A few blocks down from our house in suburban Seattle is a trail. You can hear the freeway. It is behind an elementary school with a big field. You meet many a dog walker and frisbee player. An emo teenager with his headphones in and his head down. Kids.
Yet there is no trash on the trail.
A sliver of tranquility never leaving the city reality.
Washington tends to creep up on you. When you despise the rain and wet and cold and then…perfect. I have discovered you won’t actually get rained on in a good forest trail. And that and i may have grown webbed feet.
The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle was the first place I wanted to go after purchasing our new 55-200 mm lens for my Nikon D40. We were not disappointed with the results. Most of the animals were far away and this lens provided the close ups and clarity we desired. However, when it came to animals that were close up, I found myself struggling between the 18-55 mm and the 50-200 mm. So, 2 weeks later we found ourselves back at the zoo fro another round. While the 50-200 mm won’t focus on extremely close subjects, I found that backing up around 20-40 feet and using the right angle was key. This is a mix of the best photos from the two trips.
You know you’re in a temperate rainforest when your surrounded by Sitka spruce. Not only are these trees amazing to look at, tall and majestic, they form communities in the forest. The best example, well only example in North America, is the Hoh rainforest in the Olympic Peninsula.
In this picture 2 Spruce are providing nutrients from their own roots for a newly growing tree. Nurse trees are usually fallen logs but in this case Mommy and Daddy tree pushed up their roots to feed their baby tree. Ok, maybe I’m going a little overboard with the metaphor… but it is a great example of the tight nit bonds of an ecosystem.
This is, indeed, the largest tree I have ever seen. In fact I could even say gargantuan. It is a Cedar that appears more like a cave than a tree. One of the most astounding and gorgeous trees I have ever seen. My Husband James standing in front of it is 6 feet tall to give you some perspective. The picture below is the inside of the tree.
The Hoh Rainforest easily has me saying “the most” about almost everything. However, in this case it is justified. This is the clearest stream I have ever seen! I wanted to put my face in it. That probably wouldn’t be a good idea though. Since it runs of a glacier I would probably say it was also the coldest stream I ever put my face in!
For the past few nights, the waxing crescent Moon, Jupiter, and Venus have lit the night sky. Fully aligning on Friday night and slowly moving apart into a triangular alignment over the weekend. Here in Seattle, it is difficult to capture such phenomena. We are blessed with what seems like a constant cloud cover this time (or any other) time of the year.
And yet tonight, my 2 year daughter and I step outside for a dusk walk and she says, “Look Mommy, the moon,”! The best ones were taken right at dusk, and few more later in the evening. My first attempt at nighttime photography was a little difficult to capture (and focus). But also some of the funnest and most inspiring photos I have taken!
Sometime after you start thinking, “God, how far do I have to drive?” it hits you. First, you smell it. Salty, wonderful and fresh. The ocean, spanning majestically beside you.
Highway 101 stretches through the Olympic Forest for miles. Winding between moss ridden trees, massive Spruce and Cedar, and along many beautiful river and streams colored by 3 Olympic Mountain Glaceirs. It is an experience unlike any other. Majestic rainforests and far open spaces. However, this was not what I was seeking. I needed the ocean.
You come to a point where the road follows the Pacific Ocean for 25-30 miles. It is the most continuous sand I have ever seen in Washington and many other places. Soon, grooves of trees sparsely begin to populate the coast. Then you come to massive rocks covered in trees along the shore and in the water. Forest glides along the coast and provides the most fantastic combination. Rainforest and beach. Trees and sand. Driftwood that the sea has crafted beyond the hand or heart of any man.