Moran State Park provided a great place for some hiking. It is a pretty shady and damp environment, though. As we were heading down one trail, we came to a bridge over the river. The bridge seemed to have most of its surfaces covered in moss. The lack of direct light must have made it an ideal location for the moss to thrive.
Lime Kiln Point is a popular spot for watching whales. A humpback was not far offshore but a Steller’s sea lion came swimming up along the shore. It was very close in and headed past the lighthouse and to the north. We went back to watching for the whale. A little while later, a snort came from our right with a spray of water. The Steller’s was back and was bobbing in the water right in front of us. It hung around long enough to take a couple of shots and then it went back north. I think it was jealous of the attention the whale was getting!
Our walk in Moran State Park included a diversion up the hills to see some falls. There were two that I was expecting to see. The first of these was Rustic Falls. It was not supposed to be a big waterfall and that was the case. However, it was quite pretty. I wandered down to the water’s edge to try and get some shots of it. I was using the M6 which comes with a tilting screen. That really makes like so much easier when trying to get a shot very low to the ground. No need to lie on the earth or to fit a tilting eye piece. Just tilt the screen up, put the camera as low as you want, and get the shot. I wish my higher end cameras had the same capability!
The misty mornings at Orcas were not only pretty atmospheric to wake up to but they also could make for interesting shots of the ferries. As the banks of fog rolled in and out, the boats could disappear and reappear. As they backed out and spun around, they could be right on the edge of disappearing. Since we were facing south, the whole scene was backlit which made it look even more interesting.
Driving up to the summit of Mount Constitution, the road twists and turns a great deal. Some of the curves have a steep drop off which will not end well if your vehicle were to leave the paved surface. Consequently, there are plenty of concrete posts along the edge of the road to try and stop you going too far wrong. However, it is so shady and damp within the woods the cover the side of the mountain, these posts get no light and have become home for moss. It looks so thick that you wonder whether the car would even be scratched it you hit one!
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.
With the ferries coming and going to the terminal at Orcas, I was able to have plenty of chances to take photos. I did get standard shots of the boats in low light conditions. They are not easy to shoot since they are constantly moving. No long exposures at low ISOs are possible so it is high ISO and the associated noise. However, I did decide to experiment with some long exposures and blending of shots. The boats make a curving approach to the terminal. I thought this might make a nice long exposure. It worked okay but the curve is a bit disguised by being too low down to really appreciate it. However, it was fun to try.
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.