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waltonksm

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Everything posted by waltonksm

  1. waltonksm

    The End of Winter

    The annual dog races are my last major task before spring. Now we wait for the river to thaw, and our short summer fishing season to take place. These are local teams that are run by local mushers. Fewer and fewer are raced, as expenses mount for keeping the dogs. I missed part of the activities on Saturday, but did take photos of the end of the women's races this afternoon. This musher is trying to reduce some drag by crouching down on the sled runners. There are a lot of long tongues hanging out as these dogs get to the finish line. I assume most people know, but for those who don't, dogs "pant" to get rid of excess heat. Crossing the finish line: A wider view. This is the Andreafsky River, about 40 yards from the shore. Just lst week there was an abundance of water over this area, as our temperatures approached 40F. As I suspect many of you know, it is somewhat challenging to take photos when everything is white, and you have a very bright sun. Most of these images started out at a PLUS 1.0 to 1.6. And this is the dog transport sled. Not exactly like the mushers who run the Iditarod.
  2. waltonksm

    The End of Winter

    And then, after the races, more dancing......
  3. waltonksm

    NDSM Quarter / Amsterdam Noord

    Since I am so late to the party, I think I will plagiarize 🤩: Definitely bright and colorful, and makes me want to visit......but all on my own, (not plagiarizing others) they lead me to wonder what is around the corner, or inside some of the doorways, or peepholes..... Lots of questions. And surely something interesting around the corner. Thanks, Walton
  4. waltonksm

    Potlatch, Continued

    Just a bit more detail, and some explanations: First, the photo below shows this young lady wearing some absolutely beautiful mukluks (boots/shoes). Traditionally, these would have dry grass stuffed inside to improve the insulating ability of the "shoe." Also, she has a really stunning parka; BUT it has a full length zipper down the front. A bit of modern convenience added to the parka. I saw a parka similar to this one in a shop in Seattle (years ago.) The price on the tag was over $2000. Of course, with all of the emphasis on NOT using animal skins for clothing, I suppose this might have changed. Likewise, mukluks like these are super expensive. Mukluks would start out at over $250, and perhaps as much as $500. Parkas and mukluks have become very difficult to buy for several reasons: 1. This is almost a work of love, as you will not be paid much per hour. It would be difficult to earn a living doing this. 2. They need to be made by a very good leather seamstress. They are getting harder to find as the older generation dies off. The younger people are NOT learning this skill. Part of the "presentation" has the person distributing "special gifts" for certain special people. She is giving a present to one of the oldest elders in the village. Elders are still given extra respect and courtesy. I get doors held open, heavy packages carried from the post office to my vehicle, and more. I was only in my 50's when I left here before, so I was a little surprised that even an "outside white guy" gets a bit of elder respect. And what could be more traditional than.............. A Minnie Mouse T shirt!
  5. waltonksm

    Potlatch, Continued

    And here is what has become usual for Potlatch: The family ties large pieces of fabrics together and strings them out. The fabric starts the trip from outside of the room, and all ends up in a pile at the front of the room, next to the person who is being presented. The men and the women in this photo are wearing "Kuspuks." This is a traditional design, with a single large pocket in the front, and a small hood.
  6. waltonksm

    Potlatch

    I am quickly displaying some of my St. Mary's Potlatch photos. You may find some of these to be a little "different." Being Presented. You are given your Eskimo name. At this time. The names are from departed people, but during potlatch their spirits are in the person who is being presented. A little later today the spirits will return to the spirit world, and potlatch is over. Each family that ha presented their relative then dances. They have their own "new" songs and dances for this occasion. This young woman was just presented, but this is taken during her first family dance. After the first night of potlatch there is giving of food to the men. This year we have lots of moose around, so a couple of guys told me they were going out to get a couple of moose....... And they did. The big pile on the left is one of the two moose they got.This moose was walking around only 60 hours earlier. Most of the fish were frozen. But quite a few were still relatively fresh, having been caught in nets within a few days of this distribution. Top center is a beaver. The gift giver kept the hide (it may have been given out at the potlatch dance event.) The beaver tail is stuffed into the chest cavity. If you are really having a lot of troubles with aches and pains, there is nothing quite like having a big serving of soup made with beaver tail. Also, the beaver testicles are boiled up, minced, and used as a surface rub. And if you think about for a second, consider salicylates. This is a natural form of something similar to aspirin. I have to confess, I prefer aspirin. I do not like fish. I love catching them with rod and reel, but I do not like them. I do not eat fish, and do not want to smell fish. Our community hall absolutely reeks of fish today. Fish slime dripped onto the floors, and is tough to get absolutely , completely cleaned up. I just left the hall after it has had much cleaning done. And I STILL smell fish. I occasionally eat salmon (grilled,) but that i about it for me. So here I am in an area that is still rich with fish, and I hate fish. I do eat moose and caribou. And I once tried whale... but ONLY once, and never again!
  7. waltonksm

    Potlatch

    Thank you Luc and Armando. Yes, it is different, and YES, I should have been covering this for years before I started. But then, shooting high speed ektachrome would still not compare with having ISO 3200 on a modern digital camera.
  8. waltonksm

    Potlatch

    Thank you Hugh, and Dallas too. Farmed Salmon?? You don't use those words around here. The Yukon King Salmon have the highest fat content of any salmon anywhere in the world. I just found the number: 34%. I think this is the percent of the total weight of the fish. The fish in my photos were mostly white fish, pike, and "Lush," which I seem to remember is a local name for Burbot. I did not see any salmon in the piles on the floor, although I have seen small kings caught in nets in the winter. Our king returns have been so low that you were not allowed to even catch them, during some fish openings. There has been no sport fishing here for quite a few years (I am on the lower Lukon.) The number of kings caught is also dependent upon mesh size of the nets. Smaller mesh size means mostly Chum salmon. Most of our openings now DO NOT allow long nets, but require you to use much smaller dip nets. It is easy to return a king to the river with no injuries when using a dip net. Chums are also known as "dog salmon." With the crash of the king population, you will find that a relatively "new" salmon is being marketed: Keta (Oncorhynchus keta.) A lot of people in this area caught as many chums as possible, dried them, and then would feed them to their dogs in the winter. So...... they needed a new name for marketing the chums/dog salmon. Yes, salmon are much less "fishy" than the other fish we have here. I will eat salmon occasionally (if there is nothing else to eat.)
  9. waltonksm

    More "Dancing"

    Here are a few more from the Friday night session. With no school the next morning, there are more people in attendance. There were also some treats and practical items (given as presents) passed out as part of a memorial to a Yup'ik cultural leader who passed away 40 years ago. So some of the younger children got lollipops and cupcakes. I had dryfish, but the plate I was given also contained agutak, muktuk, and some sweets. Actually, I like agutak when it DOES NOT have fish included. I love catching big salmon on rod and reel, but do NOT like to eat fish. I NEVER eat muktuk. I will leave you to discover what agutak and muktuk translate to. And here is a more detailed photo of a woman's dance fans. Yuo can clearly see the woven portion and the caribou hair. And just as with the previous night, many of the young are participating and learning the dance. This young girl is NOT a beginner. She has been doing this for at least two previous seasons. And as you will notice, our weather has gotten a bit cooler. So Carharts (jackets and snow pants), with kuspuks, and also some Sorels for footwear. You can see that many more people have shown up to practice this night. Granddaughter and Grandma. And Grandma has a really nice pair of dance fans. Many years ago at one of our activities we must have packed over 300 people into this hall. It was minus 25F outside, and we had all of the windows open to help get rid of the heat and moisture. I could feel the floor and the bleachers shake with the dancing. Not long afterward I had a geotechnical engineer examine our foundation and soils to see if we were about to collapse the building with our huge crowd and the dancing. Frequently tundra soils and minimal foundations do not work well together.
  10. waltonksm

    More "Dancing"

    I have done a small amount to facilitate the dancing and associated activities, but several others started working to restore dancing and potlatches in the mid 1980's. I helped organize a couple of these (in a very minor role.) Two of the more active people have now passed away, and I did not do a good enough job of documenting their contributions in the past. I want to make sure that I do not miss the current group of people that are leading and fostering participation by the young. Part of the incentive for these activities is the belief that transmission of traditional culture will help mediate some social problems in the village (alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, and more.) I do not know if this really happens, but at worse, it can't hurt. I am taking many photos in the hopes of documenting this, and occasionally I get something that I really like. There is a chance (very slim) that I can put something together that can be sold to raise a few dollars for travel expenses and for some of the supplies that the dance group needs. They are occasionally invited to attend events in other villages, and travel costs make it hard for more than a very few to travel. I am not sure if I posted this photo before, or not. I cannot find it with my posts on fotozones. But this is a shot that I attempted MANY times before getting this one. The room has low ceilings, at least 10 different brands of florescent lights, and all of differing ages.
  11. waltonksm

    More "Dancing"

    Thanks for looking. Yes, they are really intended to be documentary, with the hope of putting together something to cover practices, potlatches, and more. And yes, every once in a while i get something that is a bit more interesting. I have been working for almost three years to become "part of the scenery" at these events. Many of the kids know me, and are oblivious to my camera. And I need to figure out a way to make some more "artistic" shots.
  12. waltonksm

    Yurak: Dance Practice

    OK, not your standard dancing. Although it is pretty warm for this time of year, fishing is done, with smoked or dried, or just salted fish put away for winter. Most people have their moose meat in the freezer, and it is time for a few social activities. SO..... Eskimo dancing is starting up. These are just practice sessions, with the really hard work yet to come. I have tried as much as possible to capture the dancing, BUT, I also wanted to get as much of the background activity as I could. Look in the background and you will see a lot of texting going on while the dancing is happening. Younger children (mostly the boys) are trying to learn to drum. They are selecting the best drumsticks and trying to look like they are "one of the boys." So, we have old cultural traditions, combined with new technology. I am fighting with cameras and the room characteristics. Relatively low ceilings, at least 6 or 8 different brands of florescent tubes, with probably all of them having a different number of hours in use, some rapid motions, and high ISO's. Most of these are from last night. I thought my first night was terrible, so I mostly stuck with long lenses on night 2. I made liberal use of the 50-200 4/3 lens with an adapter (and not the 1.4x TC) and some of the 9-18 zoom, both on an EM1, Mark II. Also, a Tokina 11-16, and a Nikon 55-200 on my D500. I also used flash, as well as available light. I am still trying to deal with the challenges caused by architecture, as well as the dancers, themselves. I am really having fun with some of these photos. I hope you enjoy them. These two boys have not learned this dance yet, so they are turning around and trying to copy the girls. Picking out a good drumstick: And follow the action of the girls on the top row of the bleachers. Young drummers, and young texters And a VERY young dancer, perhaps for next season? She ALMOST has the right hand motions.
  13. waltonksm

    Yurak: Dance Practice

    And two more: This is one of Mary's younger grandchildren. She will be trying to dance before too long, and will start to copy what the adults are doing. Last year a pre-school boy walked out to the mat that was set up at Potlatch (during a break), picked up someone's dance fans, and joined in. He was doing all the moves properly. He had NEVER been seen to practice; he just suddenly decided it was time to join in. I was amazed! And while he has the same color Kuspuk that his family is wearing, his has a spiderman print on it. (third photo). A Kuspuk is a traditional top, used by men and women, that pulls over, and has a large center "pocket" in the front. And an admission: I thought I could shoot the D500 at ISO 5000 and do better (less noise) than the EM1 Mark II at ISO 4000. It looks like the D500 loses on this one. My next trial I guess I will shoot them at the same ISO. I am surprised by this result. And below is during Potlatch, last February. Potlatch is usually a three day event, every year. The young boy, (front, second from the right,) has just made his "debut." His older sister is at the top, right, standing. He is the reason for the big smile she has. He attended many of the practices, but never attempted dancing at any of them. This was a total surprise to the whole family. And sometimes I am his almost "Uppa." (grandfather.)
  14. waltonksm

    Yurak: Dance Practice

    Here is my "poster" on the wall of our community hall..... I really think it has helped with my getting less (or even NO) resistance to my doing photography with our Yurak group. You can see also some of the detail on the woven part of this young girl's dance fans. Nope, it is not a very great image, I uploaded it for the poster in the background. The lucite cover is very reflective, but may insure that it lasts for a while.
  15. waltonksm

    Yurak: Dance Practice

    Anthony: Yes, they do. 20 years ago the school kids were complaining about a lack of "things to do." I commented that here we are, 450 miles away from Anchorage, with an environment that some people pay thousands of dollars to experience, whether to hunt, fish, or raft. I was told I was out of date and old. These kids want Nintendo, a "club" for gaming, etc.
  16. waltonksm

    Yurak: Dance Practice

    Vivion: You know, It seems there was some discussion about this. I will send an email to my friend and see if he can jog my memory a bit. He is younger than I, so probably still has a few more brain cells than I. I really like some of my photos. I like seeing all of the action in them. There was a school (of Dutch?) painters that did "slices of life?" Rowdy pub scenes, parties, dancing, and more. I enjoy moving to different areas and finding other activities going on.
  17. waltonksm

    Yurak: Dance Practice

    Thank you Vivion. And actually, they really are thriving, now. One of the Native cultural leaders here teamed up with an outside white guy (who has now been a friend for some 35 years) and started writing for grants and donations to revive the traditional dance and singing. The funding was for transportation and food costs, for the most part. This tradition was pretty much "beaten out" of Native children many years ago. I have watched this spread back to other villages since these two guys started this. I know the present Catholic presence out here actually supports this (now a days). I think less support from the more fundamentalist groups. Alaska Airlines stopped flying to Providenya not long after they started this route. Their intent was to fund a "seed" to start growing, then see if it could eventually spread on it's own, and be picked up in communities where it had died out, with a little (actually a lot) of help. This started in the early 1980's, and I worked to assist organizing the second regional dance festival in 1988, as I recall. I also hosted the third (or 4th?) big festival here in the mid 1990's. Maybe a year or two after Glastnost, these same two guys managed to get support to fly to Providenya, Russia, and meet with Siberian Eskimos there. They were invited to a dance festival in another lower Yukon community. My friend, who went with them, said they communicated from English,, to Yup'ik, to Russian. Siberian Yup'ik is VERY close to lower Yukon River Yup'ik. So the Siberians knew Yup'ik and Russian. There is continuing support from some Native organizations (but not much.) For this festival they had the funding for the Alaska Airlines costs for the round trip tickets from Nome to Providenya. Although not agreed upon by everyone, the theory is that transmitting and teaching cultural values and language will help improve many social problems in the region. I have personally supported this. I do not have any ability to "prove" that it works. Time will tell.... maybe.
  18. waltonksm

    Yurak: Dance Practice

    They are Dance Fans. The Men's fans are sort of crude. Plywood rings with feathers placed in holes drilled in the plywood (i think mostly Gull feathers.) The women's fans are woven grasses, with caribou hair woven into the grass. I once owned a beautiful pair that I paid $100 for in 1986, and they were stolen from my office in a break-in. There are people within our region who are recognized "masters" of dance fan construction (the women's.) Our "region" is larger than the state of Oregon, with 22,000 or so Natives residing here. They are mostly Yup'ik, with some Athabaskan
  19. waltonksm

    Yurak: Dance Practice

    Thank you, Hugh. When I was here before it was still film. And I was also reluctant to get so close to my subjects. I am a distant sort of person, and I have trouble getting close to people. And my job title is "Village SOB." Now that I am older, I am much less worried about being out "in front." And frankly, the D500 has made a huge difference with available light, even at fairly high ISO's. I still think it beats the EM1 Mark II..... maybe. But it is close. I was surprised to view some of my EM1 images in flickr at the "Original" size. I expected much noise/grain. But the Olympus does a very good job of handling things. I need some more side-by-side comparisons. This may turn out to be a "battle of the strobes." These are Yup'k drums. From watching other groups (mostly on coverage of the annual conference) the Athabaskan drums are very similar. Years ago the City agreed to spring for a walrus gut for a very big, very special bass drum. $100 and some negotiation with some coastal groups. Since no one is beating a path to my door for my photos, I finally got some of the key members of the drummers to look at Flickr photos last night. I told them I would like to put together a photo book, with their help, that covers their dancing: The practices, the more formal events (Potlatch) and some of the events with invited groups from other communities. I really am glad to be a part of this community, and would like to leave something behind that people can take pride in. I told them I would prefer to NOT lose a lot of money on it, but my goal will be to put something together that they can sell for some funding for their travel. We will see how it works. As soon as I find the image, I will post a photo I do not believe I have posted before. It was enlarged to poster size (maybe 3' x 4') and hung in our hall. I think there is a better one that I printed poster-sized. Right now I cannot locate it. This was with the D700. One of my local friends laughed when she saw it. She said it was apparent that all of the men were related: they all have the same nose shape. Maybe....
  20. waltonksm

    50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD

    I bought this lens some time ago, WITH the 1.4x TC. I did it largely based on Dallas's recommendation as well as a few other reviews. I used it sparingly, and then purchased the Panasonic/Leica 100-400. While I have NOT done an exhaustive comparison... It must be very late for me to be making this admission, but I think this lens, with the 1.4x TC, may be as sharp as the Panasonic/Leica that. I realize the 100-400 has more reach, and I do need to do a more exhaustive comparison; but this 50-200 with the 1.4x TC is a really good lens/combination.
  21. waltonksm

    9-18mm f/4-5.6 M.Zuiko

    I recently purchased a used copy of this lens. I was not expecting it to perform like it did. It is small, light, and sharp. I am not attempting a technical evaluation, just my impressions from using for a week. I am glad I bought this one.
  22. waltonksm

    Mesa Verde, Cliff Palace

    I am just now getting to these photos after 4 years. Actually, I sort of "miss-placed" the images due to a hard drive problem. Mesa Verde is a World Heritage Site. I first visited there in 1969, then again in 1982. I was amazed at how the Park Service had INCREASED public access to the site. When I was there before in the summer of 69' they made sure that no one made it into the site. We could only look from a distance. In 1982 I was given (with a group of about 8 people) a tour of Spruce Tree House, and was locked into the area by a Ranger that was anxious to go home. I had to scale the 10' locked gate to get out. I had spent extra time taking photos, and the Ranger had not done a head count to see if someone might be missing. It was after 5 PM when we finished. They explained that we were given this tour ONLY because there were so few of us (it was late November, and cold.) Anyway, my intent here is to show the site, but also illustrate the emphasis on being a part of the experience. The Park Service works to INCREASE your contact with the ancient ruins and overall improve your experience and education about the site and the peoples that lived there. And no, when over 65 and overweight I no longer negotiate trails with drops and climbs at 7000' elevation. An older couple at the lower left of the next image seem to have lost interest; at least the man has. Or perhaps just tired after the walk to the structure. I really like to see the images at full resolution so I can "look in" on the tourists. I am not sure that you can get enough magnification in this format to do so. This last one has a bit of extra "stuff" going on. The Park Ranger is into his presentation, with hand gestures keyed to his talk; a tourist toward the left is taking some photos in the direction facing away from the presentation. There is a young girl seated about ten feet in front of the ranger. She is dressed in a very long and modest dress. To her right (left of her) are two women wearing bonnets and dresses that would be like what some of the "old Russians" living on the Kenai Peninsula would wear here. They are not too likely to be Amish.... it would be a tough trip with a horse and buggy to make it to this park. In the process of looking up information on the structures and the people who lived here, I searched for the term "Anasazi." Years ago that was a term they were translating to mean the "ancient ones," referring to the ancient culture that lived here. However, it seems that now, this term has fallen out of favor, and has been translated to mean "ancient enemies" by the Navajo. Therefore the contemporary Puebloans do not like the use of this term. They are viewed as the descendants of this ancient Pueblo culture. So with all of this lengthy description, I am trying to present the idea that "truth" and "fact" change with the change in cultural values. At the Mission San Juan Capistrano there were some Park Service signs in front of a sort of jail cell that said this is where the "unruly Indians" were confined when they did not do the work the priests had assigned to them. So the Park Service "culture" has changed to INCREASE access to these wonderful houses, and at the same time the descriptions are worded in a different manner these days, to correspond with changes in social sciences and in the cultural identity of current tribes in the area.
  23. waltonksm

    Election Day

    I thought you might be interested in observing a bit of the organization of the USA Mid-Term Elections. No doubt many of you have seen news stories about our polls, the long lines, and various problems with machines and voting. I learned that only sophisticated machines that were "on-line" could be hacked by awful subversives. At St. Mary's, Alaska, we have the hacking problem absolutely eliminated. We actually did have an electronic machine (nope, not hooked to the internet.) Use was optional, and most people still preferred using a paper ballot. The machine started making strange noises after being used by only ten voters, so it was taken out of service. Our precinct opened at 7 AM, and closed at 8 PM. Our automated (human) system had all of the votes tallied, and the results sent in to our regional elections office in only a little more than 2 hours. Did I mention this is a Yup'ik village, and we had what is probably the largest turnout in our history? Over 150 voters. signed the precinct register today. This first photo shows our polling place, with our private "booths" for confidential voting. It is considered poor form to walk around looking over shoulders to see how someone has marked a ballot. Once our polls closed at 8 PM, our election officials began the task of tallying up the votes. No chance of stuffing a ballot box in our precinct. Just before taking these photos tonight I listened to a live broadcast from our Public Broadcasting System. The commentators had been on the air for 30 minutes, and the current caller was wondering how our State Division of Elections could be so incompetent that we did not have almost complete counts ready to give to the public. He sounded like an expert, and kept harping on the incompetency of the State of Alaska. We were one of the precincts that had not yet reported our totals. And one last check before phoning in the results to our regional elections office at Nome, Alaska.
  24. waltonksm

    Election Day

    As a friend of mine used to say, better to ask for forgiveness later than for permission now. The thought did occur to me that my photos were not "legal." But yes, it is a public building. And I "control" the building. Our ballots have no identifying marks on them, so even if you could read some of the choices, it could n ot be traced to an individuaL VOTER. Ours are read by hand, not machine, and we are given cheap ballpoint pens to fill in the little circles.
  25. waltonksm

    B&H Not Shipping Lithium Batteries?

    Give KEH a try. I know they ship batteries where others do not. I do not know their international shipping policies. KEH.com Walt
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