Nick Carver Photography Blog

Photography Tips, Tutorials, & Videos

CONTACT NICK

Washington Trip: Part 4

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

I finally made it through all my Washington pictures! So, now it's time for the 4th and final entry showcasing my images from my recent trip to the Olympic Peninsula. This entry covers the second half of the second shoot day plus a couple shots from the morning I left for home.

But before we start, I want to share one picture that should have been included in the "Part 3" post. I didn't include it in that post because I included another picture that was very, very similar. But on second look, I think this is the better of the two (click it to see a larger version):

Olympic National Forest, WA

Now that that's out of the way, let's move on to some brand new pictures of Bunch Falls, a beautiful little set of cascades on the side of the road, Ruby Beach and some wildlife.

First off, on the way to Bunch Falls after shooting the hell out of Merriman Falls (see previous post), I was lucky enough to spot a Bald Eagle picking at a carcass on the banks of the Quinault River! I very quickly and very quietly stopped my car, strapped on my telephoto lens and started snapping. Unfortunately, the eagle was very far away from me, and as a result I had to use my 2x teleconverter and crop the resulting images quite a bit. This is a recipe for poor image quality and low resolution. Oh well, I was just thrilled to see a Bald Eagle in the wild - it was my first time.

Bald Eagle on the Banks of the Quinault River, WA

^ Bald Eagle eating

Bald Eagle on the Banks of the Quinault River, WA

^ Raven getting all up in Bald Eagle's business

Bald Eagle on the Banks of the Quinault River, WA

^ Bald Eagle fed up with Raven's shenannigans

After this rare-for-me encounter with such beautiful wildlife, it was on to Bunch Falls just up the road. Much like Merriman Falls, Bunch Falls was much, much more impressive than I imagined. It was tall, it was gorgeous and it was easy to access. I enjoyed photographing these falls so much that I completely ignored the hunger pangs starting to plague my stomach. After all, "I can eat anytime...but the light is perfect now."

I particularly like the vertical panorama shown below. As always, click any of the panoramas for a larger version:

Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA

Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA

Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA
Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA

Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA

Bunch Falls - Olympic National Park, WA

After getting my full share of Bunch Falls, I packed up my gear, stuffed my face with some trail mix, got in the car and started back towards some civilization. But only about 25 feet down the road, a little cluster of cascades caught my eye. With bright, vivid green moss covering the rocks and perfectly placed drops in the falls, I couldn't not take pictures of it.

And that about sums up the whole trip: "Woah! That's gorgeous", photograph the hell out of it, get exhausted, pack up my gear, drive 25 feet down the road, "Woah! That's gorgeous", unpack all of it and start over. It got to be exhausting, but in the best kind of way. Anyway, here are the pictures from that set of cascades - lots of similar shots here, but I felt they were different enough to post each:

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Moss-covered rocks and cascades in Olympic National Park, WA

Then it was a quick bite (of some delicious battered fish) before hustling out to Ruby Beach. I didn't exactly luck out with the sunset because it was pretty much overcast, but I was able to make it work by utilizing a heavy magenta white balance on some of them to mimic the magenta color correcting filters of old. By the way, this technique is covered in the Filters for Nature Photography Online Course. Similar compositions here again, but I was playing a lot with the wave patterns.

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

And finally, on my way out of the Olympic Peninsula as I started my journey home, I came across a herd of Elk grazing in a meadow. It was a nice little cherry on top to this fantastic trip.

Grazing Elk - Olympic National Forest, WA

Grazing Elk - Olympic National Forest, WA

Well, that's all of 'em, folks! If you see any you'd like hanging on your wall, drop me a line! Thank you for letting me share this experience and these pictures with you.

Washington Trip: Part 3

With a successful first day of shooting behind me and a good night's sleep, I set out to visit a couple waterfalls near the hotel. My plan was to hit Merriman Falls and Bunch Falls during the day, then make my way out to Ruby Beach for sunset.

Lower Cascades of Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Quinault Rain Forest - Olympic National Forest, WA

I'd only seen these two waterfalls indicated on the map. I hadn't seen any previous photos, read any material on them or gotten details like height. With such little research, I had low expectations. I thought I'd see a couple of waterfalls maybe 20 feet tall at the most, do my best to make some good shots and just take what I could get.

Boy, were my expectations wrong. To put it simply: these waterfalls were insane!

It wasn't just the intense volume of water or the height with Merriman at about 45' from top to bottom and Bunch Falls around 60'-70'. It was the form of these falls with the artfully placed deadwood and rocks, the lush moss and ferns, the gorgeous tiered drops at the base... They were "designed" so perfectly. I'd go so far as to say they are 2 of the most beautifully crafted waterfalls I've ever seen (and yes, I've been to Yosemite).

It's one thing to have a big waterfall, but one that is just a flat out work of art is a real treat. I photographed each one of these falls for over an hour, and in between the two falls was a beautiful stretch of forest. This blog post covers my shots from Merriman Falls and the forest. The next and final post will showcase my photos from Bunch Falls and Ruby Beach.

Oh, and the interesting thing about these falls is that neither of them seemed to be a big deal. They were on the side of the road with no information panel, no marker, no viewing platform - nothing. If either one of these waterfalls were in Southern California, they'd have an entire parking lot dedicated to it, a big information panel, a deck to view it from a safe distance, a visitor center and, since it's So Cal, tons of graffiti and trash. But not up in Washington. I didn't see a single piece of litter, nary a tree carved up with some deadbeat's initials (that was really new for me) and really no evidence of any human before me. They must just be better people up there in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe the rain weeds out the dregs of society.

Anywho, here are the results. Take a look at this first picture with yours truly in front of the falls. This gives it a little bit of a sense of scale, but it still isn't completely accurate. I'm about 6'4" with my shoes and hat on, but I'm much closer to the camera than the waterfall in the back. The main drop behind me is around 35'-40'.

Self-portrait in front of Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Oxalis Near Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Lower Cascades of Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Lower Cascades of Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Quinault Rain Forest - Olympic National Forest, WA

Quinault Rain Forest - Olympic National Forest, WA

Quinault Rain Forest - Olympic National Forest, WA

^ Click this pano to see it big!

Oxalis Near Merriman Falls - Olympic National Forest, WA

Quinault Rain Forest - Olympic National Forest, WA

As always, thank you for letting me share these photos with you. Stay tuned because there's only 1 post left with my pictures from Washington!

Washington Trip: Part 2

Time for Part 2 of my Washington Trip photos. This post covers the second half of the first shoot day and includes the remaining Hoh Rain Forest photos plus a single shot from Ruby Beach.

Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park, WA

I talked extensively in the previous post about how amazing the scenery is in the Hoh Rain Forest. My urge is to keep trying to describe it, but I'm sure my words will only fall short. I hope my photos can paint a more accurate picture. But it means a lot when I say this place really is one of my favorite places I've ever visited.

Many of the pictures in this post were taken in a special section of the Hoh Rain Forest called the Hall of Mosses. This area consists of huge Bigleaf Maples covered with Cat-Tail Moss and Oregon Selaginella. Everything is utterly dripping with green here. Just stunning. Throughout the entire forest, I felt like I was on Pandora and I'd see some Avatars walk out of the forest at any second, but the Hall of Mosses in particular was otherworldly.

Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park, WA

Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park, WA

The Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park, WA

Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park, WA

Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park, WA

Here's a panorama of a particularly amazing section of the Hall of Mosses. I was lucky enough to have this view all to myself for quite awhile. Click the picture for a larger view to really see the detail.

Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park, WA

Another interesting phenomenon that happens in the rain forest is when trees fall and become "nurse logs." It works like this: a tree falls from natural causes, it starts to decay on the forest floor, then other trees start to sprout from this log as they absorb the nutrients from this decaying "nurse log." Eventually, this nurse log deteriorates entirely and all that's left are the trees that grew from it. But with the nurse log gone, these trees seem to grow in a neat row and as though they are raised up on stilts. This row of trees is called a "colonnade."

Deadwood in the Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park, WA

^ Deadwood on the forest floor gives new life to other plants.

Trees on a Nurse Log in the Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park, WA

^ Trees grow from a nurse log, leeching nutrients from the decaying matter

Colonnade of trees in the Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park, WA

^ Once the nurse log decays entirely, what's left is a colonnade of trees

And finally, I just had to get this shot of a pay phone near the visitor center of the Hoh Rain Forest. It's been photographed a million times by a million tourists, but I felt it summed up the rain forest quite well.

Pay Phone in the Hoh Rain Forest - Olympic National Park, WA

After my visit to the rain forest, I decided to race down to Ruby Beach to try and catch the sunset. Unfortunately, I left a bit too late and so I was very rushed at the beach and only came back with 1 decent shot. Click it to view a larger version.

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, WA

Coming up next: tons and tons of waterfall shots!