the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Washington

A Fine Spring Evening

Point RustonNot only have I not posted in awhile, I haven’t had time to get the camera out either and it was starting to make me antsy. So yesterday evening, I grabbed the camera and drove down the hill to take a few shots of Mount Rainier and the sunset from Ruston Way here in Tacoma. These shots were taken from a spot about a mile from my house. I still want to get out for a full day with camera in hand, but for a short while, the hour I spent last night scratched my photography itch. Do you have a special, go-to spot when you just have to get out there an click a shutter button for awhile?

Mount Rainier just at sunset

Mount Rainier just at sunset

Looking northwesterly toward the Olympic Mountains

Looking northwesterly toward the Olympic Mountains

Mount Rainier about 20 minutes after the sun set (in the blue hour)

Mount Rainier about 20 minutes after the sun set (in the blue hour)


Quick Shots: Mount Rainier National Park

Emerging RainierWinter is rapidly ending here in western Washington. Spring flowers are already blooming in my yard. But it isn’t quite over yet. Here’s a few shots from a snowshoeing outing I made earlier this month in Mount Rainier National Park.

Sun lighting part of the slopes near Paradise

Sun lighting part of the slopes near Paradise

Part of the Tatoosh Range, south of Paradise

Part of the Tatoosh Range, south of Paradise

View of the Nisqually River from the bridge over the river in the park

View of the Nisqually River from the bridge over the river in the park

Down by the Nisqually River

Down by the Nisqually River

Blue winter sky above the Nisqually River

Blue winter sky above the Nisqually River

Grove of trees in the Nisqually Valley

Grove of trees on the floor of the Nisqually Valley


Thankful Sunrise

Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side UpLast Thursday was Thanksgiving in the United States. I’m thankful to live in such a place that can give sunrises like the one I found on Thanksgiving morning. Normally, you need clouds in the sky for good sunrise or sunset shots, but in this case, I thought I might have something even without the clouds because I knew the sunrise was going to be close to Mount Rainier. Using the Photographer’s Ephemeris, I saw the sun would rise along the flank of the mountain as viewed from the Fox Island bridge, about 14 miles from my home.

The morning was crisp and cold, just about freezing, which made for a few low-level clouds and a scattered mist on the water. As the sun was rising, the moon was setting in the west, near the Olympic Mountains. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful morning. The official sunrise was at about 7:40 a.m., but because it rose in line with the mountain, it didn’t crest the mountain until almost 8:00 a.m. And crest it did, over the very top of the mountain. Being out there on the bridge, photographing the sun and the moon in a beautiful setting, I was very thankful on Thanksgiving morning.

As the sun was rising, the moon was setting near the Olympic Mountains. This was taken just as the sun hit the mountains.

As the sun was rising, the moon was setting near the Olympic Mountains. This was taken just as the sun hit the mountains.

View of Hale Passage and Mount Rainier about 15 minutes before the official sunrise (and about 35 minutes before the sun crested the mountain).

View of Hale Passage and Mount Rainier about 15 minutes before the official sunrise (and about 35 minutes before the sun crested the mountain).

Morning mist over the water following sunrise.

Morning mist over the water following sunrise.


Working on Photographer Memory

Sea BarnI remember five years ago this month (it seems like just last year, how time flies when you get old), when my friend and fellow photographer, Bob Miller visited the Tacoma area. We got together one afternoon and drove out to the Key Peninsula, a rural area west of Gig Harbor, to see what we could find.

The Key Peninsula doesn’t offer any world-class view. But there are a couple of state parks: Penrose Point and Joemma Beach. Both are nice enough places, and some good photography can be had at either. Both have pleasant beaches. Penrose is on the east side of the peninsula and has a view of Mount Rainier. Joemma is on the west side, and the view is toward the Olympics. But Bob wanted to just roam, and not go anyplace special, so (at least as I remember it) we didn’t go to the state parks.

We ended up visiting a cemetery, an abandoned house, the site of a historic bed and breakfast, and several other stops just along the road. It was fun, just being out, driving around without any plans in particular other than shooting a few photos.

I don’t think I brought anything too exciting home from the trip, though I rather like the featured image above of an old building in the community of Home. Instead, the trip helped my “photographer memory” – that is, it helped me exercise my photographic skills, helping those skills become more automatic (sort of like muscle memory for sports). I know we all want to bring home that award-winning shot every time we go out shooting, but in reality, that doesn’t happen very often. Rather, it’s times like I had five years ago with Bob that have made my response with the camera more automatic. With less thinking about settings and composition, I am better prepared for that award-winning shot when it does present itself.

So, you may ask, why am I discussing this while showing photos from five years ago? That’s because I haven’t been practicing my photographer memory since the first weekend of the month. I haven’t been out, and it’s starting to bother me. It’s often said “use it or lose it,” and I suppose that is true about photography as well. Thinking back on that short trip five years ago is a good reminder to myself that there are plenty of nearby places where I can practice my photographic craft without making a special trip somewhere. In other words, I just need to get out there and do it!

Luckily, I do have a special trip coming up this Friday – though not specifically a photography trip. I’m heading off to southeast Alaska to go salmon fishing for four days. Hopefully I’ll be able to practice some photographer memory in between reeling in a few fish.

Old Stove

Post Box

Ford and Flag


Palouse – Late Summer Edition

Lone Tree

Lone TreeI’ve blogged about the Palouse before. That earlier blog featured shots in springtime. However, late summer is also a great time to visit the Palouse. The greens of spring give way to golden fields in August. After the wheat harvest, the fields have great textures left by the combines. The weather is usually good, blue skies and puffy white clouds.

I say usually, because that is not always the case. Tanya and I visited the Palouse last weekend. Luckily we left early Friday and had a grand afternoon finding barns and vistas.We drove to the town of St. John, then took back roads this way and that. We eventually ended up in the town of Oakesdale, with it beautiful old flour mill. Then more backroads, looking for the perfect vista for sunset (which, unfortunately, we did not find). The day started partly cloudy, but as it progress, the clouds got thicker and thicker. This did lead to some beautiful dark skies near sunset, but did not bode well for the next day.

We spent the night in Spokane, and on Saturday drove back down into the Palouse with my Dad and stepmom. The morning started of with a little rain, and it just got worse throughout the day. We had lunch in the town of Palouse, and I took a few street photos there. We also drove down Becker Road, where my Dad grew up, and he told us stories of what it was like 70 years ago.  I didn’t get many photos on Saturday, but it was fun hearing some of my Dad’s memories of the area.

The Palouse deserves several days’ worth of exploration, whether in spring or in late summer, and the short trip last weekend just whetted my photographic appetite for more. With luck, I will get back there soon.

Birds and barn, somewhere west of the town of Steptoe

Birds and barn, somewhere west of the town of Steptoe

Palouse River, north of the small "town" of Diamond

Palouse River, north of the small “town” of Diamond

Small cemetery along the Endicott - St. John Road

Small cemetery along the Endicott – St. John Road

We found this nice red barn west of St. John on Highway 23

We found this nice red barn west of St. John on Highway 23

Old Richfield gas station with historic flour mill in the background in Oakesdale

Old Richfield gas station with historic flour mill in the background in Oakesdale

Birght Field, Dark Sky

The dark eastern sky made for some dramatic scenes.

Shot from the same spot as the above image - a typical dirt road in the Palouse, shot on Friday and likely impassable on Saturday during the rain

Shot from the same spot as the above image – a typical dirt road in the Palouse, shot on Friday and likely impassable on Saturday during the rain.

However, even in the rain you can captures some good barn images - I shot this one on Saturday during some of the worst rain

However, even in the rain you can capture some good barn images – I shot this one on Saturday during some of the worst rain

Outside wall of an antique store in the town of Palouse

Outside wall of an antique store in the town of Palouse

Red barn door, just south of Oakesdale

Red barn door, just south of Oakesdale

Here's my Dad, Ernie Becker. Dad braved the rain while I took this shot. We were on the shoulder of Bald Butte, along Becker Road, north of the town of Colton.

Here’s my Dad, Ernie Becker. Dad braved the rain while I took this shot. We were on the shoulder of Bald Butte, along Becker Road, north of the town of Colton, less than a mile from where he lived as a boy and teenager.


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