[/caption] Wildflowers are in abundance at Mt. Rainier NP and you will find yourself immersed in them no matter where you are within the Park. The snow level is still very high but the wildflowers are literally growing everywhere there is bare soil. I think I lost count at 1 billion and was still counting when I lost count. This photo was taken at Reflection lake with Mt. Rainier in the background and the many arrays of wildflowers in the foreground. I was concerned about the field of view when I was taking photos at the lake, especially since I had the camera mounted on my tripod only a foot from the ground with the wildflowers only about 18 inches from the camera. I made sure to open the lens at its max of 17mm and set the camera mode to program/normal and changed the AF point selection to Automatic Selection hoping that it would ensure that the mountain, trees and wildflowers would be in focus. I had to take a lot of photos but this one turned out pretty good. I did use the sharpening tool in Adobe Photoshop to help with any imperfections. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter and set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -2 due to the glare. This photo was taken at about 7:10pm and the sun was in the left at about a 90 degree angle. The aperture was automatically set at F-5 and the shutter speed was at 1/100 second. Now is the time to visit the park since there is more snow at the park than most states have in December and the wildflowers truly are amazing. The snow is also abundant in the Tatoosh mountain range as well as even further south. You may want to bring some ski poles and traction for your shoes if you plan on being adventurous in the snow.
[/caption] Another spectacular view of Mt. Rainier can be found at Bench lake which is only a short 1 mile hike. You have the opportunity to visit Snow lake which is an additional 1 mile hike as well as get the opportunity to see some black bears and hike along the Tatoosh mountain range. The hike may be short but it is a very scenic and spectacular place to travel since you get a chance to see the mountain is all its splendor with little to no crowds. However, I would recommend hiking during the off season and during the weekday. I took this photo at about 1:15pm, the sun was well behind me and there were absolutely no clouds. I was fortunate to avoid any sun glare and the brightness was limited since I was standing just in front of a barrage of trees. The trail also ends just as you get to the lake so your limited with your ability to move around the lake. You are pretty much only able to take photos along the beach due to the heavy vegetation. However, the beach is sandy and you cat set up your tripod at the very edge of the water. I had attached my Sigma 17-70mm lens and made sure to attach my CIR-PL and warming filter. This helped saturate the sky and bring out the warm tones of the trees and mountain. I actually took this photo with the lens at focal length 21mm but many of the photos were taken with the lens at its most panoramic focal length. However, I liked the color and saturation is this particular shot. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.3 and since the camera was in Program/Normal mode the aperture was automatically set at F-6.4 and the shutter speed at 1/166 second. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. There are several creeks and wildflowers that dominate the entire hike.
[/caption] While visiting Mt. Rainier National Park for the second time in about a month, I was pleasantly surprised to see this mother deer and its fawn hiking near the Paradise parking lot. I was absolutely amazed to be able to get this shot with Mt. Rainier directly behind them. The deer were pretty tame since I was able to get several shots as well as ensure that my settings were good as well as ensure that Mt. Rainier was perfectly aligned in the photo. You can also see some of the wildflowers in the foreground. In fact, this was by far one of my best photography days ever! Not only did I get these shots of the deer with Mt. Rainier in the background but I also saw a black bear while hiking on the Bench/Snow lake trail. I actually saw it twice but the first time it scampered off before I could get a shot. I also photographed a vibrant Marmot as well as a Ptarmigan. I also stumbled upon a family of frogs. I saw my second black bear of the day when a bear cub was running across the road as I was driving. The wildflowers are absolutely amazing. In fact, the smells are so intense that you can almost taste them. The lupine are so fragrant that I found myself kneeling down and thrusting my nose in them in order to inhale the scent. If there was a best time to visit the park, now is the time. The crowds are gone and there is a dusting of snow lingering on the otherwise bare parts of the mountain. This makes for spectacular photo opportunities. This photo was taken from the beginning of the Alta Vista Trail. I was actually standing in the Paradise parking lot when I noticed them foraging in the wildflowers. I even managed to set up my tripod and bubble level since they didn’t seem to mind a few of us hikers gawking at them. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had my CIR-PL and warming filter attached. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at +0.3. The aperture was automatically set at F-5.6 and 1/128 second since the camera mode was in Program/Normal mode. I had the focal length at 46mm in order to frame Mt. Rainier in the background while ensuring a large field of view so the entire photo would be in focus. It was about 8:50am when I took this photo so the lighting was awesome and the sun was directly behind me. If you like mountain peaks, waterfalls, wildlife, wildflowers, creeks, alpine lakes, glaciers, forests, historical buildings or streams then this is the place for you.
[/caption] Crater lake offers so many different shades of blue that you can almost see the color of the lake turn to different shades of blue as you hike along the rim. The time of day, season and direction that you are facing is the major factor in the changing of the blueness of the lake. I took this shot back on 6/30/10 and the time of day was 4:00pm. I was facing towards the west so the sun was at about a 90 degree angle on my left. My position helped bring out the amazing blue color of the lake. I made sure to include some of the snow in the foreground in order to highlight the trees. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. I had the focal length at 13mm in order to get the most panoramic photo that I could. The camera mode was in Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-5.6 and the shutter as 1/60 second. I set the ISO to 100 in order to ensure that the sensor captured the best light and set the white balance to -0.3 due to the intense glare from the lake, sky and snow. I made sure to attach my CIR-PL and my warming filter.