Fast moving fog rolling up the river from the beach the other morning brought this print to mind: “Looking Toward Chichagof.”  Icy Strait is a big stretch of water, 40 miles east to west and about six miles from the Gustavus Dock across to Point Adolphus on the northern shore of Chichagof Island, known to the original inhabitants as Shee Kaax.  We’re not far from the really big water of the Gulf of Alaska, either, located just about 25 miles to the west. So there’s alot of potential for water-related weather, of which fog is one very important and dynamic part.  I want to say it’s the time of year, the spring season, when weather is so unpredictable.  But when I think about it, I can come up with plenty of examples no matter what the season… like waiting for a summer storm to pass when I need to fly over to town, only to have clear skies finally appear, but with too much wind!  Flight cancelled.  Sigh.

Here’s the story behind this image:  I’m walking along the sandy shore near the dock.  It’s a restless kind of day, with the wind and high clouds and moisture-laden air each seemingly moving to a different drummer.  The water is fairly calm, sun sparkles showing on small riffles close by, so I know the wind is not too serious.  Except I can see further out towards Chichagof, there is a thick fog bank at the water’s surface, and it’s moving right along.  I’m thinking that means it’s an advection fog, simply a matter of relatively warm moist air flowing over a colder surface, common in coastal climates, and one of the seven types of fog that pilots and sailors the world over learn to identify.  It’s challenging to tell the difference today, however, with plumes of fog rising to meet and play with the high clouds while still rolling along the surface, and then flirting some with the sunlit hillsides on the island across the way. There’s alot going on out there!

The movement of the earth through space, and spinning on its axis, now seems choreographed and reflected in this dance of multiple atmospheric layers interacting with the sun-warmed ocean waters.  Restlessness falls away; I find myself invigorated with the energy of all the moving parts and the swirling, changeable skies, and imagine I tap out the rhythm with my feet as I make my way down the shore.  I aim my camera out towards the water to capture that sense of playful movement and sparkle and take the shot.

Alaska landscape wall art by Gustavus Alaska artist Lillian Ruedrich.  Click here to purchase it now.  Enjoy it as a 5X7 blank notecard or 11X14 matted giclee print.