Moran State Park was a damp and shady place for a hike. As we got closer to Cascades Lake, we got to an area that was a bit misty. With the sun peaking through the trees, the moisture in the air picked up the shafts of sunlight picking through the branches. I had not photographed this before and I was interested how to expose to get the effect to show up properly.
I wasn’t sure whether to underexpose or go with the base settings so I played around with it a bit. Since it was the mirrorless M6 I was using, you get a bit of a preview in the viewfinder of what you will get but my experience of that camera is that the viewfinder can be a little off compared to what you get when working on the desktop. A little tweaking and I was pretty pleased with the results. I did also try some HDR just in case but I don’t think it was necessary.
First thing in the morning on Orcas Island made from some beautiful conditions. We were staying in a place looking out over the water towards Shaw Island but, in the morning, we got some low fog and mist that could obscure our neighbor so close by. As the sun came up, the fog would burn off and then roll back in. It was a constantly changing view with the land and smaller islands appearing and disappearing frequently. You could sit and watch it for ages. Best done from inside the house, though, since it was rather chilly.
While I didn’t get the shots of the trees over the pass on Vancouver Island and I did get some shots from Port Alberni, I did pull off the road as we descended to take some shots across a valley that we were passing through. The local fire station was on a small rise which gave an elevated view of the valley that was still covered in frost. Plenty of farm structures provided a bit of interest to the shot. The wider shot was nice but the power lines which are, no doubt, very useful to the residents were a bit more annoying to the photographer. I wonder which is more important…
The drive across Vancouver Island on our way back to the ferry was exceedingly pretty. The temperature in the passes was pretty low and what I imagine happens is that the mist freezes on to the trees. The result was these beautiful white trees looking like they had been created as some Christmas decoration. We were on a main road so no chance to stop and photograph them but, as we got down to Port Alberni, the mist was still around.
As we crossed the river, we got a view along the water between the trees with the mist hanging over the surface. It looked really beautiful. I stopped further along the road where I found a gap in the trees and could get down to the bank. Once out of the car, I figured that the cold temperatures could be handled for a short while and walked back to the bridge. We had a ferry to catch so I wasn’t going to spend too long exploring but this might prove to be a very photogenic place to explore if you had the time.
My buddy Paul was visiting so we had a day out looking for some interesting shot opportunities. We started off the day at Paine Field before the sun was really up. A Dreamlifter was due in and we figured we would give it a try. However, as we drove towards Everett, the fog was pretty thick. The field is on the top of the hill so we thought it might be clear, but things did not look promising as we got closer. The low cloud was also blocking off the sun that was just above the horizon which, given that it would have been backlighting the jet, might have been a bonus.
The Dreamlifter came out of the cloud very late on the approach and I was able to grab a few shots of it as it emerged. It was a rather ethereal look as it came into view. The dampness of the air meant that the plane was pulling vortices as it floated across the threshold and in to the touchdown zone. Conditions might not have been the sort of thing that sounded good, but the result was a really cool shot opportunity. As the plane taxied in to park, we got more shots of it although there was one that would have been fantastic, but Paul only spotted it when it was too late and I didn’t see it at all. I won’t say what it was but maybe there will be another chance in which case you will see it here!
The moisture in the air along the Oregon coast can catch you out at times. On one drive south out of Yachats we rounded a bend in the road where we looked down from quite a height along the beaches stretched beneath us. It looked most impressive, but we were then on the way down a twisty road and had missed the pull off. I made a note to come back another time. This I did but the conditions had changed a lot. There was now a lot more mist in the air and the beaches were disappearing into the glare from the sun. Even so, it was still a very pretty location.
When I am on a shoot, the main focus is on the subject that you are there for. However, I have rarely had a shoot when I didn’t get some pictures of something else while I was there. The problem comes when I am going through the shoot. I need to get the shots I am going to use selected and edited. The other shots are put to one side and, it is really easy to forget about them when the next shoot needs to be worked through.
While this is a bit annoying, it does mean that you periodically come across something long afterwards when you are running through images for another reason. This shot of Hangar 1 at Moffett Field is just such a shot. I saw the shots while looking for a shot of an IL-76. I quickly realized that they were shot to be a panorama and had never been tagged as such. This time I ran it quickly through the pano function and got the shot out. It was shot early in the morning awaiting the departure of Solar Impulse and I like the misty look in the air.
If you mention going to the beach, most people will initially visualize a sandy stretch with the sun in the sky and the waves lapping the shore. While that is certainly nice, I also love a rugged beach on a rough weather day. We took a diversion during one of our day trips and headed for Rialto Beach. There was rain in the air and the wind was certainly blowing but this enhanced the atmosphere of the beach. Just offshore, large rocky outcroppings rose from the water. Their tops were almost obscured by low cloud and the waves were crashing up against them.
The shoreline was covered with debris that had washed ashore. Logs were stacked up at the high water mark where the waves had pushed them as far as they could go. The bark was stripped leaving the core wood polished and exposed. The stones that made up the beach were ridged based on how high the tide and the waves would push them. Everything looked dramatic in the damp and windy conditions. The attraction of the place was obviously high because plenty of people were there. Whether walking their dogs along the beach, taking a walk along the water’s edge or just standing up near the logs and staring out to sea, they were there in numbers.
My friend John from Chicago was out in San Francisco for the weekend and we arranged to get together for a walk up in the hills of Marin County. We headed to Mt Tamalpais to walk the trails there. The weather was not ideal with rain and low cloud when we set off but, as we got closer, the rain eased up, even if the cloud didn’t. Even so, it meant we were going to be okay to walk. What I hadn’t counted on was that I was going to warm up a lot as we walked and the uphill element of the second half of the walk was going to mean I was a touch overdressed! I was dry though.
When we got back to the car, we drove along the ridge above the valley where Muir Woods is located. The clouds were beginning to break up a little and the combination of the light and the clouds still on the hills looked great. I struggle to take what I see in those situations and turn it into a photograph but hopefully this gives you some idea of what was there. The dynamic range is one thing to deal with in processing but the feel is something harder to translate.
While on the road, I often stay at the same hotel. It is across from a lot of open fields and, when I have left just after sunrise, I have been impressed by the low lying mist that hangs across the fields. I tend to notice this as i am driving out. Thinking clearly early in the morning is not always something I can be relied on to do but one morning I had some forethought and a little time and decided to wander out with the camera.
The mist was a little deeper than in some previous mornings so less was obviously poking out of the top of it but it still was quite attractive. The fields are flat as a pancake so there are none of the little dips that can make a shot like this more interesting but it still worked out reasonably well. While I was shooting, the sun came up behind me and started to color in the scene with some really warm light. I grabbed a few shots before heading back to the hotel to start the day for real.