Tag Archives: Snoqualmie River

Autumn Remnants

I have many fond memories from the days when I made compositions using film, and specifically from the 10 years I used my medium format (6×7 cm) Pentax 67II.  It was a time my wife and I traveled quite a bit.  It wasn’t uncommon for us to go camping three weekends each month; it was fantastic and we miss those days.  I also concentrated on publishing my work and later selling my prints at art shows.  I know that those were the peak years of my creativity.  Not to say that since then I haven’t made or won’t make meaningful images, but there is something that is gone.

I like to work slowly for the most part.  I don’t like to arrive at a place and make some compositions and move on.  I linger, look, feel and see and touch and smell and look some more.  When I first got into digital “pro” format in late 2009, I all of a sudden felt a rush.  There was no more expense in film purchase and developing so I got an illusion that I need to shoot more.  It didn’t work.

Anyways, after quite a few years, maybe three or five, I haven’t worked on any of my film files…and it bothered me since there are a lot I really love.  It was time.  I got all the needed adapters to make my Nikon scanner work on my Mac and purchased new software since Nikon has refused to support the scanner as computers evolved.  I loaded the beautiful transparency into the holder and began the process.  I was giddy, to say the least.  It was like opening a candy bar that has been long discontinued and fully remembering the taste before taking that first bite.

A new chapter has been opened for sure.

This particular image I’m calling Autumn Remnants is from the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River Valley.  We used to frequent this valley, before it became overcrowded.  The season was entering into winter as I found this grove of red alders with remnant leaves from sapling cottonwoods.  I don’t remember what year it was, but I remember standing there making the composition in early evening light.  The exposure was long and a breeze would stir things up so I had to use a shallower depth of field than I normally would to capture the scene.

I remember the anticipation of waiting to get the film back, the excitement after the first look once I picked it up and then the final analysis on the light table with a loupe…everything came into focus and I knew I captured something that moves my heart and soul.  And I am thankful for this moment….

Remnants of color in late autumn deep in the Snoqualmie River Valley | Washington

Remnants of color in late autumn deep in the Snoqualmie River Valley | Washington

 

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Blue Waters

Some years ago, I used to often ramble along the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River, a mere 35 miles east of Seattle.  The forest road running along parts of the river is dirt, often packed with brain-jarring potholes, dusty during dry times and slick and muddy during the famous Washington drizzle.  I particularly enjoyed being there during stormy weather, when there were few others to be seen.  And early and late in the year were times I found the place even more charming.

I looked not just for river scenes but for trees with character.  During the winter months when the trees were bare and wet they provided much visual excitement to me.  And when they were covered by lichens and mosses, wow, it was like candy.

After a few years of focusing on other destinations, my wife and I recently decided to go back and have a look at one of our favorite stomping grounds.  It was actually a sunny day, which would normally not find me out looking for landscape images.  But we wanted to get out.  Once we got there we were surprised at the volume of vehicles rolling into this river valley.  The road was super dusty so there was little point to pull over and get out to enjoy the scenery because we’d be eating dirt.  Stan wasn’t too excited either not being able to get out and do some sniffing and exploring of the terrain….

The few years have given enough people time to discover this valley, which is of course great because they can enjoy the beauty but also a disappointment when one is looking for some quiet away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

But we eventually found our little quiet spot along the Taylor River (one of the rivers flowing into the Snoqualmie), through a stand of trees and mossy forest floor.  The rapids drowned out any nearby human sounds and we were just pleased with that.  And Stan was also able to ramble about without complaint!

I watched the light and the rapids as we enjoyed lunch and eventually made a few exposures.  I decided to experiment a bit with various shutter speeds to see which would be most pleasing to my eye.  And with no two photos being the same due to the dynamic nature of the rapids, it was a fun experiment that yielded some exciting results.  I settled on the image enclosed in this post.  The shapes of the rapids captivated me here as well as the play of blue light from the sky and golden/green reflections from trees on the opposite bank being bathed in direct sunlight.  And the shutter speed used provided just the right amount of dramatic movement.

Even if there were no photos to show, it was simply peaceful to relax by the river for a while….

Taylor River, a tributary of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River | WA

Taylor River, a tributary of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River | WA