Aerial Volcano Photography

Ok well Mount St Helens isn’t an active volcano per se.  It last erupted and basically blew its top off in May of 1980.  Like most people in Seattle of a certain age, I remember what I was doing on that date.  I was rollerskating around Gasworks Park to Donna Summer.  Ok then.

Anyway, the result of the happenings on that date back in 1980 are a very photogenic crater in SW Washington.  I have a friend who likes to fly and we went up last night and headed down to Mount St Helens. I brought two Zeiss prime MF lenses and my Sony a7r2. My friend who was also shooting had his 5DSr and 24-70.

I was in the front seat, wearing all black to reduce glare. Kurt basically flies wherever we need to get the shots we want. I had the camera set to internal stabilization and the MF lens set to infinity. When I shot out the side window, glare creeped in but shooting through the curved front glass cut it down considerably. I watched my shutter speeds to keep them above 1/300 as much as possible.

I got about 1000 RAW files and so far about 85% are keepers…I love this perspective of the mountain and I think we both did a nice job of capturing the sunset light.

Approaching Boeing Field at Night Seattle Aerial night Photography

Approaching Boeing Field at Night

Sunstar Lights Up Mount St Helens at Sunset

Sunstar Lights Up Mount St Helens at Sunset

Golden Light on Mount St Helens from the Air

Golden Light on Mount St Helens from the Air

Sunset Skies Above Mount St Helens from the Air

Sunset Skies Above Mount St Helens from the Air

Sunrays Bathe the Volcanic Wasteland Below St Helens from the Air

Sunrays Bathe the Volcanic Wasteland Below St Helens from the Air

Mount St Helens Aerial Crater Closeup

Mount St Helens Aerial Crater Closeup

Mount St Helens Aerial Photography Sunset

Mount St Helens Aerial Photography Sunset

Snow and Mud Details along the Crater of St Helens Aerial

Snow and Mud Details along the Crater of St Helens Aerial

Crater of St Helens onto Spirit Lake and Rainier in the Distance

Crater of St Helens onto Spirit Lake and Rainier in the Distance

Sunset Light Warms up the St Helens Crater Aerial Photography

Sunset Light Warms up the St Helens Crater Aerial Photography

Sunset Light Warms up the St Helens Crater Aerial Photography

Sunset Light Warms up the St Helens Crater Aerial Photography

Edge of St Helens Crater and Rainier in the Distance Aerial Photography

Edge of St Helens Crater and Rainier in the Distance Aerial Photography

Approaching Mount St Helens By Helicopter Panorama

Approaching Mount St Helens By Helicopter Panorama

 

 

First Visit to the Banff Area for Photography

I finally made a trip the Banff area for photos.  I think its hard to be a landscape photographer and not be aware of the beauty in this area.  June seemed to be a good time to go.  Lakes were melted out and the summer crowds had yet to hit hard.  We went for a week, flying into Calgary, renting a car and heading west.

Our first stop was a night in the Fairmont Lake Louise.  I was pleasantly surprised to be upgraded from our basic room to one of the 5 best rooms in the hotel .  Amazing views and it really set the bar high for our trip.

The weather, however, wasn’t as spectacular.  Clouds, rain, and wind were on the menu for the first few days.  This allowed a lot of scouting however and we drove all over figuring out compositions and how to get to certain places.

The remainder of our stay was in Canmore.  I learned not only is Banff mostly a sunrise location (to me) but also being in Canmore was a bit far from the spots I wanted to be at around sunrise.

A few highlights from the trip:

Moraine Lake Banff Sunrise Alpenglow Reflection

Moraine Lake Banff Sunrise Alpenglow Reflection

Peyto Lake 10mm Cloudscape

Peyto Lake 10mm Cloudscape

Banff Avenue and Snow Peak

Banff Avenue and Snow Peak

Mount Rundle and Vermillion Lakes

Mount Rundle and Vermillion Lakes

Fairmont Lake Louise

Fairmont Lake Louise

Peaks Above Moraine Lake at Sunrise

Peaks Above Moraine Lake at Sunrise

Mount Rainier Lenticular Sunset

It took me four hours to get to Rainier from Marysville, and I was right on time for sunset light and a nice lenticular cloud over the mountain. The light was also good over the Tatoosh Range at sunset.

Skyline Trail is one of my favorite wildflower season trails. This time I felt, however, that the flowers were on the wane. Definitely not as strong as last year. I was heading in in the evening as most were heading out. Its great to see the park getting so much use, especially on the 100 Year Anniversary.

Mount Rainier Lenticular CloudRainier Lenticular Cloud and Wildflowers at Sunset - Zeiss 135mm panoramaRainier Lenticular Cloud and Wildflowers at SunsetRainier Lenticular Cloud and Wildflowers at SunsetRainier Lenticular Cloud and Wildflowers at Sunset

Fremont Lookout Sunset Layers Photography

Ended up back at Fremont Lookout last night figuring that the Hawks game would keep traffic down a bit. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that judging from the Seahawks decorations on all the lifted trucks and so on, it would probably be a good time to be out hiking.

The sunset did look promising, with some wispy clouds in the skies. Parking lot was pretty much empty when we arrived at 7pm. Trail is very dry and dusty, and wildflowers are starting to line the path, but not enough to lure the selfie stick crowd off trail.

Beautiful night for hiking and photography…These are mostly Zeiss 50mm and 100-300mm shots.DSC04282-PanoDSC04256DSC04265-PanoDSC04302-PanoDSC04350DSC04387DSC04253

Rainier from the Fremont Lookout Sunset

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

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Sunset from Sunrise – Timelapse Video

My visits to Rainier usually involve the Paradise side.  This year I’ve decided to branch out  a bit and explore Sunrise.  I spent some time there the other night and captured a nice timelapse of the clouds moving over the mountain towards sunset.  I felt like the Zeiss 85mm Otus lens provided a nice tight perspective of the scene, with meadows in the foreground

Park Butte Sunrise and Sunset Overnight Hike

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.

Mount Baker Sunrise Reflection Overnight Hike into Park Butte for Sunrise and Sunset PhotographyOvernight Hike into Park Butte for Sunrise and Sunset PhotographyMount Baker Sunrise Overnight Hike into Park Butte for Sunrise and Sunset Photography

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Old Man of the Mountain

Mount Baker Sunrise Reflection Overnight Hike into Park Butte for Sunrise and Sunset Photography