Mount Shuksan Sunset-click to enlarge-
This is one of my newly processed photos from Picture Lake in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest – featuring the iconic Mount Shuksan. In October 2011 I again photographed this location and now that I have my website gallery organized I have finished off the processing of images from that trip. This photo (and the horizontal version) has a bit of a different look to it than the others I processed from the same evening.
More photos of Mount Shuksan and the surrounding area can be found in my Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Gallery.
I always find it difficult to narrow down a years worth of photographs into one list of the “best”. It is a good exercise, however, to really sit down and go through your work and determine what images best fit your current vision for your photography. I did this back in 2010 and 2011 as a part of Jim Goldstein’s project and I am please to enter my images again for this years version.
All of these photographs are available as Fine Art Prints.
So in no particular order these are the “top” (probably better termed as favourite) photos I have made in 2012.
Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park Spring Panorama
(Coldstream, British Columbia)
Arctic Lupines & Mount Shuksan-click to enlarge-
This is an older image from 2010 that I recently reprocessed. I have always liked this photo of Arctic Lupines (Lupinus arcticus) flowering along Kulshan Ridge with Mount Shuksan in the background. The older version had Lupines that were just not that clear. There was a good breeze coming through there that evening and getting a still shot of the flowers was not easy. In fact, I had thought I had failed that mission, and published one on my blog and website that didn’t have the clearest Lupines. This is a different exposure, though a slightly different composition. It occasionally pays to keep some of my old files around!
This evening was my first outing with my first Graduated Neutral Density filter. I had never used one, but read a lot about them and a bit on how to use it. My photos from this evening were a big eye opener as to what was possible, and this beautiful location was certainly a big help. I also learned what they can do to trees that are on the horizon line but hopefully that is not too distracting in this photo.
The Artist Point area on Kulshan Ridge gets a ton of foot traffic as the parking lot is nearby. As a consequence, a lot of the vegetation gets trampled and destroyed. With the amount of snow that falls here each winter, there is a very very short growing season for these plants, so growing back after a repeated tourist trampling is not easy. Unfortunately I could not get my old tripod into a good position to photograph these so I had to convert myself into a pretzel to get low enough to look through the viewfinder. My old camera had no live view which would have helped immensely. One foot on a rock, a hand on another rock, and one hand on the camera… I only hit the mosses and other plants once with one of my hands. So I was successful in not damaging nature to get my nature photograph, but I did manage to pull a muscle in my leg which didn’t feel right for a week. I think the results make that completely worth it!
Table Mountain-click to enlarge-
This is a photo I made in late September of Table Mountain in the Mount Baker Wilderness. This was along the Bagley Lakes Trail – and was one of the first short hikes I’d done in the area other than walking along the ridge near Artist Point. Being late September I was expecting that there would be few (if any) wildflowers and the Fall colours would be well on their way to starting in the various Vaccinium bushes etc. Everything was still green and the wildflowers were either just past, or still going strong (as was the case for the Lupines). I went hiking there 2 weeks later – and there STILL were hardly any leaves turning. I am curious to see what this year brings for Summer and Fall weather.
Mount Shuksan Alpenglow
It is always tough to narrow down a years worth of images into a list of the “best”. I did this last year and I think it is a valuable exercise. Jim Goldstein of JMG Galleries creates a list of everyone’s top 10 images each year. I made my first top 10 last year. This years list has fewer landscape and more wildlife photos. This is partly due to my not getting out to shoot as many landscapes as last year, and partly due to my backlog in image editing.
You can click on each of the following images to go to the blog post that may tell a bit more about the location and how I made the photograph.
In no particular order my “Best of 2011″…
Mount Shuksan and the Nooksack River-click to enlarge-
One of the downsides of having a lot of backlog in my photo editing is that I tend to forget what I have. I purposefully wait a while in order to process my images, just so that I am somewhat subjective in terms of images that deserve scrutiny and those that don’t. I often have initial expectations that were not met when I review the images too soon, and sometimes that clouds what is really there. At least for me. I do occasionally go back over images that did not leap out at me during a first pass – sometimes I find something I really like. Sometimes this is due to my perception of the image changing and sometimes I have learned some new post processing skills that open the photo to new potential.
This photo is another example of this phenomenon. I initially passed over it but this weekend viewed it again, and knew how I wanted to process it. I have many photos of Mount Shuksan, but this one is a bit different. This was not taken from Picture Lake, Artist Point or any of my usual places. This is along the North Fork of the Nooksack River (which later flows over Nooksack Falls) at the bottom of the hill near the Shuksan Campground.
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?
A shot from late in the summer. Sherman Peak sits on the side of Mt. Baker. This photo was taken from Artist Point on the same evening as this wider shot of Mt. Baker.