Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Colorful Contrast

Driving on the main road into Hoh Rain Forest, this colorful fungus stood out so much from the background of the dark woods, that it caught my eye even from the car.  I made a mental note (as I often do) but didn't stop at the time.  Some days later I had kind of forgotten it, when we passed the same spot again with the same result, so on our way back out the second time, I finally stopped and and took a few exposures. Bright sunlight filtered through the thick growth of forest provided the natural highlights, which I think gives this scene that little extra bit of interest. Although I was fighting the "hot" sun spots a lot in other locations because of the clear weather, totally flat lighting on this one wouldn't have been as good.
In a week's worth of driving and hiking through lots of forest, I never saw another one anything like this.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Whole Lotta Wood

I suppose everyone has been to the beach somewhere and seen some pieces of driftwood here and there. I had never seen anything even close to this before. Seems like anywhere there is an outlet to the sea from one of the many rivers flowing out of the Olympic mountains, the surrounding beaches are littered with great fields of dead wood washed down from the forests inland... and I am talking thousands and thousands of *huge* chunks as well as nearly whole trees. Sometimes it takes some minutes to get through it just to reach what's left of the beach. I'm afraid none of my pictures really does justice to the scale of it; I was more concerned at the time with climbing over it.
Click the image for an enlarged view and you'll get a better sense of size.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SkyWatch: Kalaloch Sunset

An off-hand shot from our Olympic Peninsula trip, taken on my iPhone:-o. Yes, further proof that being in the right place at the right time (and realizing it) is always step #1, before concerns about equipment.  That said, shame on me for not appreciating a potentially great shot and being too lazy to walk a few feet back to our car and haul out my regular gear. Thing is, it was cold and windy and I was kind of tired after a long day:( Because of that, I'm afraid this one will never make it to the gallery wall, except as a framed mini-print or maybe as a greeting card. Other than the horizontal crop, image is straight out of my camera/phone as-shot, with the handy "HDR" feature turned on.
Taken literally 50 ft. from the exact location in my previous post, at Kalaloch beach (pronounced "clay-lock"), in far western Washington. Different day, different time of day... during a rest stop on the way back to our lodge near La Push, after spending a day around Lake Quinault to the south. You'll notice on closer look, that the sun in the moment captured here is actually setting behind an off-shore fog bank (which most nights was not so "off-shore"). Click for a larger view, and I'll talk later about the amazing fields of giant driftwood that you get a taste of in this scene.
"Kalaloch", in the native Quinault language, means something along the lines of "sheltered landing" or "canoe launch place"..I guess you can see why.
Visit the SkyWatch home page each weekend for more great skies from all over the world.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back From the Wild Northwest

I just returned from a long-planned trip up to the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, with it's rain forests, waterfalls and gorgeous beaches. So I should, at last, have a flurry of new work to show over the next few weeks.
We had been to the area only once before briefly on the way to Canada, so it was a little familiar, but my wife and I have wanted for years to spend some real time exploring up there.  We made sure to stay in a central location that would allow access to the whole peninsula each day without having to change lodgings all the time, and I think that worked out pretty well.  The weather was not quite as cooperative as I would have hoped.. we had clear blue skies inland most days (who would have thought, in this most rainy part of the country) until the last two days, and that made shooting in the rainforest a little difficult.. lots of hot spots from the sun in the otherwise deep shade; then the opposite with heavy fog at the ocean, some nights so thick that you couldn't even see the water from a few feet away.  But, hey, that's nature for you.  All in all we had a great time and I did manage to catch some good new material... and very different subject matter for me. The whole area has such a different vibe to it, compared to the desert and mountain scenery that I usually work with here in the southwest corner.
The above shot is right near the ocean at Kalaloch...(can you tell where the ocean is, based on the shape of the trees?).. it was a very foggy shot as exposed, and that was my intention, but with a little contrast boost while playing around, most of the fog disappeared and I kind of prefer the detail in the main tree now with just a hint of fog around the edges. Experimenting with different interpretations is always the most fun part for me.. also, this one may well end up with in monochrome.. after a quick look I like it that way too.