October 06, 2006

Best Laid Plans

You know what they say about the best laid plans. This was to be another Rainier weekend -- three more Autumn days in and around the park -- but I only made it as far as Maple Valley before my engine light came on. I refused to turn back at that point, but I knew instantly that my three day weekend was now a single day in the mountains.

Goat Creek and Vine Maple, Autumn My first stop this time of year when going in the northeast entrance to Rainier is Goat Creek. There's a photograph there, where a vine maple hangs over a particularly photogenic mossy cascade inthe creek, that I've photographed several times before, yet I've never been able to catch it at peak fall color. So I've vowed to stop in every time I'm in the area this Autumn to see if I can catch the best color. Unfortunately, today was not quite there so I'll have to come back. But it's still a nice photo and the vine maple has begun to turn, so I snapped some photos. That is not the only pontentially good photo on the creek, however, even within the first 100 yards. I spent almost an hour along the lower creek looking for and photographing new shots.

Cascade on Goat Creek

I did a quick check along the American River valley to check on the status of the larches, but they were still wel before peak color. I'll have to focus on the later, because prime vine maple season is well upon us.

I decided to spend some time on the Grove of the Patriarchs trail, since the vine maples in the area were close to peak. I've always loved this trail, but I've never had much luck photographing it. Scale is a problem when dealing with such large trees. How do you make them look so large in the photo without some distracting element just there to show size? I spent more time this hikie photographing a pair of trees along the trail itself rather than in the grove at the end, but I think the results were promising. The colors in the grove were amazing -- a yellow wall of vine maples behind old growth trees -- but as usual at that spot, I had trouble finding good composition.

Old Growth Trees Grove of the Patriarchs Trail

Fence and Vine Maple, AutumnI ended the day in the Box Canyon area. It was cold and drizzly, but the vine maples were at peak at this higher elevation. I only had a little light left, but managed a few decent shots before heading home. I really enjoy the crossed-log fence in that area and have always tried several times to get photos of it, but have always been disappointed with the results. They came out better this time, with the constrasting red vine maple leaves and green ferns, but I didn't have enough time to quite get the picture I wanted. I know it was there, I just couldn't seem to find it.

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