Juneau – When plans change

My first stop in Alaska was Juneau. It was raining/snowing and so foggy that you could not even see the shore – even though I knew it was right beside us. It was miserably cold and I found out that my 6 hour kayak trip was cancelled. Juneau and I were not getting off on the best foot.

As a quick and cheap last minute excursion I signed up for Gold Panning. Gold panning would have not been my first or second choice or even third but, with the weather so bad and not improving most activities were cancelled or would have been miserable in the weather.

Before catching up with the Gold panning company I took a walk around the town. I have to say I don’t understand all the jewelry stores. The town was cute but since I’m not a shopper it did not hold my attention for long. Thankfully the excursion awaited.

Gold Panning

The bus pulled up and I was so happy to get out of the rain (at this point even my rain jacket was starting to soak through). We took a short drive out of town. Getting out of town improved my mood. The scenery started looking amazing – even through the fog. We pulled up to an old abandoned mining area that has some pretty amazing scenery.

The guides showed us how to mine for gold. The river was flowing extremely fast so it was not safe to go too far in the river – nor would you have wanted to in your normal shoes. After I got my first bit of gold (which I’m sure everyone gets), I took off on foot and explored the surrounding area. We were in a basin and waterfalls were coming down from almost every angle you looked. It was truly stunning.

After we panned for gold a bit longer the guides dropped us off at a salmon bake. I’m not a salmon fan but fresh and cooked over an open fire makes everything taste better. The best part was the waterfall just a short walk away.

Long exposures were really hard because the water was moving so fast. The splash back was crazy. Standing somewhat close to the falls for more than half a second you would need to clean your lens before shooting again.

Although Juneau was my least favorite trip on the stop there were still a few really nice highlights. All the images are processed differently than I would normally process them. It was so overcast and gross the whole day so I wanted to capture that feeling of misty, foggy, and maybe a bit mysterious.

All images shot with the Olympus EM1mkii and the Olympus 12-100 PRO