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.

North Cascades National Park Peaks

In May I took my first trip through North Cascades National Park. Though I did not venture far from Hwy 20 there were mountain peaks everywhere you looked. This being late spring, there was still snow blanketing most of them. I will be travelling through there again in October and now that I know a few of the sights that await me I will be taking my time.

wallaby peak kangaroo ridge at washington pass cutthroat peak in north cascades national park

whister mountain in north cascades national park stiletto peak north cascades national park black peak north cascades national park

Fall Color in North Cascades National Park

Gorge Creek Falls sits in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area of North Cascades National Park. The main vantage point of these falls are a metal bridge that sways and shudders when traffic goes over it – and it doesn’t have the sort of surface you could put a tripod on. I have found this spot to not be very hospitable to photography, though the views are excellent. I had a bit better luck earlier this year while trying a vertical “panorama”.

gorge creek falls upper gorge creek falls hwy 20 near north cascades national park

The first photo here is of the Gorge Dam just outside of Newhalem, Wa.

gorge dam on the skagit river gorge lake ross lake national recreation area skagit river

Washington Pass Panorama

In May I took the long route from the Vancouver area to Kelowna, via North Cascades National Park and Hwy 20. This is Washington Pass (elevation 5477 feet / 1669 m) which is just east of the park boundary.

The mountain peaks/ridges from left to right are: Hinkhouse Peak, Delancy Ridge (end of valley), Vasiliki Ridge, Kangaroo Ridge, Wallaby Peak, Unnamed Ridge, Early Winter Spire North and South (party of Liberty Bell Mountain).

25 exposures stitched, Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM @ 17mm

Click for larger version…
washington pass just outside north cascades national park