A Few Images From Paradise At Mount Rainier

The Tatoosh Range just after sunset – from Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

sunset over the tatoosh range in mount rainier national park

Sunset over the Tatoosh Range from Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   I recently caught up on a bit of my photo editing backlog and have now added just over 50 new photographs to my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery in my image library. I have published a few of those images in previous blog posts, but I thought I would share a few more from the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park here.

   It’s not easy being a Marmot! While I was relaxing on a rock waiting for better light along the Golden Gate Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, I saw this Hoary Marmot (Marmota caligata) doing the same. Well, it probably wasn’t waiting for better light, but relaxing after a hard afternoon munching on lupine foliage and gathering nesting material. It clearly knew I was there, but didn’t seem to care at all. Probably was used to people along a relatively busy trail in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier.

hoary marmot in mount rainier national park

A Hoary Marmot (Marmota caligata) relaxes on a rock along the Golden Gate Trail in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, USA (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   You can spot the deer, you can get in position to photograph them as they move through the wildflower field, but you can’t make them look at you! A pair of Black-tailed Deer (Odocileus hemionus columbianus) were nice enough to amble right past me in the wildflower fields on the Golden Gate Trail above Paradise, but never once glanced in my direction. I even scuffed my feet in the gravel trail once… nothing. At least I know I wasn’t disturbing them.

black tailed deer foraging in wildflower field

A Black-tailed Deer (Odocileus hemionus columbianus) foraging in the meadows near Edith Creek at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   There is something I always enjoy about the combination of lush wildflowers (in this case mostly Broadleaf Lupines and some Pink Mountain Heather) and a waterfall. The mosquitoes thought so too!

wildflowers and an edith creek waterfall in mount rainier national park

Wildflowers surround a small waterfall on Edith Creek at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   I have always found this angle of view on the Nisqually Glacier to be interesting from Ricksecker Point and other areas near Paradise. This time I photographed it from the Nisqually Vista Trail for an even better view. In this photograph you can see the icefall of the glacier and the terminus at the bottom, as well as the very beginnings of the Nisqually River from the melting ice.

terminus of the nisqually glacier and icefall on mount rainier

Terminus of the Nisqually Glacier on Mount Rainier (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

You can see even more photographs from the Paradise area in my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery.

Spring in Campbell Valley Park

In Campbell Valley Park, a pair of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) escort their goslings across McLean Pond.

canada goose family on mclean pond campbell valley park

Canada Geese pair with goslings (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   As warmer, spring weather is finally here – I headed to Campbell Valley Park last week to photograph whatever I could find around McLean pond. Turns out the Dandelion flowers of the week before (see below) were spent, so I used most of my time photographing this Canada Goose family. Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) are pretty ubiquitous around here, but I hadn’t before had the opportunity to photograph a family such as this, and not as close as this. While I most often use it for landscapes, my 1.4x extender was purchased for wildlife encounters such as this one, and it performs well on my 70-200mm lens. This allowed me to sit on the bank and let them swim by whenever they wanted – I didn’t disturb them much at all. What did bother this pair was another pair of adults that seemed to take a run at them every 10 minutes or so. The male (I presume) would swim over, get really close to the mother and goslings, and the parental male would chase him away, then chase the female away. There was a lot of squawking, splashing and flapping of wings. I don’t know if this was about territory or what exactly, but they were persistent the entire time I was there (about an hour).

   In the Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley area we don’t have big fields of wildflowers in any form other than that of the Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). While these are considered a weed in lawns and gardens – I do think they make a credible wildflower display in fields such as this one in Campbell Valley Park. Not quite as impactful as some of the alpine and subalpine fields with multiple species such as those found at Mount Rainier, but still worthy of some attention.

sunset at jack point in biggs park nanaimo

A field of Dandelions blooming in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

See more of my photos from Campbell Valley Park.

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)

-click to enlarge-

   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.

Broad-Leaved Stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium)

Broad-Leaved Stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium) flowers growing on the sandstone in Biggs Park near Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

Broad-Leaved Stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium) growing on the sandstone in Biggs Park near Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

Blooming Broad-Leaved Stonecrop – Sedum spathulifolium (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   These Broad-Leaved Stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium) certainly live in a relatively tough environment. In early June 2013 I found these individuals in Biggs Park near Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. The sandstone surface on the beach creates lot of nooks and crannies for life – and the two plants in the bottom photo were taking advantage of that. The plant in the first photo was right out in the open, however. The ability to survive anchored on the rocks with only a small amount of soil is interesting. Stonecrop are a succulent plant, and store what water they can which makes them quite drought resistant. The thick tissue also help prevent water loss to the environment. I had seen succulents like this before, most likely stonecrop species, but never blooming as nicely as these ones.

Broad-Leaved Stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium) growing on the sandstone in Biggs Park near Nanaimo

Broad-Leaved Stonecrop – Sedum spathulifolium (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

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)

-click to enlarge-

   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.

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)

-click to enlarge-

   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 Wildflowers – Edith Creek

Wildflowers surround Edith Creek just above Myrtle Falls in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

wildflowers and edith creek in mount rainier national park

Mount Rainier Wildflowers and Edith Creek (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

  Last week I was photographing in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, USA. Having worked my way down the Golden Gate Trail I was running out of good light options for the wildflowers, Tatoosh Range and Mount Rainier itself. There was a big cloud in the sky near Rainier that was lit up bright purple but I wasn’t able to find a composition that worked with it. I jogged (causing some tourist curiosity) down to Edith Creek just above Myrtle Falls to see if I could get this interesting light reflected in the small waterfall there. The photograph above is the result. This 25 second exposure was one of only two that I made (second one was vertical) before the lights were shut off and it was over for the night. Sometimes it does pay to hurry!

Mount Rainier Wildflowers – Mazama Ridge

Wildflowers and a view of the Tatoosh Range from Mazama Ridge’s Skyline Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

wildflowers and the tatoosh range from mazama ridges skyline trail in mount rainier national park

Rainier Wildflowers from Mazama Ridge
(near Stevens Van Trump Historic Monument). Species include Broadleaf Lupine (Lupinus latifolius), Rosey Spirea (Spiraea densiflora), Magenta Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora), and Buttercup (Ranunculus eschscholtzi) (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

  Late last week I headed down to Mount Rainier National Park to photograph the wildflower displays. My first stop was at the Paradise area of the park as this is one of the best areas for good wildflower displays. I stopped at the visitor’s center, grabbed a rudimentary map of the area and headed to Mazama Ridge. I parked at the end of Paradise Valley and used the 4th Crossing Trail to access the Skyline Trail a little more quickly than I would have from the area around the Paradise Inn. I was thinking ahead to walking back down in the dark and a quick route seemed like a better idea! From the Skyline Trail I first headed down the Lakes trail (to the area near Lost Lake), but didn’t find a lot of wildflowers aside from one great patch just below the junction of the two trails. I was waiting for better evening light so scouting the area was worthwhile and a nice hike (some great views further down that Lakes Trail). Heading back up I made a few photographs and then got back on the Skyline Trail and headed up the ridge towards Sluiskin Falls.

wildflowers and the tatoosh range from mazama ridges skyline trail in mount rainier national park

Rainier Wildflowers and the Tatoosh Range from Mazama Ridge.
Wildflower species include Broadleaf Lupine (Lupinus latifolius), Magenta Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora), Buttercup (Ranunculus eschscholtzi) and Western Anenome seedheads (Anenome occidentalis) (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

  Having made it all the way up the Skyline trail to the Sluiskin Falls and the Stevens Van Trump Historic Monument area, I ran into the treeline. I wasn’t really expecting it that “low” at around 1860 meters (6100 feet). Since wildflowers were not going to be a consideration going further up, I waited for the light to warm up a little in the evening and then started working my way back down the Skyline Trail.

  Both the first and second image in this post were made on the Skyline Trail between the monument and the junction with the Lakes Trail. If you are heading up to Mazama Ridge I think those areas and the one lupine field just a few hundred feet down the Lakes Trail are your best bet for wildflower viewing this year.