[/caption] Mt. Rainier offers some of the most spectacular views along with hundreds of miles of hiking trails throughout the National Park. August and September provide some of the best opportunities to capture the alpine flowers and wildlife that encompass the park. There are hundreds of waterfalls, lakes, towering trees within the forest, wildlife galore and the views will amaze even the most experienced landscape photographer.
[/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] You can see several of Mt. Rainier’s alpine glaciers while driving on the south side of the National Park. You can pretty much take out the National Park map that you will get when you enter the park and map out each of the alpine glaciers that you can see while staring towards the mountain. It’s hard to imagine that there are even more of it’s glaciers on the northern part of Mt. Rainier as well as in the east and west. This photo was taken near an area called “The Bench”. A part of the road takes a very steep and twisty turn where you can choose between several turn outs that allow you to get some spectacular shots of the mountain. I had my Sigma 17-70mm lens attached as well as my CIR-PL and warming filter. Since I also had the camera mode in Program/Normal the aperture was set at F-6.4 and the shutter speed at 1/125 second due to the fact that I also had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to ensure that there wouldn’t be any camera shake since the sun was starting to go behind the higher elevations behind me.
[/caption] I was fortunate to drive along this one-way road that I noticed while driving along the main highway south of the mountain. You will be pretty well focused towards the opposite side of the turn off, so you need to really look for the one-way turn off. There are a couple of areas that you can stop to photograph the mountain with the amazing deep canyon and valley below. As you drive around the one-way road you can stop to photograph the Tatoosh Mountains since they are so close that you can almost touch them. Unfortunately, there is about a 2,000 foot canyon below preventing you from getting any closer. I took this shot just as I turned on the one-way road. I noticed that there were several patches of wild flowers crowding along the steep canyon’s edge and decided that this would be a great opportunity. You can see how the main road cuts straight across the park with several creeks descending towards the valley below. This spot really gives you a great vantage point to view the mountain, especially if you are here when the sun is causing some shadow along the higher portions of the glaciers as well as in the forest below. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance adjusted to -2 and because I had the camera mode in Program/Normal the aperture was at F-5 and the shutter speed at 1/100 second. This photo was taken at about 5:40pm and you can see that the sun was almost at 90 degrees so the color was pretty nice.