Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park

In March I gave a slide show presentation at the Olympic National Park Visitors' Center in Port Angeles. It offered a great excuse to extend my visit and enjoy some of the park!

The forecast was for mostly cloudy skies, so I decided to take advantage (yes, you read that right) of the conditions and head to the Hoh Rain Forest.

Of course, I woke up to mostly sunny skies and immediately sought an updated forecast before committing to the drive out to the coast. Fortunately, the forecast remained the same.

As I neared the Sol Duc entrance, rains began to materialize and a smile appeared on my face. But as I reached Forks the sun came out again! The Hoh brought dark clouds and a heavy rain at times. But as I neared the TH, the sun parted the clouds. Such went the day. Don't like the conditions? Wait five minutes!

The best time to photograph foliage is under cloud cover. Why? It evens the light and gets rid of the high contrast shadows present under the harsh light of the sun. The colors are much truer. Add a polarizer to cut the glare and the greens will really pop! Those polarized sun glasses you wear? Same effect.

Add some water droplets to the foliage for some added brilliance and the scene really takes off! Some photographers actually carry spray bottles of water for this purpose. Of course, I had Mother Nature on my side.

March (when I took these images) typically is a little early for the Hoh as many of the plants are still in winter mode and awaiting the warmer temperatures of spring. I've found late April and May to be a great time to catch the vibrant new growth of the forest. So if you're looking for a place to visit in the next few weeks, I recommend the experience of the Hoh Rain Forest. You can walk the Hall of Moss trail, the nature loop trail, or even explore up the first few miles of the Hoh River trail. Lots to see!

Caution: Be careful of the resident elk in the area. Keep a respectful distance from them. Getting gored by one of the large bucks would not be a fun experience.

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