Tag Archives: National Park

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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Quiet Waters

So there it was, our anniversary was coming up and we decided that going camping was just the ideal thing to do.  Checking out Lake Ozette area on the Olympic Peninsula had been on the list for no less than a few years…so why not!  We packed up the truck and took off to catch the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston.  Wow, thinking about it now, I miss it all; mind you this was back in 2009.  It is always amazing to be heading out to a new destination.  Even if one knows details about the place, there is no substitute for being there….

Part of the drive was unimpressive due to going thru much logged land…didn’t look short of a war zone.  But once we arrived, there was an incredible sense of isolation and solitude.  One has to be deliberate to come here.  There is nothing beyond here except the vast Pacific Ocean, legends, and history.

Being late summer, the weather was all over the place.  It is Washington after all.  But that was part of the charm.  Imagine cooking in between two huge cedars, their branches spreading wide, trying to protect you from the massive downpour.  Some drops get through and the whole experience makes you shudder and reminds you that this place is greater than you can imagine.  The rain drowning out all other sounds.  Knowing you are not far from civilized places but still feel like you are a million miles from anywhere.  And the love of my life is right next to me sharing in the memories.

And much like in life, following the storm there was brilliant sunshine and quiet….

I made this particular photograph at one of the bays of Lake Ozette just as the sun set below a ridge of trees.  I tried a few ideas, but ultimately found this one, without a polarizer, to be my favorite.  The water was still, the lilies reflected the pure blue of the sky and the reeds reached for the air above.

Lily pads and reeds on Lake Ozette | Olympic Nationa Park, WA

Lily pads and reeds on Lake Ozette | Olympic Nationa Park, WA

‘Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you….’

Jeremiah 32:17 ESV

Monkeyflowers & Mountain Stream

We’re experiencing a little heat wave in the Seattle area with temps in the 90s.  That’s not really bad and I’m not complaining but when so much of the year is gloomy and cool it is definitely a bit of a shock to go to these extremes.  With this heat my thoughts are taking me to mountain meadows.  By now the flowers should be nicely blooming and gracing the meadows with their beauty and filling the air with just an amazing and delicious aroma.

It has been several years since I witnessed such a gorgeous display and I’m hoping to get out this season.  I’ve definitely missed it.

This photograph was made in the Paradise area of Mt. Rainier National Park a few summers ago.  The display of pink monkeyflowers was simply stunning!  I made this composition in the early evening along a quiet little creek.  I really like a bit of the blue cast on the rocks coming from the blue sky and the glorious “island” of pink monkeyflowers in the foreground.  A sprinkling of the yellow mountain monkeyflowers made the whole scene even more attractive.

How I wish I could be standing there in this small sea of lovely flowers and be making compositions….

Monkeyflowers & Mountain Stream | Mt. Rainier NP

Monkeyflowers & Mountain Stream | Mt. Rainier NP