Posts Tagged ‘mount baker wilderness’

Mountain Goat in the Mount Baker Wilderness

A Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus) climbing the southern side of Table Mountain at the Mount Baker Wilderness in Washington State, USA.

mountain goat below table mountain in the mount baker wilderness

Mountain Goat Below Table Mountain

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   In my last post I mentioned walking a few kilometers out on the Chain Lakes trail from Artist Point in the Mount Baker Wilderness. I made several landscape photographs at sunset while out there, including my previous post showing the panorama of Mount Shuksan. When first heading out on the trail I stopped and was going to wait for a hiker (wearing a lot of white) further out on the trail to pass though one of my compositions. As it turned out, this was a Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus) which I had forgotten were even a species I might discover here. Apparently they are fairly common in the Ptarmigan Ridge area but there are only about 2 800 in Washington State overall. Last year in a nearby location on the Table Mountain Trail I photographed a small flock of Sooty Grouse which I had also happened upon by chance. I was quite happy to find wildlife there two years in a row – especially in the case of the Mount Goat as I had never seen this species before. I don’t have any super telephoto lenses, so I made do with my 70-200mm lens and the 1.4x extender I keep in my bag for occurrences just like this one. Animal portraits are nice, but sometimes I prefer photographs of wildlife in the context of their environment. Headshots don’t show the environment animals live in. Perhaps I have partly formed this opinion because I lack the long telephoto lenses that most wildlife photographers carry with them. I bought a car instead!

   Usually when I am in an area where I expect to run into wildlife I review what one should do when you encounter it – so I am familiar with how to deal with Bears and Mountain Lions but not Goats. I stayed well back on the trail as it was walking along the trail towards me initially. I don’t believe Mountain Goats get agressive for no reason, but I stayed out of its just in case (and my bear spray was in the trunk of my car where it is not that useful). After it walked up the slope briefly I continued up the trail, got into a better position, and made this photograph. He or she was nice enough to pose for a few minutes (while watching me warily) while I made some images.

For more of my photographs of wildlife visit my Animals and Wildlife Gallery.

North Cascades Sunset from Chain Lakes Trail

   An early fall sunset in Washington State’s North Cascades featuring Mount Shuksan.

sunset in washingtons north cascades mountains with mount shuksan

Sunset in Washington State’s North Cascades Range Featuring Mount Shuksan (Purchase)

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   Mount Shuksan is one of the most photographed mountains in Washington State’s North Cascades Range. The majority of these photographs are likely made at the iconic Picture Lake view due to the great scenery and easy access (100 feet from your parked car). I have photographed that view quite a few times, and it is still one I love to look at. I went to the Mount Baker Wilderness last week and did stop at that iconic location, but I didn’t get my camera out of the bag even though the conditions were good – I simply took in the sights there while eating my soup for dinner. Shuksan is one of my favourite mountains, but I am looking to expand my library of more interesting photographs, not pad my already too large collection of pretty but creatively boring iconic images from Picture Lake.

   I had previously hiked the Chain Lakes Trail up to Herman Saddle on the north side of its loop but this time decided to try the south side as time permitted from the Artist Point parking lot. As was the case last year, I spent far more time than I’d anticipated photographing in the Heather Meadows and Bagley Lakes area and didn’t get as far on the Chain Lakes Trail as I had anticipated. Heather Meadows and a long lens seem to be a combination that unlocks a lot of compositions for me – which you will likely seen a post coming soon.

   Despite my slow pace at Heather Meadows I did time my walk up the Chain Lakes Trail from Artist Point correctly. I was in a good position to photograph the sunset light on the mountain, and was even lucky enough to get some decent colour in the sky behind Mount Shuksan. I enjoy the light in the evenings, but mostly the light itself, not the sunset. I prefer the colours found in the east at sunset than the west, though perhaps this is also because they are much less frequent and harder to find. Getting a good exposure is also a bit easier as the dynamic range of such scenes is much lower than a western direction during sunset.

For more of my photographs from the North Cascades visit my North Cascades Gallery.

Picture Lake and Mount Shuksan Sunset

Mount Shuksan’s reflection during Fall in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, USA

reflection of mount shuksan in the silhouette of picture lake

Mount Shuksan Sunset (Purchase)

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   This is one of my newly processed photos from Picture Lake in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest – featuring the iconic Mount Shuksan. In October 2011 I again photographed this location and now that I have my website gallery organized I have finished off the processing of images from that trip. This photo (and the horizontal version) has a bit of a different look to it than the others I processed from the same evening.

   More photos of Mount Shuksan and the surrounding area can be found in my Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Gallery.

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Subapline Lupines and Mount Shuksan

Subalpine Lupines (Lupinus arcticus ssp. subalpinus) on Kulshan Ridge with Mount Shuksan in the background – Mount Baker Wilderness, Washington State, USA.

subalpine lupines on kulshan ridge with mount shuksan washington

Subalpine Lupines (Lupinus arcticus ssp. subalpinus) on Kulshan Ridge (Purchase)

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   This is an older image from 2010 that I recently reprocessed. I have always liked this photo of Subalpine Lupines (Lupinus arcticus) flowering along Kulshan Ridge with Mount Shuksan in the background. The older version had that were just not that clear. There was a good breeze coming through there that evening and getting a still shot of the flowers was not easy. In fact, I had thought I had failed that mission, and published one on my blog and website that didn’t have the clearest Lupines. This is a different exposure, though a slightly different composition. It occasionally pays to keep some of my old files around!

   This evening was my first outing with my first Graduated Neutral Density filter. I had never used one, but read a lot about them and a bit on how to use it. My photos from this evening were a big eye opener as to what was possible, and this beautiful location was certainly a big help. I also learned what they can do to trees that are on the horizon line but hopefully that is not too distracting in this photo.

   The Artist Point area on Kulshan Ridge gets a ton of foot traffic as the parking lot is nearby. As a consequence, a lot of the vegetation gets trampled and destroyed. With the amount of snow that falls here each winter, there is a very very short growing season for these plants, so growing back after a repeated tourist trampling is not easy. Unfortunately I could not get my old tripod into a good position to photograph these so I had to convert myself into a pretzel to get low enough to look through the viewfinder. My old camera had no live view which would have helped immensely. One foot on a rock, a hand on another rock, and one hand on the camera… I only hit the mosses and other plants once with one of my hands. So I was successful in not damaging nature to get my nature photograph, but I did manage to pull a muscle in my leg which didn’t feel right for a week. I think the results make that completely worth it!

The Border Peaks (And Google+)

canadian border peak and american border peak
The Border Peaks
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   This is a photo I made back in 2010 of Canadian Border Peak and American Border Peak (with Yellow Aster Butte in the foreground) from Kulshan Ridge in the Mount Baker Wilderness. On Sunday I was going through some of my older photo files and decided this composition deserved some reprocessing so I could post it on for “Mountain Monday”.

   Google+ launched back in June 2011 (in September to the general public) and has been a big success. The photography community has been especially taken with it – and it is now my main social network for photography related pursuits. I am still active on Twitter and my Facebook Page but Google+ is where most of the action takes place. Every Monday I curate a theme called “Mountain Monday” where many photographers post their mountain photos and “tag” their post with a #mountainmonday tag. At the end of the day I post a selection of these images. Every week there is a substantial amount of fantastic photography.

   If you have mountain photos you would like to share – Mondays on G+ are a great time and place to do so. If you are not yet on Google+ you can read my earlier blog post about Google+ and photography back in September 2010.

Table Mountain from Bagley Lakes Trail

Table Mountain from the Bagley Lakes Trail at the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State, USA.

table mountain at bagley lakes mount baker wilderness

Table Mountain at Bagley Lakes (Purchase)

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    This is a photo I made in late September of Table Mountain in the Mount Baker Wilderness. This was along the Bagley Lakes Trail – and was one of the first short hikes I’d done in the area other than walking along the ridge near Artist Point. Being late September I was expecting that there would be few (if any) wildflowers and the Fall colours would be well on their way to starting in the various Vaccinium bushes etc. Everything was still green and the wildflowers were either just past, or still going strong (as was the case for the Lupines). I went hiking there 2 weeks later – and there STILL were hardly any leaves turning. I am curious to see what this year brings for Summer and Fall weather.

My 10 Best Photos of 2011

reflection of mount shuksan in the silhouette of picture lake
Mount Shuksan Alpenglow

   It is always tough to narrow down a years worth of images into a list of the “best”. I did this last year and I think it is a valuable exercise. Jim Goldstein of JMG Galleries creates a list of everyone’s top 10 images each year. I made my first top 10 last year. This years list has fewer landscape and more wildlife photos. This is partly due to my not getting out to shoot as many landscapes as last year, and partly due to my backlog in image editing.

   You can click on each of the following images to go to the blog post that may tell a bit more about the location and how I made the photograph.

In no particular order my “Best of 2011″…

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Nooksack River and Mount Shuksan

Mount Shuksan and the Nooksack River in the North Cascades, Washington State, USA

mount shuksan and nooksack river washington

Mount Shuksan and the Nooksack River (Purchase)

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   One of the downsides of having a lot of backlog in my photo editing is that I tend to forget what I have. I purposefully wait a while in order to process my images, just so that I am somewhat subjective in terms of images that deserve scrutiny and those that don’t. I often have initial expectations that were not met when I review the images too soon, and sometimes that clouds what is really there. At least for me. I do occasionally go back over images that did not leap out at me during a first pass – sometimes I find something I really like. Sometimes this is due to my perception of the image changing and sometimes I have learned some new post processing skills that open the photo to new potential.

   This photo is another example of this phenomenon. I initially passed over it but this weekend viewed it again, and knew how I wanted to process it. I have many photos of Mount Shuksan, but this one is a bit different. This was not taken from Picture Lake, Artist Point or any of my usual places. This is along the North Fork of the Nooksack River (which later flows over Nooksack Falls) at the bottom of the hill near the Shuksan Campground.