Falls in Winter.
Denny Creek is an hour from Seattle and a favorite family hike. The trail is an easy walk with a beautiful little gorge providing a view. After making this image and being pleased with the winter scene a friend and I stared back toward the truck. I stopped by the gorge to peer over at the rushing river one hundred feet below. Standing next to a wooden rail fence my feet shot out from under me. I had failed to judge just how slippery the ice was. Next thing I knew my legs were dangling over the gorge. Reflexes had kicked in and without knowing I had hooked my arm on the lowest rail of the fence. Lesson learned even an easy hike can under certain conditions prove most challenging, a failure of observation. “Keep your head in the game” would be the operative words here.
Part of a Colorado beaver pond. The animals had a unique solution to limited terrain, terraced pools. Picture the farms of a Southeast Asian hillside and you’ll get the idea. This would be a landscape architect’s dream. Amazing.
A book I read well before I set foot in Arches National Park. I remember a passage on how Abbey escaped the summer heat with a trip into the La Sal Mountains. Celebrating he glissaded down a snow field with reckless abandon. Instantly I recalled the joy of sledding in my youth. Desert Solitaire is a fine book to inspire a visit to the American South West. I recommend this read it while you are in the park. I bought a copy in the visitor center to have something to do while escaping the heat and sun of the mid afternoon. I found that it was almost like having Abbey there in his Ranger “uniform” leading a naturalist’s tour. While photographing in the morning or evening I would wonder about some of my subjects. Abbey would invariable answer my questions as I sat in the shade of a juniper.
If it’s one thing I’ve learned is that the Landscape photographer has to move fast. Good light particularly storm light changes within moments. This is the first image that I was truly proud of. Taken during a workshop with Art Wolfe I had woken up late. Luckily the motel I was staying at in Port Angeles had roosters. I was supposed to be on the Coast already. Coffee deprived I threw the gear into the car and headed toward the sea stacks of Rialto Beach. Passing by Lake Crescent my rear view mirror blazed with color. Below the low clouds and between the hills shot these rays of light. To this day I haven’t seen anything that rivaled this display. As luck would have it the perfect location was at the west end of the lake. I pulled over and grabbed my camera and tripod. I had tossed the tripod in the car and the release lever was jammed, there was no way to budge it. Time was running out. The light was fading as the sun rose. Screwing the camera on the tripod would have taken less than a minute but there would be nothing left to capture. In the lecture the night before Art had mentioned, first get the shot then refine it. I held my breath, braced the camera on the tripod, and hand held a 200mm lens for a 15th of a second. This is an eternity with a long lens. That anything is sharp is a wonder to me. One frame was all there was time for before the light dulled.
Convinced I had missed the shot I soldiered through the day. Met Art on a trail to Sol Duc and asked him had he ever missed the shot. With a laugh he said “of course.” We had one roll of film. From that we could enter 2 slides for the competition held at the end of the weekend. I would cover much ground before the deadline of 4pm. Exploring the park for images that day was the true reward. At some point battered and muddy from a fall I thought this is really it this is what I want to do. When the image was projected large onto a movie screen, selected by the judges I felt honored and surprised to see that burst of color again. It was the first frame I had taken that day and the light was truly something special.