August 26, 2006

Hazy Day at Rainier

Another hot and hazy weekend. We need some rain! I wasn't sure if I was heading out anywhere this weekend since I have a lot of traveling coming up soon when Mom's visiting, so I neglected to recharge my batteries and didn't even really think about destinations. After a lazy Saturday morning, I decided to hit the road anyway and settled for my old standby -- Mount Rainier. It wasn't until I got half way there that I remembered the forest fire burning north of the park. I expected the haze to make photos virtually impossible, but drove on anyway.

When I reached the Copper Creek area, I checked the map and decided to spend the bright afternoon scouting for good sunset views of Rainier. It was a longshot, and I figured photos today weren't going to be worth it, but as much time as I spend at Rainier, I have a distinct lack of good photos.

Hazy Mount Rainier I decided to drive around FS-84 and its offshoots in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, southwest of the park, and see if the roads along the side of Osbourn Mountain had any views. I wasn't expecting much and was I wrong! I found what is probably the best viewpoint for Rainier sunset photos that I've seen. It doesn't look like much in the snapshot because the light is bad and the air is thick with haze, but the view itself is fantastic. Add some evening light and a fresh coat of snow and that could be a very nice photo. I'll have to check back this fall and see if I can catch one.

Hazy Mount Rainier at Reflection Lake By then the light was getting good, so I thought I'd try photos closer to the mountain to see if I could eliminate the haze. Ricksecker Point had potential, but it was still a little bit early, so I moved on to Reflection Lake. The light was good, but there was just too much haze for the mountain to really pop. It's a shame because the flowers on the edge of the lake were nice. I don't think they'll last much longer, so that may have been my last chance for the year. I ended up staying there quite a while. There were some deer poking in and out of the bushes, and I'd pretty much written off photos for the rest of the day, so I was in no hurry whatsoever.

Hazy Mount Rainier at Ricksecker Point After a small snack while enjoying the view, I headed back to Ricksecker Point to see if things were any different. The light was better, but there was still too much haze to get any golden glow from the setting sun. I snapped a few photos anyway, just in case, and kicked back for a while, pouring over my maps. It was very relaxing and I stayed over an hour since I had virtually the whole place to myself. It was nice not thinking about photos for once and just enjoying the view. Sometimes I forget how incredible it is to be able to be in such a place only an hour or two from home.

Falls on Paradise River On the way out the Stevens Canyon Road, I stopped at the Paradise River just to take a look. It's never inspired me much at this point in the river, including this time. But as is habit, I peered over the downstream side and saw a nice waterfall I had completely forgotten! Down the trail I went, tripod slung over my shoulder, and managed to grab only a handful of photos before my stale batteries gave out on me. I'll definitely be back for this photo again!

Another shot of the falls:

Falls on Paradise River

No comments: