Tag Archives: foliage

Color Along the Wenatchee River

We made a trip across the Cascades in October to see what sort of colors there were in the trees.  Choosing when to go is tricky because the timing of the color in the mountains isn’t the same as it is near us.  Things were very pretty as we headed across Steven’s Pass.  One the run down to Leavenworth, the road is tucked up against the banks of the Wenatchee River.  There are a few places on the otherwise narrow road where you can pull off.  The colors were pretty intense in parts providing a focus for the eye of the viewer of the photos.

Downtown Leavenworth

Our trip took us onward to Leavenworth.  I wasn’t sure how busy the town would be given the time of year but there were plenty of people around.  The warmer environment downtown meant that some of the trees were still showing their color.  While people were everywhere, it wasn’t so crowded which meant getting some openness in the foregrounds was possible.  Preparations were underway for the Christmas lighting so I suspect it will soon be a lot busier.

Alongside the river at one end of the town was a rather nice looking hotel.  It had a hot tub in the garden in which a couple of people were hanging out.  Given how chilly it was, they looked rather incongruous but I imagine the water temperatures meant they were very comfortable.  It looked like a nice place to stay and, if we ever decide to overnight in Leavenworth, we might consider it.

Wenatchee River Valley in Fall

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.

 

Lake Wenatchee in the Snow

Sometimes trips that are set up with something specific in mind end up delivering something totally different.  We knew it was a little late but planned a trip up into the Cascades with the aim of checking out the fall colors.  We went up towards Stevens Pass but rapidly realized that, while there was some color in the trees, the more important issue was the amount of snow on the ground.  The temperatures up in the pass were well below freezing and the ice across the highway was something that focused the mind.

We were heading for Lake Wenatchee State Park and the park was certainly a lot more snowy than we expected.  It has a north and a south entrance and, having not been there before, we headed to the north entrance first.  It turned out that this was mainly the campground and heading around the roadway which was pretty snowy got us nowhere interesting.  A reversal of course and we tried the south entrance which was far more productive.  It took us down to the edge of the lake and a wonderful vista.  The combination of blue skies, a lake, snow and some tree colors was beautiful.  While the air temperature was low, there was no wind.  Consequently, it was quite comfortable.  Add in the lack of other people and you felt like you had discovered something special.

Our original plan had been to walk along the trails in this part of the park.  However, the depth of the snow was not something we had brought boots for so that was not going to happen.  Instead we stayed in the area near the parking lot and enjoyed the views across the water before retreating to the car with its plentiful heat!

Washington Park Arboretum

Wherever we live, we tend to end up at the arboretum and Seattle is no exception.  The Washington Park Arboretum is near the university (and I think the university has something to do with managing it) and close to Lake Washington.  We paid it a visit at the beginning of Fall with some hope of seeing a bit of color in the trees.  The layout of the arboretum is rather long and thin so, while you have a choice of paths, you tend to make an out and back trip as you walk around.

We chose a good day to be there with the sun out and the colors shown at their best but we were either a little early for the full fall colors or the types of trees there were not the sort to turn too dramatically.  This wasn’t a hindrance for us, though.  Walking through the trees was really great and surprisingly peaceful given how many people were there.  When we turned back, we took a larger path and that had a lot more people on it so maybe our choice of outbound trail was a good one for avoiding the crowds.

One end of the arboretum comes up to the lake.  It is rather close to the SR520 bridge across the lake so not normally the most peaceful of spots.  On this weekend, they were carrying out part of the rebuilding program on the bridge so it was closed one way and things were a bit quieter.  Any other day, though, and I suspect that the noise would be rather obvious.

How to Get Your Family to Stand in the Middle of the Road

We visited Bothell to look at the trees as I mentioned in this previous post.  We weren’t the only ones though.  As we came around the corner, a row of the trees was very intense in their red colors and plenty of other people had come out to check this too.  Families were all over the place taking pictures.  The best place seemed to be in the middle of the road.  Consequently, groups of people were standing there taking their shots and, hopefully, avoiding getting run down!

Fall Foliage in Bothell

The area around where I work has a lot of trees and they have turned out to be the sort of trees that get very colorful in the fall.  It is really nice to be able to look out of my window and see such vibrant colors when the sun pops out (which it does do in the Pacific Northwest sometimes).  I had driven down the road in the opposite direction to normal one evening and saw even more color so, when the sun was out one weekend evening, we diverted to the area so I could get some shots.

The richness of the colors is sometimes hard to represent with photos.  They don’t always have the impact that being there had but hopefully some of these shots will give you an idea of how pretty the street was.

The Highest Waterfalls and the Valleys of the Wet Side

The Big Island has dramatically different characteristics as you move across it.  As we took our trip on the helicopter to see the volcanic activity, we continued up the east side of the island which is considerably wetter than the west.  There are dramatic valleys and high cliffs.  The terrain looks impressive from the air but I imagine it looks even more amazing when you are on the ground.  Our pilot described hiking around some of these valleys.  Crossing one ridge is apparently a six hour hike and that is if you are not loaded down with too much gear!

We flew in to some of the valleys to have a look around.  The ground towered above us on most sides and you really felt in awe of the geology around you.   Everything is so large, images don’t even start to represent what we saw.  We also came in to the highest falls on the island.  The largest of these drop over 3,000’ down the sides of the mountains.  We flew in to a corner where these falls were raining down.  The shots are not special but I include them to try and give an impression of what was there.  The scale is impossible to judge and I also had plenty of reflections from the cockpit glazing but here they are anyway.

We buzzed around a number of these valleys always surrounded by lush, steep slopes.  This is not an area for the faint of heart.  We then headed back towards the west up another valley climbing towards the ridge ahead of us.  As we popped over this ridge the green foliage was almost instantly replaced by the dry, brown landscape we had originally come from.  The transition was instant and rather surprising as, while climbing up, you had no idea what was ahead.  Then it was a straight run back to our base.

To See This You Can Hike a Long Way or…

Big Island is not short of waterfalls.  The most well-known ones attract tourists like us who will drive to see them.  However, so much of the island is not close to the roads and there are rivers and falls all through this area.  Our pilot was a keen hiker and he showed us his favorite falls.  Apparently this trip will be a full day hike to get you in and out again.  I assume this includes some time to hang out and enjoy the falls once you get there.

If you are slightly less energetic, flying over the falls in a helicopter is a lot quicker to do and certainly doesn’t tire you out as much.  The location certainly looked cool though and, from above, you get less of an immersive feeling.  Judging by the river we saw on our way to the falls, there are plenty of cool sights to see on the way as well.  You do need to be well prepared though.  Forget cell phone coverage.  You are on your own out there!

Yountville in Fall

C59F7521.jpgIt seems like a long time ago that we were in the transition from summer to winter. Fall in California is a little later than in some other places but, even so, it was still a while ago. We spent a day up in the wine country back then and the colors in the trees and the vines were very nice. I think we had missed the peak of the color for the vines but, as I was walking around Yountville, the sun was bringing out some great color in the trees.

C59F7541.jpgDriving in to town we had passed a great variety of colors so I decided to walk back down through the town to take a closer look. Everywhere I looked there was another tree with the leaves glowing in the light. It was great. Whether looking along the road or up through the foliage, you couldn’t help but stare at the vibrancy of everything. It is cool to get good sun when the colors in the trees are nice too. Sometimes in the past I have struggled with getting the best of fall colors when the light became flat while the trees were at their best. Not so this time!