I love this trail. Its short and sweet, does a nice loop back to the parking lot and has tons of wildflowers and mountain scenery. The lupine is strong now, especially up by the tarn on the south side of the loop. Lupine is also filling in around the Tipsoo lakes as well. Lots of hikers today of all sorts, everyone enjoying the weather and the flowers. Car-camped and then headed over to Paradise for morning flower shots.
I hadn’t been back to Spray Park in a few years and my hiking friend had never been so we decided to head up there for some flower photography. The road up is what it is…dusty and potholes. Parking at the trailhead was busy and lots of hikers going off in every direction. The trail itself is in great shape and once you reach the meadows, carpets of lupine and paintbrush are everywhere. We heard of bears and cubs but didnt see any. Bugs were a lot less of an bother than in recent years. My hat, pack and pants were marinated in Sawyers 20% picaridin.
Anyway, the scenery was just gorgeous in every way. Well worth the hike up. If you want sunset light, you are hiking out by headlamp. Got back to the trailhead in about an hour and savored blackberry pie (pie goddess in enumclaw) and heated seats 🙂
On a side note, we ran into a group of tourists back in the parking lot at 1130 pm who were wondering where they could drive up to and see the mountain. I explained this is one of the more remote access points to the park and they needed to get back on 410 and find Sunrise and or Paradise. I highly recommend more research before you set off in your rental car down miles of dusty logging road in the middle of the night with the entire extended family in the car…..
Following up on this, I got a nice comment on WTA.org about their situation:
“We pulled into the Mowich parking lot right about the time you were talking to that group…They had stopped us on the road to the lake about halfway up and asked if there was a “city” at the end of it with a hotel to stay at. We’d tried to deter them from continuing further but to no avail. I hope they found somewhere safe to stay…and had enough gas to get there. Pretty baffling, especially that late at night! We thought you were being really kind and patient with them, and appreciated the good info you gave them regarding other areas of the park they might want to try…in daylight.
Hiked out to the Fremont lookout last night from the Sunrise parking lot. The trail and road to it are in great shape and we only had two neighbors at the lookout and they left quickly. Lots of well fed pikas working the trail relentlessly 🙂 We got about half way back and put on headlamps. We ran into quite a few milky way shooters on the way back down. I tried to assure one guy’s wife, huddled in a blanket, that it would be over soon. She seemed skeptical. A very pleasant outing. On a side note: Getting back into Seattle about 1am and finding No Traffic was absolutely sublime. Like the old days.
Another note: HIGHLY recommend the Pie Goddess in Enumclaw for a pre- or post-hike treat
A bit of timelapse video from a recent visit to Lake Tipsoo. Nicely thawing out as you can see. Sony a7r II and Zeiss 16-35mm
A friend of mine had never been to Park Butte so we decided to overnight up by the various tarns to get a view of Baker at sunset and sunrise. I got my overnight pack down to 22lbs, which included camera, tripod and several lenses and a subway extra meat footlong. The trail is in great shape, and the snow really starts past the Railroad Grade junction. We camped near the various tarns in the rock garden east of the lookout. Low clouds started rolling in around sunset and were still there in the morning. We saw a few parties heading to the lookout and one group camped at Railroad Grade, but saw no one as we headed back out in the morning.
May/June is Rose time for me. Warmer, longer evenings allow serene walks through some of my favorite local gardens. The Rose Garden in the Woodland Park Zoo is one of my special places. I’m slowly learning the varieties of roses and hybrids. Aside from that, its a thin depth of field floral bokeh paradise. I walk around smelling the blooms and looking for combinations of foreground flowers and interesting backgrounds. My favorite lens for this used to be my Canon 85mm f/1.2; Now its my Zeiss 85mm Otus 1.4. In these gardens I find peace and creative outlet. Woodland Park Zoo Rose Garden More of my floral works: Mike Reid Photography
With a busy weekend coming up and a forecast for mostly rain and some snow, I decided to slip down to Stevens Canyon Road and scout around a bit for shots. The road was supposed to open on Friday so I was really eager to get on it and see how things looked. I really prefer the 410 approach as I find Puyallup and Meridian to be depressing in a sociological sense. I like the drive through Enumclaw, stopping for some coffee, getting supplies and gas at Safeway and then slowly approaching my favorite parts of MRNP via 410 and breathing easier with every mile.
I sidetracked up to Tipsoo to see how the lake was melting out. Rainier itself was in the clouds and the lake showed a lot of promise. Then down 123 to the Entrance at Grove of the Patriarchs. To make a longer story shorter, I drove around Stevens Canyon Road until about 7pm, watching clouds fly by, occasional snow flurries, some rain, but never a really clear shot of the mountain.
Driving back to Seattle, a lot of traffic was heading out of town. After about an hour on I-5, any sense of backcountry relaxation was gone. I meandered along in the slow lane, watching others soar by. Passing through the city, my mellow self was giving way to the irritated, curmudgeonly Seattle native in me.
My friend Dan was coming off of 3 weeks of solid work behind a screen and was in need of some backcountry time. So we headed up to Artist’s Point for an overnight and views of Mount Baker and Shuksan. Took us about an hour to snowshoe up to the point and scout around for a camp spot. Several promising locations were already carved out of the snow. The weather seemed mild during the day but got cold and windy at night. We did well with our 3 season Big Agnes Seedhouse 2 tent. I hiked up everything in my Zpacks Arc Blast 45L pack and it felt comfortable from the moment I slipped it on. My Z-packs 10 degree down sleeping bag kept me warm all night in freezing temps with considerable wind. All in all, I was happy with our gear choices including bringing a few bottles of Pike Kilt Lifter ale.
As the in-house photographer for the Columbia Center’s Sky View Observatory, I have a bit of experience shooting through glass to get photos of the awesome city view. Reading reviews of people’s experiences/frustrations there and at other similar properties around the world, I would like to share some of the expertise I’ve gained over the years shooting at SVO.
Basically, the issue is the reflections in the windows created by interior lighting. My solution for this doesn’t involve filters or anything in-camera. The work around involves bringing a black cloth. This can be a 2×2 foot piece of black cloth bought at a fabric store which is what I carry or a scarf, jacket, or even an umbrella cover like I saw last night up there. It also helps to be wearing something dark. Try to avoid the gold lame sequin dress look. It doesn’t help.
Recently I have added a new tool, the LensSkirt. This beauty slips around the lens and attaches to the glass with four suction cups. Except for the widest of lenses, say 10mm, its awesome. It also works great in airplanes and helicopters. LensSkirt on Amazon
If you didn’t bring a tripod, set your camera on the ledge, use timer release and then cover it with the cloth. If you did bring a tripod, you can check out my technique and or use something of your own. Notice how the cloth is rolled up, wrapped around the lens up to the glass and then the ends cross over the legs of the tripod. I usually check below the lens for light leak as with wide angle lenses, that’s where the reflections creep in. In addition, notice how my tripod legs are unextended and perched on the railing with one leg down, so as to get closer to the glass.
A recent favorite:
…and two short timelapses:
I hope this helps. Please feel free to contact me with questions or ask if you see me at SVO. I helped 3 people last night get better shots and that gave me the idea to write this.
I had one last nice day before I left New York, so I got up early and wandered around Bryant Park and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. These were marvelous sites, with captivating colors and details.