was visiting someone when their husband showed up unannounced forcing him to flee quickly without his clothes. He must have been hanging there for some time as he appeared pale. I was more than happy to take his photograph with Shane's Nikon Coolpix and then get as far away from the area as I could.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Buffalo Bill Cody Night Rodeo

In July 2005 while in Wyoming we attended the Buffalo Bill Cody night rodeo. It was the first real rodeo with real cowboys we had ever seen. From June through August a rodeo is held every night in Cody. Because of this Cody, Wyoming is known as "The Rodeo Capital of the World".

If you have never been to Cody add it to your list of places to visit, besides the rodeo there is the Irma hotel built by Buffalo Bill, plenty of wildlife and other sites. And it is not that far from Yellowstone. If you are there during hockey season stop by and watch the team play, they are coached by Hershey Bear great and AHL hall of famer Tim Tookey.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Summer Coyote In Yellowstone

This photograph is of the first coyote we had ever seen in the wild. It was taken in Yellowstone between Norris and Canyon in the summer of 2005. As with most wildlife in Yellowstone that time of year we knew we were approaching something by the stopped vehicles and brake lights. As we got closer we noticed this mangy looking coyote that was shedding his winter coat walking through a field on the hunt for rodents (I guess I should have taken him along to work, he could have gotten plenty). He did a wide circle finally crossing the road just behind a few campers and started our direction through another field when I took this photograph. Since that time I have had many more coyote encounters all equally as enjoyable. I hope I have many more to come.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Election Time, When Will It End...

With the primary taking place and the childish behavior of our candidates I thought this would be fitting. I wonder what President Washington would think of the way our politicians act. This photograph was taken in July 2005 at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. For more information on this park visit

By the way can you see a booger in his nose? And how about those Giants!!, Plexico, Plexico. My Dolphins are still the only undefeated team in the NFL's history, and we didn't cheat to get there.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Katmai Mother And Cubs

Todays photographs come from Katmai, Alaska again. But they are not from Brooks Falls like the others. These bears were in the area of the bridge that crosses the stream the bears fish from. This can be a difficult bridge to cross as the bears are in the area often. The rangers have gates at each end and only open them when it is safe to do so. You could wait for hours before getting across causing you to miss your plane back to the main land.

The bottom photo is the mother bear after she stepped from the woods to check the area. While she was doing this the two cubs stayed back, Shane seen them and got a good shot, it can be seen at this link The top photo is after the mother insured the area was safe, she and the cubs crossed the water I can only assume for better eating.