Bull elk at Lake Quinault, Olympic National Park.

Olympic Magic

https://vimeo.com/108709290 A doe, followed by her fawn, marched straight up a trail I recently was hiking and stopped so close to me, all I had to do was lean slightly and reach out to touch her. Which I didn’t, of course. The night before, I encountered a herd of Roosevelt Elk crossing a road on which I was driving in near pitch-darkness. When I stopped to watch them pass, I was treated for the first time in my life to a symphony of otherwordly bugling. After a summer of reintroducing myself to Mount Rainier National Park, I returned to Olympic National Park for a couple fall days, and was reminded of how thoroughly different the vibe is out on the peninsula. Rainier is grand and bold, almost hyper-realistic, and challenging. Olympic is muted and more secluded, a place of mossy, lichen-kissed rainforests, sheltered ocean beaches with their almost-surreal sea stacks, salmon-enriched rivers and eminently accessible waterfalls, plus species of animals that exist only there. … [Read More...]

Snow Lake, in Mount Rainier National Park.

Hike: Bench & Snow Lakes

(NOTE: Clicking on an image opens full-sized version in a separate window). This down-and-back has a lot of what the average hiker might look for — enough up and down for aerobic challenges but not too strenuous for children and the creaky kneed, nice wildflowers and foliage, a couple of good payoff lake destinations, and breath-taking views along the return trek. The latter makes this a lot more like a loop hike, since there is more to explore on the way back to the trailhead. … [Read More...]

799px-Los_Angeles_Clippers_logo

Less than Sterling

Gifted with an opportunity to seize and shape a defining moment in their sport’s history, they pondered and met and schemed. They geared up and took aim. And on Sunday night in Oakland, the players of the Los Angeles Clippers shot a figurative air ball. Wading amid the cultural rip tide created by their owner, Donald Sterling, his most prized employees assembled on the court before their playoff game against the Golden State Warriors, and deposited their warmup jackets in a pile to reveal practice shirts turned inside out, hiding the team logo. But, when push came to shove, they reported dutifully for the opening tip, played and lost a game, and not even for a second did the NBA cash machine cease dispensing dollars. So, for an extremely critical news cycle, the toxic, racist comments attributed to Sterling provoked no repercussions of substance. There was outrage, of course. The vast One-Nameness – Magic (Johnson), Michael (Jordan) and Lebron (James) – stepped forward. But such is the mathematics of our times: Outrage minus a hit to the pocketbook equals meaningless … [Read More...]

A male Wood Duck at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

Duck on Branch (Be Prepared)

NISQUALLY, Wash. -- During winter, I usually am toting my long lens and often run into hunters. “Big lens,” many will comment. “Big gun,” I usually reply. Though a lot of birders and wildlife photographers bristle, I enjoy my encounters with hunters. After all, we’re both looking for the same thing, and we’re both going to shoot it, albeit me with a camera. We also both usually have gathered intelligence the other can use. … [Read More...]

Photography Buzz

Twilight at Second Beach.

Twilight at Second Beach

First Beach, also in Olympic National Park (Wash.), and not Second Beach, is one of the settings in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight book series. People still hop off tour buses up the road, at Three Rivers Resort, to pose for pictures with cutouts of Bella and Edward. I stop … [Read More...]

More Photographic Buzz

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Sunrise at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Gambling on Sunrise

Outdoor photography is probably not for the financially meek. In addition to all the gear and travel, it’s also going to cost a good 10 of your usual 40 winks. That’s because purveyors of the heavy lidded lifestyle swear by the so-called “Golden Hour” – the first half hour after the sun rises and the last half hour before it sets. Give or take. … [Read More...]

Jordan Pond under the stars, serenaded by loons and coyotes.

Loon-y Jordan Pond

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine – Much of what I read about the East’s first national park referred to Cadillac Mountain as its crown jewel. If that’s true, Jordan Pond is at least Acadia’s centerpiece. With its crystal clear glacial water and the two Bubble Mountains sitting like camel humps beyond its northern shores, Jordan Pond is the park’s … [Read More...]

799px-Los_Angeles_Clippers_logo

Less than Sterling

Gifted with an opportunity to seize and shape a defining moment in their sport’s history, they pondered and met and schemed. They geared up and took aim. And on Sunday night in Oakland, the players of the Los Angeles Clippers shot a figurative air ball. Wading amid the cultural rip tide created by their owner, Donald Sterling, his most prized … [Read More...]

My Nikon D800 captured its own end.

Grieving Gear

She'd been with me only about a year, but had photographed my wife, dog, daughters, parents, artists, raptors (though no rappers), the holidays, Seahawk heaven. She'd ushered me from sports to landscapes and wildlife, accompanied me to four national parks, four national wildlife refuges, and my 10th wedding anniversary, helped me win two … [Read More...]

Thousands of Snow Geese make the mutual decison to leave.

Snow Goose Frenzy

You likely will hear them before you see them. When thousands of Snow Geese make the mutual decision to move, even if it's only a few hundred yards, the resulting cacophonous frenzy is like no other, at least in nature. About 75 miles south of where you see Snow Geese in the Puget Sound region is CenturyLink Field, after all, home of the … [Read More...]

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