Culture ~ People ~ Famous Structures & Places

....And More!

# 3040B-TI-4210

Russian Spirits In A Bottle

Ninilchik, Alaska


An idea popped into my head when I completed the photo below "Russian Spirits" since there are so many similar pictures take of The Transfiguration of Our Lord Russian Orthodox Church!

As I was preparing a painting from my original photo, I began to pull in sections of other pieces of my work to put together an Alaska Fantasy!

The next reason to create this painting from my original photos was to enter an online Competition, held by Topaz Labs, creating "double exposure" work.  I came in as Honorable Mention!!

Digitally Painted from several of my original photos!

# 4242-TL-23

What Dreams May  Come

Skilak Lake ~ Alaska

While living in Alaska I often had the pleasure of spending time with my nephews by taking them on picnics, to parks and trails and exploring together.  I had taken this photo of them at Skilak Lake while they were throwing rocks and trying to make them skip.  Holding on to the picture and studying it often, time after time, I was never really thrilled with its setting.  Recently I decided to play with it along with many other photos I have and created a surreal story where a surprise visitor is entertaining them!

Digitally Painted from my original photos, blended with layers of scenery, ice and more!

# 3093-TL-4243

Salty Dawg Saloon  (B)

Homer, Alaska

If you make your way to The Spit and visit The Salty Dawg Saloon, make sure you bring some extra bills to leave behind...not necessarily just for the wait staff and bartenders, but to hang anywhere you dang well please!  Money from all over the world is taped, stapled, tacked and stuck all throughout this venue on the ceilings and walls!  It’s fun to read the notes and take pictures here!  It’s one of the most famous and talked about saloons in Alaska!  I love it’s quaint personality, and the beer ain’t bad either!

Originally built in 1897 as one of the 1st cabins back when Homer was establishing itself as a town, its multipurpose was a place to buy your groceries, send mail, buy your train ticket and office quarters for the local mining company.  A second building was added about 20 years later which became their school.  Then, a gentleman named Chuck Abbott  acquired the building sometime in the late 40's.  At that time it became an office for Standard Oil Company.

Lots of changes occurred in the late 50’s for Homer and Mr. Abbott turned the building into The Salty Dawg Saloon in 1957.

 In 1959 the State Of Alaska became the 49th State Of The Union and a year later State Representative Earl Hillstrand signed the papers to buy it.

Four years after “The Good Friday” earthquake of 1964, the structure endured a move to the near-end of The Spit where the enticing lighthouse can be seen best from the waters.  Today it’s a must-see and must-do historical landmark!  John Warren is the current owner of this establishment.......Lucky Dawg Him! 

Digitally Painted from my original photo!

See original photo below prepared in HDR.

# 3093H-2

Salty Dawg Saloon (A)

Homer, Alaska

See photo above for description and a painted effect!

HDR Processed from my original photo!


Time Bandit 

The Spit ~ Homer, Alaska

The Discovery Channel produced the reality television show that we all fell in love with; "Deadliest Catch" !  It aired for 9 seasons and was filmed in my favorite town in Alaska:  Homer!  The filming was amazing and captured much of the local Bering Sea during summer and winter seasons where Andy and Jonathon Hillstrand captain The Time Bandit for crab and much more.  If you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of these guys fishing for salmon off the Panhandle Of Alaska all the way to Homer.  From time to time you will hear a newscast about it rescuing other ships in distress, too.

If you ever saw the show "Deadliet Catch", you would know that it's not all just fun and games fishing in the seasons of Alaska for a living, it can be quite dangerous.  Lots of ships sadly sink and many a mariners have lost their lives to these stormy seas.

God Speed to our men of the seas.

Shops, restaurants, bars and fishing guide venues line up on both sides of The Spit in Homer.  The Time Bandit Shop is tiny, tiny, tiny, and yet crowded with folks running in to buy something to remember both Homer and the television show!  I took a close up shot since I really wanted to focus on just this shop without distractions around it.

HDR Processing & Digitally Painted from my original photo!


Cafe Cups   (B)

Homer, Alaska 

What can I say!  This quaint café is truly a pleasure to ogle over with its distinguished oversized French coffee cups and enchanting adornments carefully placed within the architect design; including “faces” placed within the eaves along with wine mosaics made from broken crockery.  You feel as though you are dining in a fairy tale cottage!  And most of all, their curious menu is delightful!

Café Cups is located inside the heart of Homer upwards on a slanted road that spirals and twists.  From here you can see The Spit, the glaciers and the islands!  Keep traveling up the mountain side for more stunning views of this artsy community and surrounding wonderland!

I couldn’t really find much history on Café Cups in my haste to google for details, but I do know the house was built in 1934 and moved to Pioneer Avenue where it was formerly The Homer News and before that was the Homer Women’s Club.  When you click the “About Me” section of their website…it’s written in Latin.  Hmmm…I guess you just have to visit Café Cups to see how exquisite it truly is yourself!

Bon Appetit!

Digitally Painted from my original photo!  See original below.

# 3020H-2

Cafe Cups (A)

Homer, Alaska ~

HDR Processed from my original photo!  See my painted surreal rendition above!



Homer, Alaska

Have you ever been out with your camera just driving around to find something interesting to shoot?  I fell in love with Homer, Alaska the second I drove by the milepost at the Homer Overlook Point; just where it curves around the massive Diamond Ridge Mountain range and drops off to give you an excellent oversee of the artsy harbor town.  Each time I took a day trip to Homer, I found more and more lively and amusing spots to take pictures.

As I was driving slowly along Ohlson Lane toward Bishops Beach my foot slammed on the brakes at this old abandoned Surfside Shop.  It’s well boarded up and overgrown with traditional Alaskan foliage; including plenty of Alaska Fireweed.  An exhausted and tired sailboat rests snug at the lot’s corner and boasts a versed native totem pole on the other rim.  I was unable to find anyone who had information on its history; and only found tidbits here and there online. 

It sounds like it’s one of the oldest structures in Homer, possibly built in the 1930’s, where at one time it was utilized as a casket storage building and during a particular iced over winter housed a few bodies until winter ceased in order to dig appropriate graves for them.  I believe it’s called “The Ohlson Lane Cabin” but cannot find any source to detail why there is a “Surfside” sign at the top!  I do know there is a lot of surfing that takes place in Kachemak Bay, so I assume someone at one time had opened a small little surf shop for a season or two.  Feel free to comment if you have any more info!  I am always intrigued with these sort of older stories!

Digitally Painted from my original photo!

# 5134-0310H2 

Just On Time 

Ted Stevens International Airport

~ Anchorage Airport ~

I shot this photo the first time I stepped outside of the Anchorage Airport to hail a cab.  My brother-in-law waited for me patiently as I ran up a bit away from the entrance to capture this snowy moment.  I knew I had a great first blizzard picture and couldn't wait to get to my laptop to download and play with it!

Inside the airport you might feel as though you are visiting an exhibit or museum; if you ever make it out of the bar.  You will find statues, paintings, carvings and taxidermy wildlife which includes polar bear, muskoxen and a record sized Kodiak Brown Bear to name a few.  I personally don't think anyone leaves this airport without purchasing an Alaska treasure or souvenir of some sort or spending a little extra time visiting the exhibits!  You just can't take your beer with ya!

My Original Photo!

#  5134W-0310

Just On Time

Ted Stevens International Airport

~ Anchorage Alaska ~

For my Blog, TravelWITWIT, I wanted to have a featured photo that would appeal as a warranted press depiction; anticipating an eye-catching intro.  Love how this turned out!  

Why does it take so log to get out of the Anchorage Airport?

Read why here!

The true blizzard shot I took is above.

Digitally Painted from my original photo!


Little House Of God

Soldotna, Alaska

Dot to dot along Kenai Spur Highway in route of Kenai and Soldotna are spectacles of small and quaint drive-up coffee stands, enticing second hand shops, masses of land for sale, car lots, local businesses and extensive forests to gaze at; just to name a few.  I traveled past this petite quizzical chapel which sits alongside the jumbo monolithic domed Trinity Christian Center many times.  How many times did I drive past this curious chapel before stopping to take a photograph?  Hundreds! 

To my delight on a snow blizzard day I felt it prompted my senses of living in a winter wonderland and I finally interrupted my shopping agenda to satisfy my urge to take it’s picture!

As I peaked through the windows, I noticed only 3 pews with hymn books snuggly tucked in their wooden back pockets and The Bible sitting peacefully on top of the Preacher’s podium.  Guessing in building this structure, much of it's 2x2 wooden slats were spared since it has 10 large windows allowing full natural lighting and gleaming sunshine to enhance its innerbeauty.

Originally it was kept open with 24/7 access to all who wish to seek comfort with God whereby the larger church behind it was only available for normal routine operations and services.  They had to start locking it up due to vandalism, but you can always request a convenient time to come pray and enjoy its charm!

Digitally Painted from my original photo!

# 0694-TI-2401

Favorite Spin

Alaska State Fair 2010

Palmer, Alaska

My adventure in Alaska also took me to the famous Alaska State Fair,
situated in Palmer where you are nestled in the heart of the
Chugach Mountains, Lazy Mountain and embraced by the Matanuska River running
just miles behind the grounds.  The venue is the largest community
event in Alaska and spotlights advents throughout the year as well.
It’s not often I get to spend full days with my nephews and their kids.
So I relished the fair experience and often return to my photo folders
where I decide to do a little art work with pictures I have not touched yet.

Ferris wheel photos are hard to capture without volumes of interference
and movement, but this one was quite crisp as it turned out. Yet, I
decided to do a paint effect with it creating a carnival feel for you
to enjoy!  Pastels are often the focus to such photos and art, so I kept
this one soft in palette!

Digitally painted from my original photo!

# 3040-TI-4209A

Russian Spirits

Ninilchik Village, Alaska

The Transfiguration of Our Lord Russian Orthodox Church

Ninilchik Village kept me entertained on numerous visits as I would always find something new to photograph.  But the awe of the “over 100 years old” The Transfiguration of Our Lord Russian Orothodox Church was usually my focal plan.  Much of the worn-down crosses were weather battered which made it unclear the names of these lives lost.  You can tell the families visit often as speckles of trinkets are placed here and there, flats are waving, fresh flowers and wreaths are propped in place and candles in glass jars sit about.

These are not the usual cross with just two boards.  The fences were markers for family areas and made for a gorgeous landscape.  The church sits above the village on a bluff overlooking Cooke Inlet and if you stretch your eyes across the waters you can see Mount Iliamna’s peaks!

I know you see this typical shot photographed of the church, but you can’t help yourself!  Nor did I.  While I played around with my original photo, I decided to do a painting with it!!

# 3110

Dazzled Spire 

 Kenai, Alaska 

Russian Orthodox Churches are spotted all around the Alaskan cities and country sides.  Most are located next to the waters; making a wonderful background for photographers.

 I had the pleasure to step inside and visit with many of their Priests and most have a gift shop specializing in Russian Arts.

# 3051

Watches Over Aleyeska  

~ Mount Aleyeska, Girdwood, Alaska  ~

# 5112H

Come Nearer

~ Kenai, Alaska ~


Trail Of Whispering Giants 

Valdez, Alaska 

# 5096-0282H 

Burger Bus 

Kenai, Alaska

When my room mate asked me if I wanted a burger from the burger bus, I had no clue he meant THE BURGER "BUS"! lol

These have to be the best, juiciest, yummy burgers in Alaska!

No matter the weather, they are always OPEN!

# 5115-0679Hb 

Twilight Hideaway 

Lowell Point, Alaska

My friend and ship mariner, Vince, called me up and asked if I wanted to take a drive to Seward and spend the day with him looking for a 2nd home somewhere on the water so he could fish on his.

We stopped and backed up about 6 times at this quaint log home, with the log fallen in front, and walked around.  He kept driving back to take another look. A few days later he was making phone calls to see how much this hidden dream was.

Ladies, you know what it''s like when you see that guy visit that house several times in one day.....he had his heart set on something special just like this one!

# 3075

Yukon Around The World 

Seward, Alaska

# 5097-0871H 

To GrandPa's House We Go 

~ On the way to Homer, Alaska ~

# 3038

Alaska Pride

~ Soldotna, Alaska  ~

# 3032

Liberty At Kenai

~ 4th of July 2010, Kenai, Alaska ~

There are no fireworkks in Alaska for 4th of July since it is daylight about 22 hours a day during the summer months.  But the celebrations are magnificent!  They hold their fireworks for New Years Eve.  

This capture is of a little Alaskan Native dressed up for the parade - so precious!

# 3093

Killin' Time

~ The Spit, The Salty Dawg ~ Homer, Alaska ~

# 3119

Sauntering Gaze

~ Kenai River ~ Soldotna, Alaska ~

# 3119-G

Sauntering Gaze

~ Kenai River, Soldotna, Alaska ~

A little different version of #3119

# 3087

Temple of Dawn

~ Kenai, Alaska ~

# 3072

Kenai Apologue

~ Kenai Visitor Center ~Kenai, Alaska ~

# 3063

Bear Meets Man Meets Bear

~ Sterling Highway, Alaska ~

After driving by this home a time or two, one day I thought it was just about time to drive straight up their drive and get out of my van and snap away.  You will find carved statues every where as well as carvers set up on the sides of the road working away at their art - sometimes even in parking lots in the towns.  We bought a couple of bear carvings for our fireplace, but I digress...they were just to heavy to pack in my suitcase for my trip back home to Dallas - but when I move back I know this will be one of my first purchases for my new home!

# 3125-G81

Crow Creek Gold Mine

~ Girdwood, Alaska ~

# 3125-G80

Crow Creek Gold Mine

~ Girdwood, Alaska ~

# 3103

Tick Tock

~ Kenai, Alaska ~

# 3041AR

Bayside Adobe

~ Homer, Alaska ~

I had wondered off the beaten path while in Homer one day to see what I could find!

I found my favorite color; TEAL!

# 3116

Enchanted Steeple

~ Soldotna, Alaska ~

# 3060

Greatest Catch

~ Caught by Les Anderson; the largest bass fish on record in Alaska ~

~ Soldotna, Alaska ~

# 3092

Alaska Roadhouse

~ The Spit ~ Homer, Alaska ~

# 3078

Alaska State Fair 2010

~ Palmer, Alaska ~

# 3084

Temple Thoughts

~ Kenai, Alaska~

# 3046 

Crimson Tilt

~ Sterling Highway, Alaska ~

# 3077


~ Alaska State Fair 2010 - Palmer, Alaska ~

# 3113-OP

Maritime Hearth

~ Cook Inlet ~ Kenai, Alaska ~

# 3089

Art Through Windows

~ Homestead of Norman Lowell, Alaska ~

I had the lovely honor in meeting Mr. Norman Lowell at his art studio! 

This photo is the back window to his home.  

As I took a better look, I could see his art supplies and easels inside this room!  

He was a delightful man and I can only imagine this window to his life gave him much inspiration.

# 3049

To Russia With Love

~ Ninilchik, Alaska ~

# 3105-G69

Great Crow

~ Anchorage, Alaska ~

# 3104-G69

Great Eagle

~ Anchorage, Alaska ~

# 3037

Cry Of The Crow

~ Soldotna, Alaska~

# 3083

See It All

~ ASRC Pipeline Site ~ Valdez, Alaska  ~

# 3096-F

The Dawg Is In

~ The Spit, The Salty Dawg ~ Homer, Alaska ~

# 3013-F

Whirl Of The Fair Clown

~ Palmer, Alaska ~

# 3112

Misty Prayers

~ Kenai, Alaska ~

# 3019

Brimming Boast

~ Kenai, Alaska ~

# 3051-R

Watches Over Aleyeska

~ Mount Aleyeska ~ Girdwood, Alaska~

See #3051 for full color.

© All images and photographs on this site are the exclusive property and copyright of  Tanya Elise’ Howard.

If you wish consent to reproduce or copy these images in any manner,

please acquire the written legal consent from Tanya Elise’ Howard.




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