Melakwa Lake to Pratt Lake

This is a kind of interesting blog post: a trip report. Something that I have not done before. Another thing that is unique to this blog post is how fast I did post-processing of photos. Typically, it takes me days if not months after an actual trip. This time I’ve done it in a day.

Yesterday with a good company I went on a one way hike starting at Melakwa Lake trailhead and finishing at Pratt  Lake trailhead. It was an interesting and challenging hike, slightly over 14 miles long (not counting the side trips we took). Just walking it would take us 7 hours. 5 more hours we spent photographing and taking side trips. Overall the trip took us 12 hours. We started hiking at around 6am and finished around 6pm.

Not far from trailhead the trail passes under I-90 viaduct with its nice curve:

In 40 minutes we got to the first waterfall without a name. We just passed by since we tried to get to Keekwulee Falls by sunrise. It was another 30 minutes before we got to Keekwulee Falls and we missed sunrise which turned out to be not a big problem since there was no beautiful sunrise and the light was not aligning with the waterfall either.

It was still great that we got there so early. The early morning sun was lighting up granite wall across the waterfall reflecting back soft warm light while waterfall itself stayed in shadow with water reflecting deep blue of the sky. Keekwulee Falls was a great destination for photography: it has so many intricate streams, cascading water, emerald pools, that provide endless opportunities for images.

We spent one and a half hours by Keekwulee Falls. I could easily spend there even more making more images. Once we left this waterfall we went on climbing even steeper higher to a pass. Doing this early morning with air still cool after night definitely made it easier. At some point we passed one more waterfall but it had no close approach. We could barely see it thru trees. Once over the pass we quickly got to the first alpine lake on our hike: Melakwa Lake with Upper Melakwa Lake just a short distance away. At this point the sun was high. The light was flat – the kind of landscape photographers don’t like. I was not discouraged by that since the main goal was exploration. Still I made it a goal to take at least one interesting photo on each lake. So here the go in the order of appearance.

Melakwa Lake:

Lower Tuscohatchie Lake:

Near Pratt Lake:

Pratt Lake:

Pratt Lake was the last alpine lake on our trail. Once we passed it the trail went up steeply to a pass that would get us over the ridge closer back to civilization. Unfortunately I must say I did not find lakes very picturesque. The all elongated north to south with approaches from south or  north end surrounded by tall granite walls on both west and east side. This means that there is no photo opportunity at sunrise or sunset.

Once we got to the top of the ridge I saw this tree covered with bright orange mushrooms. Just had to take a picture of it:

Over the ridge and on the way down to Pratt Lake trailhead the trail was uneventful: monotonically old growth forest. It was an easy walk down but I was not surprise to see tired faces of people walking up. For them it was long, steep and boring hike. There were occasional small streams but they were lacking enough water to become interesting. It has been a very dry week here and it was a sunny side of the ridge. Still there was one interesting waterfall which I’d like to return back to after rain:

Strolling thru Kubota Garden

Sometimes plans don’t work out and I’m glad they don’t. One weekend another photographer and I were planning to hike up a mountain trail to photograph a lake in snow. When time came my buddy bailed out and I did not want to risk hiking in snow after dark alone. Instead I went to Kubota Gardens in Seattle and spent a day there.

Typically, when for places like parks or gardens close to home I try to find time during week or go with family during weekend for one or two hours to do photography. This was the first time I spend whole day in one relatively small garden. And it felt really good – photograph without rushing, lying under a tree, taking time, observing.

I’ve fell in love with this garden.


Early Morning Mist


Let Me Offer My Hand


Passage


Bush on Fire


Due Drops Caught in a Web


Simple Yellow on Red


Lying on the Ground Looking Into Sunny Sky


Explosion


Butterfly


Light

Kubota Garden

Isn’t it amazing how sometimes we have something interesting close by and yet cannot seem to find time to visit the place?

I’ve heard of Kubota Garden in Seattle long time ago. I’ve meant to visit it many times. And yet I have not visited it once. That was until this this year. A few fellow photographers went there to photograph fall colors. While I could not go with them I made a promise to myself to go there next week. I kept the promise and I’m glad I did.

Turned out the Kubota Garden is a very picturesque place with large variety of trees, human made waterfalls, intricate network of trails. The bright hues of fall were mixed with evergreens.

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The weather was not great the sky was grey and featureless but promise is a promise I had to keep it. In the end it turned out well. The sun broke thru the clouds and I was treated to a nice rainbow. I found this nice composition with a bridge and rainbow repeating each others arc. It was raining and you can see water drops on the water.

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Fog over Golden Bridge

I always wanted to photograph Golden Bridge and Presidio in fog but in many times I had been to San Francisco I had never seen fog over Golden Bridge. Other photographers seemed to get it every time. Not me.

This May on the way back from The Lost Coast we spent a couple of days in San Francisco. One morning Very early before sunrise I went to photograph hoping to get lucky and see that mythical fog. And lucky I was. The was fog. And not just in the morning. It was there whole day. In fact it caused our flight to be delayed in the evening.

The fog was different from the one I used to. I’m used to fog in still windless weather. Golden Bridge fog was combined with strong winds. It was constantly on the move, thickening and lightening, lifting off and dropping back to the ground, letting sun in or blocking it off all together, constantly reshaping landscape.

It presented me with new and constantly changing photo opportunities. I could not get enough of it. I was running from one place to another and then back. The only limit was time.

San Francisco Post Card

My family and I have just returned from a week long vacation in a small ocean shore town in an area with intriguing name "The Lost Coast". This is the only section of US Pacific coast that does not have highway 1 following the coast line.

This is probably the only remote place left on the west coast. No cell coverage, no internet for 5 days. And we’ve survived! More than that it was pretty enjoyable. Lots of fun for kids and parents. And a lot of photographic opportunities.

On the way back we stopped in San Francisco for a couple of days where I had fun photographing Golden Gate and Presidio in fog.

I’m just starting to dig thru all the photos I took on the trip. Meanwhile here is an image I made a year ago. A photograph of iconic Golden Gate bridge overlaid with a texture of a rock that I found just about where I took this photo of the bridge.

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Golden Gate Post Card

PS I’ll keep posting to my blog from my backlog of photos while I’m digging thru the images from a trip to The Lost Coast.