November Weekend on the Olympic Coast
Every year I supply photographs for the promotional calendar at my day job (Robinson Noble). I try to come up with photos that match the month. November is a tough month. What kind of scene says “November”? Not only that, over the years, November is a slow photography month for me. It is usually cold and wet, not my favorite conditions for going out on a photo shoot. But, my stock of November shots (at least those worthy of being on a calendar) is getting very low. So several weeks ago, I decided I need to do a photo weekend. I decided to go to the Olympic coast, and so I reserved a 3-bedroom cottage on the beach at Pacific Beach (I needed 3 bedrooms because Tanya’s mom is staying with us for a few weeks and Tanya wanted to also invite her brother and his wife – they also brought their dog, and we brought Nahla).
I was all set for cold, rainy weather – there aren’t rain forests on the western side of the Olympic Peninsula for no reason. Yet, as our luck would have it, it was beautifully sunny all weekend. That doesn’t happen in November along the Washington coast very often. Of course, being a nature photographer, I have to complain about the weather – it’s never perfect, right? The sun made photography in the rain forest difficult because of high contrast, and the lack of clouds didn’t help the sunsets. But I think I did okay anyway, you be the judge. Are any of these photos suitable for a November slot on a calendar?
This is the Lake Quinault Lodge. This was taken in early morning, and though the whole scene was in shade, the sky was quite bright; therefore I controlled that by using HDR on this shot. The featured shot above is of Falls Creek, located just east of the lodge.
Bunch Creek Waterfall, Olympic National Park. By shooting early in the morning, this waterfall was in the shade, so no contrast problems.
Nice layers of color with this stand of trees across the Quinault River – shot in the morning before the sun had reached river level.
Here’s the Quinault River in Olympic National Park (right before the bridge, which you can see under the small patch of fog), just as the sun was starting to reach down to river level. This photo took some extra processing in Lightroom to control the contrast. The sky was very bright and the shadows dark, but with a few tweaks, it came out well I think.
The sun had yet to reach the Bunch Fields, letting me photograph this Olympic National Park scene in complete shadow.
While the shots above were taken in early morning, this was taken in mid-day – no way to keep direct sunlight out. HDR to the rescue! This is along the Maple Grove Nature Trail in Olympic National Park.
Of course, the Olympic coast features beaches as well as rain forests. Here is sunset at the appropriately named Joe Creek in Pacific Beach State Park
And back in Olympic National Park, here is Ruby Beach right before sunset.
I had fun photographing the sun shining through the waves at Ruby Beach.
Without good clouds in the sky to light up the sunset, I tried for this view of the setting sun through a small arch to give some character to the shot.