Saturday, July 21, 2007

Joel Needs Your Suggestions

Seattle and Pacific Northwest readers, please advise! Having decided he's done photographing the desert for a while, Joel is planning an 8-day nature photography trip in the last week of August.

I, on the other hand, will be leading my glamourous life here at home, walking the dog, placating the cat, evading the skunk and trying to make my Pulitzer Prize winning shot in the photo-rich splendor that is varsity high school football, cross-country and field hockey camp. Woo, Fall Sports Preview Section! Woo!

Anyway, Joel is considering shooting the following:

1.) Mount Ranier
2.) Mount St. Helens
3.) Hoh Rain Forest
4.) Coast at Mora, WA
5.) North Cascades National Park
6.) Mount Garibaldi in BC

NW Pacific folks, which of the above do you think would result in the most dramatic landscape photography? What is a Must See? What would you skip? Should he also be including, say, the San Juan Islands in there? Take it away!


Cara said...

I would say that St. Helens would produce some great shots, especially if the weather co-operates and it's sunny. If it's sunny and clear then you might even get smoke-out-of-the-crater shots, which are awesome. Wear a surgical mask if you're up there for awhile. The dust and smoke are ree-don-culous. If it's cloudy and rainy, skip it. The top would be occluded with cloud cover anyway.

The Hoh Rain Forest is gorgeous, no matter what the weather is. It would provide a plethora of amazing photo shots, including lakes, trees, moss, waterfalls, the whole nine. Definitely a vote for the Hoh.

Rainier would provide some fantabulous shots, but a lot of people take photos of Rainier. If Joel is interested in selling the photos then they'd be more marketable back east, but around here Rainier photos are a dime a dozen. That said, if he doesn't care about marketability, Rainier is very photogenic, especially around sunset when it's illuminated in pinks and purples. Again, if the weather is really crappy, then the view of the mountain will be compromised. The weather has been really awful lately. It's rainy and 68 here today.

I know nothing about the coast at Mora or Mt Garibaldi, so I can't be helpful there. The North Cascades has a lot of great opportunities for wonderful shots, especially up around Darrington. I do have to add a plug for the islands, though, because they're really great and accessible regardless of weather. They're even pretty in the fog and you can see them in cloudy weather, unlike the mountains. :-)

So in order, I'd prioritize them: Hoh Rain Forest, San Juan Islands (especially Orcas and Lopez), Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, and North Cascades. Another local favorite is Whidbey Island, especially Deception Pass.

Good luck and happy photo shooting!

Michelle said...

Wow. That was a great comment! Hi Cara, apparently you live in the Seattle area and know Angie. My husband and I moved here in August of 2005 from NY. Nice to meet you! Anyway, I have been to the Hoh (AMAZING), Rainier (AMAZING), and St. Helens (NOT SO GOOD BECAUSE THE TOP WAS COVERED IN CLOUDS)...So I can't comment on the other places...we also went to Rialto beach on the coast and that was UNBELIEVABLE! I have pics of all the places we've been is Joel wants to see amateur shots :)

Anonymous said...


Given that now and next month are the dry months for the area, will the Hoh still be worth it?


Alissa said...

Hrm. I was going to vote against the Ho (ha) because for some reason I was totally unimpressed when I was there a few years back. But, I don't know. Maybe you should go with the votes from the people who actually live there. I don't know.

Joel- did you consider the Columbia River area of Oregon? Last year we took a trip driving down the Columbia River gorge from Portland all the way out to Mount Hood, and then back out to Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast. There were a TON of fantastic photo ops along that trip. Waterfalls nonstop, tons of great hiking, the river, a lot of mountains, Mt. Hood. Cannon Beach is really cool, too.

The San Juans are cool...obviously, I just went there two years in a row because we had such a good time, but that was more because of the kayaking and hiking and food. :)

My votes would probably be:
1) Columbia River gorge/Mt. Hood/Cannon Beach
2) Cascade Mtns - we took a 2-day drive around the Cascade loop and stopped at a lot of cool places to hike/waterfalls, etc.
3) San Juans

Cara said...

Alissa, you're too funny. Originally I was going to put in Ho (hee) but struck it. :-)

Joel--we've been having a ridiculously wet July. I would recommend going to see the forest if you're interested, because it'll basically be a damp sponge this time of year rather than a flooded basement. I do agree with Alissa's statement about the Columbia River area of Oregon. My in-laws went down there and loved it; there's a large variation between the drier areas in the east and the wetter areas closer to the beach. I would draw up a list and then look at the weather forecast as the trip draws closer. The weather might be your biggest predictor. If you're traveling by car, though, you'll want to book WA state ferry reservations ASAP if you're going to the San Juans.

Hi Michelle! My husband Scott and Angie knew each other from high school. Nice to meet you. I moved to Seattle from Jersey in 1999. :-)

Alissa said...

Cara - what's the deal with the ferry reservations? I remember you said that once before, but when we called to make reservations, they said they didn't do that, and it's first come, first served - just go get in line. That's what we did when we came up there a few weeks ago, and didn't have any problem getting onto the ferry. Do you know something different?

Cara said...

Argh. I've been having a brain fart on that. You should make car reservations if you're going to take the San Juan ferry leg all the way through to BC. Otherwise you don't need reservations. Sorry for the confusion. Here I am trying to be all helpful, and I'm just being asstacular.

On the Hoh--if you want to check conditions, you can contact them here: They even have a weather hotline.

Now, back to the paying job part of the day. Meh.

cindy w said...

You'd never know that I'd lived here for the past 6 years, because the only places I've been to are Mount Rainier and the San Juans. Both are gorgeous, but since I don't know the others, you should probably take the votes of the people who've actually been there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for your advice. I hope I can see everything I want to. It seems like a lot. I may wind up omitting some things in favor of others.


Carl said...

It would also be good to go check out the Channel Islands off Vancouver Island, in B.C. Lots of the same flora and fauna as found in the San Juans but the geology is unique and especially alluring in various places. And if he goes to Vancouver Island, he should definitely check out the Pacific/Strait of Juan de Fuca side. Very rugged and beautiful. Plus the Sooke Potholes are good for some shots.

The Cascades and Olympics are much more impressive during winter but the trees are always pretty special. There's some big ass trees here.

Head over to the east side of Washington for some terrain that contrasts amazingly from that of the west side of the mountains. Vast expanses of giant rolling hills. It's warm and dry but not desert-y.