April 18, 2011 – Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

2011 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

2011 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Monday, April 18, 2011


Hey everyone! It’s tulip time here in the northwest, so in a rare break from my usual behavior, I’m actually going to post a picture here to the blog that was actually taken in the last 24 hours. Crazy, right? Totally.

So, as you’ve probably guessed by the title of the post, this was taken at the 2011 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I can’t tell you exactly where I was at the time, because I was just walking around some random field of tulips that was off the side of the road. But it’s tough to go wrong once you get up there – just find some flowers and go look at them.

Sadly, this was about the only good picture I got this year. I’m not sure why, but I have a few theories. First, I just wasn’t really in that much of a picture-taking mood this year. So, I snapped a few, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Then of course there was the problem of this freaking annoying cloud that was just hovering right there between me and the sun for most of the time I was there. It wasn’t blowing by like most clouds should, it kept billowing around and reforming right where it was the most inconvenient. So about two thirds of the time I was there the light stunk. Probably the biggest problem was that I didn’t really think through ahead of time what kinds of shots I would want to try to get. I did that last year, and correspondingly I got a lot of shots I was happy with. This year, I of course fell back on some of the same ideas I used last year, but since I already got them last year, I didn’t really try at all this year, and thus the ones I did get were junk. So, umm, whoops.

I still totally recommend that you go check it out yourself – especially if you’re a photographer. As I’ve mentioned in the past, there are TONS of great themes you can play around with. But, it’s definitely worth the time to do some planning. I realize that may be tough if you’ve never been there before and don’t know how things are laid out, but it’s still worth doing. Just sort of make a mental checklist of things you want to play around with, different ways of putting all the elements together. Some of the primary themes are of course the expansive fields of color, all made up by mostly-repeating (but all subtly different) patterns and flower-shapes, the orderly rows of flower beds, the contrasts between plots of different types of tulips, and of course the external elements (like barns, mountains, trees, and clouds). But beyond that, there’s lots of things you can do, lots of different lines and colors and elements to work with. It’s can be a great time.

Unless you’re lazy, like I was this year. Then it’s just meh. But, do go check it out. And plan on traffic being a bit annoying. And plan on paying 5 bucks to park each time you stop. Plan on hitting a few different fields, to get different combinations of colors. And, definitely plan on seeing plenty of people, and having to be creative to keep them out of your pictures. If you go into the experience planning for those things, you’ll have a much better time when you’re there. (Oh, and head north to Highway 20 on the way out, otherwise you’ll be hating your life.)

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens. 1/2000s, f/5.6, ISO 200. Focal length: 194mm.

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