August 15, 2009

Mountain Loop South

I headed north chasing the clouds, starting at the Mountain Loop Highway out of Granite Falls and seeing how far the day would take me. The first shot to catch my eye was a cascade on Twenty Two Creek, near the trailhead to Lake Twenty Two. I'd noticed it before, but never really stopped to photograph it. It turned out to be the best location of the day.

Cascade on Twenty Two Creek Cascade on Twenty Two Creek Cascade on Twenty Two Creek

My primary destination was Deer Creek Road, so I could do the easy hike out to Kelcema Lake and see what it was like in the summer. I didn't get to the trailhead until mid-afternoon, and everyone else was on their way out as I hiked in, so I had the entire lake to myself. There were some wildflowers on the drive up, primarily fireweed, but there was nothing to speak of at the lake, and with the overcast skies and no vegetation to shoot, photography was pretty much out. I had lunch with a few mosquitoes and explored the network of footpaths around the lake, then headed back.

My final trek of the day was driving out to the Headlee Pass trailhead so I could investigate the viewpoint there overlooking Morning Star Peak. On the way I found a nice shot in Panther Creek, but my batteries were running low so I only managed a few. The views of Morning Star are promising, but I fear the sun is too far south in the sky this time of year to illuminate the visible faces at sunrise or sunset. I took a few snapshots, but the mountain was barely visible in the clouds.

Boulder in Panther Creek

I'm having some serious issues with battery life in my camera, and it's really starting to affect how many photos I can take in a trip. I suspect it's the battery charger, but it could be the batteries themselves or even the camera. Time to start buying some replacements.

August 08, 2009

Return to Rainier Wildflowers

Back again to Mount Rainier for more wildflower photography. Saturday in August means crowds, so Paradise was pretty much off limits. There wasn't a free parking spot anywhere to be found around Paradise or even Paradise Valley, so I spent my time around Reflection Lakes instead. There was far too much fog to shoot any landscapes, so once again I focused on the abundant wildflowers. The species or different at Reflection Lakes than Paradise, so I had new subjects this trip.

Fireweed Fireweed Fern in Horsetail

August 07, 2009

Weather Dichotomy at Rainier

My first real outing of the year, so I head to Rainier of course. I spent the early afternoon hiking around Sunrise -- Sourdough Ridge to Frozen Lake then back to Sunrise, about 3 miles. It was so hazy from a forest fire at Grand Park that you could barely see the mountain. I didn't even bother to take my tripod. I took some snapshots for documentation, but nothing worth posting. There are still some wildflowers there, mainly bistort on the ridge slopes and patches of lupine along the creeks, but Sunrise seems to be well past peak.

Afterword I drove down to Stevens Canyon and hit a wall of fog -- there was the overcast weather they'd predicted, and then some. The fog was so thick it was virtually a whiteout, pretty much for the entire rest of the trip. I spent a little time admiring Nickel Creek (there's a big log in the photo now) while I ate lunch, and was disappointed at the lack of flowers as I swung by Reflection Lakes.

I spent the rest of the day on the 4th Crossing Trail off Paradise Valley Road, on my hands and knees in the mud trying my hand at macro photography (to mixed results). The wildflowers are amazing there right now, as they seem to be every year. The fog was thick and the sky was dark, and a steady drizzle coated everything with water droplets. It would have made for some interesting photos, but they didn't come out quite as well as I'd hoped. I'm still pretty green at macro, and my old camera is just not up to the task. Perhaps it's time to get another.

Thinking of going back again tomorrow.

Magenta Paintbrush Magenta Paintbrush Bracted Lousewort Detail Bistort Subalpine Lupine, Weighed Down By Raindrops

PS. Trying out some new things with the layout. Please bear with me.