July 31, 2009 – Mt. Shuksan and Picture Lake

Mt. Shuksan and Picture Lake

Mt. Shuksan and Picture Lake

Friday, July 31, 2009


Once again, I’ve got to send out a big welcome to all of today’s new subscribers. We’re up to 224 now, so welcome, welcome, welcome!

When we passed 100, I told number 100 that she could pick out today’s picture, so this is the one she chose. It’s pretty similar to another picture from a month or so ago, but it’s still worth talking about.

This is Mt. Shuksan and (the very aptly named) Picture Lake. It’s in the Heather Meadows Recreation Area, just outside of North Cascades National Park in Washington State. It’s somewhat interesting to note that I’m standing about a quarter of a mile from what serves as the parking lot for the Mt. Baker ski area in the winter. This place gets A LOT of snow in the winter. In fact, Mt. Baker holds the world record for snowfall in one season, with 1,140 inches (29 meters, 95 feet) of snow in the 1998-99 season. As you can imagine, that amount of snow takes quite awhile to melt each year, so it’s well into the summer (sometimes into late August) until this area is snow-free.

It’s pretty simple to get a fantastic picture from this spot. Just about any time of day is great, but I’ve found that the ideal time is around 4 or 5 pm. The sun at that point is shining directly on the mountain, and the daytime breezes are usually starting to settle, so you start to get a really nice mirror-like reflection. (Not as much so in this picture as in several others I have, but hey, this was the one that was picked. What am I going to do, pick my own picture or something? Pshaw.)

Quickly worth noting:  the other picture that I mentioned I’ve already posted was taken about 4 or 5 years later (almost to the day).  I figured it would be worth heading back up there since I had much better equipment than I had the first time around, and the weather conditions were working out to be almost identical.  Okay, now that that’s been said…

One of the themes I’ve touched on several times in the past was that you don’t need a big fancy camera to get some fantastic pictures. Don’t get me wrong, having a big fancy camera is awesome, and no, you can’t have mine. There are definitely pictures you can get with that type of camera that you can’t get otherwise. But just because you don’t have one doesn’t mean you can’t still get fantastic pictures. This was taken back in 2002. At that time, I usually carried two cameras with me: my old 35mm fully-manual SLR, and my **2 megapixel** pocket point-and-shoot. The idea was, since it was so much easier to take pictures with the point and shoot, and since I didn’t have the limitation of only a set number of pictures on a roll, I’d take most of my pictures with that one. Then, if there was a picture that I thought I’d potentially want to enlarge later, I’d bust out the 35mm.

This picture was actually the first big step I took toward fully adopting digital, and tossing the 35mm in a box in the basement. I took this scene with both cameras, and found that I ACTUALLY LIKED THE DIGITAL ONE BETTER. As in, the picture from the stupid little pocket sized camera with only 2 megapixels and the little tiny lens gave me a result that I felt was at least as good as that from the SLR. I enlarged both of them up to 12×18, and they both looked fantastic. This went against everything I had thought I “knew” about digital up to that point. It was a really earth-shattering moment for me. Since then, of course, I’ve gone through a whole smattering of cameras: a 3.2 megapixel (Canon), a 5 megapixel (Canon), an 8 megapixel (Fuji), a 7 megapixel (Canon), another 8 megapixel (SLR – Canon), and.. I’m losing interest in the list. Whatever. There were a lot of them. That’s the point. But after taking this picture and seeing the results, I only ever busted out the 35mm SLR a couple more times, but even then I knew that it was over between us.

So, don’t use your lack of expensive equipment as an excuse. Just take pictures. The concepts are all the same no matter what you’re using. The most important things are the composition and the exposure, and even those can be tweaked easily after the fact if you’re shooting digital. There, how’s that for inspirational? :) Don’t get used to it, I’ll be grumpy again next week.

Have a great weekend! And tell your friends!! (Also, for the new folks: You can also follow the picture of the day at http://davefry.net/potd – the quality of the images themselves is much higher over there, since they don’t have to go through Facebook’s shrink-it-down-for-web-viewing cycle.)

Map: http://bit.ly/425qlY

Notes: Canon PowerShot S200 (Point and Shoot). Details unavailable.

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One Comment

  1. avatar
    Marie June 3, 2010

    your work is so inspiring, love it

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