View from Mt. Erie Park in Anacortes

View from Mt. Erie (on Fidalgo Island, Washington State, USA) of the Straight of Juan de Fuca, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (Ault field), and the Olympic Mountains.

view from mt. erie on fidalgo island in washington state

View from Mt. Erie on Fidalgo Island (Anacortes) (Purchase)

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   Last fall I drove down to Washington State to visit Blaine, Anacortes and a few other spots along the way. My last stop was Mt. Erie Park in Anacortes, and I am glad that I wound up there at the end of the day. I wrote a bit more about that trip in a previous blog post which explains why I stopped at Mt. Erie Park and photographed the moonrise and the North Cascade Range as well as some nice sunset light on Mount Rainier. While I made them on the same evening, the photos here show a different view – looking south towards Whidbey Island.

   The photograph above shows the view from Mt. Erie looking south towards Whidbey Island. The cluster of buildings in the lower left corner is Ault Field which is part of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. The body of water is the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the Olympic Mountains beyond.

view of rodger bluff and lake campbell on fidalgo island

Rodger Bluff and Lake Campbell on Fidalgo Island (Anacortes) (Purchase)

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   Looking down from Mt. Erie you see a lot of farmland, islands, lakes and ocean. The most prominent and closest lake is Lake Campbell and I liked the view of the lily pads and other foliage growing at the west end of the lake next to Rodger Bluff. Pass lake is the lake you can see a bit further in the background. The panorama below shows a wide view looking to the south from Mt. Erie. In that photo you can see many of the locations I’ve mentioned above as well as Similk Bay and Mount Rainier (center).

panorama of whidbey island and olympic mountains from mt. erie in anacortes

View of Whidbey Island and the Olympic Mountains (Purchase)

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For more photography from the Washington State area visit the 7 galleries in my Washington State Collection.

Sunset at Larrabee State Park’s Clayton Beach

New photos from Clayton Beach at Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, WA.

sunset at larrabee state park in washington state usa

A winter sunset at Clayton Beach – Larrabee State Park in Bellingham

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   In March of 2012 I visited Larrabee State Park in Washington State. Both of these photos are from Clayton Beach and show the interesting foregrounds possible on this sort of sandstone beach.

   One of my favourite features of Clayton Beach was the sandstone along the edge of the ocean. Most of the “beaches” that I know in this region are either sandy or are a rocky beach that is rather slippery. The usual barnacles, mussels, and algae such as Fucus distichus are still present. As they are on a sandstone surface, however, the rocks are not very slippery even when wet. It feels a bit like walking on sandpaper – and it was nice to not have to worry as much about falling on my butt!

sunset at larrabee state park in washington state usa

Sunset light on sandstone formations at Clayton
Beach in Larrabee State Park – Bellingham

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   Other than just providing a non slip surface to walk on, the sandstone provides some great textures and shapes (called Tafoni) for the foreground of a photograph. Both of these images have interesting shapes in the foreground, though the second is more pronounced with more visible pockets of erosion. My previously published photo from Larrabee shows a larger sandstone formation.

   I have a new gallery of Ocean Photos on my website which includes more from my trip to Larabee State park. More Ocean themed photos are on their way…

Larrabee State Park Sunset

Sunset over Lummi Island with some sandstone Tafoni at Clayton Beach in Larrabee State Park – Bellingham, Washington State, USA.

sunset over lummi island with some sandstone tafoni at clayton beach in larrabee state park

Clayton Beach at Larrabee State Park

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   In March I was lucky to have Alan Majchrowicz give me a tour of Larrabee State Park in Washington State. Thanks again Alan! We were lucky and had some good light at the end of the day. The rocky shores just south of Bellingham are not like the ones I’ve spent more time on around Vancouver – these are mostly sandstone. Much nicer to walk on the sandstone – its like built in grip for your shoes! The water has also eroded the rock surfaces into all sorts of interest shapes and patterns which makes choosing a composition a bit difficult – there are so many great possibilities! Sunsets like this are not something I have done a lot with in the past, and I even brought out the 6 stop ND filter for some of it. Waiting for a 116 second exposure is not something I am used to – but I quite like the results. I will have to do much more with that filter in the future!

For more photos of Washington State visit my Washington State Collection in my Image Library.

Rule #1 – Bring your Camera

small flock of dunlin - calidris alpini - feed along the shore of penn cove in washington state

   This is something I have learned the hard way. While I am not going to bring the SLR when I go to the grocery store, I have learned to bring it with me if there even a decent chance of finding something interesting to photograph. There have been many times when I have found something interesting – and every time this happens my camera has done me little good sitting in its bag back home. This can be a bitter pill to swallow when one comes across something spectacular.

small flock of dunlin - calidris alpina - feed along the shore of penn cove in washington state

   A few days ago I accompanied a friend on a journey to Washington State to buy a new vehicle. I debated whether I should bring the camera bag or not. It was quite likely that I would not have time to shoot anything – and also quite likely I would see nothing to shoot. I’ve had this debate before – and opted to not bring my equipment with me. Frequently this has worked out just fine, but other times I have missed great opportunities by leaving my equipment at home. So this time I brought it all with me.

   Glad I did!

small flock of dunlin - calidris alpina - feed along the shore of penn cove in washington state

   We stopped for a quick break along SR20 in San de Fuca which is just outside of Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. Walked down to the shore and there was a small flock of Dunlin (Calidris alpina) foraging along the shore. A quick dash back to the car and I began stalking them along the shore. Not very skittish at all, but they did move along the shore away from me when I approached. I had to hide behind old timbers of a dock to get as close as possible. Normally it is much better to sit and wait for a group like this to wander back towards you, but they did not seem alarmed by my presence and I had no time to camp out. Dunlin spend their time here on the coasts of Washington State and British Columbia in the winter – fattening themselves up before a migration to their summer breeding grounds in Alaska and along the shores of Hudson Bay.

Batteries do no good if left IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY.

whatcomfalls A few weeks ago I went on an epic photo journey through Manning Park, Princeton, Penticton, Kelowna, Kamloops and the Fraser Canyon. Before I embarked on the PhotoJourney™ I thought it wise to purchase a spare battery. Having haggled a local drugstore down from $160 to $80, which I was quite happy with, I was set. I recently purchased a new Canon lens with Image Stabilization which is rumored to decrease battery life. While I took 650 pictures (many using the IS lens) I did not require the use of my new battery. The question was then – how long can I go before I need to swap out batteries?

The following weekend I went on a quick trip across the US border to Whatcom Falls Park. I saw that the battery indicator was showing about 1/2 of its strength, which means it is almost dead. I still wanted to see how far I could go before swapping out with my spare battery. On the bridge I took about 15 quick pictures before the battery finally died. Nice – about 700 shots per battery!

I reach into my bag to take out the spare. I couldn’t immediately find it. It must be in this flap… or this pocket or…. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I actually told my bag NO in dramatic enough terms to elicit attention from passersby.

Somehow the drive back to the border and home seemed longer than it should have.

At least I got a good shot of the waterfall. Handheld for 1.6 seconds! Image Stabilization works pretty darn good I’d say, though I think I’m pretty lucky to have this shot turn out.