Mount Shuksan Alpenglow-click to enlarge-
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of doing some hiking and photography in the Heather Meadows area of the Mount Baker Wilderness with Alan Majchrowicz. We hiked to the top of Herman Saddle along the Chain Lakes Trail which had a fantastic view. Clearly I had been riding my office chair for too long because my lungs didn’t quite handle the hike as well as I had hoped. Most of my familiarity was with the Picture Lake and Artist Point areas so to see a few of the other sights was an eye opener. I know a few hikes I want to do next summer!
Back at our vehicles we were talking a bit about how the “good” light can come and go rather quickly. I know I’ve seen the light turn to something fantastic as I am in my car driving away from my recent shooting location. I have also seen it disappear as I am trying to reach a viewpoint. I have learned through some recent experiences that staying until the light is definitely gone is always a good idea. You never know what might develop after you leave! So it was not without a touch of irony that this conversation ended quickly as we noticed great light appearing on the mountains. A quick drive and a hurried jog up the boardwalk later and I made these images of Mount Shuksan.
Mount Shuksan Alpenglow-click to enlarge-
Photography for me is usually a very relaxing endeavor, which is part of my enjoyment of it I think, but sometimes when you know the light will go at any moment this can be accompanied by some adrenaline. Years ago when this would happen I would rush and make a lot of mistakes because of the urgency, which does not happen now. I still feel the excitement though! I have been at this location many times, but I have not seen good light on the mountain while it had this backdrop of a subtle purple/mauve cloud coloration. It was colorful enough to give a nice contrast with the snow and ice of the mountain, unlike a simple grey cloud background (which I have seen many times).
I am often a bit torn at this location between trying to get foreground detail or just creating a silhouette of the foreground trees. I think this silhouette version was quite successful but I also like the other version. Which do you prefer?
The Chilliwack River in Winter
If you request free work from other people, or you tend to do work for free yourself, this is for you.
It is not a rare occurrence for someone to contact me requesting an image for free. Often these are companies that expect me to give up my work for free for their commercial gain. I am sure this happens to other artists as well – I know graphic designers are also plagued by those seeking images for free. Occasionally I have turned some of these opportunities into situations where I was paid adequately for my work. Most often though when I request payment they suggest “we will give you credit” and “this will be great exposure” in lieu of monetary compensation. Or they claim they simply have “no budget for photography”. I try to respond to this nonsense as politely as possible though sometimes the return response is hostile. I even had someone request a free print this year (of the image in this post). Sorry, NO.
So I was quite pleased yesterday to see that Tony Wu had written a document to help us respond to these free requests: http://photoprofessionals.wordpress.com/. Many photographers have constant free demands for their work, and I am sure all are tired of it. I know I will be referring people to this article in the future, hopefully it will help educate.
(Ochotona princeps taylori
)-click to enlarge-
This is a photograph I made of an American Pika (Ochotona princeps taylori) yesterday on the Chain Lakes Trail in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. I walked through the talus next to Bagley lake (4350 feet/1325 meters in elevation) and had not even thought about Pika until I heard the short squeaks of their warning calls. I could then see a few individuals scurrying from their rock perches to safety. This particular Pika came back out to sit on the rock, and I was able to slowly move closer to it to get this photograph. I took many, because you never know when wildlife is going to decide “okay, that is close enough!”. I was reminded of lectures on “Flight Initiation Distance” in University.
Pikas are not quite yet on the endangered species list, though they have come up for consideration recently. The talus slopes they inhabit must be at sufficient elevation to remain cool as the Pikas cannot tolerate warmer temperatures. Trouble is the talus operates a bit like an island, and if the environment becomes undesirable, the Pika can’t easily migrate to another. Climate change has been diminishing the available habitat and this may be one species lost early if the climate change continues. How quickly this may occur is some matter of debate.