Tag Archives: cascades

Polarizer Effect on the Water

If I remember – which I frequently don’t – I take my polarizer with me when I am going to photographing scenery.  With our trip up into the Cascades, we went to the overlook of Diablo Lake and the sun was reflecting off the surface of the lake waters.  I took two shots – one with the polarizer rotated to remove the glare and one with the glare in full effect.  I was interested to see which of the shots I preferred when I got home.  The color of the lake is very nice but sometimes the reflections are more interesting.  I include both here to show just how much of a difference the polarizer makes and for you to decide which is to your taste.

Diablo Dam

My sister was visiting so we took a trip up into the Cascades across the North Cascades Highway.  Having traveled this way before, I had photographed some of the dams already.  This time, we got a closer look at Diablo Dam.  You can drive down to the dam and across the top of it to get to the facilities on the other side.  The dam is wide enough for two vehicles to pass although that might not be obvious given the way some of the drivers behaved.

The spillways on either side of the dam look a lot bigger when you get close to it than is the case when looking from a distance.  The chance to see it up close, given that so many of the dams in the mountains are rather inaccessible, was pretty cool.

Washington Pass

Our trip over the Cascades took us through Washington Pass.  There was an overlook area with parking which allowed us to stop and wander around a bit.  The view of the pass was gorgeous.  There was snow on the peaks surrounding things and a hint of snow on the ground too.  The road drops down dramatically from the pass and comes down the valley below the overlook.  You were almost looking straight down on vehicles as they passed beneath.

There were plenty of places to walk.  The overlook area itself was not far from the parking lot but a short trail wandered up and around the rocks to give a wide variety of views.  The autumnal light was nice and low even though it was very sunny.  Being quite high up meant the sun was a bit stronger than normal.  The panoramic views meant standing and staring was the order of the day.  We ended up staying there for quite a while.  It will soon (if not already) be snowy up there.  As I write this, the road is already closed for the winter.  Hopefully we shall head back up that way when spring arrives.

Diablo Lake Vista Point

Diablo Lake sits behind one of the dams as you head across the Cascades.  Overlooking the lake is a vista point and we stopped there to have our lunch.  We certainly weren’t the only ones to think of this.  The parking lot was pretty full and there were tons of people enjoying the view.  For being up in the mountains, you certainly weren’t a long way away from civilization!  On a sunny day, it wasn’t hard to understand why it was so popular.

Across one side of the lake you could see the top of the dam.  Meanwhile, you had great views in all directions.  The vista point was quite high above the water level and looking down on the water and the islands in the lake, you had a perspective that almost felt like flying.  One of the islands had a nice jetty and the water was clear enough to see down to the bottom in the shallows.  I guess the water is snow run off from the mountains so it probably doesn’t pick up too much sediment.

Lichenfall

Walking along a path up the Cascades, I went passed a rocky wall that was totally in the shade.  The shady and damp environment makes it the perfect place for lichen to grow.  The whole of the rock surface was covered in this lichen and it blurred the shape of the surface.  The effect was to make it look like water was washing down across the rocks but, since it was lichen rather than water, I felt it should be called a lichenfall.

Gorge Creek

The North Cascades Highway crosses a bridge at Gorge Creek.  We had stopped to go to a lookout point on the lake side of the highway and the trail to this point ran alongside the creek.  As we headed back, I wanted to take a quick look from the bridge.  I walked out a short distance and could see the creek below.  I almost turned back at this point but, fortunately, I kept walking a bit further and suddenly a waterfall came into view.  I could easily have missed it.  Indeed, Nancy almost didn’t come out when I told her to come and have a look as she similarly thought she had seen all there was.

The falls were slightly tricky to photograph.  The top section of the falls was the first to be seen as you walked out on to the bridge.  The bottom section was obscured.  As you walked out further, the bottom came in to view but the top started to become obscured.  Getting the full scale of the falls in one shot is not really possible.  While you are there, you appreciate it of course but it is not so easy to portray to someone remotely.  With the shadow of the gorge as well, getting a shot meant dealing with a wide dynamic range.  This would have been a good time to try a pano in HDR.  The latest version of Lightroom has that functionality automated but it hadn’t come out when I was there and, to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered trying it!

Dams

Up in the Cascades, there are a bunch of dams.  The rivers have been dammed to provide hydroelectric power.  The lowest dam was not terribly cool looking but the dams higher up the pass looked a lot more like you would expect a dam to look.  One of them was easy to see although it was deep in shade while the rest of the scene was very bright.  HDR seemed to be the way to go.  The last dam we passed was visible from the highway but it was hard to get a clear look at it without some vegetation getting in the way.  Time to reach above your head while standing on a rock and using the Live View mode to try and see what you were shooting.  Limited success but at least you could see something.

Another Preserved Loco

Preserved locomotives seem to appear in a lot of towns in Washington and Newhalem was no exception.  This old steam locomotive seemed to be particularly well preserved given the rugged location it lives in for a good chunk of the year.  I assume Seattle City Light has enough cash to keep it looking good for the many visitors to the town.  Indeed, getting a shot of it without someone climbing all over it took a bit of patience!

How to Pick Apples

Heading through the Cascades one weekend, we stopped off at a farm stand.  They had apple orchards and were showing off one of the machines used for picking the apples.  It had multiple tines for sweeping the apples from the branches when they are ready, presumably without bruising the fruit.  I imagine this thing can pick a lot more fruit than a person in a given time.

New WSDOT Locomotives

In the days running up to the introduction to service of the new WSDOT Siemens Charger locomotives, they were stored in the yard in Seattle awaiting the clearance to run.  I was down there for another project and all of these shiny new locomotives were just asking to have their picture taken.  How could I refuse?  Sadly, one of these locos was involved in the accident a few weeks later.