Sunday, March 28, 2010

Special 'Thank You' to FONP and ONP

Last Thursday I had the honor to be the guest speaker at the Friends of Olympic National Park's annual meeting in Port Angeles, and enjoyed giving a narrated slide show presentation to a packed auditorium in the Olympic National Park Visitors' Center.

I really had a LOT of fun sharing my experiences in the park; everything from coast trips to extended backpacks into the interior, to the Bailey traverse and ascents of Mount Olympus. Of course, I shared many humorous stories from these trips as well!

The audience included the likes of Don Stoneman, Dave Skinner, and many other names of trail notoriety over the last several decades. I also got to meet new Deputy Superintendent of ONP, Todd Suess - a very nice guy who is bringing a fun attitude and wealth of experience to his new position.

Talking with the likes of Don Stoneman after the event was a real honor and treat for me. I also enjoyed learning more about the park from Larry Baysinger, whom I will have to take up for a guided trail ride with my family soon! Of course, the icing on the cake was seeing Dave Skinner arrive and getting a chance to catch up with him (and poke some fun with during my presentation!). I called Dave a week prior with an invite. He received my message only an hour before the event and still found time to attend!

I have so many people I would like to personally thank, beginning with Rod Farlee of FONP who really made it all happen, and who's efforts have gone far beyond this event. I would also like to thank FONP President Larry Stetson, Vice President Greg Halberg, Secretary Karen Jenson, and Treasurer Dan Peacock. All were very nice people who went out of their way to welcome me and acquaint me with their group. If I am forgetting anybody (and I probably am), I apologize.

Finally, a very special Thank You to ONP staff members Greg Marsh and Chris Eckard for their hands-on help in setting up the equipment for my presentation and making sure everything ran smooth. Chris in particular was a great help during my presentation.

The picture of Mount Angeles above was taken the next morning during a drive up to Hurricane Ridge. I followed it up with a drive out to the coast and to the Hoh Rain Forest, capping off a wonderful trip to the peninsula.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Presentation at Olympic National Park Visitors' Center

I am very excited to announce that I will be the guest speaker for the Friends of Olympic National Park's anual meeting this Thursday, March 25th at 7:00 pm. It will be at the Olympic National Park Visitors' Center at 3002 Park Ave. , Port Angeles, and will include the introduction of new Deputy Superintendent Todd Suess. You can read more about it here.

It's an honor to be a part of this event, and I wish to extend a warm and grateful 'Thank You' to Rod Farlee of FONP for considering me.

I would also like to invite you to join me for this fun evening of images and story telling! As I don't get over to the peninsula often for presentations, I'm looking forward to this opportunity to meet new people, and hopefully put faces to the names of many I have met via e-mail and forums over the last few years.

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Firehole Lake Drive - Yellowstone National Park

About 2 miles north of Midway Geyser Basin is Firehole Lake Drive, one of the few places you can watch geysers from your car. It's not nearly as popular as Midway or Upper Geyser Basin, and is often missed by people in a hurry. Big mistake!

Great Fountain Geyser reportedly erupts in a series of several bursts 100 - 200 feet high. I did get to witness an eruption, but it was from a distance with gray overcast skies (flat light). The terraced pools surrounding the geyser are magnificently beautiful and worth photographing in their own right, especially in the evening. They hold a reflection well!

Just northwest of Great Fountain Geyser is White Dome Geyser, an attractive geyser at any time of day with its white geyserite cone. I first visited the area in the morning to scout the area, and found the dramatic light under storm clouds to allow the imagination to run wild. Not a bad first impression!

I returned that evening hoping to capture an eruption of White Dome in much more appealing light. We arrived a half hour early, after having spent time at Great Fountain Geyser, so as not to miss an early eruption.

We waited and waited, braving the increasing numbers of mosquitoes in hopes of catching a pleasant show. The scheduled time arrived and nothing. Then, some rumbling began and steam began to come out in spurts, teasing our expectations before settling back down to calmness again. This continued several times over the next hour. The few people waiting besides us grew tired of waiting and left. Still we held hope.

Light faded as the sun began to set to the west and the sky began to turn orange, then pink. All of a sudden the Geyser awoke - nearly 1-1/2 hours late. Oh, the show Mother Nature had in store for us! What a treat to capture evening light on the erupting steam!

Then as quickly as it had begun, it was over. Still I was full of jubilation for the spectacular treat we were offered. The smile on my face was permanent this evening, and was due to the pride I had in being rewarded for my patience and perseverance. As many times as we photographers are not rewarded, those times that we are can be very especially satisfying.

We finished our evening at the Lower Geyser Basin parking lot as the dramatic sunset continued to unfold before our eyes.

This is the fifth part in a series I am posting from our wonderful visit to Yellowstone National Park last June. I hope you enjoy it.

Next Up: Lower Geyser Basin and Fountain Paint Pots!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

U.S. Army Trade Show Display

I never would have guessed a relationship existed between one of my landscape images and the U.S. Army, but it does!

This image of Mt. Rainier was taken during a backpack to Mystic Lake in Mount Rainier National Park (before the Carbon River Road washed out).

It is now being used to help enlist recruits in the southeastern region of our country. Go Army!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Midway Geyser Basin - Yellowstone National Park

"Hell's Half Acre", as it was colorfully referred to by Rudyard Kippling in 1889, is still alive and well, and a deservedly popular destination in Yellowstone National Park!

Technically, Midway Geyser Basin is actually part of Lower Geyser Basin. But due to its isolation, it has established its own identity over the years, and deservedly so. It possesses two of the largest springs in the world: Grand Prismatic Spring and the now dormant Excelsior Geyser. Excelsior Geyser used to be the largest geyser in the world, erupting nearly 300 feet in the air before 1900. Today it is considered a hot spring discharging more than 4050 gallons of boiling water per minute.

The loop trail trail at Midway Geyser Basin is about a mile long and a very easy walk. It immediately crosses the Firehole River (which isn't a bad place to hang out) and climbs up the south bank of the river. Along the way you pass the colorful runoff stream from Excelsior Geyser Crater. The crater emits a large amount of steam. Though I tried to play with photographic possibilities, I didn't come away with anything successful.

Further along the trail are the colorful Turquoise and Indigo Springs. Turquoise Spring has an underground connection with Excelsior Geyser. When Excelsior was active, Turquoise lowered nearly 10 feet. In June and July, Turquoise can be surrounded by a beautiful display of purple gentians.

Moving further along the trail one comes to the climax of the tour - Grand Prismatic Spring. Grand Prismatic is easily the highlight of Midway Geyser Basin, and probably my favorite spring to photograph due to its rich, vibrant colors. The brilliant oranges are extremely captivating as you search out compositions from along the trail.

The patterns are also quite intriguing and fun to play with. They are numerous and very accessible from the boardwalk. Allow your imagination to run wild!

The colors of Prismatic are very dependent on the temperature of the runoff water. Yellow bacteria appear in the hotter water near the spring, while red, orange and brown are prevalent in the cooler water. Colors and patterns change from year year as a result. I've seen some beautiful shades of red in published images of Prismatic. My visit witnessed mostly oranges and browns.

Whatever the color, the attraction of Prismatic will likely win you over. Take your time and enjoy this beautiful spring. I encourage you to visit mid-morning for the best light.

This is the fourth part in a series I am posting from our wonderful visit to Yellowstone National Park last June. I hope you are enjoying.

Next Up: Firehole Lake Drive!