Creating Art from Washington Landscapes
The state of Washington is a photographer’s paradise due to the variety of beautiful nature landscapes to photograph. There are lush green rain forests, wonderful waterfalls, picturesque mountains – each offering the opportunity for a unique Pacific Northwest photograph you can proudly display in your home.
How many national parks are in Washington? There are three national parks and each has unique landscape photography opportunities: Mount Rainier which is the subject of many iconic State of Washington photographs; Olympic National Park best known for photographs of its temperate rain forests; and North Cascades National Park. If you like mountain art, you would love Mount Shuksan, Mount Adams, and Liberty Bell Mountain at North Cascades National Park.
Washington landscape photographs for sale often include pictures of the Pacific Northwest showcasing Picture Lake or the waterfalls at Panther Creek, Lower Lewis River, or the Palouse River. Other dramatic photographs are those of the huge waves coinciding with the high King Tides at Cape Disappointment.
The multi-colored, rolling hills of The Palouse in the Spring and the colorful orange and red Birch Trees in the Fall are very different scenes that look great as wall art for your home or office.
Visiting and Photographing Washington State
It’s a long way to Washington State from where I live in Florida, but every time I go I realize there is more there than I thought there was. Let me explain what I mean.
Mount St. Helens, while not a strikingly beautiful mountain since it erupted, can be a stunning sight if photographed at the height of the wildflower bloom and with fog in the valley. Mid to late June is the time to be there. I’ve been unsuccessful so far, but I’ll keep trying.
Just south of Seattle is Mouton Falls Regional Park. While the falls are nice, the real attraction photographically is the large, tall footbridge with its perfectly round arch-supporting it. Spring or Fall is a great time to be there.
Mount Rainier National Park is just amazing. I have an entirely separate gallery dedicated to the park. Check it out here.
West of Seattle is Olympic National Park. Like Mount Rainier, you could spend quite a bit of time exploring it and enjoying the activities. Likewise, I have a separate gallery dedicated to the park.
For a couple of days each in November, December, and January at the peak of the King Tides, Cape Disappointment is the place to be. I had seen the photos, but being there when it happens is a special experience. Watch those tide tables and see if you can build them into your trip to Washington.
The San Juan Islands are a great place to see migrating Orca Whales. You can see them clearly from several shore locations, but if you take any one of several boat tours you can get out among them. It’s a pretty special experience.
April is the time to be in Skagit Valley for the Tulip Festival. There is row upon row of colorful tulips in the fields and some wonderful displays at the Tulip Farms. It's also a time when the cherry trees are in bloom in places like the Washington Park Arboretum.
North from Seattle at the Mount Baker Ski Area is the beautiful view of Mount Shuksan behind Reflection Lake. Late September during fall color is the optimum time to be there. There is also the view from Artist Point that is equally impressive.
It's only open in the Summer and Fall, but the North Cascades Highway is lined with impressive mountains. The early morning view of Diablo Lake is captivating. I was able to capture an incredible sunrise view of Liberty Bell Mountain from Washington Pass and will cherish that memory for a long time.
The rolling hills of the Palouse in June from Steptoe Butte is worth the side trip for the contrasts of the lush greens and golds in the fields. Nearby Palouse Falls with the view down the winding canyon is unlike any other waterfall I have ever seen. The setting sun lights up both the falls and the sky.
Late October is the time to be in Leavenworth, Washington to capture the bright red and yellow fall colors along the Wenatchee River. The maple trees are a sight to behold with their red and orange underbrush.
Mount Adams can be photographed from Takhlakh Lake, where there is a great campground where you would never expect one. Not too far from there is Lower Lewis River Falls, where you need to be prepared to wade in the river to get the best photographs.
Just north of the Columbia River is Columbia Hills State Park where the yellow Balsamroot and purple Lupines are at the peak bloom during the third week of April. Not far from there is Panther Creek Falls, another one of my favorite waterfalls to photograph.
There are other locations, but I’m sure you get the idea. Washington State is loaded with places to visit and photograph. Coupled with Oregon next door, it’s a landscape photographer’s paradise. Just another day in the Pacific Northwest.
Fun Facts About Washington
Washington was admitted to the union in November 1889, becoming the 42nd state to join. It is the only state named after a U.S. President. And for those who like dancing get out your prairie skirts, petticoats, and clogging shoes – the state dance is the Square Dance.
Are you a name-dropper? Well, Washington has lots of names you can drop ….it is the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix and Bing Crosby. Bill Gates was born in Seattle; founded Microsoft in 1975 and its corporate headquarters is in Redmond. Jeff Bezos moved to Seattle in 1994 to open a virtual bookstore and Amazon sold its first book in July 1995. Starbucks opened its first store in 1971 near the historic Pike Place Market in Seattle and its headquarters is still in Seattle.
Healthcare tip: An apple a day may keep the doctor away which is good news for the state of Washington as they produce more apples than any other state in the union.
Do you enjoy mountain climbing? Check out Mount Rainier as Rainier is a prime destination for climbers with thousands of climbers ascending its 14,410-foot summit annually. Mount Rainier is a dormant glacier-covered volcano. It was formed by successive lava flows but the good news is that it last erupted about 150 years ago.
I cannot say the same for Mount St. Helens which erupted violently in 1980. It was one of the greatest volcanic explosions ever recorded in North America. The air blast carried ash and stone outward and covered 15 miles. There have been periods of smaller eruptions and seismic activity since then but nothing of the magnitude of 1980.
Rain Rain Go Away and Come Again another Day…. That saying does not seem to work in Washington and the Pacific Northwest. The combination of rain, fog, and mist creates an environment perfect for rain forests such as the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula which gets an average of 140 inches (over 11 feet) of rain each year. The Hoh Rain Forest has been designated a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and is a part of the Olympic National Park.
And speaking of rain and fog, let’s not forget Cape Disappointment – one of the foggiest places in North America. Cape Disappointment sees nearly three and a half months of thick fog each year. In 1788, British fur trader John Meares named the area Cape Disappointment after his inability to locate the river’s mouth.
Washington has more to offer than just fog, glaciers, and volcanos. There are over 240 wineries in Washington Wine County with many picturesque views that you can enjoy while sipping wine at a local winery. Washington has the ideal climate for growing lavender and there are multiple lavender festivals during the summer where you can buy handmade gifts walking through the purple fields. And let’s not forget Hells Canyon, which plunges more than 7,900 feet at its highest point and is the deepest River Gorge in North America (ah yes….. deeper than the Grand Canyon.)
Other City Fun Facts: Tacoma is home to the Museum of Glass—a beautiful museum on the revitalized waterfront. Exhibits include contemporary glass art from the area and around the world. You can watch the artists in action as they create pieces of glass art.
The very first revolving restaurant in the continental United States is the “Top of the Needle” at the top of Seattle’s Space Needle. It was built for the 1962 World’s Fair.
Spokane is home of the Lilac Bloomsday Run which began in 1977 with over a thousand runners. Today it is one of the largest races in the country with runners from various states and Canada.
As you can see, Washington is not only a great destination for the photographer but also for the traveler who wants a variety of experiences.