Monday, April 23, 2012

It's Tulip Time in the Skagit Valley!

Tulips at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon, Washington.
That's right, it is that time of year again!  The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is in full swing and the tulips are strutting their colors!  Now is the time to get up and pay them a visit!

A drive around in search of colorful fields will yield few results, despite what the Bloom Map might say.  However, the field behind Roozengaarde is absolutely spectacular!   It is also huge, offering many varieties of tulips - the largest collection I recall seeing in any one of their fields in the past.

Of course, the Roozengaarde Display Garden is the highlight of any visit, and is easily worth the $5 admission fee.  If visiting on a weekend, arrive early!

A sea of daffodils in the Skagit Valley.
If daffodils are your thing, it's not too late to catch them either!  There is a prime field on Beaver Marsh Road, just south of Roozengarde.  There are also many varieties still on display within the Gardens themselves.

Photographers - bring all your lenses!  There is so much opportunity here that you will tire of shooting long before you are even close to "finishing".  One can spend days here and still not come away feeling complete.  Wide-angle lenses are great for catching the fields.  Mid-range lenses work well for capturing the artistic arrangements in the display garden.  Telephoto lenses are excellent for getting up close and personal.  You can use them all here!

Definitely waterproof your gear and yourself.  I would recommend rubber boots if planning to visit any of the fields, even on a nice day.  The fields can take days to completely dry out after a period of showers.

I hope to have tulip and daffodil images from this year and years past on my web site soon. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Daffodils in the Skagit Valley

Rows of daffodils in the Skagit Valley.
 Each spring hundreds of thousands of people descend upon the Skagit Valley to enjoy the millions of tulips in bloom.   The rows upon rows of magnificent flowers are breathtaking.  I encourage all to experience it.

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival officially runs from April 1 - 30th.  The tulip show, in my experience, typically hits peak about the second week of April.  However, the bloom dates are heavily dependent on weather and can vary greatly from year to year.

Fortunately, we have a tool available to us to take the guessing game out planning our visit.  Roozengaarde, one of the premier tulip growers in North America, publishes a bloom map with daily updates!

And now, to share another secret with you.  Want to avoid the crowds?  Go now!  Daffodils are at peak bloom right now and the fields are amazing!  There is a good chance you will find yourself all alone as you explore them.  It will be a much different experience in a week or two when the tulips hit peak.

Enjoy, and feel free to share your experience!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Death Valley National Park Display

Hiker in Fall Canyon, Death Valley National Park.
Two years ago to the week, I shared a fantastic trip with my dad to Death Valley National Park.  It was a pretty special trip for both us, and he later voiced that of all the trips we had done together over the years, this one quickly became his favorite, and remained so to his death.

My dad died in a hiking accident this last fall.

When I remember my dad, this trip and the fun we had always jumps to the forefront. 

Shortly after my dad's death, I was approached to license an image for a new display at Death Valley National Park.  What a great way to honor my dad and our special trip together!

Artist's Palette, Death Valley National Pqark.
One image soon turned to two images as we negotiated, and an agreement was finalized.

So, it is with great excitement and pride that I share with you this announcement!

Next time you visit the Furnace Creek Visitor Center in Death Valley National Park, look for both these images on display!

Thanks for the memories dad, and the opportunity to photograph this wonderful park with you; a park with features that were so new and unbelievably different to the both of us.

More images can be viewed in my Death Valley National Park Gallery.

Thanks for visiting.