the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Posts tagged “summer

Playing in the Park

Summer is here and I have not been able to get out and play in the wonderful Pacific Northwest outdoors. It feels like I’m wasting my summer away! Hopefully you are finding time to go out and do what you love this July. I am hoping perhaps to get a backpacking trip in later in the month. Last week I did manage to get over to Point Defiance Park with my camera to take a few shots. I found myself concentrating on details of plants, buildings, etc. Here’s a few shots from my evening playing in the park. Enjoy your summer (or winter for those of you in the other hemisphere!).Point Defiance detail shot 1Point Defiance detail shot 2Point Defiance detail shot 3Point Defiance detail shot 4Point Defiance detail shot 5


Why They Call It Paradise

Rainier from Deadhorse Creek TrailEarlier this week, Tanya,, Carson and I went camping for three days at La Wis Wis near White Pass. I took the opportunity to drive up to Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park for one sunset and one sunrise. Though it looked like they were slightly past their prime, the wildflowers were incredible at Paradise. If you want to see them this year, you best get up there fast.

For my sunset shots, I hiked from the visitor center eastward on the Skyline Trail then partly up the Golden Gate Trail. The flowers were great on the Golden Gate Trail, but the view of Rainier is partially obstructed by a ridge. Luckily for me, the view of the Tatoosh Range to the south put on a good alpenglow show.

The next morning, after arriving at Paradise at 5:45 a.m. (no trouble finding parking at that time!), I headed north on the Skyline Trail to Glacier Vista, then back to the visitor center via the Deadhorse Creek and Waterfall Trails. Again, great flowers, but also more unobstructed views of Rainier (the featured photo above is of Rainier from the Deadhorse Creek Trail). Unfortunately, there wasn’t much color in the sunrise. However, low-lying clouds below Paradise made for some good shots.

Anyway, I just wanted to post a few photos from the trip to show you why they call it Paradise!

Tatoosh Range

Tatoosh Range from the Golden Gate Trail

Golden Gate Flowers

Mount Rainier from the Golden Gate Trail

Sunset and Crescent Moon

A crescent moon mixing it up with the sunset

Clouds Below Paradise

Clouds covering the lowlands below Paradise in the morning

Rainier from Glacier Vista

View of Rainier at sunrise from Glacier Vista

Tatoosh Range

Morning clouds below the Tatoosh Range

Carson Enjoying Camping

Bonus Photo: Carson enjoying camping at La Wis Wis (taken with my cell phone)


Mountain Blues

Mountain blues? Well, lots blue sky maybe. In fact, the only thing to be blue about was the lack of clouds (ever notice how photographers are never happy with the weather – believe me, Tanya has noticed [and has told me so]). So I saw lots of blue. But how about purples, yellows and reds? I saw them too during the three days I spent on Blue Mountain in Olympic National Park over last weekend.

The trip was an official Mountaineers photography outing, lead by my friend and most excellent photographer John Woods. We camped at campground at Deer Park and had great views of the Olympic Mountains without leaving our picnic table. But we did leave the picnic table, to travel the short distance the rest the way up Blue Mountain for sunset and sunrise shots.

Blue Mountain is 6,007 feet high, which may not sound like much, but because its summit is only less than 12 miles from sea level, it seems like it is way up there. It is one of the highest places you can drive to in Washington State (the parking lot is about 170 feet below the summit). The view is incredible – look to the north and see the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Vancouver Island, the San Juan Islands,  the Canadian Cascades, Port Angeles, Sequim, and Victoria, British Columbia; look to the east and see Whidbey Island, Puget Sound, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and the North Cascades; and look to the south and west see the Olympic Mountains.

But there was much more to photograph than the view from Blue Mountain. There were lots of wildflowers and animal life (they don’t call it Deer Park for nothing). And there were hikes to take. It was a great weekend – definitely nothing to be blue about.

Sunset over the Olympic Mountains

Early morning fog in the low lands and over Puget Sound

Morning light on the Olympics

A hawk came to visit our camp

Colorful thistle were abundant in the Deer Park area

A view from very near our campsite

Wildflowers and Mount Olympus

Another view from near our campsite

Indian paintbrush


Time for Summer Flowers

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know we are not having a typical summer. It’s been generally much cooler than normal. This weather pattern has affected a lot around here. For example, August is usually prime wildflower season at Paradise on Mount Rainier. But currently, there is still snow on the ground there (check out the Paradise webcam). Summer flowers down here in the lowlands have been another casualty – there are less of them and they are blooming late.

However, even though the temperature is rarely getting above 75 degrees this year in Tacoma, there are some flowers out there. Last Tuesday I went with the Tacoma Mountaineers Photo group to the gardens at Point Defiance Park. The roses are blooming very well right now. The dahlias are wonderful now too – some of the earliest dahlias are starting to fade, the late dahlias are starting to bloom, and the mid-season dahlia are in their prime. I’m sure the fuchsia garden was doing well too, though I was so busy with the other flowers, I’d didn’t have time to get over there Tuesday night. So if you like taking flower images, it’s a good time to go to the park.

Sometimes the back of the flowers are worth photographing too!

Not all flowers at the Point Defiance gardens look like flowers. This is (I think) the flower of a Gunnera plant - also known as Prickly Rhubarb. The plant is 7 or 8 feet tall, and the leaves are about 2 to 3 feet across.


Lavender Report

Purple Haze Lavender Farm

Guest cottage at the Purple Haze Lavender Farm.

I meant to report on the state of the lavender fields up in Sequim, Washington after my trip there last week, but got caught up in preparing for the Art on the Ave, which was held last Sunday.  I’ve wanted to photograph the Sequim lavender fields for years, and finally made time to do it. I was able to visit the Purple Haze lavender farm  and the Jardin du Soleil farm. Unfortunately, our seasonally cool weather this spring and early summer defeated me again – at least partially. I did come away with a few nice photographs, as you can see by the images illustrating this blog entry, but not with shots I was really looking for.

The Lavender Festival is coming up this weekend. It is always the 3rd weekend in July, supposedly timed with peak bloom. Well, peak bloom is  late this year. There is some lavender blooming, but a lot of it still needs several weeks of summer to reach full bloom. The early varieties were blooming nicely last week, and probably are still doing so this week. But most of the fields are planted with later blooming varieties, which were showing much yet (at least last week they weren’t).

So when will peak bloom be this year? No one is sure, but I doubt it will be this weekend. I spoke with one of the employees at Purple Haze about when they thought the peak would be. Their best guess was toward the end of July, or even possibly into early August. My best advice, which of course I didn’t follow when I went up there last week, is to check out Purple Haze’s webcam. However, don’t wait too long, the lavender gets picked after it blooms; and with the late bloom this year, I imagine they may want to not wait too long to pick it.

Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm

Garden at Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm, note the lavender fields in the background are just starting to bloom.

Lavender

Early blooming lavender at Purple Haze.


July Travels

The Only Tree in Scotland
“The Only Tree in Scotland” – July 2008, a scene captured on the Isle of Mull, Scotland

It is finally acting like summer around the Pacific Northwest. The high temperatures in Tacoma so far in July have all been over 70 degrees (though only one day was over 80). This might not see like summer temperatures for a lot of places; but it is for here, especially after the cold wet spring we had.

I’ve always thought that with summer comes traveling. I have always enjoyed traveling in the summer – both on long vacation trips and on short day trips – much more than traveling in the winter. This may stem from my childhood, when every summer my parents packed up the station wagon with us seven kids, attached the tent trailer, and headed off of a family vacation. I don’t have any extended travel plans for this summer, but do hope to make a number of short trips (starting tomorrow with a trip up to Sequim to see if the lavender fields are blooming).

In celebration of July travel, I’m posting a series of photos taken in the month of July from 2004 through 2010.

Running Stars
“Running Stars” – July 2004: a tidepool on Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

Carter Headquarters
“Carter Headquarters” – July 2005, taken in Plains, Georgia

Fishing with Dad
“Fishing with Dad” – July 2006; image from Caye Caulker, Belize

Wall of the West
“Wall of the West” – July 2007; a scene from Fossil, Oregon

Thunder by the Mountain
“Thunder by the Mountain” – July 2009; a travel shot from close to home, Mount Rainier and a thunderhead cloud captured in Tacoma, Washington

Adams Minis
“Adams Minis” – July 2010; miniature tree on the slopes of Mount Adams, Mount Adams Wilderness, Washington

Scenes from Twisp

Hills above Twisp, Washington
Hills above Twisp, Washington – the hills were actually quite green, especially for this time of year (a reflection of the wet spring Washington has had this year), but I liked this black & white interpretation better than the color version

Last weekend Tanya and I traveled to Twisp, Washington to stay with friends at their cabin. The cabin sits on a hillside overlooking the Twisp River. We spent a lot of time relaxing, reading, eating and drinking. It was a great time. I did not get my camera out much – this wasn’t suppose to be photo weekend, but a time with friends. However, I did take a few shots. Here are a few scenes from Twisp I hope you enjoy.

Starting Young

Starting Young - young street musicians at the Twisp Farmers Market.

Old Boards

Old Boards - close up of the side of an old Twisp building, long used to hang flyers and community announcements, as evidenced by thousands of staples

Chipmunk

Chip - this fellow and his compadres turned the cabin's bird feeder into a chipmunk feeder