Sunset on Mount Shuksan at Picture Lake in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, USA
Sunset at Mount Shuksan and Picture Lake (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of doing some hiking and photography in the Heather Meadows area of the Mount Baker Wilderness with Alan Majchrowicz. We hiked to the top of Herman Saddle along the Chain Lakes Trail which had a fantastic view. Clearly I had been riding my office chair for too long because my lungs didn’t quite handle the hike as well as I had hoped. Most of my familiarity was with the Picture Lake and Artist Point areas so to see a few of the other sights was an eye opener. I know a few hikes I want to do next summer!
Back at our vehicles we were talking a bit about how the “good” light can come and go rather quickly. I know I’ve seen the light turn to something fantastic as I am in my car driving away from my recent shooting location. I have also seen it disappear as I am trying to reach a viewpoint. I have learned through some recent experiences that staying until the light is definitely gone is always a good idea. You never know what might develop after you leave! So it was not without a touch of irony that this conversation ended quickly as we noticed great light appearing on the mountains. A quick drive and a hurried jog up the boardwalk later and I made these images of Mount Shuksan.
Photography for me is usually a very relaxing endeavor, which is part of my enjoyment of it I think, but sometimes when you know the light will go at any moment this can be accompanied by some adrenaline. Years ago when this would happen I would rush and make a lot of mistakes because of the urgency, which does not happen now. I still feel the excitement though! I have been at this location many times, but I have not seen good light on the mountain while it had this backdrop of a subtle purple/mauve cloud coloration. It was colorful enough to give a nice contrast with the snow and ice of the mountain, unlike a simple grey cloud background (which I have seen many times).
I am often a bit torn at this location between trying to get foreground detail or just creating a silhouette of the foreground trees. I think this silhouette version was quite successful but I also like the other version. Which do you prefer?
EDIT (November 2013) – Having had 2 years to think about it I now much prefer the first image over the silhouette. I may even prefer a variation on that image ( Mount Shuksan ) over the version posted here.