At the Edge of the Sea

It poured all night, large raindrops clanking on the metal roof. It was soothing, at times frustrating when I couldn’t fall asleep. The next day started gloomy but there was a freshness in the air, even Charlie the dog was excited with the new smells in the forest.

We walked the road, poking our heads here and there to check on hidden corners along the water’s edge. A few words were exchanged but we were mostly happy to be there. The place renewed us…if temporarily, but still….

At water's edge, Washington Park, Anacortes | WA

At water’s edge, Washington Park, Anacortes | WA

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Genesis by Sebastião Salgado

I’ve heard of Sebastião Salgado over the years, and maybe even looked at his work here and there, but until very recently I can’t say I knew much about the man or his work.  As I was browsing online I ran into a trailer of a documentary on him and that changed everything.  I began looking on the web at Salgado’s work and was simply brought to tears.  Working strictly in black and white, his work is powerful and the images can truly move one’s soul.

The first volume I picked up is Genesis, an incredible collection of untouched landscapes from across the globe as well as peoples still living mostly by ancient traditions.  I highly recommend this masterpiece.  Spend several days absorbing the imagery.

Genesis by Sebastião Salgado

Genesis by Sebastião Salgado

Also, have a look at the incredibly filmed documentary (by his son) The Salt of the Earth.  Here you will find not just the breathtaking vistas but also incredibly moving, often devastating, portraits of humanity.  Sebastião Salgado has witnessed more than most of us ever will, and was himself moved to breaking point from all he experienced.  In the film you will find an incredible portrait of him that’s worth knowing.  There is much hope in what he shares.

The Salt of the Earth

The Salt of the Earth

Both can be picked up at Amazon, among other places.  I’m now spending some time leafing through Salgado’s Africa.

2015 in Review: The Great Pacific Ocean

I’ll close my 2015 in review with the following two images from the Olympic coast.  It was early November, winter was in the air with plenty of lowland rain and snow in the mountains.  We had Heather’s sister visiting from Ohio and we wanted to expose her to some of the beauty of Washington despite unfavorable weather.

We hoped to make it up to Hurricane Ridge but due to heavy snow the park closed all access…with dangerous drop-offs, a good idea in my book.  We stuck to lowland forests, which revealed massive cedars and stately bigleaf maples covered with gorgeous mosses.  But the highlight was definitely seeing the Pacific Ocean…first time for Beth.  We chose the scenic Rialto Beach within Olympic National Park.

Beach stones, Rialto Beach | Washington

Beach stones, Rialto Beach | Washington

The beach has no sand, just pebbles of all sizes and colors.  I was attracted to the two larger stones standing watch over the smaller ones.

It was great to see Beth’s excitement, which in turn also added to our excitement.  For us it was also the first visit to this area in over four years and we couldn’t believe that.  The area is so gorgeous, the beach with its stones and pebbles and massive logs, shadows of enormous trees ripped out by storms from Canada’s and Alaska’s coastal forests to the north…and most likely as far as Russia.  Also grand seastacks.  It was healing to listen to the pounding waves and to watch the light.  There was a grand tree log dancing in the waves but it would have to wait for a storm to come ashore….

Despite a at times very gloomy day, the clouds parted in late afternoon and treated us to a grand sunset.  It was a great journey indeed.

Rialto Beach sunset, Olympic National Park | Washington

Rialto Beach sunset, Olympic National Park | Washington

 

2015 in Review: Autumn Grace

Autumn arrived shortly following the loss of our amazing companion Stan.  Stricken with grief that comes from the departure of a dearly beloved, it was no easy task to get up and go…the fact that autumn is a cherished season meant very little at this time.

With much effort, we gathered ourselves and made it to Mt. Rainier, a place Stan got to visit just a few months earlier.  Despite the season being near its end, earlier than normal, we were blessed with color and light.  We followed a deer path to this wonderful spot.  With not very exciting overcast light I set up my medium format camera and composed…and then the heavens opened and a shaft of light graced the scene in front of me, putting a smile on my face.

Forest and pond in autumn, Mt. Rainier NP | Washington

Forest and pond in autumn, Mt. Rainier NP | Washington

A few weeks later we made a journey to Oregon’s scenic Columbia River Gorge.  We had many tough moments and many filled with joy recollecting memories of the area shared together with Stan.  With the extreme heat and drought of the year, colors were mostly lacking except for a few tiny pockets.  I loved this arrangement of oaks.

Autumn oaks, Rowena region | Oregon

Autumn oaks, Rowena region | Oregon

When most autumn places have become a memory, I took a quick trip to Seattle’s wonderful arboretum, despite the rain, to see about capturing the last of the season.  I was fortunate enough to make a handful of compositions, and particularly was attracted to this collage of leaves saturated from the rain.

Autumn leaves, Seattle arboretum | Washington

Autumn leaves, Seattle arboretum | Washington

 

2015 in Review: Mt. Rainier Dreams

Slowly but surely I keep revisiting places of 2015.  Mt. Rainier National Park is a special destination for me and has been since I moved to Washington State over 20 years ago.  A place that always provides much inspiration.  This time around I was heading out to meet up with my good friend Ross (have a look at his work here) visiting from Florida.  Over the years we’ve enjoyed many great photographic excursions, and this was no different.

Due to extreme heat, at least for our area, and lack of adequate precipitation the previous winter and spring, flowers came and went early.  Despite this, the landscape remains glorious.  To get “warmed up” we spent some time in Paradise Valley, enjoying the glowing firs and meadow.  I particularly enjoyed working this scene with the mountain ash berries in the foreground.

Paradise Valley Meadow, Mt. Rainier NP | Washington

Paradise Valley Meadow, Mt. Rainier NP | Washington

One can find various gems throughout the park, some hidden in plain sight, others truly off the beaten path.  Following a good start at Paradise Valley, we spent quite a bit of time photographing Paradise River rapids before seriously focusing on Ruby Falls.  With its many strands of falling water, various rock surfaces and dappled light, this can be a magnificent place to enjoy for a while.

Ruby Falls, Mt. Rainier NP | Washington

Ruby Falls, Mt. Rainier NP | Washington

Feeling quite pleased with the day’s work, we decided to take a quick spin up to Reflection Lakes.  No matter how many times one views the Mountain from here, the landscape is simply glorious.  We had the place to ourselves, and that is a big bonus at this spot.  And we were even treated to stunning sunset light.

Mt. Rainier Sunset | Washington

Mt. Rainier Sunset | Washington

Returning to camp, we stirred up some grub, good drink, and good conversation.  It was a grand time with a great friend in a magnificent location.

 

2015 in Review: Paradise River, Dusk

Mt. Rainier National Park is a place close to my heart. I always love spending time exploring the hidden places as well as taking in the vistas available to all visitors. This day happened to fall on Mother’s Day. Heather’s mom was visiting from Ohio and we were blessed to see the Mountain on this fine day…a grand present to us all, but especially to Arlene. And for the first time, Stan got to join us on this adventure since we were not doing any hiking – most national parks don’t like to see dogs on trails, but I’m sure if they met Stan they’d make an exception as he was definitely more than that! Anyways, it was simply a beautiful time for all of us.

Oh, and the following day at Paradise we encountered two foxes, still in their gorgeous winter attire, just lounging in the gently falling drizzle. Stan focused his attention on them while sitting comfortably in the back seat, and exchanged a few words with the foxes. They didn’t really seem to even notice but we had a great time watching them and listening to what Stanny had to say!

By the way, this is a 30 second exposure at the edge of day. I loved the blue and preserved it in my final image. Sure, this will make a great black and white as well, but the blue is what I remember….

Paradise River, Dusk, Mt. Rainier NP | Washington

Paradise River, Dusk, Mt. Rainier NP | Washington

2015 in Review: Winter Trees

What is it about trees that so many find fascinating, beautiful, powerful, humbling, breathtaking and magical? Throughout human history they have been used for everything, from fuel to hunting tools to subjects of paintings, poetry and of course photography. We seek shelter under them during storms, search out a perfect spot for a picnic, or a place to rest one’s tired back and daydream while listening to the wind whisper its song among the crowns. I love trees, always have. I climbed them as a kid, crashed into one while sledding with my younger brother, was left breathless upon witnessing the enormity of giant sequoias, to hardly being able to comprehend the age of bristlecone pines, many of which were thousands of years old when Jesus walked this earth. In trees I see God’s perfection.

On this particular day in April I was searching for solitude along the Stillaguamish River and I found it here along the river’s shores. I stood among stately cedars, on a forest floor covered with soft mosses, with the Stilly swiftly flowing below me, and I rested my eyes upon this scene of grandeur and perfection.

Winter trees along the Stillaguamish River | Washington

Winter trees along the Stillaguamish River | Washington