Ferns, Olympic Peninsula. Olympic National Park, Washington. August 16, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Lush ferns grow along a trail through rain forest at Olympic National Park
On this day we initially planned to make a quick foray to North Cascades National Park, but I got a call saying that Olympic Peninsula web cams were showing relatively clear skies and that I should think about changing plans – so I did! Instead of heading north from the Seattle area, we headed west and took the ferry across Puget Sound, arriving to find clearing fog and some partial clouds, but quite a bit of sunlight. Taking the advice of someone who knows the Pacific Northwest better than I do, our plan was to first shoot down in the rain forest and then to head up to Hurricane Ridge near the end of the day.
We started at Sol Duc falls, a short one-mile hike from a parking area at the end of a side road. My mental image of these forests involves lush growth, cloudy conditions, and rain. The first was present, but both the clouds and the rain were missing. In some ways that could be a good thing, but shooting in the forest in the midday sun poses major problems. The main issue is so-called “pizza light,” with deep shadows and bright, sunlit highlights mixed together throughout the scene. When we got to the waterfall, that is precisely what we found. The fall is in a narrow gorge – and while the bottom of the gorge was in deep shade, beams of direct sunlight were striking the white water of the fall. While it might be possible to make a photograph of this subject in such conditions, it made a lot more sense to me to turn my attention to smaller scale subject that allowed me to better control the light – and this close up “intimate landscape” of a twisting group of ferns is one of the results.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.