Tag Archives: water

Snoqualmie Falls Is A Bit More Active Now

The recent months in the Pacific Northwest have been very wet.  It has felt like it was always raining and not just gentle rain but heavy rain on a regular basis.  This means that there is plenty of water in the mountains and the rivers coming out of the Cascades are heavy with flow.  I figured a trip up to Snoqualmie Falls was in order.  A few months back I had been up there when the flow over the falls was very low.

With the two power stations built in to the falls, the demands that they put on the water often mean that there is a lot less to go over the falls themselves.  Once the water levels get high, though, there is more than enough for everyone!  The falls were really raging.  The spray blowing up from the river was quite intense and, depending on which way the wind was blowing, you could either be quite dry or getting a deluge.

Since I made the visit, the weather hasn’t got any better.  I imagine that the falls have continued to be in full flow ever since.  Downstream, the river valleys have been in flood with the river levels all high.  Hopefully no one is suffering too much – those areas are prone to flooding anyway and they tend to be ready for it.

Victoria Watersports

Victoria residents like to make use of the water for their activities.  While we were there – and despite the weather being far from friendly – there were plenty of people out on the water.  Their choice of activities varied.  We had some stand up paddle boarders, there were kayakers, canoes and what looked like dragon boat teams but maybe that isn’t the right term for this type of boat.  Wherever I was wandering, there was always someone out on the water.  They managed to avoid the ferries and floatplanes without too much trouble!

Surfers At Waikiki Beach

The title is not intended to catch you out, but it probably will.  These photos are in Washington rather than Hawaii.  Cape Disappointment has a small beach tucked under the cliffs and it goes by the name of Waikiki.  At the tail end of my trip there, I saw that a group of surfers had gone in to the water and were making the best of the waves which, since they were a lot smaller than what I would have hoped for, we probably ideal for them.

Not being a surfer, I am not a good judge of what the right techniques are when surfing but, even so, you can usually quickly work out who has got a better feel for the waves and who hasn’t.  Picking the right one to go for and getting up to speed to make it on to the wave seems to be a bigger deal than staying up for some of the people.  As I say, I’m not a surfer so this is all uninformed commentary.

Two things are of interest when photographing surfers.  Having them coming in your direction so you can see their face while they are carving across the wave or watching them wipe out in style.  The latter is probably not what they want me to be focused on but you take what you can get when shooting this stuff!

Abstract Dam Views

There were many odd shapes on the face of the Grand Coulee Dam.  With the water running down in parts and some of the structure of the dam breaking up the smooth face, it was possible to see some unusual patterns in the surface.  There were many power lines strung across the water in front of the dam so these could distract from the shapes so I tried moving around to be between each of the lines.  With the texture of the face of the dam it was possible to look closely at elements and have no obvious clue what they were.

Dreamlifter Reflections

The idea for this was spotted by my friend, Paul, during a visit of his but we missed it at the time.  It was early in the morning and the water was calm as a millpond.  However, the jet was beyond the water before he spotted it.  I have missed the chance since or there was not water.  However, while the conditions weren’t ideal, when I saw the Dreamlifter taxiing back to the ramp, I realized the opportunity was going to be there this time.

The water wasn’t quite still and I had the long lens on the camera but a phone is a good second best these days.  The jet taxied in with Mt Rainier in the background before reaching the north end of the field and crossing over.  Then it was time to be ready.  The phone has the added advantage of being able to shoot through the fence with no interference.

Pacific Coast Trail in Ucluelet

A while back I posted about the Amphitrite Lighthouse in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island.  We saw it while walking on the Pacific Coast Trail.  At the time of that post, I said I would post more from the rest of the trail.  I guess I have finally got around to doing so.  The beginning of the trail took us past the lighthouse but it was a bit backlit.  As we walked further around the coastline, the light came to be behind us more and the view of the various inlets and islands got to be very nice.

It was such a tranquil spot.  I suspect November is not the busiest time of year and the trails might be a lot more crowded in peak season but the sun was out and it was really lovely to be there.  The rocky coastline looks like it is something that you need to know your way around carefully if you are in a boat.  The presence of a lighthouse tells you that plenty have come to grief in the past.  On a day like the one we had, though, it couldn’t have seemed more appealing.

Drainage Patterns in the Sand

Walking along the beach at Tofino, you see some interesting patterns in the sand.  He movement of water across the sand causes various ridges in the surface.  There is also water draining down the beach from the land behind the beach.  This water gathers behind the ridges but ultimately needs to drain further.  When it finds a weak spot, it cuts through the ridge.  Once it does so, the water all flows through this breach and it starts to take some sand with it.  It expands the cut and then deposits the sand further down as it slows down again.  This can result in some cool formations in the sand.

Swirling Wakes of Silt

San Francisco Bay has some strong tidal flows and crossing the bay is the San Mateo Bridge.  It has to resist these regular flows which it does without any problem.  There is a lot of silt in the bay and, as the tide is changing, this silt can get churned up, particularly by the turbulence around the piles for the bridge.  As we flew down the final approach, I was able to get some shots of the aby that included the bridge and showed clearly the turbulence behind each bridge pile courtesy of the silt.  This is something that an aerial view will give you that you would no notice as you drove over the bridge.

Salt Beds

The south end of San Francisco Bay has a number of areas that are encircled with walls that allow the water to be cut off.  These are used to dry out salt beds for harvesting.  The sun evaporates the water and the salt is left when all the water is gone.  After harvesting, the tide can be allowed to flood the beds again and the process repeated.  One cool thing about these beds is that, presumably as a result of algae, they can turn some interesting colors as the water evaporates.  I was flying in to SFO for work and we turned right over the beds on to the approach.  With the sun out, the colors looked excellent.

Does Cold Water Help Tired Muscles?

Two of the later obstacles in the Spartan Race involved water.  The first was crossing a small river.  It wasn’t too deep but the cold water on tired leg muscles was not nice.  The banks were also getting very muddy and slippery given the number of contestants that had been before.  Then there was a second water crossing.  This was across and back the river with bank climbs on both sides.  The water was also a lot deeper and the bottom of the river was uneven.  Here people really struggled and the tiredness was really showing.