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A few weeks ago I accompanied some Ski Patrol friends on a week fly fishing float trip down the infamous Smith River in Central Montana and managed to photograph a little bit along the way. The last time I floated it was over ten years ago when I was fresh out of college. Now a little more seasoned, I returned to make images that would speak to the beauty of the place. The river is managed by Montana State Parks by a special permit to float, the resulting experience is profound. We floated through tall limestone walled canyons that yielded incredible wildlife watching, great fishing and an ecosystem chocked full of aquatic insects making for prime trout habitat. Here are a few snapshots from our week exploring the river. What an incredible place right here in our Montana backyard. It’s an asset that is under threat. A proposed large copper mine directly adjacent to and underneath Sheep Creek at the headwaters of the Smith River in central Montana is under debate right now that would drastically impact this river system. This is a resource too precious to destroy. Help to fight for it. Check out more information about the proposed mine on Save Our Smith website. I can’t wait to float it again next year. Thanks for looking. Cheers, -M

Holy moly! I’m a bit backed up with my blog posts. I’ve been meaning to post this one for a while now.  A couple months back I got an invite from my friend Allison to join her on a trip up to Alaska for a week of fly fishing for the coho salmon run on Kodiak Island. Allison is an aquatic biogeochemistry and community dynamics grad student in the Ecology Department at UC Davis and was headed up to Fairbanks, Alaska for a science conference. She decided to make a vacation out of it by going up early to have a go at the coho salmon. I have been trying to get to Alaska for years and her invite just happened to coincide with a time break in my wedding photography season. I didn’t hesitate for a second and agreed right there to treat myself to a well deserved mini vacation. Neither of us had ever been up to Alaska let alone the mostly remote Kodiak Island so we started doing some research. There are two ways to fish Kodiak Island – either by staying at a remote fancy/expensive fishing lodge or to fish along the road system. We went with the latter and ended up staying with some friends of hers who lived in the town of Kodiak. Our gracious hosts Matt and Mari lent us their old pickup truck for the week – a blessing and a curse where we had to constantly be monitoring the engine temperature due to it’s frequent overheating. They say it isn’t an adventure until something goes wrong. Kodiak is an island about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage with over 3,500 square miles of rugged wild terrain which makes it the second largest island in the United States behind Hawaii. The place is notorious for it’s lousy, rainy weather but is legendary for it’s salmon runs and large brown bears. We spent the week exploring the river systems of the Buskin River, the American, the Pasagshak and Russian Creek in search of coho salmon. It’s harder than it looks. We caught plenty of pink salmon, a few Dolly Vardens and “luckily” Allison hooked into and landed three silver salmon. I suppose it’s hard to catch a silver salmon with a camera in hand. Alas, I was skunked in the coho department. I redeemed myself later in the week when Matt took Allison and I out on his 60 foot boat for two afternoons of deep sea fishing. I’d never done it before and had a great time catching my first Halibut and a copious amount of rock fish. All in all it was an incredible trip. Alaska is too damn big to conquer in a mere week but I must say that I am in love with it. I will definitely be back soon. -M

Special thanks to my sponsors Patagonia, Glacier Glove and Echo Rod Company for all of their assistance and their fantastic gear.

Rachel Nathan-Funk, 12, her sister Leah, 5, Teagan Talbot, 7, and Kylie Shields, 7, lower left to right, watch Grupofolkloriko Nuevo Amancer folk dancers during a multicultural event at Dan O. Root Elementary School Tuesday evening.

Armijo High School freshman point guard Azhiana Musolf passes to a teammate after diving for a loose ball during her team’s Monday night game against Hogan High School in Fairfield.

Mass casualty volunteers from the Solano Community College nursing program and EMT students watch as paramedic Perry Hookey, far right, applies fake blood on the forehead of volunteer Russ Koch, left, prior to the start of the simulated disaster drill at the college Thursday morning.

Vacaville Ballet Academy dancers Madelline Layeghi, Laura Rutter, Sonya Thrasher, Daisy Montero and Rachel Goldberg, left to right, prepare for their upcoming performance at the Wednesday CLub in Suisun City during their practice Tuesday evening.

Local fisherman Greg Moe casts his line out into the Suisun Marsh during a recent morning fishing session for sturgeon and stripper bass. Moe has been fishing the area for over 35 years.

Passengers on Amtrak’s westbound train from Sacramento get off at the Suisun-Fairfield train station Monday evening.

Student members of the Fairfield High School Scarlett Brigade Marching Band rehearse their routine in the student parking lot Monday afternoon. The school will be hosting the Tournament of Champions band competition this weekend.

Mary Palmer, of Fairfield, along with her son Robert, 9, recently received quilts from her church made from favorite T-shirts of her deceased husband.

Members of the 60th Expeditionary Medical Support unit secure their chemical warfare outfits during a mock missle strike at Travis Air Force Base Thursday afternoon. The event was part of a three day excercise on the base meant to simulate situations at a deployed location for the troops.

Here’s some of my favorite photographs I made in September. Enjoy.