“Looking Up the Throat” Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington
What an amazing sight from the Johnson Observation Center! The open throat of the mountain takes my breath away and draws me in. I stand in awe looking at the quiet scene, with my imagination going wild thinking of what the observers at this site must have thought and felt when the mountain erupted over forty years ago.
Road to Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA
I wasn’t expecting to see Hoar Frost in mid-June. The conditions were just right as we were driving up to Hurricane Ridge, moist fog and cold temperature. As soon as I saw the light mist, the frost covered trees, and the contrasting rock outcroppings, I thought of B&W. Magic happens!
The bright red-orange roof against the blue sky caught my eye as I was walking down Front Street. The color and shape of the building. looking through a street tree caught my interest. But ofd memories kept my attention.
When I was just a little boy, I remember my grandfather taking me down to the train station to see Uncle Ben off and to pick him up from his annual winter trip back to Pittsburgh. I became fascinated with the idea of riding a train across the country. When I was five, I had my opportunity for such a grand trip. My grandfather took me back to Pittsburgh to see the “Aunts”! I remember anxiously sitting in the “grand train station” waiting for the train to stop and pick us up. It seemed like an eternity, the ceiling was so high, and the room so large. I could not sit still. It seems like just yesterday.
My last trip through the station was in the late 70’s. My wife and I decided to take the train from Seattle to Yakima instead of driving. It was a wonderful trip over the Pass and through the Canyon. My father and a brother picked us up at the station. It was still such a great place.
So many wonderful memories. I am thankful that the old station has been put back in productive use.
I have been working to develop my process for contemplative photography. My assignment today was to take a walk with a fresh open mind not looking for any specific thing to photograph. The practice objective was to just wander and let the world around me catch my eye. If something caught my eye, I needed to keep my mind open, take my time, and explore specifically what was it that captured my eye, what was important, and what was not. Only then I could raise my camera and frame the image.
Walking along Front Street, I saw a bright orange flash that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was in stark contrast with the surrounding area of old stucco and bricks. Shadows from a metal gate added to the contrast. Soft mottled shadows from a street tree graced its surface. The vertical bars of the gate framed the brilliant orange. What a wonderful gift I was given.
This image is another perspective from my long exposure practice exercise. This time the focus was to highlight the sky and the smooth tide. I used dodging and burning in the sky, dodging on the sea stack and water. I am looking forward to an upcoming workshop on the Oregon Coast with John Barclay and Cole Thompson. It should be enlightening.
I took a special trip to the Washington Coast to experiment and practice long exposure photography. My first day of practice resulted in a disappointing set of images with many, many, pure white and pure black frames. I am thankful tor digital photography! I knew the steps I needed to take. However, my excitement took over and I made multiple mistakes. Toward the end I started to engrain the process into my sequence of shooting. The next morning, I slowed down and did much better. This image is from that morning. I have a lot more of experimenting and practicing to do.
It was mid morning on a bright sunny, hot, dry day. The summer has been one of the driest in history. It was not a typical rainforest day. It was still a beautiful exhibition of nature. I spent a lot of time looking around to find an area that had filtered light without glaring bright spots. This is one that I found.
I processed the image to try to capture the feeling I had: filtered rays of sunshine highlighting background trees, interesting moss shapes in the shadows speckled with sunlight, a soft feeling of the soft moss.
Nature is magical! It renews itself. Out of a devastated landscape, life emerges. I wish I had taken photographs when Karen and I visited the devastated mountain twenty plus yeas ago. Everything was grey and brown, mud and ash. It reminded me of what I thought the moon’s landscape was like.
Now, life is emerging everywhere. The reds, oranges, yellows, and purples of the wildflowers scattered about breathe life into the landscape. The greens below are young trees that have sprouted from seeds that have been brought to the surface by the small ground animals that survived the blast underground and from returning birds dropping seeds from above. Life is a miracle! My spirits lifted as I looked down over the valley below. My imagination looked forward to picture a natural forest that will return in the centuries to come.
Lupine and Mt. St. Helens’ Crater from Johnson Ridge
Mt. St. Helens eruption blasted directly over Johnson Ridge where this photo was taken. The landscape was devastated, Nothing was left standing or living. Now the hill sides are covered with wildflowers and small trees. This lupine stands defiant in front of the mountain.
This is the devastated north face of Mt. St. Helens, 37 years after it exploded on May 18, 1980. The beautiful white symmetric Mountain cone is gone. The evolution of our earth continues. The last time I was up to see the mountain was five years after it erupted. At that time, we saw the start of life returning. How much it has changed in the 32 subsequent years. In my next several posts, I will try to convey the changing life that has transpired.