Myrtle Falls at Mount Rainier National Park

Myrtle Falls and Mount Rainier in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA.

myrtle falls and mount rainier

Myrtle Falls in Mount Rainier National Park (Purchase)

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   During my earlier trips to Mount Rainier National Park I had been to the Paradise area many times, but had never actually ventured out above the parking lot. In the late summer of 2013 I spent 2 evenings in the area, the first being on Mazama Ridge. This part of the Skyline Trail up to Edith Creek and Myrtle Falls is pretty easy going, and is even paved up to that point. I passed a roughly 80-something woman who was heading up there with a walker. She said she went up there every year and would go even if she had to crawl! I hope I am that tenacious when I am that age. The view is certainly interesting, and the area being surrounded by the blooming wildflowers doesn’t hurt.

   As this was my first visit to the area above Paradise I made a few photographs of Edith Creek and Myrtle falls and moved on up the trail. This looks to be a great spot to pull out the longer 70-200 lens and photograph some of the finer details of the falls, as I did with Narada Falls on a previous trip.

You can see more of my Rainier photographs in my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery.

Mount Rainier Sunrise Near Tipsoo Lake

Early morning light on Mount Rainier and a wildflower meadow above Upper Tipsoo Lake – in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

mount rainier sunrise and wildflowers

Mount Rainier and a meadow of wildflowers above Tipsoo Lake (Purchase)

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   Showing up early in the morning at Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park I was not surprised to see a number of photographers lining select parts of Upper Tipsoo Lake. Unfortunately, “the shot” people seem to want from there is off the trail, which is the second reason I probably will never have “the shot” from that location. On this morning, however, all the photographers were grumpy and lamented to me about the wind that was destroying any chance they had of getting a reflection. I pointed out to a few of them that climbing the hill might yield something interesting (this was the reason I was there). Nobody followed me. I am not necessarily against “trophy hunting” photography, of course I photograph some iconic locations as well. I do think those photographers would have been well served to climb the hill behind the lake to see what other perspectives might be available – especially after conditions were not favourable to their initial plans. The photograph above has a few elements I enjoy – nice light on the mountain and wildflowers in the foreground. I have already published one photograph of the same Mount Rainier sunrise from my climb of the hill. Neither of these would have been a photographic opportunity I would have had if I’d retreated to my car after failing to find the “the shot” I saw online.

More photographs of Mount Rainer National Park can be found in my Image Library.

Narada Falls at Mount Rainier NP

The base of Narada Falls at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, USA

narada falls in mount rainier national park

Narada Falls in Mount Rainier National Park

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   During the summer of 2012 I was in Mount Rainier National Park on a photography trip. As with many days at Mount Rainier – the clouds rolled in and you couldn’t see the mountain – not even the Tatoosh Range. On my first trip there in 2009 I remember explaining to some German tourists (who were excited to see Mount Rainier) while standing in the Paradise parking lot that actually the mountain IS right there… you just can’t see it. I suggested some of the waterfalls but they weren’t interested – they must not have been photographers! So with similar conditions presented in 2012 I photographed Narada Falls instead. There are only so many points where you can see the falls, so doing all that much creative with wider angles is not easy. For this photograph I pulled out the 70-200mm lens to find some details I liked. I have a number of photographs of some other details of Narada Falls but I think my favourite is this photo of the water hitting the rocks at the base..

   I also chose this photograph to again play around with some black and white conversions. This was my favourite iteration of Narada Falls in black and white from my experimentation. Does this monochrome version work for you?

My Top 10 Photos of 2013

   Choosing a top 10 list of photos at the end of every year never seems to be easy for me. It might be better categorized as a list of favourites as my choices do not always remain the same over time. I’ve made many photos this year I am proud of, and I think illustrate improvements over my photography from previous years (always a good thing). The exercise of choosing a list of only 10 photos is difficult, but I think it is a task that is well worthwhile – and I always enjoy being a part of Jim Goldstein’s annual Your Best Photos project. I have to ask myself what I like about my images, what I don’t, and which is a stronger representation of certain categories or locations I photographed during the year. Choosing images for my yearly Calendar is the start of this task, but at the very least I still have to weed out two images from that pile.

   So in no specific order: My top 10 Photographs of 2013!

eureka falls and silverhope creek in the skagit valley
Eureka Falls and Silverhope Creek in the Skagit Valley

(Hope, British Columbia)

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Mount Rainier Wildflowers and Sunset

Mount Rainier peeks over a wildflower covered meadow at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, USA.

fall colour at chilliwack lake and mount webb

Mount Rainier and a wildflower covered meadow at sunset (Purchase)

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   A photograph from my trip to Mount Rainier National Park in August where some jogging was required. I also had to do a bit of running to make a photo of similar light reflecting in Edith Creek – which I posted in August. I’m sure the few brave tourists still out at this time of the evening found my antics entertaining, but I’ve learned that sometimes when you take light like this complacently, you’ll be quickly punished by it’s disappearance. So I jogged up the trail to a spot I’d taken note of with some nice flowers, tripod over my shoulder, and my personal cloud of mosquitoes in tow behind me. I believe my efforts were worthwhile!

For more photos from this trip visit my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery.

Mount Rainier Wildflowers – Edith Creek

A small waterfall on Edith Creek in Mount Rainier National Park during wildflower season at Paradise, Washington State, USA

mount rainier and edith creek in mount rainier national park

Mount Rainier and Edith Creek (Purchase)

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   This spot along the Skyline Trail in Mount Rainier National Park features both Rainier and Edith Creek. It happens to be one of those “iconic” locations that is often photographed, and you can see why. Many photographers publicly deride iconic locations and those who photograph them but I don’t have a problem with shooting in these places (obviously). These locations are icons for a reason – they offer great scenery and are often easily accessible. After photographing an iconic location, however, I do think you should try thinking outside the box and find your own compositions in the area. There are always other angles and subjects to shoot that have not been photographed so many times before. Those who shoot an icon and then turn around and leave are missing out on a lot of the fun.

   See more photographs from Mount Rainier National Park in my Image Library.

A Tatoosh Range Wildflower Sunset

Panorama of the Tatoosh Range from Mazama Ridge in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA.

tatoosh range and wildflower sunset panorama in mount rainier national park

The Tatoosh Range and Wildflowers at Sunset (Purchase)

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   Sometimes with scenes like this one I just can’t help but make a few panorama photos. Some places, in my mind at least, almost require this format to more accurately convey the impact the scenery has when actually standing there. A simple wide angle photograph doesn’t always accomplish this like a panorama can. Of course, a photograph is a poor imitation of the actual experience, so this is a place I plan to return to next year – most likely again during wildflower season. This is of course the Tatoosh Range in Mount Rainier National Park as seen from Mazama Ridge. While not as evident as in some of my earlier photos from this trip, there is a nice field of wildflowers (mostly Lupines, Paintbrush and Sitka Valerian) in the foreground. This view can be found along the Skyline Trail on Mazama Ridge, uphill from the junction with the Lakes Trail.

   While editing photos from my Rainier trip it has become obvious that I have so far heavily favoured the Tatoosh Range as a background for my photographs in the park. I did make a lot more photographs of Rainier itself on this trip, but I think my favourites are still of the Tatoosh. Why? Well, my last few trips to Rainier have been in pursuit of wildflowers, and the Paradise area is a fantastic place to find them. That close to the mountain though, the peak takes up so much of the sky and is such an imposing element in a composition I find it can overwhelm the photograph. Weather is another factor – clouds often hide the view of Rainier itself, and the Tatoosh range is much closer and is not always enveloped by the same clouds. I should try Paradise at sunrise though, I bet the light on Rainier would be much easier to work with than at sunset. On this trip I did photograph Rainier from Tipsoo Lake at sunrise, and I found that to be not only great light, but a suitable distance from Rainier to work quite nicely as a background for photographs. The Sunrise area is also a great place to photograph Rainier, though not as heavily populated by wildflowers.

Mount Rainier from above Tipsoo lake

Early morning sun lights up Mount Rainier from above Upper Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

sunrise view of mount rainier from above tipsoo lake in mount rainier national park

Mount Rainier sunrise from above Tipsoo Lake (Purchase)

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  Another from my trip to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State earlier this month. While not as flashy as many of the photos I have with more wildflowers and pink skies (coming soon), I quite like this one made above upper Tipsoo Lake early in the morning. I am not a morning person, so getting up at 5am to drive the distance to Tipsoo lake was an accomplishment. I wonder if this is easier for the coffee drinkers? Every other time I’ve successfully dragged my butt out of bed that early – Rainier has only welcomed me with overcast skies. While the really great pink light on the overhead clouds did not happen on this morning, there was some good alpenglow on Rainier before the sun came up over Naches Peak behind me.

  So if you are in some location far from home (or even close to it) – get your butt out of bed for sunrise. That is as much of a reminder for myself as it may be for you. 😀