the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Archive for May, 2019

Columbia National Wildlife Refuge

Basalt formation at Columbia National Wildlife RefugeA couple weeks ago, Tanya and I visited the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Washington. While obviously it is a good place for bird photography (in season at least), it is also a good place for landscape photography. The refuge is full of small lakes and wetlands set among basalt cliffs. Add in blue skies and interesting clouds, and the area is ripe with landscape photo opportunities.

The best time to visit for photography is the golden hours. However, if you are driving over from Tacoma (like I have the two times I’ve visited), it’s difficult to be there at sunrise or sunset. But even mid-day offers some possibilities if you can control the contrast or find a composition where the contrast doesn’t ruin the image (such as the photo above; well at least I don’t think it does).

On our recent visit, I was hoping to catch some of the spring wildflowers, but we were a little early. If you are thinking of visiting, I bet the flowers are in full bloom right now.

The refuge is traversed by gravel roads, some of which are closed during parts of the year to protect wildlife. There are also several short trails. During my visit last month, I took the 4-mile round trip Chukar and Blythe Lakes hike. The hike traverses the shoreline of Blythe Lake before climbing to a viewpoint above Chukar Lake. If you do take a hike or wander around in the brush taking photos, be sure to do a tick check when returning to the car.

Reeds along the shore of Blythe Lake, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

Reeds along the shore of Blythe Lake

Clouds and basalt cliffs, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

Clouds and basalt cliffs near Blythe Lake

Wetlands along the trail to Chukar Lake, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

Wetlands along the trail to Chukar Lake,

Hawk, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

Can’t have a post about a wildlife refuge without showing some wildlife. There were quite a few raptors about. Also saw several great egrets and lots of Canada geese. We talked to someone who had seen sandhill cranes, be we did not see any.

Rocks, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

I liked the shape and color of these rocks near Chukar Lake.

Soda Lake, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

Black and white conversion shot of Soda Lake.

Drumheller Channels, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

These are part of the Drumheller Channels, which is a National Natural Landmark, are a classic portion of the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington. They were formed by glacial outburst floods (and are very cool for me as a geologist). The Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is set within the Drumheller Channels.

Photo Talk Radio NW Interview

It’s been a busy week, but without a doubt, the highlight was being the featured guest on Photo Talk Radio Northwest. My interview will air today, May 4th, between 4 and 5 pm local time (that’s Pacific Daylight Savings Time for my friends not in this time zone). If you are local, you can listen live to the show on the air at KKNW 1150am at that time or by clicking the ‘listen online’ link from the KKNW 1150am website at .

It was fun spending and hour in the studio talking photography with Bruce Hudson, the founder of the show; his son Josh; their Photoshop expert (or as they call her, the Photoshop Goddess), Amy McGann; and the show’s producer, Carla Conrad. I was surprised they contacted me for an interview, but they told me their show was for the photo enthusiast, and liked having guests that were not necessarily full-time professionals. Apparently, they came across my blog, and liked what the saw enough to get in touch.

I’ll let you tune in to hear what we talked about, but if you miss it, I’ll be posting a recording of the interview later.

You may ask yourself why I’m showing am illustrating this post with garden photos. Good question. The interview was between 3 and 4 pm last Thursday. By the time I left the building, it was after 4:30 pm. The studio is in Bellevue, and leaving Bellevue for Tacoma at that time is a recipe for a 2-hour commute. So instead of running straight home, I went up the Bellevue Botanical Garden to take a few shots. The rhododendron and Japanese gardens are in their prime right now, so it was a good time to go.

As for the rest of the week, last Saturday I attended the Airbnb Experience Summit in Seattle – shooting the event for Airbnb in the morning and attending as a host in the afternoon. It was fun meeting and shooting the Airbnb staff and other experience hosts from the local area. Sunday I hosted a guest on my Seattle Airbnb experience, and yesterday I hosted a couple on a private workshop in Seattle.

Enjoy the shots of the Bellevue Botanical Garden and be sure to tune in this afternoon for Photo Talk Radio Northwest!