Wednesday, January 25, 2023

King Tides at Cape Disappointment in Washington

Image of King Tides, Cape Disappointment
King Tides at Cape Disappointment.

"King Tides" is a non-scientific term used to describe higher than average high tides.  In Washington, these typically happen during the winter months of November, December and January for a three-day period.  They are the result of the gravitational forces of the sun and moon basically playing "Tug-of-war".  They typically occur during a full moon and can be further escalated by storms.

In my state of Washington, these typically occur in the winter months of November, December and January, and for a period of three days each.

Image of King Tides, Cape Disappointment
King Tides at Cape Disappointment.
The year I visited Waikiki Beach at Cape Disappointment for the first time and was not disappointed!

This might be the most iconic place to photograph the tides in Washington despite it's remoteness, near the small town of Ilwaco.  The park offers camping, hiking and access to wild beaches not typical of Washington's southern coast.  It's about a 3 hour drive from the Seattle area, and is actually much closer Portland, OR!

Watching and photographing the tides is an incredible experience.  Get there early for the full experience.  Seeing the surf a few hours before high tide and witnessing it build to a crescendo is the exhilarating experience that one brings home with them and tells stories about!

Image of King Tides, Cape Disappointment
King Tides at Cape Disappointment.
Photographer Tips:  While the tides are always exhilarating, the best images are captured when the water is backlit to bring out the greens.  This doesn't happen under heavy clouds.  Plan your trip when you suspect you will see some partial sun or at least diffused light.

Telephoto lenses work the best here.  I enjoyed my 70-200mm lens the most.  A stronger lens could capture the details of the waves up close.

Don't forget to give your camera a break and just enjoy the beauty and raw energy of the surf.  Especially near the high tide when the water is churning every which way.  It was during this incredible time that I heard an interesting "chirp" and noticed it wasn't a bird, but rather a sea otter swimming back and forth on its back "people watching"!  How was he staying afloat?!!

For more images of the Washington coast, feel free to visit my Washington Coast Gallery.

As always, thanks for looking.  Hope to see you at the coast?

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Bryce Canyon National Park in Winter


Image of Bryce Canyon National Park in Winter
Bryce Canyon National Park in winter.

Having visited this park in spring and summer, I had always wanted to witness it under a blanket of snow in winter.  One early February I got my chance.  Closely watching the weather forecast, I saw and incoming storm expected for the area.

My plan was to sleep in my vehicle.  However, at the last minute I discovered I would be bringing guests – my kids, early and middle elementary school ages!  Our only choice was to tent it – their first winter snow camping experience!  We shared the entire Bryce campground with a single motor home.

Temperatures during the day with in the 20’s and low 30’s.  Nighttime dipped into the low teens.

Night came early of course, so we found ourselves bundled in our sleeping bags playing cards with the illumination from our headlamps.  The kids had a blast!  I will always cherish the special memories from this trip.

The next morning, I awoke to a wall of spin drift (blown snow) completely block the outside of our tent door.  It was 13 degrees outside as I hiked to the rim of the canyon for sunrise.  It was beautiful!

This image appears for the month of January in my 2023Western Landscapes wall calendar.

You may view more images from this area in my SouthwestGallery.

I hope you enjoy!