Cedar River Kayaks

Another Pacific North Wet Day

Another North Wet Moment. Today we wandered out to Ravensdale, WA where we took a quick walk through a Natural Reserve managed by King County. Liddy enjoyed the moment.
Another North Wet Moment.
Today we wandered out to Ravensdale, WA where we took a quick walk through a Natural Reserve managed by King County.
Liddy enjoyed the moment.
If you are thinking to go sunbathing in February, the Pacific North West may not be your ideal location. The weatherman has been threatening snow (got that today) and most days are just rainy and wet.

Liddy and I had reason to be out and about yesterday with a time window that was too long to hang about, but not long enough to plan a real project. So… a map reconnisance showed some Natural Reserves in King County, near Maple Valley.

Ravensdale Natural Reserve

The Ravensdale Natural Reserve was the first place that looked promising. Especially as it was less than 5 minutes down the road.
This reserve is not much more than a sliver wedged between Kent-Kangley Road, and the railroad tracks. There is a rifle range nearby (we know because of the noise) which got Liddy a bit spooked but she soldiered on.
We didn’t get the full length of the reserve as the trail was blocked by fallen trees. The plan was adjusted and we went looking for another reserve near the Cedar River called Big Bend Natural Area.

Cedar River

The GPS took us north and where Landsburg Rd crosses the Cedar River we saw a bunch of fools having a lot of fun working the rapids with their short kayaks. I took this as a great opportunity to swing into Cedar Grove Park and capture some action.

I declined the offer of a quick paddle – I just wasn’t dressed for it after all – but Liddy did use the opportunity to wade into a gentle part of the river above the rapids.

Just goes to show that even with our less than ideal weather, North Westerners know how to enjoy the moment. We hope you do too.

RC Boats on Waughop Lake

This past Saturday I had some time so Liddy and I went out to explore Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood. I had it on good authority that I might find some waterfowl by Waughop Lake. We had been here before, but didn’t have enough time for a decent exploration. We just found the outstanding dog park and lots of reasons to take a moment to return.

The park is undergoing major renovations, especially around the lake where they are replacing the walking. They have also cleared out a lot of under growth and larger cottonwood trees which may have an impact on the waterfowl. I also found, while researching this article, that the lake is [stocked with trout] and the bass population is self supporting. This would explain the young eagle fishing for lunch.

Click on an image to see them in a full screen slideshow.

The exciting find was Jerry Dunlap and his friend messing about with some RC Boats. They were making these little guys scream across the surface of the lake just like the full scale models. Lots of fun, and an opportunity for me to practice panning. As you can see, I have lots of room for improvement here. I will have to arrange to meet these guys again and take a moment to focus on their passion.

Tillamook Light

Tillamook Light


Another image from our recent trip to Seaside, Oregon. Tillamook Light sits atop the rock from which the light gets it’s name. The light has been abandoned, and considering the trouble it takes to get onto the rock, I very much doubt it will ever see another coat of paint.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is a quaint little tourist town that is worth some time. Lots of good restaurants and small shops, easy access to the beach. I think you will want to plan for a couple of days.

Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park seems to be sliding into the sea. There are numerous trails in the park but they featured signs warning of washouts. The road from the entrance to Indian Beach was closed because of a major washout, and the repairs that had been made were not holding.

We do live in the Pacific North Wet after all.

A map reference to Tillamook Rock at Google Maps.

One Jetty Two Views

Here we are, last month of another year.

Back in September I purchased two Lee neutral density filters. The 10 stop Big Stopper, and the 6 stop Little Stopper.

These filters do one thing and that is to reduce the amount of light entering the camera lens.
So why would you want to do this?

Reducing the amount of light forces a change to iso setting, or shutter speed. The less light, the longer the exposure time.
Moving objects start to blur in longer exposures. This makes moving water look creamy. Think waterfalls and cascades.

The two images shown here were taken moments apart.
The top one was shot a 15 second exposure at f/16, iso 100. I used the Big Stopper.
The lower one was a 1/4 second exposure at f/22, iso 100.

When I saw the two images side by side like this, the difference in visual focus jumped out at me.

The upper, 15 second exposure, lets my eye rest on the ocean for a moment before guiding my view into the Jetty.
Contrast that with the relatively short 1/4 second exposure of the lower image. My eye skips from breaker to breaker. The Jetty is almost totally obscured. It is definitely not a major element of the composition.

My take away is that you can use a long exposure to redirect the eye of the viewer away from a busy, noisy subject to a more preferred one.
What do you think?

By the way, you are looking at the South Jetty at the mouth of The Columbia River. today was relatively calm. Don’t think I would want to be on the observation platform during A real storm.

Autumn Road Trip [5]

Kangaroo Ridge

The sun was just hitting the peaks when we made Washington Pass. At 5500 feet, the highway is approaching the tree line.

From the lookout at the top of Washington Pass, you can look south towards Kangaroo Pass. Highway 20 sweeps down from here, eastward towards Winthrop. As your eye moves from the highway in the bottom right towards the peaks, you can see the Alpine Larch. They have turned golden getting ready for winter. This is a coniferous tree that sheds its needles during the winter.

I imagine the snow gets pretty deep up here in the winter. Not a fun place to be. Perhaps that’s why they don’t maintain the road, closing it during the coldest months.

From here, Liddy and I drove down to Winthrop and found a campground for the night. Haven’t been out camping for years. We could as I hadn’t thought to pack a few essentials. Note taken.

Autumn Road Trip [4]

Rainy Lake

Dropping back down towards the trailhead, we arrived at the paved – flat – trail leading in to Rainy Lake. This is a short (about a mile) easy walk from the trailhead parking lot.

I love the reflections in the lake and the lines coming off of the mountains bringing the eye into the center of the photo.

Just need a red canoe to make it pop!

It was almost 5:00 pm on the last day of September, so light was nice. Mind you, we are looking due south from here, I doubt the sun gets into this bowl very much.

This is an HDR. Because there was hardly a ripple on the lake, I think it worked well, allowing me to pull out the waterfall on the right while showing off the autumn colors around the bowl.

Autumn Road Trip [3]


My plan was to get up to Rainy Pass. We were a little late however and the trail is quite steep.
Liddy enjoyed running along this log while I rested and caught my breath.

Several hikers coming down were complaining about their knees and said that the other side of the trail (their way up) was much more gentle.

This was about 4:00pm, so Rainy Pass is waiting for another day.

By the way, Liddy and I are now taking agility classes. If I can keep up, I think she will do quite well. A fun sport.