After a visit to a shop in Renton, I stopped by the airport to see what was going on. I was taking a walk along the trail alongside the Cedar River that runs parallel to the runway. As I headed back to the car, I heard a noisy bird making its presence felt. Looking up at a power line across the water, there was an osprey a short distance away. I didn’t have anything other than my phone with me so went back to the car to grab a long lens and to see if it would wait around for me.
Sadly, it didn’t appreciate the situation and had gone by the time I returned. However, the river was not empty. Tons of swallows were swooping along its length feasting on the bugs above the water. Looking along the river towards the bridge from the Boeing ramp, you could see loads of them at work. Getting photos of swallows is not easy. They move very fast and do not hold course for long so getting a track on them with a long lens and keeping it is tough. The 500mm is a challenge for this but it is what I had.
There were tons of failures but you don’t get to see these. I was surprised how often I managed to track one and that the camera did a really great job of getting a focus. There was a little predictability of the flight paths which did help but, even so, I was rather pleased with the results. Also, given that these are still heavily cropped, to get this sharp was quite a result.
Back to our trip to Orcas Island and our hike around Cascades Lake included a diversion to Cascade Falls. (See a naming theme here?). I had seen something about these falls online which had led me to think that they weren’t terribly large. I was, therefore, rather surprised to find out that this was a decent drop. We came in from the top of the falls so were looking down on them from above. The trail continues along the river and so we got to take a look at them from lower down as we continued on. They was a side trail that would take you right down to the water but we had a fair bit of walking to do before it got too dark so I avoided the diversion this time.
On the way in to Leavenworth, I took a side street looking for a good parking option. As we drove along this road, it took us close to the river and a sign for the waterfront park. I had no idea about this park previously so we decided to check it out after walking through the town for a while. Turns out it is a great set of trails that run along the river. There are a couple of islands with bridges between them connecting everything together to make the park.
Each of the islands has a choice of trails so you don’t have to go out and back but can vary your route. The ground was a bit icy underfoot in places but generally it was clear and plenty of people were out enjoying the views. The river is to the south of the park while there are inlets around the islands formed as the water constantly changes the landscape. There were also signs talking about the history of the area. A stretch of wooden piles were arrayed out in to the river at what I assume was once a loading pier. The lumber business was once dominant in the area.
Having made our first stop at Lake Wenatchee State Park, we continued on in the direction of Leavenworth. The highway takes you down a river valley with the Wenatchee River at its core. This is a pretty drive at any time of year and the many pull offs are often filled with people stopping off the enjoy the view. A colder fall day meant it was slightly less busy but it also meant deeper shadows. Still, there were plenty of people enjoying the scenery, even if they weren’t getting out of the cars for too long.
Having written about whether HDR is still worthwhile in a recent post, the shaded valley was something that I figured was still possibly needing a technique that could handle a wide dynamic range. Other spots were still in open light and were an easier bet. The difficulty of a valley like this is communicating the feeling within the rocky walls. Wider lenses allow you to show more of the scene but they also diminish the scale and I find it hard to give the impression you get when actually there. I actually spent some time with a longer lens picking out details of the scenes rather than the whole thing but I wasn’t going to give up on that completely.
My bike rides along the Sammammish River Trail in recent months have involved a diversion. Part of the trail passing through Bothell had been shut down. It took me a while to work out why but, one day, while driving through the town and past the park, I saw a new bridge structure sitting in the park awaiting installation. The old bridge had been pretty steep and unwelcoming so this was a positive change.
I would really have liked to have been around when the new bridge was installed but I didn’t know about it until it had been done and that I found from the trail reopening. The bridge is not yet open for foot and bike traffic as they finalize the installations at each end but it certainly looks nice and I stopped on a recent ride to get a couple of shots of it. Hopefully it will be open soon.
I made a bit of a road trip recently. I decided a day off work was in order and I had some aviation themed things I wanted to see so I set out early. My first stop was in a town called Brewster. The airport in Brewster is up on a bluff above the Okanogan River where it merges with the Columbia River. On a sunny August day, the view across the river was really nice. An island under the bluff provided some interest and the view across the wider section of river to the opposite bank was very nice.
There were plenty of boats on the river. It looked like they were busy fishing as everyone seemed to be in formation across the width of the river. I assume it was fishing that they had in mind but don’t know for certain. A tranquil spot for sure. A house on the waterfront would look appealing but it is a serious hike to get there from any centers of population so I doubt I will be contemplating moving anytime.
I’ve been catching up on some video editing while stuck indoors. During the Christmas break, mum and I took a walk along the Sammamish River. There were lots of geese floating downstream and they were busy washing themselves. This involved a lot of flapping and inverting themselves in the river. Of course, when I got close, they stopped doing it while their buddies further downstream seemed to be busy washing. I did finally get some footage of it so here is a short video of geese! Bet that’s just what you wanted to see today!
When we still lived in Lancashire, we made a trip to Shropshire to visit my uncle and his family. As part of the visit, we went to Ironbridge. For those not familiar with industrial architecture, this is a significant place for the bridge made of iron (you’d never have guessed) that was a major innovation at the time. There is a great museum nearby which has old buildings and forging/casting techniques still practiced. Here is a view of the bridge itself and the steeply sided river valley that required it. Maybe we will get back there at some point on a future trip. We have friends that aren’t so far away!
November and December in Washington were pretty dry. For a state known for damp winters, we were rather lacking in rain. January and February decided to make up for that and we had days of rain and not just showers but really heavy rainfall. Local rivers are in flood all over the region. Snoqualmie Falls were on TV as the flow over the falls was raging. We have seen a variety of flow levels in our different visits based on river levels and the power generation requirements. This looked more than we had seen before and a visit seemed worthwhile.
We weren’t the only ones with this idea. Plenty of people were there and, talking to others after our visit, they all seemed to have visited too. The full width of the falls was covered and the roar of the crashing water was impressive. What was also dramatic was the impact on the viewing areas. The spray from the falls was being driven up the side of the rocks by the wind and so, while the surrounding area was dry, in the immediate vicinity of the falls, it was raining pretty heavily. One guy I talked to had his camera stop working it got so wet.
This made getting photos quite tricky. While the cameras I had were up to the task, keeping the front of the lens dry was a difficult task. The sun angle also meant any water on the lens was more conspicuous than normal. At first I tried to keep it clear but I soon gave up and just went with whatever I could get. We then went to the river in order to walk up towards the bottom of the falls. However, this had been closed off, presumably because of the river levels, so I couldn’t get the other shots I was hoping for.
While walking along the Sammammish River Trail, a couple of Mallard Ducks flew by me at low level. I pulled the camera up at short notice to get a shot. No time to change the settings so this is what I got on the spur of the moment. As it happens, the shutter speed did a nice job of blurring out the background and making them look super speedy. I kind of like it!