Narada Falls in Mount Rainier National Park

Narada Falls during Summer in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

view of narada falls in mount rainier national park

View of Narada Falls (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I visited Mount Rainier National Park in the hopes of viewing a full display of wildflowers at the Paradise area of the Park. Unfortunately, this was not to be as clouds obscured the mountain from the Paradise side and most of the Tatoosh Range for the duration of my stay. However, I did come away with many photographs I am quite happy with. As is the case with many of my visits to the park, the weather has changed my plans – but as always there are all manner of great things to photograph near Rainier. I was fortunate to be at Rainier during the same time as photographers Rob Tilley and Gary Hamburgh. After we met up at Paradise we decided that a trip to Narada Falls would be better than dealing with the clouds at Paradise.

narada falls in mount rainier national park

Narada Falls in Detail (Purchase)

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   I have always found the short walk down to Narada Falls to be worth it regardless of the weather. I don’t always photograph there but I found the lower water levels of a few weeks ago photographically interesting. They also came with much less spray to keep off of my lenses and camera. After trying a successful experiment at Eureka Falls I’ve been using my 70-200mm lens to focus on the details of many waterfalls I have encountered. I still enjoying the overall view of a waterfall, but sometimes cutting out the extraneous details can be a more visually pleasing photograph.

Christine Falls Triptych from Mount Rainier NP

Christine Falls on Van Trump Creek in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

christine falls triptych in mount rainer national park washington state

Christine Falls Triptych (Purchase)

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   When I originally made this series of photographs of Christine Falls in Mount Rainier National Park I had intended to stitch them into a vertical panorama (vertorama). Displaying regular, horizontal panoramas is tough – the vertical variety is even more difficult. Upon actually stitching these together the results were a bit lacking, and displaying them individually seemed out of context without the other two. So I’ve tried making them into the triptych you see above. I haven’t done this before, but I think it works well with these 3 images. Do you think I was successful with this attempt? Do you ever shoot images specifically for this sort of presentation?

Why I Save "Borderline" Images

late evening light on firs and cedars at ricksecker point
Late Evening Light at Mount Rainier National Park
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Save your photos! Well, some of them.

  Sometimes I read how others delete all the shots they aren’t immediately happy with, not just those that were out of focus etc. As I have written before I do go through and quickly delete photos that are obviously not up to par (focus accidents, test shots etc) – but then I tend to sit back and digest them for a while. Immediately after I shoot the impressions I have of the results may not be very objective. I wait for a while to process most images so I can more clearly see what is going on, and to distance myself from my initial expectations. Even after some distance and thought I do not always get things “right” in my choices, and sometimes images fall through the cracks.

  The image here is one such example. This is a late evening shot I made in Mount Rainier National Park in October, 2010. Ricksecker Point is a good vantage point for Rainier itself, but unless you get some really special light things will look just like all the other “iconic” shots from the same spot. I had gone there hoping to get some good sunset shots near the Tatoosh Range but this just wasn’t going to happen with that day’s conditions so I started looking for alternative compositions. I noticed the glow of the late evening light on these fir and cedar trees and made a few photographs of what I saw. When I first looked at these at home though, they did not really seem to stand out.

  A few weeks ago I was going through some of my folders of photographs from 2010. I like to review things occasionally and look over shots I have passed by in favour of images that, at the time at least, appear stronger. I noticed this shot and was somewhat surprised I had never really noticed it before. It had not been a throwaway but was not selected for bigger things at the time either.

I am curious what other photographers do with the shots they initially think are “borderline”? Do you purge everything but the strongest images right away or do you sit on a lot of shots so you can evaluate them later?

Yakima Peak at Tipsoo Lake

yakima peak tipsoo lake frost

   This shot of Yakima Peak behind a frosty Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park was yet another learning experience. I learned that if you set your alarm on a hotel clock radio, check that the time is set properly. As a consequence to my lack of due diligence, I missed sunrise, but I did see Tipsoo Lake for the first time so it wasn’t all bad.

   On this particular morning I estimate that it was about -10°C (14°F) which was a bit chillier than I had anticipated. All the frost had heaved up the soil on the trail a few inches which made walking on it a bit tricky in spots but I think the crunching sound helped wake me up a bit. Sometimes I wish I could stand the taste of coffee. This turned out to be a bit late in the season for good fall colour at Rainier but I still like this shot of Yakima Peak rising above Tipsoo Lake with the foreground of frosty wildflower stems and leaves. A week later and this area had about 2 feet of snow. I can only imagine how much must be up there right now.

Christine Falls – Mt. Rainier National Park

christine falls in mount rainier national park

This is Christine Falls in Mt. Rainier National Park. The last time I stopped to photograph Christine Falls, Mt. Rainier National Park was quite busy and there was a considerable lineup for the viewpoint. This time (in mid October) there were few people around and I could take all the time I wanted. Much more relaxing than having in the back of your mind that people are lined up waiting for your spot. The water level was also a bit lower on this occasion which I think yielded a nicer shot and let the blue colour of the water show through better.

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