Category Archives: Rivers & Streams

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.

 

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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: Snohomish River Alders in Fog

In many ways 2015 was a real tough year. Despite all the hardships there is a lot to be thankful for. From the photo side of things, I’m going to look at 2015 in a series of posts called “2015 in Review”. Instead of a “best of” selection, which for some reason was one of those things I never got into, I’m going to simply go thru my images from the year and one by one choose 10 or 12 or 15 that are significant to me or simply strike my fancy.

This first one, “Snohomish River Alders in Fog” was made on a chilly January day. The thick fog that descended on our neighborhood got me excited and so Stan (our beautiful four-legged family member) and I quickly grabbed some gear, some biscuits, our coats and drove down to a nice little place by the river. I particularly enjoyed these alders, with their catkins, growing just at the edge of the river. The fog was so thick one can barely make out the river just beyond the graphic design of the trees.

Once we had our fill here, we drove a bit further and enjoyed a quiet walk in the fading light, embraced by the fingers of the fog.

Snohomish River Alders in Fog, January | Washington

Snohomish River Alders in Fog, January | Washington

Brilliant Autumn Cottonwood

This tree is like an old friend I like to visit each year or every couple years. The conditions were simply perfect, a heavy drizzle, swirling fog and sublime colors.

I first discovered this spot many years ago with a good friend of mine, Chris, while we were out scouting new locations in search of stunning autumn colors.  That was during the days of film when both of us were using Fuji Velvia.  We were quite thrilled when we came upon this sublime spot….

This time I was here with my wife Heather and our dog Stan.  Heather and Stan enjoyed walking around in the drizzle while I worked under an umbrella as the drizzle was turning heavier by the minute.

The air was cold and rich with moist autumn aromas.  The fog moved like a ghost along the face of the vertical wall and the gentle rain fell on the leaves as the creek swiftly flowed out of sight.

Brilliant autumn cottonwood growing along the edge of Nason Creek | Cascade Range, Washington

Brilliant autumn cottonwood growing along the edge of Nason Creek | Cascade Range, Washington

 

Working on New Images

It has been a while since I posted new work on my main website.  I guess it was about a year ago now.  Not that I didn’t want to, and not that I wasn’t creating new work, because I have been, but simply other obligations took priority.  In the last few days I have enjoyed working on bringing to life a handful of photos.  Fifteen landscapes to be exact.

Maybe it is something about winter.  Playing around in the snow hasn’t been my thing since I was a kid growing up in Poland.  No lowland snow yet, but autumn has come to a close and places of nature are taking on the sad look of winter.  That’s a good opportunity to reflect on past journeys.

Mossy bigleaf maple at the end of autumn in the Cascade foothills | Washington

Mossy bigleaf maple at the end of autumn in the Cascade foothills | Washington

The images selected are not all made in the last few weeks or months but about half of them are from the last several months.  A couple from the last two years and a couple from longer ago.

Sometimes it takes me a while to revisit certain trips, other times I get very excited right away.  I enjoy having a sizable library spanning about 20 years.  I always find gems in there, some images even mostly forgotten until I have a look and really think about the events.

River stones along the Stillaguamish River in dusky blue light | Washington

River stones along the Stillaguamish River in dusky blue light | Washington

It’s just so awesome to get excited about past adventures, the memories of not just making the images themselves but recollecting the events of the journey.  And there are many wonderful memories that come to new life.

That makes me think of also working on a book, a retrospective volume.

Please do have a look at the new images here.  And I shall continue to work on more….

 

Stillaguamish River Boulder

I was making various compositions along the river on this day.  A few are keepers.  This was one of the last of the day.  Actually, the composition was the last of the day.  There are variations of course; I was playing around with the shutter speed, and water will never look the same in any two “identicals” so it was fun to see the resulting images on the LCD screen.

What makes this even more interesting for me is the reflection of the color from the sunset clouds floating above on the wet boulder.

This place provides endless inspiration for me….

Stillaguamish River boulder at sunset | Mountain Loop Highway, WA

Stillaguamish River boulder at sunset | Mountain Loop Highway, WA

 

Idaho’s Shadow Falls

We’ve had a few wonderful sunny and warm days.  It is actually 81F inside of our home as I write this…but that’s just fine.  The days are rapidly getting shorter and summer, even though still here, is coming to a close.  I’m looking forward to autumn, but not the long dreary winter that is quite close now.  But I’ll put that thought aside and reminisce about a more favorable time and continue to enjoy the summery warmth embracing me.

Time sure flows too quickly.  It has now been almost four years since I made this composition.  We were visiting our good friends Chris and Connie in Idaho for a few days in September when they offered to be our tour guides and show us a few spots in their new backyard.  For early September the weather was getting a bit funky: warm, cold, foggy, snow dusting at medium elevation, rain, and then a bit more sunshine.

We followed a twisty road here and turned at a bend there, stopped along the river to admire the ripples heading to a larger river.  Then continued on a bumpy dirt road to the trailhead.  Our friends brought some fantastic snacks so we greatly enjoyed them before going on this short trail to a couple attractive waterfalls.

The upper waterfall on the same creek is called Shadow Falls.  It isn’t big but is for sure charming.  I studied it from various angles and chose this particular view after scrambling up just a bit.

Shadow Falls plunging into a shallow pool. | Idaho

Shadow Falls plunging into a shallow pool. | Idaho

I liked how the mossy cliff on the left leads to the waterfall, the fact that the pool is shallow, making the multi-toned rocks visible.  The scene was overall very green and perhaps not so breathtaking as it could have been, at least from the color point of view.  But did I think about these things while there?  Not so much.  I remember admiring the beauty of this little charmer, the experience of getting there with our friends, enjoying it with my wife.  I simply then responded when I saw this vantage point.

I used my then Sony a900 digital camera and the 20mm wide angle lens to capture my vision.  The image remained hidden in my files for quite some time before I was inspired by it again…and I immediately saw its potential in black and white.  So here it is…I like it.

A big thank you to our friends!