Tag Archives: nature

Light At the End of the Tunnel

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One of the old train tunnels along the trek

Earlier this week, I took a hiking trip to the Iron Goat Trail — a journey into nature that taught me more than I usually learn exploring my new home.

The Pacific Northwest is a lush area full of many different types of landscape. You’ve got the beaches, sound, rivers, towering mountains, rainforests, and even the (not so lush) desert. Iron Goat Trail sits 60 miles northeast of Seattle along Stevens Pass Highway, an already breathtaking ride.

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The result of using my on-camera flash in dim forest lighting

After a short walk on the start of the trail, a snowshed appeared — a towering and crumbling cement wall right along the walkway. These snowsheds protected the Great Northern Railway… at least for the most part. According to the trail’s website,

In 1910, snowslides delayed two trains at the town of Wellington. A vast section of snow on Windy Mountain broke loose and crashed down, sweeping both trains off the tracks into Tye Creek below. Rescue efforts were quickly organized, but nearly one hundred lives were lost.

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Light At the End of the Tunnel

Old tunnels stretch along the trail, showing the engineering against the elements. Wooden barriers were put in place under concrete, to protect trains from the winter precipitation. All of this old architecture and beautiful mossy landscape made for amazing photos, but I had to break one of my main rules to photograph it well…

Using a Flash… For the First Time

I’ve been photographing pretty much non-stop for years. I’ve photographed landscapes, people, long exposures, macro… just about everything. One rule I abide by is never using the flash built in on my Canon Rebel xti. I’ve found that 99 percent of the time, it flattens images and leaves out the real, raw color and shadows that I love. But I found myself changing my ways!

In the heavily wooded areas with looming concrete and trees, photographing the low-lying details while not blowing out the highlights in the trees was incredibly difficult. But something clicked, and I gave in. Why not give it a try? And sure enough, with a little finesse, I was able to shed a little light on the foreground details, while still being able to capture those night natural highlights above. Lesson learned. Thanks, Iron Goat Trail!

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One of the snowshed walls left in the area. Used to keep massive piles of snow off the tracks.


Badlands National Park

Vegetation from another planet.

I saw a lot of this country on my drive from Massachusetts to Washington, but overall, I’d have to say that the Badlands were the most significant. They brought me to tears.

Badlands National Park was the first nature-related stop we made on our drive across the country (Check out the map at the end of the post.) After the urban decay in Detroit, metropolis of Chicago and Toronto, and hanging out with friends in Milwaukee, we were ready to leave some things behind and do some introspection. States like the ones we had yet to cover — South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana — were just the thing we needed.

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When you tell people you’re going on a drive across the country, one of the first things they tell you is that you’re going to get bored with the scenery around the Great Plains. “There’s a who bunch of nothing,” they say. Well, the nothing was beautiful.

South Dakota was full of green rolling hills dotted with cows and entertaining billboards. We took the main interstate the whole way through, something we didn’t do in any other state. That day, we crossed most of the state under grey skies with looming dark clouds that we were trying to stay well ahead of. As we got closer and closer to the Badlands, the edge of the clouds became clear, and as soon as we reached the park, the sun had set low enough to shine what looked to be all the way down the road we had traveled.

The golden light washed the rocks over as we meandered through the park, seeing goats, deer, and other animals. Tons of photographers were out that evening, including myself. I think we hit the jackpot.

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Boston Common – Surreal Spring

Visited the Boston Common yesterday and was completely blown away by the beautiful blooming trees, tulips, and multiple weddings going on in the park. It was teeming with life and almost surreal.

In editing these, I was really going for something different. My aesthetic is a constantly changing thing, and inspiration can come from anywhere — even a new pair of sunglasses. That’s right, my sunglasses. When I put them on, the bright green leaves against the deep blue sky just popped. When editing, I wanted to mimic this look, and the result made me think I also got some inspiration from fellow WordPress-ing photog Infraredrobert. His work at Digital Infrared is pretty great, and if you like my work here, you’ll certainly get a kick out of his gallery.

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