Sunday, July 29, 2012

Upper Sardine Lake

Sunrise on the Sierra Buttes above Upper Sardine Lake, Tahoe National Forest, California.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Abstract Forest

It's been a while since I did a camera pan of a forest and I discovered rather quickly that my ball head needs some lubrication. The tripod head left the foliage with a noticeable textured quality to it but in the end, I decided I liked the effect. The image was created by slowly rotating the camera vertically during a several second exposure.

Forest in the Sauk River Valley, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fort Ebey State Park

I've been working through some of the images from earlier in the year and and this one resonated with me. I guess I'm growing a little weary of the sunshine and beginning to crave some more typical Northwest weather. You have the right to hold that against me when I complain about the rains next winter ;)

Fort Ebey State Park, Whidbey Island, Washington

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Curse Of The Sauk River

This is another image from last week’s trip along the amazingly beautiful Sauk River in Washington. Today’s story, however, is about what happened next.

Shortly upstream, I climbed some rocks to get to a large log perched twenty feet or so above the river. The grain of the wood created lines leading up the valley, the sun shone on the far riverbank, and the deep pool below me was amazingly blue. It was “the image” I was looking for that day. I set up shop and started to tweak my camera position.

Reaching down to find a better position for the tripod legs, I heard the dreaded sound. It was not a rock falling, not a branch breaking, but the distinctive sound of something manmade bouncing down the rocks below me.


I’ve learned to hate that sound. Nothing good ever comes from it.

I did a quick assessment for what was missing. The camera was still on the tripod (that happened to me once). The shutter release and polarizing filter were still attached to the camera. No parts appeared to have fallen off the tripod. The camera bag was zipped up. That left only….


Wait, they were still in my camera bag, zipped up safely. Everything was exactly where it should be. Once the panic over the car keys subsided, I shrugged my shoulders, and went back to finalizing the composition. When everything was set up perfectly, I rotated the ring on the polarizing filter and……

Nothing happened.

It wasn’t as if the reflections and highlights didn’t diminish as much as expected, the filter seemed to have no effect at all. I quickly checked the front of the lens again and there it was, still firmly attached. The lettering on the ring was plainly visible. I tried rotating the ring again with the same result. Well something was wrong here. Removing the filter, it seemed a little light and that is when I put my finger through the middle of it.

The glass was gone!

What ???   Seriously ???   Has this ever happened to anyone else???

When I’m in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, I live with my polarizer attached to front of my lens. It takes away the reflected hotspots that are always on the foliage. It limits the reflections on the water and lets the rocks below the surface shine through. I hate doing forest photography without it. I stayed out for the rest of the day but this was the last image I captured that I liked. I ordered another filter before I even downloaded my photos that night.

Ironically enough, this happened only a few miles from where I dropped my previous polarizer into the river five years ago. Is it “The Curse of the Sauk River”? I’m not superstitious but pretty sure the filter will be safely zipped away in my bag on my next trip through the area. There’s no telling what might happen!

Sauk River, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The White Chuck River

I spent most of last Tuesday wandering along the Mountain Loop Highway and into the valley of the aptly named White Chuck River. To describe this glacier fed river as "milky" would be an understatement. You literally cannot see more than a few inches under the water. It is a huge contrast to the incredibly clear Sauk River which it empties into just a few miles down stream. I normally hate doing photography under sunny blue skies at mid day but how often do you get to see the western slopes of the Cascades like this???

The White Chuck River, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Social Wilderness

You don't go to Smith Rock State Park in Oregon expecting solitude. The walk-in campground is usually packed with climbers and the fun usually lasts well into the night. The couple of times I've traveled to the climber's paradise, I have tried to go with an open mind and the willingness to accept a social experience. As a result, I've met some pretty cool and quirky people from around the world and around the corner.....and been treated to some pretty awesome light as well :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Redmond Watershed Preserve

When we first moved to Washington, we lived across the road from the Redmond Watershed Preserve. Just a quick 5 minute walk could put me on this trail. No matter how stressed I was, a quick stroll through the forest would solve my problems...or at least put them in perspective.