On a late summer outing to Eastern State Penitentiary with some lady friends from the camera club, I was determined to come away with something different from before … something different from the many images I have seen of this very popular location. This was my third time there. Each time it was hotter and more humid than the time before but I love the place and as I have written in previous posts, I’ve been fascinated with abandoned places since I was a kid. I started searching for that certain something … that ‘je ne sais quoi’ (that ‘I don’t know what’). It’s the images that are unlike what I’ve already done and seen that excite me. Afterall, where is the creativity in getting the same image that others have captured or one similar to what we have seen before? I broke from the group for a while so I could work at finding something unique, whether it be a subject or camera angle. When I got home I felt I had succeeded in my mission. At first glance there were several in the days shoot that I liked … and that doesn’t always happen. One that caught my attention in particular is the image below, ‘Prison Ghost’. It was created by photographing an existing video installation of a projected figure. I bracketed 3 frames and since the exposures were on the long side, the moving figure blurred creating a ghostly appearance. I was pleased to receive a 2nd place for the image at the camera club’s first monochrome competition of the new season.
Month: September 2011
The last day had come. I was sad but tired too and ready to come home. In the morning we went to Salt Creek tidal area at low tide. Walking on the slippery and jagged rocks was an interesting experience. The starfish, urchins and anemones took the day off from posing and the glare from the sun did not help. I focused on enjoying the moment and keeping my balance instead of taking pictures. Back through Port Angeles we walked along the waterfront where Strait of Juan de Fuca separates the US from Canada and we could see the Canadian Mountains in the distance. We stopped at a lumber facility where they were removing the bark from the trunks and tagging them before putting them in gigantic piles. We were surprised to see how much logging there was along some of the roads and we passed several spots during the trip where trees had been replanted. On the way out I wanted to go to a different lavender farm to take a few last shots and buy some lavender gifts. After getting lost, we found it but it was closed so we went back to the farm we had been to on the way in. Along our way back to the Seattle area we found a great old barn in a field with hay bales. The find was a nice way to end the photography portion of the trip before an early flight home the next day. I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time and I must say that Washington had really delivered. I found the variety in the landscape to be absolutely miraculous!
Things That Go ‘hhhhhhhhhr’ In The Night
Our trip was nearing to an end and this would be our last full day on The Peninsula. Tomorrow we would head back to our hotel in Olympia to be able to catch an early flight the next morning. Wanting to visit some of the other beaches, we traveled back to Forks in the morning, a little less than an hour and a half away. We stopped for a good breakfast at one of the funkiest restaurants I’ve ever been in and after learning about the connection between Forks and ‘Twilight’ (see previous post) we wondered who there might be a vampire.
We went to the Ruby Beach area first which was south of where we had been the day before. There were a lot of rock formations right along the surf. Being Saturday, there were a number of people visiting the beach with kids climbing on the rocks. As you can see from the first two photos below, the sky was cloudy. Several of the beaches had long hikes to get to them. We checked out one trail where a cluster of trees had developed burl knots on them. They looked pregnant! After some scouting around we went back to LaPush Beach where we did some people and bird watching.
There was going to be a full moon that night so I thought I’d go up to Hurricane Ridge where the moon might light up the snowcapped peaks. I set up behind the visitor’s center where I had been the morning before. Brent came out to take a quick look then went back to the car, on the other side of the visitor’s center to recline. (You can imagine, he was getting pretty tired of my photography by this point!) This time, I was the only one there and it was dark … no artificial light, no light pollution … just light from the moon. The clouds seemed to prevent enough light from falling on the landscape but with my red head-lamp on and stopwatch in hand I tried a few shots. I liked the way the clouds looked with the moonlight shining through them. I was using bulb and the exposures were between one & two minutes. I decided I would take one more shot before packing it in. I turned my camera to the hillside and ridge and opened up the shutter. Suddenly I heard a hhhhhhhhhhr … hhhhhhhhhhr! What was that? What could be down in that valley of wilderness making that noise? I listened more closely, rhythmic, with pauses in between … hhhhhhhhhhr … hhhhhhhhhhr. It was getting louder. Holy cr@p … that bush wasn’t there before … it’s a bear! I called to Brent but no answer so I picked up my tripod, shutter still open and dropped it off near the steps. Brent answered as I ran back to get my pack, lens and other things laid out on the picnic table. He came down to see the shadow which had stopped in its tracks at this point and with my heart beating on the fast side I said, ‘let’s get out of here’!
I left Brent sleeping at the hotel and headed to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park to see and photograph the sunrise. I wasn’t sure of the position of the sun and where it would fall on the ridge. I saw a few other photographers at an overlook but continued up the ridge, in the dark around and around, one hairpin turn after another … finally getting there. I set up behind the visitor center and the only one there, I was a little afraid I might see a bear, until a couple from Wisconsin came along to keep me company. (More about a bear later!) I was waiting for something to happen with the light and then, there it was … a pink glow behind the ridge. I watched the pink light as it lit up the ridge then fell onto the mountain warming a distant row of trees. Coming down the ridge I stopped to take a picture of some Indian Paintbrush that grew among some Lupine and other wildflowers on the side of the road.
After breakfast Brent and I headed out to the Hoh Rainforest stopping at the other end of Lake Crescent on the way. The forest was similar to what we had seen on the western side of Mt. Rainier National Park. The sun was out which did not make for good conditions in which to shoot the cluttered and contrasty forest. I gave it a try anyway and experimented by processing a few as toned monochromes. After some hiking in the forest we headed to the beach. I had been looking forward to seeing the sea stacks.
We had a late lunch in the town of Forks where we notice several references to ‘Twilight’ on store windows and such. We asked our waitress about it and she said that the ‘Twilight’ books and movies were based there. We rented the first movie when we got home and it was fun to see some familiar scenes and references. The first beach we went to was LaPush which offered views in different directions. There were bald eagles resting on tall dead trees but too far for my 400mm lens. The clouds gave the place a typical ‘northwest’ feel. We hiked down to another nearby beach along with a lot of young people with coolers and supplies in tow. (It was Friday.) They would camp on the beach for the weekend. There were bombfires and nylon canopies strung from the limbs of huge pieces of driftwood for cover. We hiked up and out and headed to Rialto Beach where the sky offered just a sliver of a sunset.
To ‘The Peninsula’
Our new home in Port Angeles, on Washington’s peninsula was a few hours away so we left Olympia early. We traveled on the western side of the Puget Sound and up along Hood Canal. There were Native American reservations, businesses and casinos along the way. At low tide we could see people scratching for clams in the sand and bald eagles resting on tall pilings. We took a hike to the top of Mt. Walker where there was a nice view but flat lighting. Further north, in Sequim we stopped to see a lavender farm where a man was pressing lavender for its precious oil. I liked the (very strong) aroma but Brent didn’t so I took some quick shots, bought some lavender lemonade and we headed to lunch and the hotel. After checking in we went to the Olympic National Park visitor center and a nice ranger answered all our questions about the places we wanted to visit. We ended the day at Lake Crescent where we relaxed by the water while taking in the beautiful scenery and peaceful sunset.
There And Back Again
We headed up to Sunrise early to see what the light had to offer. After hiking around I finally found a spot along the road where I could lean over and get some wildflowers in the foreground of Mt. Rainier. The clouds rolled in along the other ridges I wanted to shoot so we headed back to our room at Crystal Mountain Ski Lodge to pack up and find some food. There the weather looked good so we decided to take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain where there was a great restaurant and magnificent view. It was cool and windy but well worth the $20 ticket price. We could see Mt. Adams to the south just above the clouds. I spent some time making sure I got all the shots I wanted including a panorama while Brent secured a table and stayed warm inside.
Once down from the mountain we continued our tour by heading back toward Seattle. The plan was to get to a spot in West Seattle where I could get a shot of the city from the other side of the sound. We arrived in time for some great light and the only thing missing was Mt. Rainier which on a clear day can be seen in the distance behind the city. Seattle is an attractive city anchored by the Space Needle and its modern downtown buildings. We stayed for a while watching the boat traffic (which included everything from freighters to kayaks) before heading to our hotel to get a good night’s rest before the next day’s trip to ‘The Peninsula’ and Olympic National Park.