Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bandon, Oregon

This final installment of my Oregon coast trip has been a long time coming. But then Bandon, Oregon is certainly worthy of such a wait, offering my favorite beach of the entire Oregon coast.

Bandon is known for sea stacks – lots of ‘em. Choices for compositions are countless and it is hard to pick just one for that dramatic sunset. It was interesting to watch other photographers search out their position of choice and set up, only to find “something better” while waiting, and move again. I must include myself in that group.

The first day of my visit had been mostly cloudy, but showed signs of improving towards evening. A thick bank of clouds to the west left sunset in question and one could only wonder what kind of show, if any, might unfold. There seemed to be enough sucker holes in the clouds to invite a very dramatic sunset. Those same gaps in the clouds could also close and dash my hopes.

As it turned out, the sun played peek-a-boo as it set, but mostly remained hidden. It did cast a beautiful red sheen on the incoming tide. Such a reflection would have been brilliant on the still waters of a lake or tarn. But on the moving waters of the ocean in low light, it was difficult to render the scene as the eye witnessed it.

As soon as the sun dipped to the west, the fog quickly began to roll in and created some very interesting light and texture that I wasn't expecting. In fact, the light was much more impressive after the sun went down. A bright moon high in the sky added to the scene. I had mostly retreated back upslope to the parking lot, taking a direct approach which shielded my view to the south. When I popped up onto the pavement, I immediatley clambered into position and watched the fog roll in low while higher clouds appeared and disappeared above. Soon the fog enveloped the area and the evening show was done.

I returned a second night, but experienced nearly the opposite weather pattern. The day had been sunny and completely cloudless. As evening approached, so did a very thick marine fog. I couldn’t see from one side of the parking lot to the other by the time I retreated back to camp. Such occurance can be common in the summer months.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Show Time!

It's that time of year again. Fall is winding down as winter storms begin to approach the Pacific Northwest. Of course, this also means that its time for me to start working various arts and craft shows around the area, and likely some gallery presentations too!

I'm still working on appearance schedules. I do know I will be appearing at the 23rd annual Martin Sortun Holiday Bazaar on November 21st. It's one of the original bazaars in the Kent area and always has a great turnout.

Speaking of Kent, I had also hoped to participate in the popular Kent Holiday Bazaar at the Kent Commons downtown. But alas, it is not to be. I am on a waiting list in hopes of making the 2010 vendor list. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

The picture above is from one of our early booths. Gearing up for shows can be a bit of an investment initially, but worth it in the long run. We started out out with the backdrop panels seen in the picture, and have added notecard holders, book and calendar holders, and - yes, more panels!

I find working shows to be a lot of fun. I meet so many interesting people and enjoy sharing stories, answering questions, and learning various things about the people in my community.

I'll keep you appraised of future shows as time goes on. It would be fun to see you!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Backpacker Magazine

This past summer I spent a lot of time out of state. I visited Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park (yes, I still owe you THAT story!), the Oregon Coast, John Day Monunement, the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area...oh, you get the idea.

So it has been fun to see the rewards from some of these trips in publications.

The image shown here is from my first evening of a seven day backcountry trip in Glacier National Park, known as The North Circle.

Before I left for the trip, I shot an e-mail to the photo editor of Backpacker Magazine informing her of my planned itinerary, in case there was anything I could help her with. She replied back that the magazine had no plans for any Glacier NP stories this year, but to have fun.

Less than a week before my departure, I received a request for images from the EXACT trip I was doing! Did I plant a seed? I can only wonder.

As a result of my submission upon returning, a few of my images were selected to appear in the pages of the magazine to support a story on - get this - The North Circle!

The image of the double-page spread is the best scan I could muster given the tools at my disposal. I would submit that the actual pages offer a much better viewing - available at a news stand near you! ; )

Oh, and a special plug for my friend Jon Cornforth, who's beautiful image from Saguaro National Park, AZ graces the front cover of the magazine.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Central Cascades Map

Spray Park is one of my favorite destinations in Mount Rainier National Park. It boasts incredible flower meadows in season, and offers enough exploring to exhaust a day for most hikers.

This image was take a few years ago at the beginning of flower season, noted by the lush display of avalanche lilies. It was a fun visit with many memories. Unfortunately, it also included severely turning my ankle on the way out in the dark after shooting sunset.

The painful memory still lingers in my mind, but is lightened by the fact that this image will be appearing in another publication - as a cover for a map of the Central Cascades cominge out soon.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rampart Lakes in Fall

Rampart Lakes have held a special place in my memory ever since my first visit in 1996. For that visit, I arrived at the trail head in the dark of early morning and began my hike with headlamp in hopes of being at Rampart Lakes in time for somewhat early light. Colors were profuse, and I benefited from a recent dusting of snow on the higher peaks in tandem with a blue sky.

This trip would be a little different, though no less memorable.

I elected to do the trip as an overnight this time, wishing to enjoy both final and first light at the lakes. The forecast was for sunny skies the duration of my trip. As you can see, that was far from my experience.

I drove to the trailhead under mostly cloudy skies, and began my hike under similar fashion. As the morning wore on, the sun began showing signs of dominance with its bursts of light thru the weakening cloud layer, but it was not to be. By mid-afternoon, the clouds showed signs of strengthening.

As most photographers know, light cloudy skies are desirable for foliage as the diffused light brings out their natural colors. This served me well on close-ups of the lakes and the upper basin.

My goal, however, had been to photograph the recent snow on Rampart Ridge above the lakes, as I had in '96. I was never afforded the opportunity. When the lakes were lit, the ridge was dark and vice versa. Dem's da berries. You work with what you are dealt.

Discouraged by the clouds, I decided to climb up Rampart Ridge for a birds eye view of the area. The upper basin above the lakes was actually quite interesting, especially on my descent. The clouds above were working their magic on the sun's rays. Of course, I didn't realize it at the time. I planned to put my camera away for the evening.

I descended back to camp and waited. I watched the sky and the peaks around me. I've learned not to give up to soon, but these were thick clouds above. I had my doubts. The day had shown many signs that a predicted storm may have been advancing on the area quicker than forecast.

Still, I scouted compositions close to camp, which was placed in a most desirable location for reflections shots. Then I waited some more. Things did not look promising. I began cooking dinner and preparing for the cold night ahead.

Then it happened. The sun dipped below the cloud cover to the west and cast its magical light on the peaks around me. I raced to my camera, which was set up on Alta Mount. Hi Box was hid from me behind some trees near camp. After a couple of minutes of shooting Alta, curiosity got the best of me. I'm glad it did.

Nature often surprises you. I went into this trip with set hopes, and was totally thrown a curve. But in the end, I came away smiling and feeling blessed with what I had been served.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall Colors along Box Canyon Creek

A couple of weeks ago my friend Greg Vaughn and I had planned a trip up to Rampart Lakes to experience the fall colors. The trip fell through at the last moment due to me falling ill, but it remained on my mind.

Unfortunately, Greg's schedule wouldn't allow him to join me last weekend. And it was unfortunate, because he would have thoroughly enjoyed the colors at near peak conditions!

Driving to the TH along FS Road 4936, I couldn't help but notice a waterfall with yellow vine maple above it along Box Canyon Creek. The rock around it was also very interesting. I got out and scouted the area, choosing to descend down to the creek in search of interesting foreground. I didn't find much. I played with some things, but nothing I was very excited about. I slowly began working my way back to the truck, still keeping my eyes open for potential items of interest. Then I noticed a crimson colored bush slightly below me on the down-trending slope. I knelt down to view it from knee level and liked the possibilities. I composed several compositions similar to that above - all while laying on my side and my tripod low to the ground. I like this one the best.

Then it was off to the Rachel Lake TH - coming next!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kids Hike to Tolmie Peak

Introducing children to the outdoors for the very first time is an incredibly rewarding experience for a parent. Helping them hoist that tiny pack onto their shoulders and seeing their face beaming with pride in anticipation of the unknown is something to behold. The images become permanent in your mind for years to come.

Shortly after my daughter Karissa turned 3 years old (top photo), I took her on her very first hike up to Eunice Lake and Tolmie Peak in Mount Rainier National Park. I think she had to take three steps for each of mine. I really didn’t think she would make it much further than the first mile, and made certain to bring the child carrier for when she exhausted herself.

Though tired, she hiked all the way to Eunice Lake by herself – 2-1/4 miles! After wading in the lake together and taking a long food break to restore her energy, I asked her if she wanted to go back to the car or continue on to the lookout. She thought about it long and hard before finally saying, “Daddy, I want to go to the tippy-tippy top!” And that she did.

Blueberries were the only thing working against me on that day. One was all it took to get her hooked! She arrived at the lookout to a celebratory greeting from everyone, and was offered many summit treats by all for her effort. Her smile was absolutely radiant, and as a dad my pride in her was indescribable.

That memory has remained with me as a favorite for the last three years.

My son Brendan turned 3 back in March and I have been waiting for September to roll around to share the same experience with him. The difference this time was that we were joined by his sister, some friends and my dad. This was a recipe for a fun day.

I learned early on that just 6 months difference in is considerable. At 3-1/2 years of age, Brendan’s endurance was much stronger than his sister's had been. Though, his weakness for blueberries was just as problematic!

When Brendan arrived at the lake, he couldn’t understand why we were stopping. His eyes were glued to the lookout above and he wanted to get up there. He played for a short period near the water, but after repeated urgings to get going, he hoisted his own pack on and began heading up the trail – on his own. His determination was impressive!

It was fun watching the kids hike together and watch their eyes as they discovered new things. Halfway along the lake they found a newt sunning itself on the trail. They were totally fascinated with this! It was also quite fun to watch them slow waaaay down along the trail while scanning for blueberries – their eyes sweeping the brush in search for the delicacy. And when they found one, all hiking came to an abrupt stop!

The hike was a complete success and enjoyed by all. Brendan not only completed the 6-1/2 miles round trip by himself, he was first back to the car at the end of the day. And yes, daddy was proud as ever once again.

Karissa is 6 years old now (second picture from top), and this once challenging hike for her was merely a stroll this time. Seeing how much she has grown since that first hike was really something. But it was also fun to watch her enjoying the area just as much, if not more, than our first trip.

If you share my love for the outdoors and have kids, I highly recommend getting them out and introducing them to it at an early age. Their abilities will likely surprise you and the moments will be cherished for a lifetime. Fall colors are alive in our mountains right now - a perfect time. Go!