Sunday, June 27, 2021

Chasing the Moon

Strawberry Super Moon over Seattle

Maybe it started with the book, Goodnight Moon, which I remember reading as a child but I have always been fascinated by the moon and its phases and location in the night sky. Last year, I became aware of the different Super Moons and their individual characteristics (pink, harvest, strawberry, etc) and made my first attempt at photographing one. 

The pandemic of 2020 had taken hold, Seattle had a "stay-home" order but I was planning to shoot a super moon which, to me, was essential. I did my research about locations, rented a telephoto lens and hopped a ferry, feeling like a city escapee. 

I was the second photographer to arrive at the park on the south end of Bainbridge Island but certainly not the last. As we waited for the main event, the Lady (Mt Rainier) stole the show as the sun was setting and the sky turned pink. When the moon started its rise behind the Seattle skyline, it was surreal: how could it be so big?! There was a lot of "atmosphere" out that night which made the scene a bit hazy, but I was happy with the end product.

Super Pink Moon

It's over a year later and I am still chasing the moon. I suffered some serious sleep deprivation while on a photo workshop with Action Photo Tours to be able to get a glimpse of the lunar eclipse from the high viewpoint on Hurricane Ridge. It was visible for less than 40 seconds.

Lunar Eclipse

My most recent attempt was at a  once-secret Seattle park has now leaked to the masses but I was still able to find a nice spot to set up my tripod and wait. The moonrise was at 9:45 but by the time it cleared the skyline, 20 minutes had passed. There were some children playing in the park and as the moon made its appearance, one could be heard saying, "Holy Crap! The moon is huge!". The amount of light given off by the moon was amazing and could be seen before the actual shape of the moon materialized. Best of all, I am most pleased with the end product - the composition shows the skyline plus the Wheel, the light of the moon is enough to illuminated the mountains in the background and the moon once again steals the show.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Deer Ridge

When I was deciding where to hike on one of our recent lovely June days, I calculated that the mileage to hikes to the rain shadow area of the Olympic Peninsula were less than going to, say, the Teanaway area near Cle Elum on the east side of the Cascades. I left the house super early, caught the ferry with minutes to spare and was on my way. 

I knew I was at the correct turnoff from Hwy 101 when I saw two Subarus ahead of me and I ended up following those two all the way to the trailhead. I greeted the ladies at the trailhead, thanking them for guiding me through the potholes safely. 

The trail was the steepest that I've hiked so far this season and it prompted me to compose a letter of sorts:

Deer Ridge,

Why are you so steep, what's the hurry? You make my heart beat faster and my breath uneven. I'm even starting to perspire. Is it just to prepare me for the heart-stopping views of mountains and flowers. You're making my knees weak... or at least hurt while descending the steep bits, even with poles. Yes, thank you, the sight of blooming Rhodies help to relieve the pain.

A tunnel appeared before me on the trail

It was pretty steep in places but once I was out on the ridge, I was rewarded with views up the Dungeness River. Valley. I ate lunch as I watched the fog roll over the ridge from the west, first hanging in the valleys, then accumulating and eventually obstructing the views.

It may have taken more time to get to this hike than one on the east side of the Cascades, but my timing for this hike was perfect.