One Step Back

I’m back from Norway. Well, I’ve been back to Seattle for two months, enjoying my old friends: Olympic National Park, Rainier National Park, Enchantment Lakes and trails around Seattle.

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One of the icon places in Rainier National Park is Reflection Lakes. In fact by far this is the place to photograph at sunrise. And pray the water is still as a mirror. I had not visited it for a while as it is over-photographed in my opinion. I had preferred exploring new places in this vast park.

On a whim of nostalgia since I have not been in the park for four months I went there to enjoy the classic view. It was the first  freezing night of the season. Frost was covering grass, logs, and few remaining leaves. Fog was rising over the lakes and slowly moving over the still water.

There were a few more photographers besides me there. All of them trying to get as close as possible to the water going for pure perfect reflection photograph. I on the other hand step back a bit and have edge of the lake nicely framing the mountain reflection. Here is my almost classic image of the mountain:

But then I thought that what was really interesting and unique about that morning was the first frost. So, I walked away from the lake to the point where I had seen two logs pointing in the direction of the mountain. To me these images are more interesting. The first one was taken before sunrise during twilight and the second one was taken right after sunrise.

Waiting for the Light

April 18

Summer is here. Well, not official summer, not astronomical summer, but a northwest summer. I like how summer starts all of the sudden in pacific northwest. One day it is cold, rainy and gloomy and the next day it’s sunny and warm. And it does not get back to the way it was all winter. The trails get crowded with happy faces. Finding isolation becomes harder. No complaining here.

Today is such a day. I woke up and realized that. Birds are singing to the rising sun. Trees have put their green summer clothes. They are not quite the dark green of mid summer but a fresh bright green shimmering in the morning breeze.

As it became my recent habit I went to another hike I have not been to. Just to walk the woods. The parking lot at the trail head was packed. Well, that’s summer. I found a spot, got my backpack ready and hit the trail.

This time I had spent some time researching trails around. I was looking for trails that would cross creeks. It is a good time to walk those trails. Snowcaps are melting filling creeks with water. Many of them will dry up by the middle of summer.

The trail was going to Mason Lake and Bandera Mountain. The trail indeed crossed several creeks. One of them was really full of water and had an impressive waterfall. I’ve composed the frame and it was turning out to be even better than I thought. Except one thing: there was a bright light spot from the sun breaking thru the trees in one corner of the frame. It just did not work. I decided to try it again on the way down.

On the way down I stopped by the waterfall again and the light completely changed. The waterfall was in full light. Which did not work either. Oh, well, maybe some other day.

April 26

One week later. It looks like winter has come back. It is cold, overcast, and gloomy. It might be a good time to visit the same waterfall I visited a week earlier. Overcast might be just the right weather for it. The scene might be more evenly lit with less contrast between light water and dark rocks.

Here it is. The overcast might have worked better then sunny. I still wonder how it looks like in twilight. Maybe some other day.

And here is a little bonus. A small creek I crossed on the way to the waterfall.

Inspiration

I have many photography. I like to dive into someone’s imagery and photo books is the most affordable way to do it. But looking at photo books is not where I get my inspiration from. What gets me inspired is paintings. I can spend endless hours studying one painting, how the light is captured, how the color is captured, how the feel of the scene is captured, the emotions in the brushstrokes. When I photograph I’m trying to achieve the same perfect light as in landscape paintings and I want to get my photographs to the same level of essence and feeling of color as impressionists’ paintings had.

Aspens in Pastel

Aspens in Pastel

Enchantment Lakes [19]

Day 5. Descent

Our 5 day trip to Enchantment Lakes was over. It was time to go back home. After photographing sunrise we packed up and started our descent.

What a difference the 5 days spent in Enchantment Lakes made to the outside world! When we were hiking up the trees and shrubbery around us were green. When we were hiking down we discovered that they turned all kind of bright colors: yellow, orange, red. it was a feast for our eyes.

We had a goal in site: home. So, we’ve made almost no stops on the way down. It took us more than a day to get all the way to Lake Viviane. It took us only 5 hours to come down from there.

When we got down to the parking lot I was overjoyed that I lived thru such an experience. I was screaming out of the top of my lungs with joy and happiness. What an amazing trip!

Enchantment Lakes [2]

Day 1. Snow Lake

Fill the bottles with water. Put up backpack on. Drink as much water as possible. First step on the trail. What an exciting moment. Next step. And next. Just keep moving.

The first day of trip it was walking most of the day. We had occasional stops for water refill from a creek, sometimes for a photo opportunity (so to speak, more likely just to catch some breath). For breakfast, lunch and whenever hungry we were we only had energy bars.

Here is a creek we took water from and one of the photo opportunities we stopped for:

This way we got to Upper Snow Lake. It was not Enchantment Lakes yet. It was at the base or a steep part of the trail to Enchantment Lakes. I still had some energy to go but my friend decided to camp. Next day I learned that it was a very wise decision.

There was a lot of shrubbery turning yellow around our camp. Once the camp was settled I grabbed my camera and started working around searching for photographs. Here is one I consider most interesting out of those: