July is probably not the most sought-after time to attempt Fine Art Landscape Photography in Washington State, but there were a couple of areas I wanted to try out that had potential for this time of year.
I started out at Mount St. Helens hoping the flowers would be in bloom. The summer of 2021 was pretty hot and although I got there on July 8th, they appeared to be pretty much gone. Without the flowers, there just isn’t much of a shot there.
So, I decided to head up to Mount Baker for a day to check out Picture Lake before heading out to the North Cascades Highway, which was to be my main focus. Well, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and, while pretty, it doesn’t make for a fine art photograph. I’m going back there at the end of September, so I get another couple of chances.
The first stop on the North Cascades Highway was Diablo Lake. It’s a nice scene and I tried hard to make it something special, but the mountain in the back just seems small in comparison to the mountains on the sides. I show it just to demonstrate an “almost” situation.
The next day I headed in to Winthrop to spend a few days shooting Liberty Bell Mountain and the Washington Pass area. As we arrive in Winthrop, I was greeted by a wildfire that was just kicking up. I couldn’t get back out to the Pass that evening as the road was partially blocked.
I did manage to get out there the next morning before sunrise, but the warning signs said the road to the pass would be closed at 10am indefinitely. So, I had one sunrise session and needed to make the most of it.
Clouds had not yet moved west to block the view of Liberty Bell mountain and I was able to get my first two keepable images of the trip. Yay! The first one is a reflection of the mountain in a small pond. As I got down to the edge of the pond, the mosquitoes attacked. Fortunately, I was prepared with a head net and bug spray so I won and they lost.
Before the sun would lose its effect of warm color on the mountain, I hurried to the trail for the Washington Pass overlook. I don’t know if the color was just the early sun light or if the sun coming through some smoke clouds gave it more color. Either way, it was pretty special.
I was forced to leave Winthrop two days early and the only place I could think of going to before finishing up in Hood River was Mount Rainier. It was early for the flowers that bloom around the Paradise area, so I decided on shooting the mountain from an open area east of Paradise.
The next morning before leaving, I headed up to the Sunrise Visitor Center area and found quite a few nice purple Lupines to put in the foreground of a photo. It was a pleasant surprise and maybe I got a little lucky, but I’ll take it.
My final stop was to photograph the Lavender Valley Farm with Mount Hood in the background. The Farm has a special program that, for a small fee, allows photographers to come in before sunrise to shoot the iconic scene. It’s been done by many, but I really wanted to shoot it. I was the only one there that morning and had a blast.
And with that, my 10 day photo expedition in the Pacific Northwest was over and it was time to get on the plane and head home. There were some disappointments, but my results at Liberty Bell and the Lavender Farm made it all worthwhile.
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