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While hiking in the Naches Peak area soon after arriving in the park, we coincidentally ran into Zhou on the trail. Victoria and I decided to meet up with him later on in the day to scout out some places for sunset and the next morning’s sunrise. After getting together in our pre-determined spot, we were a little disappointed to not find as many wildflowers as we had hoped for. But considering it was still only June and there had been little snow pack, we weren’t too surprised.
For sunset we settled on this overlook of the White River, and while the conditions overall were pretty good, neither of us were completely satisfied so we decided we’d try again in the morning.
Victoria and I woke up before dawn and saw that it looked like we had solid overcast conditions and I wasn’t all that optimistic until I looked to the east and could see a faint glow. Perhaps the horizon was clear enough to let some nice light in? After quickly grabbing my gear and meeting back with Zhou, we hurried to our spot from the previous night.
At this point the sky to the east was beginning to take on an intense glow and I was scrambling to try and find a composition. With how sparse the wildflowers were, this ended up being a little harder than I thought it would. With color quickly spreading across the sky, I had to make a decision. While the log I chose for this image isn’t something I’d normally go with, there were few other options and I hoped the sunrise itself would be good enough to be the main focus of the image so that the foreground wouldn’t hold so much weight. Just after setting up and getting a few shots off, sunlight began to kiss the summit of Rainier and the whole sky was ablaze. The best color was in the complete opposite direction of where I was pointing my camera, but even so, I was able to capture one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve seen at Mt. Rainier.
Zhou and I were elated and Victoria was impressed with the beauty of what we had witnessed. Overall the trip was a success and I even managed to get a few shots out of it.
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So I lost the original file from this one a few months back which gave me an opportunity to revamp it for an awesome project that I’m working on. Any who last flower season provided one of the largest Bear Grass blooms I’ve ever seen. Sun Top lookout provides amazing 360 degree views of Mt. Rainier and the Olympics but man it can be tough to find a decent composition without too much clutter. This was taken just as the sun was illuminating the slopes of the mountain and filtering through the Bear Grass which seemed to catch and amplify the ambient light. It really was pretty cool to see these flowers light up in a rich glow as the sun began to fade away. The amount of light you see here is what was actually occurring, I actually had to decrease the saturation a bit in some of the channels because the glow was just that strong.
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Hope you guys enjoy it!
Suntop Lookout, Mt. Rainier, WA
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The wildflowers have since died out but here’s one more shot from earlier this summer. I think I probably waited 40 minutes maybe longer for that cloud to hover over Gibralter Rock haha. Any who hope you enjoy this one!
Paradise, Mt. Rainier, WA
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At home, he routinely interrupts me from staring at my computer monitor so that he can excitedly drag me to our west-facing window and point out some pink-purple clouds. “Our favorite sunset colors” is a topic of conversation that has regularly come up in the past few years. Last summer we spent nearly three weeks on the road, staying up late, waking up early, checking out over half a dozen national parks, and talking a lot about photography. This summer we didn’t make it out quite so much.
Every once in a great while I feel a tinge of envy when I see posts from young, single photographers who have the opportunity to run off at a moment’s notice. While they chase sunsets, I’m often chasing kids around a playground. While they breezily travel to far-flung locales on a whim, I’m intricately planning out how I can get away for a night.
And every once in a while I find myself in the right place for a take-your-breath-away, the-sky-is-on-fire sunset. Long ago I thought it would be a good idea to carry a camera to capture those moments so that others could appreciate them, later. But it’s also nice to have a small person at my side who stops poking at the dirt with his stick to yell, without any pretense, “this is incredible,” not because he’s been coached to do such a thing, or because he feels that the exclamation is expected of him, but because he’s thrilled to be there in the moment, seeing an incredible sunset. With me.
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Thanks so much for taking a look!
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