I took the picture in Ninilchik, Alaska a few years ago. The Fisherman was working and I headed out on a short road trip by myself. I was aiming for the town of Homer which is a very artsy community with lots of galleries and artist studios. As I was driving down the highway I caught such a grand view of Mt. Redoubt and Mt. Iliamna that I realized I needed to stop and take some pictures. A gorgeous clear day in not easy to come by in Alaska so I had to take the opportunity to stop.
First I took some photos of the volcanoes across the water and also the sign that describes them.
To my left was Iliamna ( ill-ee-ahm-na)
In the middle was the sign
And to my right was Redoubt
The first time we drove to Homer, way back in 1998, we were treated to a clear view of these two giants standing over 10,000 above the water. There are taller peaks in the world, but the thing about these two is that you see ALL 10,000 feet of them because they are at sea level. They're not in the middle of a mountain range with lower peaks all around. You see them from the ground to the peak. It's spectacular. You can see Redoubt from the town of Soldotna when it's clear enough. Just look straight up K-Beach Rd. (Kalifornsky Beach Rd.) and it'll be there. If you're ever in Alaska driving to Homer, (which, if you're ever in Alaska, I highly recommend you doing) make sure you look out the passenger window and keep a watch out for Redoubt and Iliamna. They will take your breath away.
Next I saw the sign for the old Russian Orthodox Church in Ninilchik (Ne-nil-chik). I decided to stop there, too. It was a beautiful setting against the bright blue sky. I stayed about an hour taking photos. Everything was white: the church, the fencing, the graveyard crosses. It was beautiful. This is where I took the white picket fence header photo I just switched to.
Here are some of the photos I took.
I know I posted this photo before.
I remember explaining the unique cross the Russian Orthodox Church uses. I'll tell you again for convenience sake. I asked a woman who tends to the chapel about the unusual cross. She explained that there is the traditional cross representing the cross to which Jesus was nailed. The small bar across the top represents the plaque above Jesus' head which Pilate ordered to be inscribed with the words "King of the Jews". The bar on the bottom represents the two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus. One mocked and scorned Jesus to the end. He is represented by the side that leans down. The thief on the other side of Jesus came to belief while they hung on their crosses. This is evidenced by his request that Jesus remember him when He entered into His Kingdom, and Jesus' reply, "Today you will be with Me in Paradise." This believing thief is represented by the upward tilting side of the bottom bar. The directions of the bar represent the eternal destinations of each thief, the believing thief going up to heaven and the unbelieving thief going down to hell.
On with some more photos....
There's Iliamna in the background. A photograph simply does not capture the magnitude of what the eye sees when standing at this spot.
A closer shot starts to give you the impact, but still pales in comparison to standing there drinking it all in live.
I took this next photo with this crop in mind. There was much more sky and much more grass in the original. I liked how the church barely peeked out from behind the Queen Anne's Lace.
I love this shot of the enclosed yard, the different angles of the fence, the huge Queen Anne's Lace towering over the fencing at the back, and the splash of purple in the foreground.
There's nothing quite like a white picket fence with flowers in front of it, is there?
One parting shot
I turned around for another shot of the church and graveyard after I had worked my way in a circle around the church and headed back to my van. In case you're curious, the photos of Iliamna were taken from the back side of the church toward the right side of the property. The church sits high on a grassy cliff overlooking the water of The Cook Inlet/Gulf of Alaska.
It wasn't really worth my continuing on to Homer since I'd spent so much time enjoying the beauty along the way. I decided to go on anyway and once I got there I only had an hour and a half to visit the galleries along Pioneer Rd. Still, I enjoyed my rushed visit to Homer and went back another day when I had more time. The highlight of the trip, though, was definitely my stops along the way. Proof that it's not all about the destination but that some of the best parts of life are along the journey!