Posts Tagged: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

October 25, 2012 – Gold Creek Trail

Gold Creek Trail in Autumn

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I went for a hike last weekend around these parts. Some snow fell. It was lovely.

This was along the Gold Creek trail, which heads out from the Gold Creek Pond picnic area. The Gold Creek Pond picnic area is somewhat interesting because it as formerly a gravel pit – it’s where a lot of the raw material to build I-90 over Snoqualmie pass came from. But they turned it into a little natural area after they were done with it, so it’s a nice little spot. There’s some fantastic fall color up around there now, so today was a perfect chance to go check that out, and see some snow (which was fully expected) as well.

There’s a few reasons this image is mildly interesting. I’ll do my best to iterate them all.

First, this was a pretty long exposure. I couldn’t find my tripod (or more specifically, I couldn’t find the *mounting plate* for my tripod) so I ended up just bringing my gorilla pod with me. That works, except that then you’re limited to things close to the ground. So it wasn’t as useful as I had originally hoped. But, occasionally I could find stuff to put it on, to get some decent views. The real reason I’m mentioning the long exposure as a mildly interesting point is that it was actively snowing (pretty hard actually) at the time. So fast exposures would have lots of big fat fluffy flakes in them, and this image had a long of vertical snow trails visible. I did a little bit of post-processing on this one (mostly just brightness/contrast) which was enough to fade a lot of them into obscurity, but if you look at the full-size image, you can definitely still see them there. I’m not sure how I feel about those – on one hand they’re kind of distracting. But on the other, they do kind of set the mood, as it was indeed snowing.

Secondly, I just recently (after the somewhat-debacle that my Colorado trip turned out to be, what with the focus issues and such) upgraded my camera body! I had my eye on either a 7D or perhaps a full-frame sensor, but the former hasn’t been refreshed in a loooong time and the latter would be way too much of an investment for me right now – given that it would mean upgrading all of my lenses as well.) So I went with the T4i – and so far I’m pleased with it – the high ISO performance (even coming from a somewhat-recent T1i) is really striking! So this is the first photo I’m posting that was shot with the new body.

Third, I ended up getting a new lens as well. If you’ll remember, I’ve recently been expressing some frustration with my Tamron 17-50, particularly in regards to edge/corner softness. They had a used 17-40 L-series at the camera shop, so I jumped on it. I was 95% sure I was going to return it, but as I was doing some simple photo tests around my house with that and my 17-50, the issues with the 17-50 became painfully apparent. So, I brought the 17-40 with me today, and I’m quite happy with the results. At the same time, I packaged up my 17-50 and sent it in for warranty repair, to see if they’d find anything wrong with it. They did, it turns out, and I’m currently waiting to get it back. So, once that arrives, I’m super curious to see what the results of further testing are – will I be able to tell the difference between that and the 17-40 L? If so, I think I’m still inside the window where I can bring the 17-40 back – I’m not expecting the Tamron to be significantly (or even noticeably) *better*, but it would certainly be *cheaper* to keep the one I’ve got, and get the hundreds of dollars back that I spent on the L. We’ll see. But it’s of course a very frustrating time for me – thinking back on all of the images that are ruined (in many cases) or at the very least degraded due to the issues with that lens. Like, a large number of the pictures that I got in Colorado – many of which aren’t usable at all. SO. DAMN. FRUSTRATING. Oh well, now I know, and now I can move forward. So… is the Canon 17-40mm F/4.0 L a *better* lens than the Tamron 17-50 F/2.8? Unclear. Is it a nice lens? Absolutely. Would I recommend it as a good choice to somebody that doesn’t already have a solid lens in that range? Without question.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T4i, Canon 17/40mm F/4.0L lens. 1s, f/16.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 27mm.

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July 22, 2011 – Monte Cristo Peaks

Monte Cristo Peaks

Monte Cristo Peaks, seen from Spada Lake

Friday, July 22, 2011

Just a quick post today to round out your Friday (or start off your Monday, if that’s when you’re seeing it.) This view was from the shore of Spada Lake, which is just a bit north of Highway 2 in the Startup/Gold Bar area. I wasn’t sure which peaks those were at the time, but I have since looked at a map. I’m fairly sure they are big peaks right next to the former-town of Monte Cristo (yes, the one along the Mountain Loop.) That is to say, Foggy Peak, Monte Cristo Peak, Kyes Peak, and Columbia Peak. I was kind of surprised to see that on the map, as I guess I just hadn’t really thought that closely about where exactly I was at the time. So, there you go. Have a great weekend!

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Unknown lens (but probably the Quantaray 70-300.) 1/1000s, f/11.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 70mm.

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July 20, 2011 – Chair Peak from International Bowl

Chair Peak from International Bowl

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I know, I know, another winter picture. Hey, it’s what I had handy. This is a view from in-bounds at Alpental (a ski area near Seattle), looking into the backcounty. That’s chair peak, and I was standing in International Bowl when I took the shot. I know I’ve said this before, but this is, more often than not, the kind of weather we get at our ski resorts. Lots of great snow, just not a whole lot of blue sky. Sometimes you’re skiing in the fog, sometimes the fog lifts a bit, but it’s generally pretty grey.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/13.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 50mm.

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January 31, 2011 – Mt. Baker Ski Area

Mt. Baker Ski Area

Monday, January 31, 2011

Welcome back, everyone! Through an unusual turn in the weather this last weekend, we actually got some sunshine around these parts, at least in the northern half of western Washington. I mean, sure, it’s not unheard of for us to see the sun in the winter here in the Pacific Northwest, but to get a day of wall-to-wall blue skies, well that doesn’t happen too often, at least not west of the Cascade crest. So, I decided to take full advantage of it by heading up to Mt. Baker for the day. For those of you not familiar, the Mt. Baker ski area is notable for primarily two reasons. First, it holds the world record for snowfall in one season. That should give you the (correct) impression that they get a lot of storms rolling through, and most of the storms drop a LOT of precipitation. Second, the scenery up there – when you can see it – is UNBELIEVABLE. Seriously, there are few places on this earth that can match the quality of the views up there. It’s truly unreal. The second point there is what made it perfect for yesterday.

The skiing yesterday could probably best be described as “decent, but not great”. We had some fairly warm weather late last week, and a cold front that blew through early in the weekend. As a result, it was fairly icy. But it was great for pictures, which is really the main reason I wanted to head up there. I’ve only just begun going through the shots I got (I really only dipped my toes in just enough to find a picture to use for today), so I’m sure you’ll be seeing plenty of them over the coming weeks, months, and potentially years. So, get comfortable!

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/400s, f/10.0, ISO 200. Focal length: 24mm.

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January 19, 2011 – Tonga Ridge

Tonga Ridge Trail

Tonga Ridge Trail

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today’s picture comes from the Tonga Ridge trail, which is right smack in the middle of the Cascades, along Highway 2 a little ways to the west of Stevens Pass. It’s advertised as a nice, easy to get to ridge walk (the road gets you basically right up to the ridge, so you don’t have to hike up to it first), with supposedly incredible views for most of the trail. As you probably can guess by the way I worded that statement, I don’t feel like it lived up to the hype. I mean, sure, it was nice to get outside for the day, but the views were only “good”, definitely not “great”. Oh well, it happens sometimes. Anyway, I’m still going through the pictures from that day (I’m about 10-20% of the way through that day, just like every other day that I went hiking. One day, I hope to um, finish them all. Hahaha, yeah right), so this is just a shot of the trail meandering through the woods.

That’s not what I’m here to talk about today though. Today, I’m here to recommend to you all that you go check out this timelapse video of the northern lights over Tromso, Norway. I throw around terms like “breathtaking” and “awesome” a lot, but this video truly deserves such superlatives. Go check it out. Seriously. Not kidding. You’ll thank me later.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. 1/160s, f/7.1, ISO 200. Focal length: 17mm.

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