Part of my motivation for taking a 15-shot 360 degree panorama from the summit of Tatoosh Peak was to create this image: a "polar panorama" combining the whole set into a circular image showing the view from this spectacular location as if it were a planet floating in space, or an extreme fish-eye lens view of the scenery. If you were lucky enough to be one of the fire lookouts once stationed on this peak, this would be your world for the duration of your assignment.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Standing on top of the world in theTatoosh Wilderness, how could I not experiment with panoramic photographs? This one's a simple two-photo image looking south from Tatoosh Peak toward Mount Adams.
This nextone's a massive 15-photograph image, stitched together in PhotoShop, featuring a 360 degree panorama from the summit of Tatoosh Peak. You can see Mount Rainier in the distance, and Tatoosh Peak itself in the foreground, with my friend Crow standing on top amid the foundation of the old fire lookout that once stood here:
And here's a six-photo image looking north toward Mount Rainier, on our return trip from summiting Tatoosh Peak:
If you like, check out the full collection of panoramas here. Make sure you click on the image or press "L" to see them in Lightroom, full-screen on a black background, for full effect.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
The scenery in the Tatoosh Wilderness is spectacular, especially on a golden September day when the light and the grasses and the wildflowers all share the same autumnal hue. Of the hundreds of photos I took on this particular hike, this one's my favorite, with majestic Mount Rainier rising over the slope of the Tatoosh Range above our trail, in the afternoon light.
Friday, December 28, 2012
On a stunningly-beautiful early September day, the amber light of autumn is everywhere, and the best images are those that capture that diffusion of light, in the grass, in the flowers, and in the golden backlighting of a good friend hiking a wilderness trail at 5,000 feet elevation. This is my good friend Crow, climbing the last stage of Tatoosh Peak in the Tatoosh Wilderness south of Mount Rainier National Park.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
I always love the juxtaposition of human construction with wild nature. The things made by human brains are so often geometric and regular in shape, while nature is relentlessly random and rough around the edges. The longer something human-made remains in the wilderness, of course, the wilder it gets, roughening around the edges and weathering back into something that is once more part of nature.
I think that's true of humans themselves, too. We are essentially part of wild nature ourselves, as much as we try to pretend otherwise, and it's worth spending time in the wilderness to restore a little bit of the rough edges that blur the sharp lines we like to create between us and our essential nature.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
So many different varieties of wildflower carpet the meadows of the Tatoosh Range! Asters, monkeyflowers, columbines, asters, thistles, lupines, asters, valerians, paintbrush, and more asters! "Aster," of course, is a generic term for a type of plant that features clusters of single-petaled flowers organized in a disc or star shape, each with its own pollen-producing parts gathered in the middle. Yes, the "flower" we see as a daisy or sunflower is actually a great many flowers organized in a large and beautiful circle. The best know asters are yellow, but they may also be white, pink, blue, purple, or, in this case, orange. This one's an orange agoseris, one of my favorite asters for its bright, vivid color.
Monday, December 24, 2012
In early September, my good friend Crow joined me on a hike I've been wanting to do for years, climbing up to the crest of the Tatoosh Range on its eastern end. After the long, snowy winter we had last year, many of the wildflowers were still in high bloom, especially at the elevation of the subalpine meadows, while at the same time the grasses were turning amber with the approach of fall. The weather was near-perfect -- a little warm, but clear and sunny and full of light. It took us all day to reach Tatoosh Peak and return to our car, and a major reason was the abundance of wildflowers we "had" to stop and photograph along the way. I was especially intrigued by these frilly white blooms, which I had seen before but couldn't quite remember the name of. For the record, they're "fringed grass of parnassis." Like any white flower on a sunny day, they're challenging to photograph in such a way that the whites aren't blown out against the deeper shadows behind them. It was also breezy, which makes any close up photography difficult. Still, I'm pleased with these blooms, captured just where the trail rose out of the deep forest into the subalpine light.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
This gorgeous view of Mount Rainier rising over Edith Creek is just half a mile up the trail from the parking lot at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park. It's a fabulous spot to visit during the summer, when the wildflowers are in full bloom and the water chuckles merrily over the rocks and under the trail bridge. Playing in the water isn't recommended, however, as just behind the camera, almost directly under the bridge, is the 80-foot drop of Myrtle Falls.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
One of the things I enjoy most about my job as a volunteer program manager is getting out into the field occasionally to visit with volunteer crews on the job. It's nice to time my visit around lunchtime, so that I not only get to see them at work but also get to sit and chat with them and enjoy the scenery over the midday break. Here's one of the Student Conservation Association Community Crew members, a young woman from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, enjoying a rest break on a hot day in mid-August near the top of the Skyline Trail at Mount Rainier National Park.
Friday, December 21, 2012
For the past dozen years, Mount Rainier National Park has hosted Community Crews from the Student Conservation Association each summer. These high school age students spend the school year working on projects in and around their home community, then come out to the National Park for fifteen days during the summer to work on trails, revegetation projects, or other jobs suitable for eight-person teams. Here, Washington Trails Associatoin crew leader John Longsworth works with two crew members on trail maintenance on the Skyline Trail, on a hot, sunny day in mid-August, with Stevens Canyon in the background in one direction and Mount Rainier visible over the shoulder of the ridge in the other direction, behind the camera.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Without a doubt, park rangers have some of the most beautiful work settings of any profession. Here's one of our trail maintenance rangers at Mount Rainier National Park, hiking out along the Skyline Trail to check on a crew of Student Conservation Association interns working on trail repairs.
Here's John Longsworth, Washington Trails Association crew leader, along the Skyline Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, at work supervising a Community Crew from the Student Conservation Association. The Tatoosh Range is in the distance behind him.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I take you back to a hot, sunny day in mid-August at Mount Rainier National Park, with the wildflowers in peak bloom on the Golden Gate and Skyline Trails. This is one of my favorite readily-accessible views of Mount Rainier, across the shoulder of the slopes at the head of Edith Creek, and I love the way the deep blue and purple of the Cascade lupine mirrors the deep blue of the sky.
Wildflowers on the Skyline
Which way to Paradise?
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
The false hellebore's blooms are tiny and yellow-green, hidden inside larger but still small sepals in long hanging clusters descending from a tall stalk.