May 20, 2015 Valdez, Alaska

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

Head in the Clouds and Water, Falling

In actuality, technically, my head was above the clouds!

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

When I awoke this morning, around 3:30 AM, there was a solid gray cloud cover over the area, with just a ray of light shining through here and there.  So, nothing to shoot here below the cloud cover, let’s climb back up Thompson Pass and see what’s happening there, if nothing else, I can do waterfalls with the soft diffused light from the cloud cover.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version, and many of these shots do deserve that you do so.

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

As I climbed the grade up Thompson Pass, I actually entered the clouds I had been viewing from below, soon a solid dense fog bank, all but obscurring the road. So much for any dramatic shots from Thompson Pass, I thought as I continued my climb to the top.

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

But I persevered onward, and upward, and there suddenly appeared a little shimmering of light from above, and then I emerged from the cloud cover, was at the top of Thompson Pass, and, boy, was I ever wrong about no dramatic shots from up here this morning!

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

Here, at the top of the pass, it was as if you were in a plane doing a flyover of the mountains, high above the clouds, yet I was able to set the tripod up on terra firma.

Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds

Just a magical morning at the top of Thompson Pass, gray and gloomy below, simply spectacular above. As I mentioned in my last post, catching the “Golden Hours” here in Alaska is going to require some severe self discipline, seeing as they occur at some very early, and very late times. Getting out before 4 AM this particular morning, I was well rewarded for the effort.

Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail

Keystone Canyon Waterfalls

Keystone Canyon on the road to Valdez
Keystone Canyon on the road to Valdez

On the road to Valdez, after descending from Thompson Pass, you enter the very dramatic Keystone Canyon, where suddenly, the road is swallowed by immense rock walls, towering over you to all but unimagineable heights. And as you round the first bend in the canyon, you are greeted by a pair of incredibly tall waterfalls.

Keystone Canyon Waterfalls
Keystone Canyon Waterfalls
Keystone Canyon Waterfall
Keystone Canyon Waterfall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning, since the falls were still completely in the shade, I decided to stop and spend a little time ( ended up being well over an hour ), searching out details of rock and spray, looking for that ideal composition of water flowing over rock.

Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Bridal Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail

Extensive playing around with various ISO’s, DOF, and shutter speed settings produces a wide, and sometimes wild, variety of images of the very same portion of a waterfall. One of the things I enjoy about photography is being able to capture images that your eye actually doesn’t see.

Horsetail Falls Detail
Horsetail Falls Detail
Trumpeter Swan on Her nest
Trumpeter Swan on Her nest

On this same road I noticed this Trumpeter Swan dutifully sitting on her clutch of eggs. I will have to keep an eye on her over the next few days here, just in case I am lucky enough to catch some newly hatched signets.

Yet More Watercolor Subjects

Valdez Drydock
Valdez Drydock

And lastly, back in the village of Valdez, I found three more potential watercolor subjects sitting in dry dock. Though I know I’ll never get the brushes out this summer while here in Alaska, I swear this winter I will resume my painting career.

Valdez Drydock
Valdez Drydock
Valdez Drydock
Valdez Drydock

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July 25, 2014 Quinault Rain Forest

Floating the Quinault River
Floating the Quinault River

I did a walk around the campground loop this morning, and since the back is starting to feel a little stronger, continued with a walk down the beach.

Late morning, I took off down Route 101 south to Lake Quinault and South Shore Road that follows along the shore of the lake and ventures about 10 miles up into the Quinault Rain Forest.

Blue Hydrangeas and day lilies
Blue Hydrangeas and day lilies

As a former fairly avid gardener, I have been fascinated by the all the gorgeous flower beds and flowering shrubbery I have encountered almost everywhere this summer on the Olympic Peninsula.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas
Blue Hydrangeas
Blue Hydrangeas
Blue Hydrangeas
Blue Hydrangeas

Once again, I found an abundance of beautiful gardens along this road, but the blue hydrangeas really stood out.

Thomas Kincaid Cottage
Thomas Kincaid Cottage

Couldn’t help but think of the late artist (?) Thomas Kincaid when I ran across this cottage set back from the road.

Floating the Quinault River
Floating the Quinault River
Floating the Quinault River
Floating the Quinault River
Quinault rain forest
Quinault rain forest
Floating the Quinault River
Floating the Quinault River

 

 

 

 

I did run into this guide taking a couple down the river and the gentleman in one of the pontoon boats was making a few casts every once in a while, but he was only fishing, not catching. The Quinalt River is a crystal clear shallow stream that hosts several salmon runs plus a steelhead run, although I wasn’t fortunate enough to be here during one of these runs. Check out some of the catches on this river.    quinault river fishing

Quinault rain forest
Quinault rain forest
Quinault rain forest
Quinault rain forest
Quinault rainforest
Quinault rainforest

Quinault rainforestQuinault rainforest

The Quinault Rain Forest is a temperate rain forest. Moss and lichens cover almost every surface  in the forest.

Rust in Peace
Rust in Peace
Rust in Peace
Rust in Peace

And that would include abandoned vehicles.

Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall

There are several small waterfalls along this road and a few more accessible by a short hike into the rain forest. I apologize for getting a little carried away with these but it has been a while since I have been able to get out and do some photography!

Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall
Quinault rainforest waterfall


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