Little Tahoma Peak, Mount Rainier National Park
Back in July I had one opportunity to visit Mount Rainier overnight, just long enough to take in both the sunset and the sunrise the following morning before heading back home. I realized a few years ago that, with the long summer days as far north as Seattle and Mount Rainier, you could feasibly drive down to Mount Rainier with enough time to set up camp, photograph sunset, sleep (briefly), photograph sunset and drive back to Seattle early enough to get into work on time. Since then, I tried to make that trip at least once each year.
It's hard to overstate how great it is to take in a spectacular sunrise at Mount Rainier, and to have the whole mountain seemingly to yourself. You may not get much sleep, but still, I can't recommend it enough. I made a few photographs during the sunrise, using up my last few sheets of color slide film that I had available. Once the color had faded I turned my focus to a few of the features of Rainier, such as Little Tahoma Peak, seen here. This dramatic peak rises just to the southeast of Rainier summit proper. When flying overhead and seeing the Pacific Northwest's volcanic peaks rising through the clouds, it's often Little Tahoma Peak that helps to differentiate Rainier from the rest.
This photograph is from my most recent trip to Rainier, and unfortunately it's unlikely I'll make any return trips soon. 2012 has been a complicated year for me, with a job loss leading, eventually, to a move back to California's Bay Area and away from Seattle after four years of calling it home. The scanner, computer, printer and cameras have been boxed up for months and are really only just starting to come out again now. This photograph may not reflect particular artistic vision, but it does satisfy my nostalgia somewhat for Washington State, and Mount Rainier.
Tachihara 4x5 | Fujinon 400mm T f/8 | f/22 | 1/15s | Ilford FP4+ | Tripod
All rights reserved
Clouded Sunset, Half Dome, Yosemite National Park
While visiting Yosemite National Park back in February this year, low clouds kept us from trying to hike very far up the valley rim. Instead we enjoyed a small stretch of trail that I hadn't previously hiked, connecting Yosemite Falls and the Awahnee Meadow along the northern edge of the valley (just above Yosemite Village). We found ourselves arriving at the Ahwanee Meadow a little later than expected and without time to explore a new location for the sunset, which was not looking for photographically promising anyhow. Instead of rushing off to a new location, we found a nice open view of Half Dome and, hoping for the best, I set up my camera on the tripod, focused, and waited.
For the most part there was very little to see, and then through the clouds there were brief glimpses of magenta alpenglow on Half Dome through the clouds. The intense color only appears briefly and, rather than wait for more of the clouds to open up, I made my photograph when I thought the color was likely the most intense. Fortunately, that also coincided with the clearest view of Half Dome during those few brief minutes, and I think I was able to make the most of the occasion. Although the striking shape of Half Dome is lost here, for enthusiasts of Yosemite it remains immediately identifiable all the same.
Thank you for those who continue to follow my photography and check in periodically for updates. My spring of 2012 has been a very complicated one and I simply have not had the time edit photographs (or even develop them). In time I hope to catch up.
Tachihara 4x5 | Fujion 400mm T f/8 | f/22 | 1/2s | Fuji Velvia 50 | Tripod
All rights reserved
El Capitan Summit, Yosemite National Park
I have visited Yosemite in winter twice before, but never witnessed fresh snowfall in the valley before. After two snow-free days in the park in mid-February, we awoke to about 6 inches of fresh snow on our last morning. After digging out the rental car and dealing with a tire-chain debacle, we headed into the valley as quickly as we could. We were treated to a freshly snow-covered valley and peak periodically emerging and disappearing from the clouds. I believe we spent the better part of an hour just at the well-known Wowona Tunnel parking area taking it all in, and frantically making photographs.
Before packing everything up to begin our trip home, I made a few photographs of the summit of El Capitan, this one being my personal favorite. Snow was already largely melted in some section, but still appeared in others. I loved the way the summit emerged from the clouds. Despite not including the full and very-recognizable profile of this great monolith, any Yosemite fan would instantly recognize the location just from the summit. Apart from Upper Yosemite Falls and North Dome I have not personally been to any other locations on the north rim of the valley, but one of these days I would like to hike (not climb) to El Capitan's summit myself.
Nikon D90 | Nikon 70-210@125mm | f/9 | 1/640s | ISO200 | Tripod
All rights reserved
Crepuscular Rays, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park
It has been nearly a year since I have had a new photograph to share from Yosemite, but after visiting last weekend I am finally able to do so again. It will take some time to develop and scan my film, so I am sharing a digital photograph first, for which I have no film equivalent.
Yosemite was amazingly devoid of snow for this time of year. Snow in Yosemite creates uniquely beautiful scenery, but naturally limits accessibility to the high-country throughout the park. My wife and I decided to attempt the 4-Mile Trail hike, which climbs from the valley floor up about 3200feet to the south rim of the valley at Glacier Point. This trail is normally impassible this time of year due to snow, with Glacier Point only being accessible by cross-country skis. It was surprising to find almost no snow along this trail all the way up to Glacier Point, and great fun to climb it in February.
Weather cooperated on the ascent, but it did begin to cloud over on the way down. We were descending quickly to get back before dark when we got our first glimpse back to west end of the valley and saw a spectacular display of crepuscular rays breaking through the clouds, casting light on the nose of El Capitan. The light changed quickly and I only managed a few quick photographs. Once the light passed we continued to make our way down to the valley floor, arriving right about sunset. Normally I'm disappointed to miss photographing the actual sunset in Yosemite Valley, but on this evening I think it was spoiled by cloud. I think the best light display of the day happened here, an hour or two before sunset, and we just happened to be in the right place to witness it.
Nikon D90 | Nikon 50mm f /1.8 | f/9 | 1/250s | ISO200 | Tripod
All rights reserved
Glacier and Summit, Mount Rainier National Park
This is my third (and final, for those of you who have had enough) of my photographs made on the south side of Mount Rainier this last October. After this photograph, I switched my camera to a longer lens, and did my best to focus in on some of the details of the Nisqually Glacier, but after a length wait the clouds only grew denser and I never got another opportunity that day.
Of the three photographs I produced there that day, this may be my favorite. The clouds broke right over the summit of Mount Rainier, and opened enough over the rest of the mountain to reveal much of the Nisqually Glacier. Being a scene of many white tones - snow, ice, cloud, and fog - a 25A red filter helped to emphasize some of the subtle gradations and, particularly, to separate the summit from the sky.
2011 was a lean year for photographs, but this particular day on Mount Rainier was likely my single-most rewarding and productive day. I made my way back down towards Paradise after this photo was taken, but simply moved on to other rewarding scenes.
Tachihara 4x5 | Caltar 150mm f/5.6 | f/22 | 1/15s | Ilford FP4+ | Tripod | 25A, HC110(h)
All rights reserved