New Moon, July 2020

The New Moon is marked on all my calendars, year-round. This is when there is NO moon in the sky. Dark skies are what you need to capture clear images of the Milky Way. The sunlight reflected by the moon washes out the stars… You also need clear skies, and a location away from the lights of civilization.

Last month the new moon was July 20th, the skies were clear and Comet NEOWISE paid us a visit.

These first 4 images are from Baker Lake, at the boat launch. Mt Baker is close by and Mt Shuksan not far off to the north. As the night progressed the comet rose in the sky and then the Aurora Borealis showed up!

Encouraged by these images I went next up the Mt Baker Highway. It took a bit to find a good vantage point, but managed to get the comet as well as several other interesting night sky phenomena!

Next I decided to try the Samish Overlook and try for more NEOWISE images. I was never able to find a good vantage for the comet, but to my surprise the Milky Way was visible from there. The lights from the valley wash out the stars, especially close to the horizon, but it was clearly visible to the naked eye!

Picture Lake, on the Mt Baker Highway is a fantastic spot for Milky Way images, high elevation, dark skies and what a reflection! Notice how clear the stars are, especially close to the horizon at Picture Lake and Mt Rainier compared to the Samish Overlook…

My final destination for July Night Sky was Mt Rainier! The Sunrise area of Mt Rainier Nat Park is famous for its night sky views. The glaciers seem to emanate light of their own at night and the mountain glows…

The August New Moon is on the 18th! I am excited to go find new vistas!

Night Sky Photo Tours are available on a limited basis! Here is a link with more info. 

Prints are for sale at several locations! The Sedro-Woolley Chamber currently has a display of more then 15 large canvas prints, some are in a floating frame!  You can also see and purchase new prints at Peace Health Hospital in Sedro-Woolley, I have a large display of my prints for sale in the lobby.

Prints of all kinds and sizes are also available anytime on my web site.  Find a gallery and look for the perfect image…

IF you find something you love, use the Coupon Code: SUMMER for 50% OFF ANY purchase.

Comet Neowise: Images from the North Cascades

This first set of images was taken on Monday, July14, at the Baker Lake Boat Launch. Mount Baker looms nearby and Mt Shuksan is off to the north, across the lake.

The Boat Launch has one very big, bright light, high up on a poll, illuminating the area at night. This is the source of the light on the trees.

About 11:30 pm the Northern Lights were visible and I was able to get a few pics.

For the most part I used the following settings: Shutter speed: 30 sec; f/2.8 and 1600-2000 ISO. I used a very long exposure on one of these shots and you can see the stars stretched a bit.

The next night I ventured up the Mt Baker Highway, heading to Picture Lake, but the comet was rising in the Northwest…the road is gated a bit past the Heather Meadows Ranger Station, again, view blocked…so we wound up along the road! Got a few decent pics…

Cape Disappointment

Cape Disappointment is located at the southwestern corner of Washington State, at the mouth of the Columbia River. There are two lighthouses, wonderful beaches and great camping in Cape Disappointment State Park.

The general area is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific due to the number of shipwrecks over the years. More than 100 days of fog each year! The Coast Guard has an active base at the Cape.

The nearest town is the Port of Ilwaco, with a nice marina and a few hotels. Oceanside is 10 miles to the north, a true Beach Resort Tourist Mecca…

The Cape is at the base of a long peninsula stretching north for almost 30 miles. In many places there is beach access with your car: you can tool up and down long beautiful stretches of sand… Highway 103 extends to Leadbetter State Park, at the northern tip of the peninsula.

Not far from the South Lighthouse is small Waikiki Beach. Here are some day time and night time images from there:

The beacon of the South Lighthouse is visible, as well as the line of ships leaving the bay with the high tide. The two bright stars, to the left of the Milky Way are Saturn and Jupiter…

The North Lighthouse is easily accessible and quite beautiful…

 

The Port of Ilwaco is the nearest town, with a nice marina and a few hotels.

The Palouse

The Palouse is a section of SE Washington state where they grow a lot of wheat. The terrain is smooth rolling hills and almost all of it is covered with endless green.

The Palouse is the most popular spot in Washington for Photography Tours. There are endless viewpoints and all sorts of photo opportunities over there.

I found a map that shows where all the cool stuff is. Its like a treasure hunt! 

Barns, old farm equipment, abandoned houses and vistas are marked, but its still tricky finding some of the stuff…

Most people drive up atop Steptoe Butte for images, like the one above.

But there are wonderful vistas all over, and exploring is a blast.

The wheat is about a foot tall now, (late May) and will stay green as it grows a while, then late summer it all turns golden brown…

Then I will need to go back for another visit.

Here are a few more pics from 2 days of rambling…

 

An evenings walk near Conway

There is a boat ramp and you can walk atop the dike, along Dike Road, near Conway.

The South Fork of the Skagit River is nearby.

Several of the farms nearby have wonderful old barns…

Here are a few images.

Skagit River Images

The Skagit River plays a very big role in life here in the valley. Transportation; electricity; salmon; irrigation; and more are centered around the river.

The early days of white settlers along the Skagit River are chronicled here quite well, in the Skagit River Journal.

Traveling along and across the river affords some good opportunities to capture images, from time to time. These are some recent images, some over the last few years of journeys.

Earth Day 2020

Earth Day 2020

Earth Day evokes images of wild places: broad vistas of desert, ocean and mountains.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 defines wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammelled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”[29]

Earth Day is about protecting these places and keeping them wild.

The raw nature of wilderness and its inherent aesthetic beauty often leave me short of breath, amazed at what I see and grateful for the chance to be a part of it.

In the wilderness is freedom. There is no one to tell you what to do. Knowing these untrammled places are there, and that you can go visit them is integral to sanity, to survival.  They say that wilderness can heal a person and I believe it’s true.

Pictures speak words, they say…

Park Butte Lookout

Park Butte Lookout is located on the south side of Mount Baker. Access is via Baker Lake Road. Here is the link with details. The hike in is about 3.5 miles. It usually opens in July, depends upon snow melt. You can spend the night in the Lookout, its a first come first serve sort of thing…if you plan to stay the night, be certain to bring a tent because it most likely be full!

I’ve spent 14 nights in or near the lookout, with other people and several times alone. It always magical, even in a storm.

Here are a few images from recent trips.

Over the years I have managed a few decent shots of the night sky from the lookout.

Views of Mount Baker and the Sisters are beyond spectacular for both sunrise and sunset.