Sudden Descent-Comet Falls in Mount Rainier National Park

    Van Trump Creek drops abruptly from the top of a massive cliff wall forming Comet Falls which plunges in a series of three steps into a lush green valley over 450 feet below in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.
    Van Trump Creek drops abruptly from the top of a massive cliff wall forming Comet Falls which plunges in a series of three steps into a lush green valley over 450 feet below in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

    Comet Falls is one of the most impressive falls in Mount Rainier National Park, so it was definitely on my list of places to get to on my trip to the park. The most intimidating part of getting to it was the hike to get there.

    The 1.7-mile distance was nothing, it was the 1,400-foot elevation gain involved that I knew was going to kill me! It had been a while since I had really been out hiking and I knew I was a bit out of shape. I emptied my bag of anything but the necessities to lighten the load and set out in a light rain. It was just the right conditions for waterfall photography.

    After stopping to shoot a few times along the way (and many more to catch my breath!), I came to this view looking down the valley to Comet Falls. What a beautiful scene. The sun peeked out occasionally, but stayed behind the clouds long enough to capture a series of images, this one being my favorite because of the shape and the detail in the falls. I ventured closer to the falls after that, but it was difficult to scramble too far because of the rain soaked vegetation.

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    Finding My Way-Deer Creek Falls in Mount Rainier National Park

    Deer Creek rounds a bend in the dense forest and twists and turns its way over Deer Creek Falls as it plunges into a canyon in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.
    Deer Creek rounds a bend in the dense forest and twists and turns its way over Deer Creek Falls as it plunges into a canyon in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.

    As promised, I am going to start posting some new pictures! This is Deer Creek Falls in Mount Rainier National Park. It was the second falls that my son Justin and I stopped at early one morning this past August.

    It was an easy hike along the Owyhigh Lakes Trail from the trailhead along Highway 123. The trail runs alongside Deer Creek and offers multiple vantage points of the falls. The canyon below was deep and there’s no chance to get any lower. I settled for framing up a variety of compositions while wedged between the trees. This is my favorite of the bunch because it includes the one last twist at the bottom that leads your eye to the top of the lacy falls.

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    The Giant Awakens-Mount Rainier Emerges From The Clouds

    Mount Rainier emerges from early morning clouds and towers over Upper Tipsoo Lake and a meadow sprinkled with wildflowers in Mount Rainer National Park, Washington.
    Mount Rainier emerges from early morning clouds and towers over Upper Tipsoo Lake and a meadow sprinkled with wildflowers in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

    As was true with most of the mornings at Mount Rainier National Park, the Tipsoo Lake area was socked in the clouds when I arrived before sunrise. At least this morning you could catch occasional glimpses of the peak as the skies started to lighten.

    I setup in the same spot I had setup many other mornings during the week. I hoped for something to happen this morning as it was my last. Unfortunately, sunrise came and went. I took a shot now and then when Mount Rainier appeared, but Lake Tipsoo was rippled by a steady breeze and nothing turned out that great.

    I did make the fortunate decision to head across the road to explore Upper Tipsoo Lake and the meadow filled with wildflowers surrounding it. I focused on flowers at first, but noticed that the clouds were breaking up over the peak. I wandered around until I found this pleasing composition including some of the wildflowers and Mount Rainier towering off in the distance. It was a beautiful sight and made for a great ending to a trip!

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    Woodland Serenity-Silver Falls in Mount Rainier National Park

    The Ohanapecosh River winds through a dense green forest and drops over Silver Falls into an aquamarine colored pool in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.
    The Ohanapecosh River winds through a dense green forest and drops over Silver Falls into an aquamarine colored pool in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

    I just returned home from a trip out to Mount Rainier National Park outside of Seattle. My son Justin joined me for the first part of the trip and we had fun exploring the park for our first time. We were greeted by clear blue skies and unheard of temperatures close to 90 degrees in the park. Not at all what I expected!

    After a fairly fruitless first day where it was just too darn hot to want to do much, we decided to hit a few waterfalls early the next morning before the sun made its way into the woods. The first stop was at Silver Falls just inside the Stevens Canyon entrance. It looked simple enough to get to and I had the GPS coordinates to the trailhead plugged into the car. I suppose it might have helped if I would have followed its directions, but instead I had in my head a different spot for the falls. After turning around multiple times and getting out to search along the roadway, we were ready to give up and ask for direction at the park entrance. That is until we turned the corner and then the GPS directions made sense! It turns out that we had been using the official park map (more…)

    Golden Grove-Colorado Aspen Forest Panorama

    Autumn sunshine streams through an aspen grove illuminating the forest floor carpeted in golden undergrowth in the San Isabel National Forest outside of Buena Vista, Colorado.
    Autumn sunshine streams through an aspen grove illuminating the forest floor carpeted in golden undergrowth in the San Isabel National Forest outside of Buena Vista, Colorado.

    There is a large aspen grove that sits on top of a ridge down the valley from my home outside of Buena Vista. It is so large that in the fall, I can keep tabs on the changing colors by just looking out my window. That makes it easy for me to tell when it is time to take the forty-five minute drive over there. (more…)

    Autumn Color Splash-Vibrant Colorado Aspen Panorama

    A panoramic view of a vibrant grove of golden and orange aspen trees along Last Dollar Road outside of Ridgway in southwestern Colorado.
    A panoramic view of a vibrant grove of golden and orange aspen trees along Last Dollar Road outside of Ridgway in southwestern Colorado.

    I was so busy this past summer participating in art shows around Colorado that I barely got a chance to get out to take any pictures. It was driving me crazy, especially since I had picked up a new camera late in June. I finally got a chance to get out and do some shooting in September. (more…)

    Jungle Pearl-Paihi Falls on Hana Road in Maui

    Honolewa Stream emerges from thick vegetation and gracefully tumbles down Paihi Falls outside of Hana on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.
    Honolewa Stream emerges from thick vegetation and gracefully tumbles down Paihi Falls outside of Hana on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.

    The gentle rain never let up as I sat at Koki Beach waiting for sunrise this morning. After an hour or so, I decided it was time to move on and explore other opportunities.

    I set my GPS to take me to some of the waterfalls on the road south of Hana and made my way back to Hana Road. As I traveled further south, the road went from two lanes to one for the most part. I figured that was no big deal since there wasn’t much traffic out that early in the morning. Or so I thought. I rounding one of the hairpin turns only to practically run into one of the locals speeding down the road. With a little guidance (ha), they directed me to where to pull over to that would somehow let them get by. It wasn’t but a couple more turns before I came upon a large crane and a dump truck headed towards me. I stopped and backed up to the nearest wide spot I remembered. It was what seemed like forever before the traffic let up. Who would have guessed the 8:00 traffic was that bad out in the sticks?!

    I stopped at a couple of streams where I had waterfalls marked. Funny, they looked like they would be so easy to find when I was looking at the map. Not so in a jungle! I decided it was probably in my best interest to not go slogging down through the thick rain soaked brush and continued on to the next candidate. Paihi Falls was easy to find. It was right off the one lane bridge that crossed Honolewa Stream. The only issue was that the only shots were from standing on the bridge. Fortunately, I was able to come away with a couple of different compositions in between having to move off the bridge for traffic before the sun came out and brought an end to shooting waterfalls.

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    Daybreak Drama-Stormy Sunrise along the Maui Coast

    Stormy clouds and a rain squall over the ocean are illuminated by early morning light beyond the rocky Dragon's Teeth formation on the northwest coast of Maui, Hawaii.
    Stormy clouds and a rain squall over the ocean are illuminated by early morning light beyond the rocky Dragon’s Teeth formation on the northwest coast of Maui, Hawaii.

    It is about time that I post something new! I snuck in a trip to Maui before the holidays and have found some time to start processing images. The first sunrise location that I visited was the dramatic Dragon’s Teeth volcanic rock formation on the northwest tip of the island. This image portrays just some of the drama from the scene that morning. (more…)

    Grace amidst Gold-Nellie Creek Falls in Southern Colorado

    Graceful Nellie Creek Falls is framed by golden aspen trees in the Uncompahgre National Forest outside of Lake City in southern Colorado.
    Graceful Nellie Creek Falls is framed by golden aspen trees in the Uncompahgre National Forest outside of Lake City in southern Colorado.

    Fall is quickly approaching and it reminded me of a trip I took last year. I met up with
    good friend and fellow photographer Rod Hanna
    in late September and headed out in search of peak fall color. We heard from others that the colors were good down around Lake City in southern Colorado. I hadn’t spent much time in the area and was anxious to check it out.

    The aspens were indeed near peak color when we arrived. As we traveled around looking for shots, I remembered that there was a waterfall nearby that I had never been to. A check of the map and we soon found our way to Nellie Creek outside of town. We parked at a pullout close to where the falls were and hiked up the single lane road to where we could see the falls between the trees. Shots I remembered seeing of the falls always had aspens in the foreground, and I now I could see why! We played around with different compositions using different trees in the shot and came home with many to choose from.

    Click on the image to view it larger in the galleries. Fine art prints are available.

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