Monday, December 16, 2013

Wall Calendar Images

Mount Steel reflected in Lake La Crosse at sunset, Olympic National Park, Washington.
Mount Steel reflected in Lake La Crosse.
This is the time of year that I become busy with calendar image requests.  Of course, calendar companies are working 1-2 years in advance.  2014 calendars were printed and on store shelves 6-9 months ago!

Here are a couple more images that will be appearing in 2015 wall calendar - both from Olympic National Park here in Washington.

The first one is from a fantastic solo backpacking trip I did into La Crosse Basin over a five day period, entering via the N. Fork Skykomish (Staircase) and exiting out the Hamma Hamma.  There was a forest fire in the vicinity, which often make for dramatic sunrises and sunsets.  One may also access the area via the Quinault and Enchanted Valley.  Any way you choose, it is a minimum two days to reach this lovely basin.  But it is well worth the effort.

Mount Olympus and lupine along High Divide after sunset in Olympic National Park, Washington.
Mount Olympus from High Divide.
High Divide is probably the best area to view Mount Olympus that is accessed by trail (my favorite place is very much off trail).  It is most commonly accessed from Sol Duc, though some approach it from the Hoh.  A favorite is to do a loop trip from Sol Duc, hiking up to Heart Lake, then venturing over to fantastic Seven Lakes Basin.  There are fabulous campsite in both locations.  But the even better ones are up on the divide itself, offering exceptional views of Mount Olympus and Mount Carrie.

High Divide is an excellent destination in late July/early August for flowers, or late September/early October for fall colors.

I'll share more information about the calendars once they go to publication, which won't be long from now.  Stay tuned!

For more images of Olympic National Park, be sure and check out my Olympic Gallery, which includes these images and more.

I'm not sure whether I'll have another update before Christmas, so please allow me to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all now.  I hope you are afforded the opportunity to spend time with family, enjoy good food, and find something special under the tree!


Monday, December 9, 2013

Snoqualmie Falls in Winter

Snoqualmie Falls amidst winter ice, Washington.
Snoqualmie Falls and an ice filled basin in winter.
One of my favorite winter destinations in western Washington when the temps dip into the teens is Snoqualmie Falls.  The splash from the falls coats the cliffs and rocks in the area and instantly freezes, creating a winter wonderland for the eyes!

Typically, the most common time for this to happen is the month of December.  But it can take place in January and February as well.  Whenever the cold snap happens, I jump in my vehicle and make the half hour drive from my house to the falls, commonly in the dark so as to be there before sunrise.

Snoqualmie Falls amidst winter ice, Washington.
Snoqualmie Falls in winter.
The facility at Snoqualmie Falls has had a recent face lift.  Previous visitors might remember the gazebo-like platform for viewing the falls from the cliff edge.  This is gone.  A new platform without a roof has taken its place. 

Also installed are some new spot lights that are pointed at the upper falls.  I think this is a pretty cool feature, both for casual tourists and photographers.  See the color highlights at the top of the falls in the image to the left?  Evening light as the sun is about to set?  Nope.  The illumination is actually coming from the new lights.  Pretty soft and natural looking, isn't it?

There have been other changes made as well.  I really like the upgrade.

There are a couple of different places to enjoy the falls.  The most obvious is the platform high up on the cliff edge near the Salish Lodge.  This vantage offers a bird's eye view of the falls and is the most famous.

However, curious and adventurous photographers will want to investigate the base of the falls.  There is a trail which from the platform area that leads down to the base of the falls.  This was closed due to ice during my visit.  My advise?  Do what most people do and drive down the road a little further to find parking at the lower TH.

Rime ice at Snoqualmie Falls in winter.
Rime ice beside Snoqualmie Falls.
For photographers, there is a lot to do here!  The obvious subject is the falls, of course.  And one can play with both horizontal and vertical compositions.  You can include a lot of the area with a wide angle lens, or come in tight with a medium lens.

Ah, but there are even more opportunities with 200mm lens or greater.  You can isolate some of the ice formations, working with patterns and natural features.

While photographing the falls, don't forget to play with shutter speeds for a completely different look.  You can shoot fast to freeze (almost, in this case) the water, or shoot slower to get the smooth, ribbon effect.  Each tell a much different story.  What is your preference?  Many photographers follow the rule that powerful, turbulent waterfalls are best frozen, while smaller, lighter streams should be shot slower for more artistic effect.  What do I think?  I think every rule is meant to be broken, and that it is up to artistic perception and interpretation.

Here is a top-bottom comparison of what I am talking about - same composition, different shutter speeds.  Which do you like?

Snoqualmie Falls and winter ice, Washington.
f 2.8, 1/80th second.

Snoqualmie Falls and winter ice, Washington.
f 22, 0.8 second.
Most people equate the choice to, artistic or dramatic? I'll let you be the judge.

For more images of Snoqualmie Falls, check out an older post I did.  You may also view more images in my Snoqualmie Falls Gallery.

As always, thanks for looking!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2015 Calendar Images

A rainbow in the Wind River Range, Wyoming.
Double rainbow in Wind River Range, Wyoming.
 I can't believe it has been a month since my last post.  Things have been quite busy of late, starting with recent knee surgery.  I tore the medial meniscus in my right knee somehow, which required surgery about 3 weeks ago.  Recovery has been going well, but I am no where near where I would like to be.  When you are an active person, it is very hard to sit.  I would much rather be running, bicycling and enjoying snowshoe hikes in the mountains!

The downtime does allow me some opportunities to catch up things, however.  Such as planning future hikes and photography trips, getting caught up on photo submissions to both editors and my agency, and even getting some web work in.  Still...

As such, I thought I would share a couple of images that have been selected to repeat in a 2015 calendar.  I know, it's a long way off.  But that is how calendar companies operate.  They are always working 1-2 years ahead to allow for submissions, image selection, layout design, and production.  These can be time consuming tasks.

Mount St. Helens above flowers near summit of Mount Margaret in Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington.
Mount St. Helens from Mount Margaret.
The image above was taken near the Elkhart Entrance to the Wind River Range in Wyoming.  We had just arrived after a long day of driving from Washington state, and were setting up to sleep at the TH.  A storm had just come through, and as the clouds slowly began to clear this beautiful double rainbow emerged. 

The image to the right is from a very special backpack I did with my dad into the Mount Margaret backcountry in Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, and was taken very near the summit of Mount Margaret.  This was during a time of considerable thermal activity inside the crater as the dome was growing at an escalated pace and captivating the curiosity of geologists and researchers.

Both these images are available for purchase as prints on my website.

I have many other things going on as well, which I hope to catch up with and share soon.

As always, thanks for viewing.  Hope to see you on the trail (or snow slopes) soon!