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Country Gentlemen

September 10th, 2015

Country Gentlemen

Country Gentleman (1831-1955) was an American agricultural magazine founded in 1831 in Rochester, NY by Luther Tucker. The magazine was purchased by Curtis Publishing Company in 1911. Curtis redirected the magazine to address the business side of farming, which was largely ignored by the agricultural magazines of the time. In 1955, Country Gentleman was the second most popular agricultural magazine in the US, with a circulation of 2,870,380. That year it was purchased by, and merged into, Farm Journal, an agricultural magazine with a slightly larger circulation.

You can now find Country Gentlemen covers here at Design Pics on Fine Art America for use as canvas prints, framed prints, pillows, totes and more.

http://designpics.artistwebsites.com/art/all/all/all/country+gentlemen

Whitewashing in Greece

May 28th, 2015

Whitewashing in Greece

Houses in Greece are traditionally covered with a layer of plaster (Sovas in Greek). This layer is made out of calcium carbonate or lime stone. This plaster is regularly maintained by whitewashing by the same material. Now calcium carbonate is very bright white, so bright indeed that under the bright summer Greek sun can give you a headache. So people add a bit of blue color in the whitewash to "break" the brightness. So there is aways blue in the whitewash even if it looks white to you, and by adding more blue you can have nice white blue designs.

Why blue? and not green or yellow? Well actually there are green, yellow, red even purple. People were using what ever color they could find.
But blue was the most common because long time ago there was a cleaning agent called "loulaki" literally "lilac" that had that distinctive blue color. It had the texture of a toilet tablet and people were using it for washing clothes and every house had some.

So you get your bucket of white wash, you drop one, two, or three tablets of "loulaki" and away you go....

The Hamburger

February 19th, 2015

The Hamburger

The term hamburger originally derives from Hamburg, Germany's second largest city.There have been many claims about the origin of the hamburger. However, it gained national recognition at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair when the New York Tribune referred to the hamburger as "the innovation of a food vendor on the pike".

No conclusive argument has ever ended the dispute over invention. An article from ABC News sums up: "One problem is that there is little written history. Another issue is that the spread of the burger happened largely at the World's Fair, from tiny vendors that came and went in an instant. And it is entirely possible that more than one person came up with the idea at the same time in different parts of the country."

- source: Wikipedia

Robert Service and the Yukon

November 19th, 2014

Robert Service and the Yukon

Robert Service was a British-Canadian poet and writer who has often been called "the Bard of the Yukon". He is best known for his poems "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee", from his first book, Songs of a Sourdough.

Although he intended for his first booklet to be printed merely as gifts for family, his father saw the "gold" in Service's writing and sent his work to a publisher. "Songs of a Sourdough" was an immediate success.

Much of Service's career was working for the bank in Whitehorse in the Yukon territory and where he was far from the action in Dawson. He did not set foot in Dawson City until 1908, arriving in the Klondike ten years after the Gold Rush when his renown as a writer was already established.

In 1908, the bank transferred Service to Dawson where he met many veterans of the Gold Rush and their stories inspired a second book "Ballads of a Cheechako" which was also an instant success.

Eventually, the bank wanted Service to return to Whitehorse, but he refused. He rented a small two-room cabin where he created his first novel "The Trail of '98" which immediately became a national best seller.

Service died a rich man in Paris on September 11, 1958.


Portrait: 700GR FQ0009D001 © Carrie McLain Museum / Alaska Stock

Born out of FIRE

October 8th, 2014

Born out of FIRE

Born out of the fire of the Earth's mantle, the Hawaiian islands are the exposed peaks of the underwater Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain. This hotspot of volcanic activity continues to awe visitors year after year.

Some of the best Pacific Stock photographers are featured in this featured gallery called FIRE: http://www.pacificstock.com/lbmail.asp?pb=FIRE&co=DESPIC02

Fishing in Alaska

August 27th, 2014

Fishing in Alaska

Alaska is a large state but relatively unpopulated compared to other states in the lower 48. However, when it comes to fishing, every true angler wants to come to Alaska. At Alaska Stock Images, you will find a wide variety of Alaska photos including the most pristine beautiful areas for a dream fishing experience. To find more pictures of Alaska fishing photos, visit our search page.
Perhaps the most famous two words in Alaska are ďfish on!Ē Itís not just a call out to warn fellow fishermen that you just hooked a salmon and are going to need some space, but itís a sort of ďbragging right.Ē In either case, the fight is on to land the big one.

Alaska is home to many types of Salmon including the Sockeye (Red), Chinook (King), Coho (Silver), Chum and Pink (Humpy). In a large state like Alaska, itís not surprising that the Salmon can range in size from just a few pounds to over 100 lbs for the big King. The King is the State Fish and the largest of the Pacific salmon species. During migration to their spawning home, King Salmon may travel close to 2,000 miles in a 60-day period. Each female can deposit up to 14,000 eggs and the juvenile fish, smolt, will remain in fresh water for most of their first year until they finally make their migration to the ocean.

Commercial Fishing is an important industry for Alaska - the average harvest for the 1990's was about 185 million salmon. However, the state government maintains a tight control on the amount of wild salmon that are allowed to ďescapeĒ each year in order to maintain sufficient numbers for future years.

The renowned Kenai Peninsula and its Kenai River and Russian river are some of the richest water for Salmon fishing, but being prepared for some ďcombat fishingĒ is mandatory. Itís not about the solitude here - only getting the fish. Stake your spot on the bank and hope you hook one of the thousands of fish that pass by every year.

Some of the most fun (and most profitable) fishing can be experienced during derbies. Many cities throughout Alaska host derbies including Valdez, Seward, Homer, and Anchorage. By purchasing a ticket, the lucky fisherman who bags the biggest fish takes home not only the fish but the derby money as well! ďTaggedĒ fish can also earn the lucky fisherman prizes as well.

But itís not just Salmon that will get you the big money. Homerís Halibut Derby hosts the largest purse. The winner in 2003 pocketed over $46,000! Halibut fishing provides the angler the chance to do some real ocean fishing for a fish that can be in excess of 400 pounds. The more typical size is in the 80-100 pounds, but what they lack in size, they certainly make for in taste and tenderness. Halibut are bottom-feeding fish, and the experts say that the trick is to keep your hook on the bottom of the ocean. Just before the tide begins to turn (slack tide), there is minimal current to disturb your hook and bait, so it is by far one of the best times for fishing.

Salmon and Halibut fishing get all of the glory, but for the pristine remote Alaskan fishing experience, many opt to get away from the crowds to remote stream or lake fishing. The fish may be smaller, but no less thrilling. Grayling, Trout, Arctic Char, Dolly Varden, and landlocked Salmon are the varieties commonly found in the lakes and streams. The Rainbow Trout is one of the most sought after fish my anglers. Known for its strong fight, the Rainbow can be a challenge to land. Another highly prized fish is the Dolly VardenÖthis time for its quality of taste and texture. The Dolly Varden can grow up to 22 inches and up to 4 lbs. Dolly Vardens migrate from lake locations sea locations. However, only about 50% of males survive due to the rough migration pattern and fighting with other males.

There is no doubt the value that Alaskaís fish contribute to a variety of industries in AlaskaÖ.tourism and commercial fishing to name a few. However, ask anyone who has hauled in their first King or posed with their Halibut, itís not the about the dollars and cents of the industry as much as the experience.

Interview with Scott Dickerson

June 18th, 2014

Interview with Scott Dickerson

Q&A with Scott Dickerson

Homer-based Photographer Scott Dickerson is passionate about creating new perspectives. Shooting photographs and video from every angle imaginable, he regularly snaps photos while soaring through the clouds and paddling in the ocean. He thrives on new ways to illustrate his subjectsí connection with the Alaskan wilderness. Mollie Foster with Alaska Stock sat down to talk with Scott about his photography and latest projects; read the conversation in our Photographer Q & A, posted the second Monday of each month.

MF: What inspires you to shoot aerial photography?
SD: I love looking at the ground from the air, looking at patterns and seeing things in a new perspective. I can be sitting in my house looking at my yard, and it looks like your typical yard. Then I take off from the field next to my house, and all of a sudden even your own yard becomes interesting. Thatís at the core of it, seeing it in a new perspective. As a photographer I like to share that perspective.

MF: What type of aircraft do you use to get off the ground?
SD: For my personal aircrafts, I use a paramotor. It has a paraglider wing and a motor attached to my back. Itís kind of like running with 75 pounds on my back, whichÖis kind of a problem. Otherwise itís incredible. My friends joke with me and say Iíve got a weed wacker on my back, and Iím hanging from trash bags. I laugh, because itís kind of true.

MF: Can you describe the challenges with aerial photography?
SD: Like most things photographic, the biggest challenges are visualizing what you want to do and then putting all the pieces together to get there. Most important thing is overcoming the challenges to getting airborne, looking for creative ways to get up in the air, especially when the light is good. The challenge to making good photos to me isnít taking the photos, itís all the stuff that leads up to it. Thereís a lot of work that got you to that position, which is very valuable. Things like depth of field and shutter speed are important, but not as much as being in the right place at the right time.

MF: Any stories from the air?
SD: Iíve done a lot of flying above commercial fishing boats, working as a fish spotter. Probably over 200 hours of flying time, an amazing amount of time in the air. Not only was it fun to see commercial fishing from the air after spending time on the water, but visually interesting. I shot a lot of photos during that time and still license those images today.

MF: Most people donít think of Alaska when youíre talking about surfing, but you shoot a lot of surfing photos. Tell me more about what goes into capturing those photos.
SD: I have a recipe for Alaskan surf photos. Whenever conditions are such, I want to be there. Sometimes Homer, but the waves arenít here very often. We have to travel to get to waves, which turns out to be very enjoyable. Itís all about chasing waves, theyíre hard to find. Except the ones that make you seasick, those...are easy to find.

MF: How often are you shooting while physically in the water?
SD: Shooting in the water is important, but its only 5 percent of what I do. The water shot is so complicated and difficult, that I usually leave it til last and try and get all the logistically simpler shots first. Iíve only lost one camera due to water damage, and that was when a grain of sand compromised the seal of the waterproof housing. I put the camera in the oven shortly afterwards, and it dripped water for a while, and finally came back to life...mostly anyhow.

MF: Where do you take the other 95 percent of your water shots from?
SD: The main thing is trying to find a unique angle. Often times Iíll wade in the water or shoot from low in a small boat, and I can still get what looks like a water shot. Creativity in photography is how you compose your image, how to photograph a subject in a new way. Iím looking at it, and I try to think what would be a different way to look at this. I think everybody could use a bit more of that in their lives.

MF: Do you have any tips for amateur photographers?
SD: Once you have the simplest basics down of exposure and composition, focus on finding interesting angles in good lighting. No amount of fancy equipment and Photoshop wizardry can replace those characteristics of a good photo. Quit thinking about your equipment, and think about shooting from an interesting perspective. For everything from a photo of your Grandma, to an aerial of a glacier. Be in a spot with good lighting, and you can use an iPhone or $25,000 worth of equipmentóboth turn out fantastic.

MF: What projects are you currently working on?
SD: Lots of exciting things going on, I have an ongoing project with Alaska Brewing to share stories through social media of my adventures across Alaska. Sharing photos of the lifestyles of Alaskans really resonates with me.

Check out Scottís work at: ScottDickerson.com


óBy Mollie Foster

Cahir Castle

April 8th, 2014

Cahir Castle

Cahir Castle (Irish: CaisleŠn na Cathrach), one of the largest castles in Ireland, is sited on an island in the river Suir. It was built in 1142 by Conor O'Brien, Prince of Thomond.

Cahir is a fine example of a late Medieval Castle that had been enlarged and greatly remodeled in the 15th to 17th centuries. When the main line of the Butler family died out in the late 1700's, the castle fell into ruin. It was partly restored in the 1840's by the Cahir Butlers and more heavily restored after it became a National Monument in 1964. Among the restorations was the faithfully reproduced portcullis, one of a number of defenses the castle possessed. The site includes an inner ward which contains the majority of the buildings and towers (great hall, gatehouse, etc.) and is where the earliest building was carried out on the site of the original dun and cathair. It is also where the majority of the restoration was carried out. The Middle Ward and the outer ward were later additions.

There was actually little space for attackers on the island itself so it was difficult to storm the castle with large forces in the early days. The castle was built to be impregnable, with layers of defenses and this was very effective until the arrival of heavy cannons on the battlefields.

In 1599 the forces of Queen Elizabeth attacked when the castle garrison refused to surrender to the Earl of Essex. The artillery of the Earl of Essex did considerable damage to the castle walls in three days of siege. One of the cannon balls from this battle is preserved in the wall of the northeat tower. With the earlier siege still within living memory, in 1647 the occupants surrendered to Lord Inchiquin and three years later they abandoned the castle to Oliver Cromwell without firing a shot. The Butlers, however, maintained possession following the signing of articles in the castle in 1652. The Butler family undertook major restoration work in the years between 1840 and 1846 and it was during this period that Cahir Cottage was built at the far end of the outer ward - a more comfortable residence than the castle.

In 1964 Cahir Castle was acquired by the Irish State following the death of the last heir. More restoration work was undertaken by the State and it is now one of the largest and best preserved castles in the country. It is most famous for it's use in the film "Excaliber".

Puffins

February 4th, 2014

Puffins

Alaska is home to over 160 species of birds. Some stay all year long but the majority migrates at the approach of winter. Alaska is also privileged to have tropical-looking seabird: the Puffin. At Alaska Stock Images, you will find a wide variety of Alaska photos including Puffin photos. To find more pictures of Alaska or photos of Puffins, visit our search page.

The Puffin is perhaps one of the most beloved and most recognizable sea birds in Alaska. As a major birding attraction on most wildlife tours, the Puffin has become somewhat of an ambassador for visiting tourists. There are two species of Puffins that live in Alaskan waters. The Horned Puffin and the Tufted Puffin belong to the Alcidae also includes many other birds found in Alaska such as the auks, auklets, murres, murrelets, and guillemots. Puffins spend most of their lives on the open sea and spend time on land when it is time to breed during the summer months. In Alaska, puffins can be viewed in many bird rookeries along coastal waters. The Horned Puffin is more prevalent but both species can be found all the way from Forrester Island in Southeast Alaska to Cape Lisburne on the Chukchi Sea in the far north.

The Puffin is most easily identifiable by its colorful and large bill. Because of its characteristic yellow, red, and orange bill, early sailors often referred to them as the "sea parrot." Unlike many species of birds, both males and females have the same markings.
In summer they have a back neck with white on the sides of the head and on their breast. The white breast is so distinctive that in one Eskimo language puffins are called katukh-puk, meaning "big white breast." The Horned Puffin is so called because it acquires in the summer a small, fleshy area above each eye that appears at a distance as a "horn." Adults are about 14 inches long and weigh about 1 1/4 pounds.
Tufted Puffins, on the other hand, do not acquire the fleshy horn but rather "tufts" of feathers curl back from each side of the head. They have dark, black bodies and white faces. Like the Horned Puffin, they have orange feet, and their bills are red and yellow.

Puffins generally arrive at Alaska waters and breeding rookeries during May (later for areas further north). Puffin's' feet have adapted over time to be webbed and have sharp claws that are allow Puffins to adeptly scratch out burrows. Like many seabirds, the Puffin nests underground and will dig their burrow three to four feet deep into the ground. If the ground is rocky or windblown with little soil available, Puffins will nest in pockets along cliff faces. In May, puffins arrive at the nesting grounds. Both species lay only a single, whitish-colored egg.

Most birds spend the winter far offshore in the North Pacific Ocean and this includes young puffins that don't return to their colony until they are two years old. At 3, puffins are mature enough to breed, but more often it is not until they are four years of age that they are sure to breed. The lifespan of Puffins is still not entirely clear although some banded birds have been found still breeding at 10 years old and a few Atlantic Puffins have been known to live 39 years.
Perhaps one of the most unique and ironic attributes of a Puffin is its ability to swim underwater while flying can be a bit challenging. While fishing, they dive into the water right from the air continuing their "flight" under the surface where they flap half-folded wings for propulsion using their feet as underwater paddles. On land, puffins are agile and can stand and walk nimbly on their toes. However, as many visitors have witnessed, when a Puffin makes an effort to fly, it is much like watching a baby learning to walk or, perhaps more aptly, a bird that has eaten too much and cannot quite lift off the water.

Sea Otters

November 20th, 2013

Sea Otters

The Sea Otter has been a significant part of Alaska's history since Vitus Bering's first voyage of discovery to Alaska in 1742. When Bering returned to Russia, he brought back and reported on the rich furs of the sea otter which began a huge and profitable fur trade to primarily the Chinese. The Russians recognized that the harvesting of the sea otter in such great numbers would eventually decimate the animals and had began instilling protective laws for the sea otter. It's argued that the depletion of the sea otter in the mid-nineteenth century may have led to Russia's sale of Alaska in 1867. Once the US purchased Alaska, the early attempt by the Russians to protect the otters were dropped, and the sea otter was almost driven to extinction. In 1911 an international treaty was made against harvesting of the sea otter. In 1972, the Marine Mammal Protection Act transferred management authority to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Recovery of the Alaska sea otter population has been dramatic. Perhaps as few as 2,000 total animals existed in 1911, but by the mid-1970s the Alaska population numbered between 110,000 and 160,000. Today, the sea otter is considered fully recovered

What led to the popularity of the sea otter is its rich, luxurious fur which consists of a dense underfur of inch long fibers and a second lay of protective "guard hairs." The guard hairs can vary in color from brown to a silver-like color. Older sea otters tend to have white whiskers and the "silver" guard hairs increase on the head. This appearance has caused the sea otter to be given the nickname of "Old Man of the Sea." The sea otter also produces body oil that during grooming, the otter spread over his fur and provides "waterproofing." The sea otter does not have a layer of blubber to protect it from the cold but rather relies upon the thick fur for warmth. However, if the fur becomes dirty and contaminated with soil or substances such as petroleum, the fur loses its ability to insulate and the sea otter becomes vulnerable to hypothermia.

The sea otter is actually a part of the weasel family of which the river otter and mink also belong. The sea otter can go ashore, but due to short and stiff feet, it is often clumsy. Because of this, the sea otter seldom is seen on land and rarely more than 100 yards from shore. The short and stiff feet, however, do allow the sea otter to deftly handle food and even use simple "tools" to eat such foods as sea urchins, crabs, clams, mussels, octopus, fish, and other marine invertebrates. They usually dive to the bottom in 5 to 250 feet of water and return with several pieces of food, roll on their backs, place the food on their chests and eat it piece by piece using their forepaws and sometimes a rock to crack shells. In the wild, sea otters never eat on land. The search for food is one of the most important daily activities of sea otters, as large amounts are required to sustain the animal in healthy condition. Feeding dives generally last less than one minute although some otters are capable of staying underwater for five minutes or more. Captive animals require a daily food intake equal to one-quarter of their body weight. In order to obtain the 8 to 15 pounds of solid food needed, an otter may have to bring up 40 to 50 pounds of whole shellfish.

Otters can mate during any time of the year and give birth during any season. However, in Alaska, it is most common to have pups born in the spring. Sea otters give birth to only one pup at a time. Sea otters do not migrate unless food becomes scarce. Female and males often will congregate in separate gender groups. Eagles will occasionally prey upon the pups and Orca whales have been known to take adult otters, but the sea otters' predators are limited. However, as in times past, human impact is perhaps the most significant threat. The Exxon Valdez oil spill dramatically demonstrated the effects of oil contamination on sea otters. More than 1,000 carcasses were found after the spill, and it is likely that the total number that died was several times greater. Thus, while sea otters are flourishing in Alaska's waters, it is clear that they are susceptible to human activities.

Find more photos of Sea Otters at Alaska Stock: www.alaskastock.com/resultsframe.asp?akfacts=1&txtkeys1=sea%20otter

 

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