Away From Home: February 27, 2011

"The whole Tracy Arm area reminds one of ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ ... it truly looks otherworldly. The balanced meeting of sky, land, and water … the forms of water as a fog, ice, and a liquid is sort of cool … the idea that you are traveling into a V-shaped valley toward something is compelling. … The Tracy Arm was named after a Civil War general, Benjamin Franklin Tracy. The water is frigid. People who fall in are goners in only about 15 minutes … the record for survival was 45 minutes, a local gal, 4’10”, 250 pounds, something to be said for being well-insulated.”

  • Picture taker: Rodney Bjornstad, Fargo
  • What: The Tracy Arm, a fjord near Juneau, Alaska
  • When: Summer 2010
  • Distance from Fargo: About 2,300 miles

Away From Home: February 20, 2011

Smogard writes that this photo “was taken offshore of Lahaina in Maui, Hawaii. … We were on a whale-watching trip, and this male whale escorting a female and her calf breached about 100 feet from the boat."

  • Picture taker: Wayne Smogard of Fargo
  • What: Whale watching off the coast of Maui
  • When: Jan. 21
  • Distance from Fargo: About 4,000 miles

Away From Home: February 13, 2011

The photo was taken in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its lush vegetation, unique sandstone pillars, pristine waters and a wide variety of species of flora and fauna. The formations in this area are said to have inspired the Hallelujah Mountains, the Floating Mountains of Pandora in the movie “Avatar.” When clouds settle into the valley, the pillars appear suspended or floating above the clouds. According to one report, one of the Hallelujah Mountains in the movie was modeled after the “South Pillar of the Heaven,” aka “Pillar between Heaven and Earth.”

Picture taker:  Dennis Tallman of West Fargo
What: “South Pillar of the Heaven” in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China
When: August
Distance from Fargo: 6,980 miles