regnaD kciN's Journal - Archives
Normally, I shoot the tulips in the Skagit Valley north of Seattle. However, an early growing season meant poor weather every time I could get up there -- plus, according to other local photographers, the fields weren't as well-planted for photographic purposes as usual. So, I spent last weekend "south of the border"...the Oregon border, that is, at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, between Portland and Salem. Wooden Shoe is by far the largest tulip farm I've seen; while the total growth doesn't rival Skagit, the tulips there are planted in a number of different fields scattered throughout several square miles. At Wooden Shoe, by comparison, they're all planted in one enormous field -- and one with a great, photogenic placement, complete with Mount Hood in the background.
The first series of shots was from late afternoon on Saturday.
Photographing sunrise over the Woodburn tulip fields has become almost a rite of passage for Oregon photographers, so, at 4:30 A.M. Sunday, this non-Oregon photographer was up and heading toward Wooden Shoe for what would turn out to be a (wonderfully lucky, considering this is Oregon in April we're talking about) clear dawn.
Once the sunrise was (all-too-quickly) over, it was time for some practice in shooting backlit blooms...
...when who should happen to show up but Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh?
What...those weren't Beck and Limbaugh? My apologies -- I guess these were two different enormous flamboyant windbags getting where they are through copious amounts of hot air.
Leaving you with one final image of the windmill...
...that I just finished processing.
As I have done for several years running, I am concluding 2009 with a retrospective based on two rules:
1) Twelve images, one per month, and
2) None of the photographs can have previously appeared on DU.
As always, I find myself griping about how hard it is to follow the second rule, as I tend to post every good image I take here, and resolving that, next year, I'll make sure to hold back a number of good photos per month so that I'll have a good selection to choose from next time around. (In the words of Noah: "Riiiiiiiiiight...") Anyway...
The year got off to a promising start on Inauguration Day, January 20th, where, after attending the Air America party at Pioneer Square, I got this image of a fog-shrouded Smith Tower, for many decades the tallest building in Seattle.
In winter months, when photo opportunities are few and far-between around here, I'm always grateful for the nearby vantage point of Mount Rainier, where I can usually count on a good image when the atmospheric conditions are right, as they were late on this February day.
March marked the real beginning of "photography season" in the Northwest, and my first visit of the year to the Skagit farmlands, to catch fields of daffodils under a dramatic sky.
April found me chasing Water Falling Over Things, this time at Bridal Veil Falls in Oregon's Columbia Gorge.
I took lots and lots of photographs in May...and posted practically all of them here. One exception was taken during a trip to Lincoln Park in West Seattle, where I happened upon this abstract sculpture. Whether the colors were part of the original design, or simply added by graffiti artists later, I have no idea -- but it made for an interesting close-up.
More Water Falling Over Things in June, with a long-delayed trip to Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park.
July brought the beginning of wildflower season to the slopes of Mount Rainier...
...while an August trip there gave me an unexpected iconic view of the mountain, ironically taken a few feet (but in the opposite direction) from the location of the previous picture several weeks earlier.
September took me to Larribee State Park on Puget Sound for this sunset.
Of course, October is the time for fall-foliage imagery, this one an abstract view of nature's lattice-work taken at a city park not far from home.
Early November offered a last glimpse of autumn in a forest on Mount Rainier's lower slopes.
Finally, December brought us one of the coldest weeks in Puget Sound history...and the rare chance to catch a frozen-over Snoqualmie Falls.
Looking back, it's been quite a year. I wish you all joyful lives and great photo opportunities in 2010!
I just shot these a few hours ago, and haven't really completed the post-processing, but wanted to include something.
And, inside the visitor center, a garden holiday lights aquarium:
It's appropriate that the final installment of WFOT2009 takes me to Snoqualmie Falls once again. The very first WFOT for this year was from January 2nd, when snow and a cold snap had me heading out to the falls, hoping to find Water Falling Over Mostly-Frozen Things. That time, I was foiled -- while the areas around the falls were under a blanket of snow, the warmer water of the Snoqualmie river kept the falls themselves well-above freezing, leading to less-than-impressive photos.
Not so this past week, when the area got hit with a deep-freeze that kept high temperatures in the mid-20s and lows into the single-digits. After a few days of this, I bundled up and went out to find the images I'd been hoping for back at the start of January.
Hope you've enjoyed the series. I'll be back with WFOT2010, probably starting around next April.
A few hours after the family trip to southwest Washington that yielded the photos in my last post, I was up again, on my own this time, driving much the same route in the dark, then continuing south of Portland and east of Salem to Silver Falls State Park, home of the "Trail of Ten Falls." (No, I didn't do all ten; only the three at the farthest ends of the park, including the two biggest and most well-known of the falls. The threat of an incoming storm made me decide not to try the Winter Falls trail, where most of the others are found.) This was my first trip to Silver Falls. Needless to say, it will not be my last.
First up was the most popular tourist attraction, South Falls.
Then North Falls, first from a distant viewpoint...
...then from up-close and personal...
...then from behind the falls.
Finally, a half-mile upstream, Upper North Falls.
(The rain began coming down as I was returning to the trailhead, effectively ending the day.)
What can I say? This was an amazing day of almost overwhelming beauty. And, with cold, drenching rain and the first mountain-pass snow of the season coming in the following days, this was probably the end of this year's Northwest photography season, and the last major shooting I'll do before next March or April. If so, it's nice to know that I ended the year on a high note....and when I say a "high" note, I don't mean achieved with the use of any magic...
...also found on the trail.
Two from late afternoon on Klickitat Canyon
Some autumn shots from the Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park.
Oddly enough, even after living in Washington state for almost 27 years, I had never visited Mount St. Helens. Oh, sure, when I first came up here in '82, my ex and I visited the "viewpoint" as close as visitors were allowed to get at the time -- dozens of miles away -- and stared at it from a distance. But, in the years that passed, the Spirit Lake Highway was rebuilt and opened all the way to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, five miles away from the crater.
It's still a strange, alien place, almost thirty years after the eruption. One thing I noticed while hiking was the large number of crickets. Why? Gradually, the realization hit me: there are no birds here. Even after almost three decades, there aren't anywhere near enough trees to support nesting birds. As a result, the only ones I saw were a pair of peregrine falcons out on a hunting trip. And, after years of visiting natural spots around the Pacific Northwest, it's unbelievably eerie to come to a place on a warm summer day and not hear bird-song. (Looking at the official websites, I understand that there actually are some bluebirds and sparrows in the area, but I sure didn't encounter any of them.)
A rock-decorated trailpost, with a view of the hills north of the mountain, showing the blown-down remains of old-growth trees from before 5/18/80.
And a panorama (those who want to see it in a larger size should go here and zoom it to 100%).
I originally went up to try to catch sunrise at Reflection Lakes, but the clouds and wind on the water didn't exactly cooperate...not bad in terms of color, but it really became Non-Reflection Lakes for the morning.
Shortly thereafter, the clouds rolled in for the morning. So, what is there to do but take advantage of the rivers up there for a new installment of WFOT?
First, the cascades on the Paradise River above Ruby Falls.
An obligatory wildflower shot along the path.
Then, below Ruby Falls, a whole series of mini-falls have the collective name of Washington Cascades.
Finally, and more a matter of Water Flowing Through Things, the Cowlitz River cutting a hundred-foot channel through Box Canyon.
I mentioned in the title this was "the unexpected end of a Rainier summer." It wasn't supposed to be -- as a matter of fact, I was on my way back up Rainier the very next day...when the engine on my 1991 Accord (with 429,631 miles on it) finally gave up the ghost. By the time I had gotten the car towed off the mountain, managed to get back home (did you know that it takes two days just to get a bus out of Packwood, Washington, to the nearest place where you can get a rental car?), and replace my old Accord with a slightly-less-old Accord, not only were the wildflower blooms over on Rainier, but I had to cancel a planned trip to the Oregon coast which was going to be my big photo trip of the summer. I'll still be back to Rainier this year, but it will be to capture autumn foliage, not summer flower meadows. I guess my planned wildflowers/sunrise/Reflection Lakes shot, for which I've already found the perfect tripod location, will have to wait until next August...
Grave of Jimi Hendrix, Greenwood Memorial Park, Renton, Washington -- August 18, 2009.
Much like the swallows returning to Capistrano, the last weekend of July and the first two of August will find local photographers (as well as many from around the country) returning to Mount Rainier as peak wildflower season arrives, first on the east side around Sunrise and Tipsoo Lake, then the southwest meadows at Paradise.
Saturday morning, after another 2:30 A.M. wake-up call, I set off and arrive at the parking lot at Tipsoo...well, rather early...
But, soon, the sky began to lighten, and, from then on, it was just me, the beauties of nature, a handful of other photographers...and every flippin' mosquito in the Pacific Northwest. (NOTE TO SELF: Next time, bring "Deep Woods Off.")
Anyway, some shots of sunrise at the lake:
A view of Yakima Peak, on the north side of the lake:
Did you say "wildflowers?" Yes, I guess we had a few.
(Those hairy-looking ones are the seedpod stage of the Western Pasqueflower. The flower itself, which blooms quite early, is a normal white-petal-with-yellow-center type but, when it goes to seed, it takes on the appearance that has earned it the nickname of "mouse-on-a-stick.")
Sitka valerian and lupine:
After wrapping up at Tipsoo, I went back to Sunrise (see my earlier thread) to see if the flowers had improved any since my last visit. Although Sunrise turned out to be a little past peak (and thus not worth another Sunday morning dawn shoot), I was able to get a good image or two, even though the sun was a bit high in the sky for the best lighting.
Sunday, I returned to Sunrise Point, with the goal of shooting long views of the surrounding mountains in the late afternoon light. On the way up, I found a nice little flower-lined creek...
...but the afternoon was a little too hazy for the best textures-of-mountain-ranges shots.
Fortunately, there was always The Mountain nearby.
...and a final shot of Rainier as the day, and weekend, came to a close.
If you read the blog post about the travails of my previous Rainier shoot, you will know that I had originally planned to catch the sunrise at Sunrise (the highest point accessible by road in Washington state, on the east slope of Mount Rainer), but that I had been blocked by a fallen tree across the roadway. A few days later, I got my chance for real.
Just before dawn
Once the light on the mountain became too bright, it was time for some wildflower closeups in shaded areas.
Scarlet Paintbrush and Lupine
Normally, when anyone takes a photo of Mount Rainier, the mountain itself is the star of the show. But, on this morning, an unexpected weather pattern brought clouds in from the southeast, upstaging the mountain at sunrise.
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