Vancouver is a sea-level city, but it has easy access to alpine high grounds both within and outside the Canadian border. Mount Baker, within less than three hours’ drive in Washington State, is one of the high grounds I frequent south of the border. In mid summer, when daylight is long, one can leave home after lunch, hit the trail three hours later, reach the desired high ground in another two or three hours, take sunset photos and then head down the trail for home; all within half day.
That was what I did on July 28, 2014. The trail I hiked is Park Butte, in the south of Mount Baker.
As summer heated up, staying at home was not just boring but also stifling. So, a few days after my Mt Rainier trip, I dragged a friend to go to another high ground. This time we hit a long trail on top of Whistler Mountain. We hiked from the summit gondola station to Russet Lake via the Musical Bumps Trail and returned to Whistler Village via Singing Pass Trail. A 28km hike, with over 1km accumulative elevation gain. But hiking on mountain ridges with broad horizon view was a really cool thing to do, in hot summer or in any season.
On July 15, I drove up to Mt. Rainier National Park with some friends (after a shoot at Shi Shi Beach under disappointing weather), and spent the night right in the parking lot of Paradise Visitors Center, showing to my friends how to take star trail photos. Some serious star gazers were also there with their big telescopes and gave the park visitors a free star talk. While the rest of the northwest was under a heat wave, it was really cool to spend the night on a high ground and star gazing (and star shooting as well).
Early next morning, as we were taking shots of Mt. Rainier by Reflection Lake at sunrise, I spotted (using my 200mm lens) a few tiny lights near the top of the mountain. I learned afterwards that at that moment, two teams of mountaineers were making their final push to the summit (see the last two pictures). The guys made it to the highest ground in Washington State in the golden morning light of mid summer.
This is a hot summer, hottest since I came to Canada. Fortunately, there are a lot of high grounds around Vancouver where you can cool yourself down. I’ve made a few trips to such high grounds lately, and got some cool pictures back too.
On the July 11 Super Moon Day, I drove up Artist Point, Mt. Baker, and camped the night there.
The paved access road is stilled lined with snow, but a lot less than in the last year:
The moon rises behind the shoulder ridge of Mt. Shuksan:
Stars dance over our tents:
Photography is, ultimately, about simplification. Simplicity is always a virtue in this art. These were the thoughts, during my recent trip to Washington’s coast, that came to my mind when I saw the sky was whiten out and sea stacks and people on the beach were partially diffused in fog and mist. Simplicity makes the following images.
Note: This one was also created in April but also forgotten until today.
These fields are located about 130km from downtown Vancouver. They have become a tourist destination each spring when the tulip flowers are in full bloom. The fields are much smaller than the Skagit Valley tulip fields in the US, but they have a better backdrop, a 2100-meter high snow peak, as far as photography is concerned.
Note: I forgot I had this draft photo post in my blog that I left unpublished last April.
A small town that has boomed with tourists flooding to Argentine Patagonia and is the only gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, El Calafate has its own little charm.
You may have seen people skiing on snow and on water, but how about skiing on snow and then on ice water. This is something I saw, for the first time ever, last Friday afternoon when I drove up near a half-frozen half-melt tarn up Mount Baker on my way to Artist Point for a shoot of the coming super moon. The guys looked like having super fun!
Back home after a few weeks of travel abroad, I found my front lawn was almost totally occupied by dandelions. These fast growing wild plants are now blooming brightly. They even look quite pretty from a distance, so much so that I think I should take a few photos of them before I mow them down. Voila, here they are, the photos after some playful manipulation in Photoshop (which give them a midnight effect):
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