Orcas Island is the location for Moran State Park. It includes Cascades Lake which makes for a nice hike. We extended the hike slightly to include some waterfalls but they will get a post of their own (or two). In the low winter light, the lake looks really beautiful. The trail brings you out in little bays but you are never too far from the water. The trail is not along the shore and the terrain is a little steeper than you might expect but it is still a pretty simple hike. Meanwhile, you get to enjoy the lovely views so it doesn’t feel like too much exertion at all.
While hiking through Moran State Park, we came up to a road. As we got there a vintage car of some sort was coming towards us. Annoyingly, I had changed the camera to its base ISO to photograph some waterfalls and hadn’t reset it to auto ISO. It was dark in there so, when I shot the passing vehicle, the shutter speed was way too low. It means the shots were blurred but it actually wasn’t as bad as I had expected.
The Washington State Ferries service is the main way of getting between the San Juan Islands but it isn’t the only one. On a previous trip to the islands, I had posted about an operator of a small ferry. That post is here. The operator is San Juan Ferry and Barge. The boat in the original post is the Henry Island but they have a second, similar boat. This is the Nordland II.
The Nordland II came past us while we were staying in Orcas a couple of times. It had a truck with what looked like propane on board. I imagine moving from place to place with a hazardous cargo is easier when you charter the boat yourself. The front ramp means they can load and unload at any number of launching ramps around the islands which makes them super flexible.
They are based at Friday Harbor and, while we were walking around the waterfront, I saw them in the marina. The Nordland II was making a trip out so I got a shot as they pulled out (along with a friendly wave from the crew!). The Henry Island was still moored up so I grabbed some shots of it while I could.
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.
The ferry to Orcas Island comes in to the town of Orcas. (I think it counts as a town but it is pretty small!). Right across from the ferry terminal is the Orcas Hotel. It is an old style hotel and has a café as well. Restrictions meant eating in the café was out of the question but we did get take out food from there one night and it was great. The south facing harbor gets some nice evening light in the winter. The first time I was out walking there, I figured I would get a shot after I visited the local shop. That was a mistake. When I came out, the lovely light was gone and everything was in shadow. I didn’t make the same mistake again.