Lake O’Hara: My Spot to be for Fall Colors

I remember reading about Lake O’Hara several years ago. An incredible jewel of the Canadian Rockies, especially for fall colors. Two ways to be there in the golden light: $1,000 a night cabins at the Lake O’Hara Lodge or a highly competitive reservations only campground. I learned the ways of the campground and got a spot. That was a few years ago. Now in 2021, with Covid raging and borders barely open, I secured my reservations and ventured to this special place for three nights.

Weather had been mild, but the larches were turning and colors were bursting forth. I brought my most spacious four season tent, a Fjallraven Abisko, and a ton of food and snacks and camped on Pad 5.

Fjallraven tent ready for anything
Everyone enjoying the Lake O’Hara campground

The next three days, I got busy hiking up to my favorite spots as well as checking out some new locales. This area is unique and awe-inspiring.

Larches up and around Opabin Plateau GFX100s
My favorite Opabin pond with larches and peaks reflected. GFX100s
The Classic View from Opabin towards dusk. GFX100s
Mount Huber reflected in a small pond on the Opabin Plateau. GFX100s
Fall Colors going strong on the Plateau. GFX100s

Its a short hike from the campground to the Plateau, using a headlamp if you are aiming for sunrise/sunset colors. The trail is clearly marked and easy to follow. My next post will get into what else in the area.

Fall Colors Road Trip to Canada, via Montana

Decided to head north to Canada for some fall colors photography. I was eager to get my new Fuji GFX100s camera and lenses into some of my favorite fall colors destinations. I scrambled for Lake O’Hara camping reservations and came up with 3 nights with considerable effort. I also wanted to find a location where Aspen trees were flooded with the aqua waters of a Canadian Rockies lake. I had heard about this scene from a friend and was lucky to find it.

I chose the route coming across I90 into Montana and then heading north. This allowed me to stop by Glacier National Park for some scouting and photography. Below are some of the highlights of the trip in a series of photos.

Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park Fuji GFX100s and GF45-100 lens
Glacier National Park Citadel Mountain Fuji GFX100s
Going to the Sun Peak Glacier National Park GFX100s

Leaving Glacier National Park, my first stop was north to the area around Jasper in the Canadian Rockies.

Flooded Aspens in an aqua lake GFX100s
Another view of flooded Aspens GFX100s
A serene, painterly view of a grove of Aspens in the lake. GFX100s
Aspens showing fall colors reflected in the aqua waters. GFX100s

After this stop, I headed south for my 3 days of camping at Lake O’Hara. This is an annual thing for me, covid allowing of course.

Finally Travelling Again – Back to Iceland 2021

Honestly it felt surreal to be back in the airport heading to Iceland. Going through security, I had several cans of Starbucks Double Shot coffee in my pack. I was clearly out of practice. That being said, I was happy to be heading to Iceland for two weeks. Its my favorite place to be in May/June.

I was packing my new Fujifilm GFX100s camera, which arrived the day before I left. I had carefully packed to be able to camp remotely in the Highlands and felt like I was ready for anything. A few things I learned:

– People are thrilled tourism is returning.

– Gas still expensive ($8/gal) I rented a Dacia Duster from @Icerental4x4 and had a great experience.

– Costco Reykjavik! Stop in to load up with supplies. Locals say this is the cheapest gas available.

– Solitude and beauty easy to find.

– Tested for covid arriving and departing

– F roads are starting to open http://road.is F208 is a personal favorite and it was open from the north.

I had rented a 4×4 with one of those pop-top tents on the top. I did a mix of camping with this and occasional nights in hotels. The pop-top tent is a great idea, but it struggles with high winds and vertical blowing rain.

A few photos from my adventures:

Rains the first few days meant snow in the upper elevations GFX100s
Icelandic horses are so friendly GFX100s and Canon 70-200 2.8 ii
Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon Sunset GFX100s and Contax 35-70mm
Glacial Ice on the Beach GFX100s and Contax 35-70mm
Icelandic Highlands at sunrise GFX100s

I also brough a new drone having sold off my DJI products. Autel Robotics Evo 2 Pro. Really happy with the images captured from above Iceland

Over Iceland Stokksnes Braided Rivers
Over one of Iceland’s Braided Blue Rivers aglow with glacial silt
Over the Icelandic Highlands at sunrise
Winding aqua glacial rivers from above
Over Iceland’s Blood Red Craters

I felt like two weeks was the perfect time for a solo road trip adventure. Very happy with my recent trip to #Iceland and hope to get back next year. #travel #photography #GFX100s

Enchantments Fall Colors Backpacking with the Fuji GFX50s

Got a solo Enchantments Core camping permit and headed up into my favorite place to be in October.  Snow free, but hazy on Thursday but the haze left the area by Friday.  The trail up is busy from Stuart Lake Trailhead, as you would expect this time of the year.  Took me about 5 hours to get into the Core and I camped in one of my favorite areas around the Crystal Lake viewpoint.  I paid off the pikas (a contribution to the Benevolent Pika Assocation) and they mostly left my tent alone.  I forgot shorts but who would ever expect to need them in October  🙂

It was getting windy and nippier with a bit of ice on smaller ponds as I left.  I love chatting with Enchantments hikers.  Like-minded crazies.  Everyone, well mostly everyone, is happy to be there and has great stories.  I took about 1500 photos and am about halfway through them. I was pretty sore getting back to the trailhead about 5 hours later. Predictably, two weeks later, I wanted to go back.

Some good choices/Things I was happy to have with me:

26lb total weight Zpacks Arc Blast backpack for four days including Zpacks Triplex tent, Neoair XTherm pad, Zpacks 5 degree quilt and 10 lbs of camera gear (Fuji GFX50s and GF32-64mm lens).

Zpacks Triplex Tent, at 1.5 lbs., was a good choice for this trip and obviously a ton of room for just me. Each time I hike into the Enchantments, I go over my tent choices. Previously, Big Agnes’s Copper Spur or Tarptent’s Protrail have won out. Freestanding tents have an advantage up here since they don’t depend on stakes which can be difficult to sink into crushed granite. I found a “meadow” of good sod to work with for the stakes around the Crystal Lake viewpoint area. A massive shady larch also helped with the winds and mid-day sun.

Tamrac zipshot tripod.  I have 3 Gitzos but at 9oz this goes into the Enchantments where everything went on the scale first.  I put my GFX50s medium format camera on it.  Most of my shots are handheld but when needed, this steps in.  The trick is to spread the tripod legs to create tension in the ballhead.

Water filter and one small plastic water bottle so I’m not weighed down and then electrolyte tablets to prevent leg cramps. Hydration packs might be ok when you are 25 but at 54, I’m all about saving weight.

Solar panel for charging.  There are a few spots where I got a hair of Verizon LTE coverage but this ate battery power.

Cliff Bar’s new coffee flavors.

A good book and light to relax and let the legs rest.

TP and a Trowel so I’m not one of those people.

Lots of experience in the area which allowed me to encourage and advise others which makes me happy. I also appreciated coming in on the Stuart Lake/Asgaard approach. Snow Lakes side seems like it might be “easier” but its a long slog with a stiff climb at the end up in to Lake Vivianne.

I’m still dubious about the best in rehydrated meals (Peak Refuel/Alpine Aire/etc.) so my old standby, a stack of peanut butter and honey sandwiches were my staple.

I love this area and try to get up there every year. Here are a few photos from the trip.

Zpacks pack ready to go

The small, unnamed lake next to Colchuck
The larch forest halfway up Asgaard Pass with a wall of granite behind.
Isolation Lake in the Upper Enchantments.
My Zpacks Triplex tent and campsite in the Enchantments.
Enchantments Golden larches near Inspiration Lake
Sunlit larches along Inspiration Lake

Sunrise view above the Lower Enchantments to Prusik Peak.

Two larches in the sun.
Enchantments Grail Tarn in afternoon light.
Along the Enchantments trail near Leprechaun Lake.
Forest of golden larches near Perfection Lake Enchantments.
View of Asgaard Pass from along Lake Colchuck.

Really glad I got up there this year and of course, can’t wait to go back.

#washington #washingtonstate #pnw #pnwonderland #pnwlife #nature #naturephotography #mountains #enchantments #evergreenstate #waphotographer #waphotography #explorewashington #washingtonexplored #fujifilm #gfx50s @cleverhiker

Mount Rainier National Park Wildflowers Photography – A Banner Year

I can’t recall a year that has been this good for wildflowers, especially my favorite, Lupine.  The sub-alpine meadows all around the mountain are absolutely bursting with color.  Different sides of the mountain favor sunrise or sunset light and I’ve been busy hiking my favorite trails to capture the bounty.  Here are several favorites from around the mountain:

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Mountain in the Mist GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Mountain in the Mist GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Mountain in the Mist Sunrise GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Mountain in the Mist Sunrise GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Flower Meadow Sunrise GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Flower Meadow Sunrise GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Paintbrush Meadow GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Paintbrush Meadow GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Lupine Meadow Sunrise GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Lupine Meadow Sunrise GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Lupine Meadow Sunrise GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Lupine Meadow Sunrise GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Sunset Meadow Sunrise GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Sunset Meadow Sunrise GFX50s

Mount Rainier Naches Loop Wildflower Photography GFX50s

Mount Rainier Naches Loop Wildflower Photography GFX50s

Mount Rainier Trail to Tatoosh Wildflower Photography GFX50s

Mount Rainier Trail to Tatoosh Wildflower Photography GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Lupine Meadow GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Lupine Meadow GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Lupine Meadow GFX50s

Mount Rainier Wildflowers Photography Lupine Meadow GFX50s

Prints available here:  Mike Reid Photography

#washington #washingtonstate #pnw #pnwonderland #pnwlife #nature #naturephotography #mountains #nationalparks #evergreenstate #waphotographer #waphotography #explorewashington #washingtonexplored #fujifilm #gfx50s #wildflowers #lupine #meadows

Mount Rainier Sunrise Side Fuji GFX50s Photography

One of my goals the last few years has been to spend more time on the north side of Mount Rainier.  It is called the Sunrise Side and has boundless opportunities for compositions and great hiking.  I get a lot of my ideas here and its a great place to check out the numerous hikes on this side of the mountain:  Visit Rainier Sunrise Side

This year has also been absolutely amazing for not only the Comet Neowise but also wildflowers which have been crazy in abundance.  I’ve been down there at least a dozen times the last two months and here is a bit of what I captured:

Mount Rainier Milky Way and Moonset Zeiss 28mm Otus

Mount Rainier Milky Way and Moonset Zeiss 28mm Otus

Mount Rainier Night Lenticulars Zeiss 85mm Otus

Mount Rainier Night Lenticulars Zeiss 85mm Otus

Mount Rainier Trail to Third Burroughs Mountain Canon 70-200mm

Mount Rainier Trail to Third Burroughs Mountain Canon 70-200mm

Mount Rainier National Park Comet Neowise Zeiss 135mm f2

Mount Rainier National Park Comet Neowise Zeiss 135mm f2

Mount Rainier Fremont Lookout Sunset Layers to Baker Canon 100-400mm

Mount Rainier Fremont Lookout Sunset Layers to Baker Canon 100-400mm

Mount Rainier Inversion Clouds Sunrise Zeiss 100-300mm

Mount Rainier Inversion Clouds Sunrise Zeiss 100-300mm

Mount Rainier Sunrise in the Mist Meadows

Mount Rainier Sunrise in the Mist Meadows. Fuji GFX50s

Mount Rainier Shadow Lake Meadows Trees Reflection Canon 70-200mm

Mount Rainier Shadow Lake Meadows Trees Reflection Canon 70-200mm

Mount Rainier Emmons Moraine Overlook Fuji GF32-64mm

Mount Rainier Emmons Moraine Overlook Fuji GF32-64mm

All lenses were either adapted on to the GFX50s or native.  If you have questions about where/when/how these were taken, please contact me for information.

#washington #washingtonstate #pnw #pnwonderland #pnwlife #nature #naturephotography #mountains #lenticular #evergreenstate #waphotographer #waphotography #explorewashington #washingtonexplored #fujifilm #gfx50s #comet #milkyway #astrophotography #nationalparks #photography

Over Seattle: Drone and Helicopter Views

There is something special about soaring above your hometown, catching views above it all.  Below are a few of my favorite aerial views of Seattle, captured via drone or helicopter.  I hope they give you the same peaceful feelings I got making them.

 

Over Seattle Aerial Photography West Seattle Bridge

Over Seattle Aerial Photography West Seattle Bridge GFX50s

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Spring Dusk Light GFX50s

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Spring Dusk Light GFX50s

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Lake Washington GFX50s

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Lake Washington GFX50s

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Sun Pillar Inspire 2 X5S

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Sun Pillar Inspire 2 X5S

Quiet Port of Seattle At Dawn Mavic Pro 2

Quiet Port of Seattle At Dawn Mavic Pro 2

Over Lake Union Seattle Panorama Mavic Pro 2

Over Lake Union Seattle Panorama Mavic Pro 2

Over Lake Union Seattle Panorama Inspire 2 X5S

Over Lake Union Seattle Panorama Inspire 2 X5S

Over Elliott Bay Seattle Sunrise Tug Mavic Pro 2

Over Elliott Bay Seattle Sunrise Tug Mavic Pro 2

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over Lake Union

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over Lake Union

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over Lake Union Symmetry

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over Lake Union Symmetry

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over The Montlake Cut

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over The Montlake Cut

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over The Freeway Bridge Inspire 2 X5S

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over The Freeway Bridge Inspire 2 X5S

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over Downtown

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over Downtown

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over Downtown Mavic Pro 2

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over Downtown Mavic Pro 2

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over Downtown Mavic Pro 2

Over Seattle Aerial Photography Sunrise Over Downtown Mavic Pro 2

Prints available in a variety of mediums as well as 4K video.  Please contact me at mike@mikereidphotography.com

 

 

Artists Point Sunrise Views and Snow Camping

I love Artists Point with its amazing views of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, north to the Canadian Border and west to Table Mountain.  You have the earn the view in the winter, as the last reaches of 542 are closed at the Ski Area.  It’s about an hour snowshoe up from there.

Usually I try to go during the week, and preferably after some fresh snowfall.  Dan and I reached the parking lot about 3 to hike up to the Point to camp.  Most people were coming back down at that point as the afternoon wound down.  I don’t use my Arcteryx Naos 55 winter pack too often but it’s perfect for this trip.  We both brought zero degree sleeping bags.  That shovel, glad I brought it.  It made making a tent pad in the snow and digging out the stakes the next day much easier.

Getting Ready in the Heather Meadows Parking Lot

Getting Ready in the Heather Meadows Parking Lot

We climbed the hill and reached the Point totally socked in with clouds.  No sunset apparently today, but there was hope for tomorrow morning.  We made camp a bit east of the Point.

Dan and our Fjallraven tent ready for the evening in the snow at Artists Point

Dan and our Fjallraven Abisko 3 tent ready for the evening in the snow at Artists Point

We awoke to temps in the teens with 20mph gusts but a beautiful morning.  I had kept my batteries in my sleeping bag that night so they still had charge.  Many photos were taken and I got a bit of drone footage as well.  We saw maybe 5 people the whole time, including two dogs in dog heaven who stopped by with their owner 🙂

Happy Husky Dogs at Artists Point

Happy Husky Dogs at Artists Point

Stillness in the snow covered trees…

Stillness in the Snow Covered Trees at Artists Point Fujifilm GFX50s

Stillness in the Snow Covered Trees at Artists Point Fujifilm GFX50s

Flew the Mavic Pro 2 drone for a few minutes to capture the scene from above and catch the light on Mount Baker.  So glad I brought it.

 

Back to down to heated seats and a triple mocha…

Winter to Spring in the NW: Drone Videos in the Mountains

I’ve been having a great time lately putting both drones up in the NW backcountry.  I started out doing this to get still imagery but have moved into video production as well.  Editing has been on my PC laptop with Adobe Premier Pro. I have two drones.  The first, much easier to fly and carry is the DJI Mavic Pro 2.  Harder to fly and transport, but with a better camera is the DJI Inspire 2 with X5S camera.  Generally, I send up the MP2 to scout and see if its worth sending up the Inspire.

So far they are without soundtracks which is fine by me.  Many more sequences to come as Spring arrives with warmer flying weather.  Please enjoy what I have so far:

Ultrawide Heaven: Laowa 17mm for GFX in Saint Peter’s Basilica Italy

On a recent 3 country tour of Africa and the Mid East, I had the chance to take the Laowa 17mm and capture some of the world’s most renowned architecture.  I knew I would be going to Saint Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican, and all my research said bring the widest lens you have.  I knew the GF 23mm (17mm at full frame) would probably leave me wishing for more, so I rented the 17 before leaving.

Saint Peter’s was the “focus” of this trip, so I spent several days there.  First to scout and take some sample images, and then back to polish certain compositions.  Hint:  Arrive early for the best viewing.

Wow is all you can say after touring the marvel of Renaissance art and architecture.  I was so glad I brought the 17mm and after a bit of a learning curve, MF and no tripods, I felt like I came away with many keepers.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Saint Peters Laowa 17mm GFX50s Columns and Main Dome

Saint Peters Laowa 17mm GFX50s Columns, Chancel and Main Dome

Saint Peters Laowa 17mm GFX50s Columns and Domes

Saint Peters Laowa 17mm GFX50s Columns and Domes

Saint Peters Laowa 17mm GFX50s Golden Nave

Saint Peters Laowa 17mm GFX50s Golden Nave

Saint Peters Laowa 17mm GFX50s Columns and Side Dome

Saint Peters Laowa 17mm GFX50s Columns and Side Dome

Saint Peters Laowa 17mm GFX50s Wings Leading to the Main Dome and Chancel

Saint Peters Laowa 17mm GFX50s Wings Leading to the Main Dome and Chancel

I felt like the lens was sharp in the center and corners.  Colors were good, but my other lens was the Zeiss 85mm Otus and it’s hard to compare of course.