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regnaD kciN

regnaD kciN's Journal
regnaD kciN's Journal
March 27, 2018

First Flower of Spring

As March marks the usual beginning of "photography season" here in the Pacific Northwest, I made my annual trip up to the Skagit flats for the daffodil fields (the tulips, for which the area is most famous, won't bloom until April). When I first arrived, it was solid overcast and not conducive to photography but, eventually, the clouds cleared enough to give us a great sky to go with the yellow carpets.

After which, it was off to Rosario Beach for (eventual) sunset light.

As usual, I produced a YouTube video of my shoot. After several vlogs that were really more practice than anything, this is the first time I produced a video that gives a fair example of what I hope to accomplish with my channel. Check it out!

March 20, 2018

Rainier Morning

A few days ago, I was returning home after dropping my wife off at the bus stop for Seattle, when I noticed the sky starting to light up in the east. In the chance that it might do so to the south (in the direction of Mount Rainier) as well, I quickly grabbed my camera gear and drove to the nearest viewpoint on the mountain (one from which I've taken many images posted here). As it turned out, I got there just in time...

No accompanying video for this image, as a) I didn't have time to grab my video gear, b) I certainly didn't have time to set up additional video shots and narrate the action (the display faded almost as soon as I'd gotten off a handful of shots), and c) a photo vlog covering a drive of a mile or so through suburban streets, followed by one quick photo setup and a drive back home, would probably be one of the shortest and least-interesting videos ever posted to YouTube.

March 10, 2018

Northeast of Rainier

As late winter turned to early spring, I took a trip along the northeast side of Rainier, hoping to photograph Federation Forest State Park, only to find out that, despite earlier assurances to the contrary, the park itself was closed and barricaded until April. Forced to scramble for a "Plan B," I wound up further south, at the Skookum Falls viewpoint. The falls themselves were barely running, but views along the White River and close-up shots of the granite cliff walls proved more worthwhile.

After finishing with "Plan B," it was on to "Plan C" -- on the drive up, I had noticed an attractive river (which turned out to be West Twin Creek) crossing under the highway. I was able to find a parking space on the narrow shoulder of the road and get this image, along with a few other forest shots, before a representative of the State Patrol showed up to inform me I wasn't allowed to park (or photograph) there. Oh, well...it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission, I guess.

As is my recent custom, here's the video of the shoot. Check it out!

February 19, 2018

SNAFU at Snoqualmie?

After my previous visit to Snoqualmie Pass, I was eager to get back when I had better winter gear. Since a warm, rainy period was in the forecast, I jumped at the chance to head back up there on the last day of January. However, while I was careful to make sure I had my parka, hat, gloves, snow boots, and other such winterwear, once I got up there, I discovered I left one item at home...my tripod!

Fortunately, my Sony has in-body stabilization, and hand-holds well, particularly in the bright environment of a snowy landscape.

As usual, here is my vlog on the shoot. Hope you enjoy it!

February 3, 2018

Sometimes, you need a Plan B...

...like when you spend several hours driving to Point Wilson, on the other side of Puget Sound, for some predicted great sunset light over the Sound and Mount Baker with the iconic Point Wilson lighthouse in the foreground. and, just as you get there, an unforecasted bank of fog in the Strait between the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island brings a very quick and unspectacular end to the setting sunlight just as you're setting up for your first shot.

Fortunately, while the fog ruined that composition, the fog bank only affected the Strait itself. Turning south, the Peninsula blocked any fog buildup, and allowed me a nice view of sunset over the Marine Sciences Building at the Point, with Mount Rainier in the background. This was my first attempt at using Lightroom's built-in panorama creation tool, using a set of nine vertical images, and I must say I'm pleased with the result.

As I did with my last couple of submissions here, I vlogged this shoot.

NOTE: This will be the last filmed-on-an-iPhone-6 vlog, as I am upgrading my equipment to provide a more-professional look before the "photography season" up here begins in earnest by mid-March. Since I am hoping to make this a regular series at that time, if you would like to check it out and provide me with constructive criticism (here, rather than in the YouTube comments section), I would appreciate it. Also, if you do enjoy the video, please "like" it and consider subscribing...when, as I said before, I (hopefully) start posting more of these in spring, how viewers respond to my previous vlogs helps determine whether or not YouTube will make them more visible to the general public. Thanks!

January 18, 2018

Snow at Snoqualmie Pass

This was originally going to be a scouting trip in preparation for a major snowfall predicted for the next day...but, when I arrived and found the snow already falling (and the next day's storm bringing a winter storm warning and likely pass closures), I had no choice but to get out in my decidedly-not-ready-for-winter-weather clothing and grab some shots while I had the chance.

As I did with last month's sunset with lenticular clouds over Mount Rainier, I vlogged this shoot.

NOTE: I am hoping to make this a regular series over the next year, so, if you would like to check it out and provide me with constructive criticism (here, rather than in the YouTube comments section), I would appreciate it. For reference, NON-constructive criticism would include "get better equipment than your smartphone" (I intend to), "slow down and speak more clearly" (I already realize I need to), and "get someone other than that ugly fat old guy to host it" (sorry, but there's really not much I can do about that). And also, as I believe you are now legally-required to say on YouTube, "if you enjoyed it, be sure to 'like' and 'subscribe'!"

December 30, 2017

2017: A Look Back

Time for my (almost) annual photo retrospective. For those of you who haven't seen one of these before, I always have two rules in building this collection:

1) One photo per month.
2) None of which has been shown on DU before.

The last point used to be difficult; this year, it's been simple, since I see I only posted to this group five times this past year (one of which was last year's belated retrospective).

It's safe to say that 2017 has been an odd and disquieting year. As the 2016 holiday season came to an end, with Inauguration Day looming on the horizon, I think it's obvious that I fell into a pretty deep depression, one which only intensified as news got worse and worse throughout the year. It clearly effected my photography was well. Ironically, it took yet another tragedy to snap me out of this pit.

January, as usual, is a pretty mediocre month for photography in the Pacific Northwest. In my case, the best I could find was this shot of high clouds on the edge of a storm.

February had me looking up again; this time, at a rare contrail from a rare A380 "superjumbo" as it passed over our house on the way from California to the Far East.

In March, I was at Pioneer Square when I took this shot of the bust of Chief Sealth.

April, as always, is the month for tulips in the Pacific Northwest...

...as is May for rhododendrons.

My image for June was a close-up "texture" study of ferns.

July, as always, found me at Lake Wilderness for the fireworks.

Now, I think anyone familiar with my work in previous years, looking at the choices up to this point, would conclude that something was awry. Virtually everything here was either a plant or flower close-up (at least one of which came from my own yard), or a snapshot that could have come from a camera phone. Indeed, between the horrors that were afflicting this country, plus my own advancing age, increasing sense of mortality, and decrease in activity level and capacity for physical exertion, I began to wonder if it was about time to hang it up. As it happens, the event which was to turn this around was fast approaching, but not for another month or so.

August was the month of the only total solar eclipse in my lifetime to cross the west coast. My son and I left home shortly after midnight, in a mad dash to beat the expected crowds on the freeway, and made it to Salem, Oregon, directly under the path of totality, just before dawn. (We then wound up surviving the very real crowds on the freeway leaving the site, in a trip back to Seattle that took over eight hours.) I very consciously chose to NOT bring my camera equipment, as I didn't want the pressure associated with manipulating gear and trying to capture the "perfect shot" to detract from the actual experience that might well be once-in-a-lifetime. Accordingly, when the moment of totality struck, I had only my smartphone, and it is a very-heavily-postprocessed iPhone shot which is my image for this month.

Less than two weeks after that trip, the incident that was to become a turning-point for me occurred: an arson-caused fire that destroyed much of the Columbia Gorge, one of my favorite places on earth. To say that I was devastated would be an understatement; for the first few days, I spent almost all my waking hours on social media, checking news stories and reports from friends in the area, trying to determine which, if any, well-loved locations might have survived, and fearing that the relentless advance of the flames might wipe those places away as well. I was in mourning for most of the month; however, as September drew to a close, I found that my depression was replaced by determination: if a place that I so treasured could be wiped out due to a teenager's recklessness and stupidity, I owed it to myself to not put off visiting other beautiful locales, either familiar or yet-unvisited, lest I find it too late for them as well. Plus, as I noted at the time, the best cure for the loss of a favorite beautiful place was to spend time at another, still-existing one.

The first fruits of this new resolve was my late September day-trip to Mount Rainier's Carbon River rainforest.

In October, the floodgates opened, as I spent every opportunity I could "on the road" to favorite autumn locales (and even discovering a new one close to home). If I wasn't keeping to the one-photo-per-month rule, I could probably include ten or more images here. However, I'll stick to this shot of Mount Shuksan and Picture Lake, taken a few hundred feet to the right of the viewpoint familiar from dozens of postcards and calendars, where an inlet provided a nice leading line to the mountain.

Of course, almost as soon as my enthusiasm was rekindled, November arrived, and with it the beginning of the long, gray, rainy northwest winter. Still, I was able to catch the last traces of autumn, most notably with this image of fallen leaves from ornamental maples in a rainstorm (titled Autumn's End).

December is usually the time for little more than shots of Christmas lights. However, mid-month, the Skyfire app I use predicted impressive sunset light on Mount Rainier. As seen in my first, admittedly-primitive attempt at photo-vlogging*, I wound up, not with sunset light, but with something even more unusual: a series of stacked lenticular clouds.

So, it's been a long, strange trip this year. With resolve renewed, onward to 2018!

*(Moved down here because I can't figure how to post a link to a YouTube page without getting a thumbnail instead)

September 6, 2017


In my life, there are two places that have been special to me beyond all others. Places where I instantly found myself at peace, closest to nature.

Yosemite National Park is one of them.

The Columbia Gorge is the other.

I have visited the Gorge many, many times since I've been a member of DU. No doubt you have seen many of my photographs from there.

Last Saturday, a group of teenagers playing with firecrackers in a burn-zone area, during the hottest and driest stretch of the year, managed to set brush on fire in the Eagle Creek canyon, probably the most celebrated and scenic area of the Gorge. Driven by strong east winds, the fire spread rapidly; amazingly enough, in the course of three days, it had spread forty-six miles to the east, crossed the Columbia River to the Washington side, threatened the outskirts of Portland, possibly damaged the city's water supply, and, astonishingly, managed to torch the entire Oregon side of the Gorge. The place I loved so much lies in ashes, unlikely to return to its now-past glory for half-a-century or more.

Here are some of my images from my travels to the Gorge. With the possible exception of the last two, all are now essentially destroyed.

Latourell Falls

Shepperd's Dell Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Wahkeena Falls

Lower Wahkeena Creek

Upper Wahkeena Creek

Fairy Falls

Multnomah Falls

Ponytail Falls

Horsetail Falls

Munra Falls

Wahclella Falls

Metlako Falls

Sorenson Creek

Punch Bowl Falls

Emerald Falls (possibly undamaged)

Gorton Creek (possibly undamaged)

At this point, my inclination, once the truth is known about the extent of the damage, is to remove these photographs from my website and never offer them publicly again. I wish to celebrate the beauty of nature as it is now, not as it used to be and is no more.

January 4, 2017

Water Falling Over Things, R.I.P. - A view lost to us

Nature can be majestic, indeed -- but that majesty can be found in destruction as well as creation.

These are photographs I took in 2014 of Oregon's Metlako Falls. Personally, this was one of my favorite spots in the Pacific Northwest. Coming off the famed Eagle Creek trail, you took a short spur downhill to a promontory at a bend in the creek; looking upstream from the narrow viewpoint, you could gaze into an impossibly-lush (particularly in late spring) canyon toward the spot in the mid-distance where Metlako plunged into a small pool. Adding to the wonder of that spot, there was often a trace of mist hovering about the fall.

Sometime in late December, in the midst of winter storms, a massive landslide hit the area. While the Eagle Creek trail itself survived, the Metlako viewpoint did not; it, and around a 300-400 foot stretch of the surrounding cliff, simply collapsed and fell into the canyon. The spur trail leading to it now stops abruptly about half-way there, at a hundred-foot-plus drop-off. The only view of Metlako left from the trail is downstream, partially obscured by the canyon walls, and blocked by tree limbs. Unless one rappels into the canyon itself (a very-dangerous maneuver which is way beyond my, or most hikers', skills), there is no other unobstructed view of the waterfall. Since it would be extraordinarily difficult and prohibitively expensive to build any sort of a stable viewing platform where the viewpoint once stood, it is likely that Metlako Falls will remain unviewable to hikers for years (or, more likely, decades if not centuries) to come.

Let this serve as a reminder to everyone: if there's a natural place you've always wanted to visit -- or photograph! -- do so as soon as possible. Otherwise, as we in the Pacific Northwest have just been reminded once again, you have no guarantee that spot will be there when you finally get around to making the trip.

January 4, 2017

2016 Year-in-Review (Belated)

Well, I normally put up a year-in-review thread on one of the last couple of days of the year. I planned to do the same this (well, last) year, and had everything selected and ready to go...but I couldn't get on DU. Thanks to the hacker attack of last November, I needed to revise my password...and the security e-mail from DU simply didn't arrive. It took me until 1/4 to actually get the system to reply to my request and send me that confirmation -- and, until then, I was unable to post, period. Since I already did all the selection work, I figured I might as well post something, even if it seems a bit pointless to do so now that New Year's Eve is long past.

As usual, I have two rules: 1) a photo per month, which 2) can't have appeared on DU before.

In January, shooting from the observation deck of the Columbia Tower, I got a different perspective on Seattle.

When my attempt to shoot Snoqualmie Falls at high-water came to nothing in February (thanks to way too much spray), I settled for a black-and-white study of rock and water.

Thanks to last winter's El Niño, tulip season came unseasonably early, in late March rather than April. As usual, this shot was taken in the Skagit Flats.

Similarly, the rhododendrons of May bloomed in April, instead.

I have taken many photos of the city from Kerry Park (as has practically every other photographer who's ever set foot here), but I found this shot from May notable in the way Mount Rainier hovered ghost-like in the background.

I have taken many photographs of Snoqualmie Falls (and posted many here), but my visit in June was the first time for shooting the fall from its base.

July, of course, is a time for fireworks...and, sadly, possibly the last time I'll be able to attend the festivities while feeling truly proud to be an American.

In August, I took my only trip to Mount Rainier; as atmospheric conditions were not what I hoped for, I was only able to come away with this rather minimalist and abstract view of the mountain.

September's image came from early evening at the Des Moines (that's Washington, not Iowa) marina.

I already posted several images taken in October at Whatcom Falls; here's a vertical composition from the same trip.

November was hard. Very hard. Putting it simply, I had no real desire to go out and photograph nature. Aside from a couple of dispensable iPhone photos I took at the very end of the month, the only image I thought appropriate was a "studio" (i.e. computer desk) shot I took, several days after the election, to be used as a social-media avatar.

Since I began the year with a photo that included the Space Needle, it would only be appropriate for me to conclude the year in a similar manner, right? Of course, December's photograph isn't of the REAL Space Needle, but on the replica a neighbor built on his roof as a pièce de resistance for his usually-spectacular Christmas light display (which, this year, was featured on an ABC special about elaborate holiday lights).

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Maple Valley, Washington
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 26,067
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