It’s been a while since I last posted. These past two and a half months have been extremely busy with the yard, enclosing the front porch, rebuilding and widening the front brick / stone pathway, and my computer hard drive rudely crashing and no amount of coaxing or recovery tools could bring it back to life (yes, all data was backed up with Time Machine). I should have seen the hard drive crash coming as a few weeks before the iMac was bogging down to the point where I reformatted the drive. did a clean install of the operating system installed programs on a case by case basis. Following the reformatting, all seemed well for some weeks. Then one day the screen went dark and the drive was no more. So, I’m now using an older laptop until I rebuild the desktop in three or four months.
Photographically, I have been in a slump these past weeks. This happens from time to tie, but this particular slump was brought on as I’ve been key wording my files to make the search filter highly functional. This particular approach requires each image to be reviewed for retention as well as assign appropriate key wording. Needless to say, such a detailed approach is beneficial (from a search perspective) while at the same time, forces me to review each image critically. As you can imagine, I was quite shocked at the number of “non-keepers” I identified in the process and immediately moved to the electronic trash bin.
As I thought upon this, I realized in the old “film” days you were restrained in the number of images you took due to film and print costs. When the digital era kicked in the cost per image dropped dramatically as the unit costs of storage media decreased and the storage ability increased. So, while I would have instant access to an image when shooting, it was all too easy to “shoot” away without taking the same care you would take when shooting film. The obvious result of the “shoot away” philosophy is an over abundance of non-keeper images.
A few weeks ago I took a day trip to Mt. St. Helens as I wanted to photograph the volcano from a side view instead of the normal frontal view you would get if you were view it from the Johnson Ridge observatory. There’s at least three roads to view the volcano: the main access from I-5 (Highway 504 from Castle Rock; the road to the Windy Ridge observation point (off of state Highway 25 and turn on Highway 99 which leads you to Windy Ridge); and state Highway 503 to state Highway 83 which takes you to the Lahar viewpoint. While my wife and I have been to both the Johnson Ridge and Windy Ridge observatories, we have not visited the Lahar viewing point.
So, why did I want to photograph the side of Mt. St. Helens vis-a-vis a frontal view? Our first trip to Mt. St. Helen was to the Johnson Ridge Observatory in 2006 and to say that it’s a breath-taking view is an understatement as you have full frontal view of that part of the mountain that was literally blown out by the eruption. It’s truly an awe-inspiring view of nature’s power when that much pressure is released. However, I didn’t truly understand the full scope of the blast until I viewed the volcano from Windy Ridge and saw how much was carved away from the mountain. It’s a different perspective than from the Johnson Ridge observatory. Hopefully, it now makes sense why I wanted to capture a view of Mt. Saint Helens from the west side from Highway 504…my goal for last week.
It was a good trip. The air was very brisk with temps on the mountain in the 30s, there was fog in the low-lying areas, and from about 6:30 until approximately 10:00 am, the mountain was deserted…I only saw three cars during that time frame. To ensure justice to Today’s Daily Photo I’ll include other images from past trips along with images from that past Sunday’s trip.
The trip to Mount Saint Helens, Washington.
It was a beautiful drive once I left I-5 at Castle Rock and turned onto Highway 504. The road was dry, smooth, and empty – not another soul on the road. It’s not often this happens so I could take my time as I drove up the winding road and stop when I wanted without worry of anyone behind me or coming down the mountain.
I stopped first at Spirit lake in Toutle…about 10 miles in from Castle Rock. The lake was shrouded in fog with the sun coming up and not to stop would have haunted me forever as it was an incredible view.
The next stop was just before the Hoffstadt Creek Bridge. I parked the car just before the bridge entrance and was absolutely entranced by the view below. The air was clear, pockets of mist were drifting amongst the trees, the creek was visible and the light from the rising sun cast a soft glow over the valley.
Hoffstadt Creek Bridge:
As the visitor centers and sites were closed for the winter (they would open on May 1st), I drove to a large national park observation site that offered a magnificent view of the western side of St. Helens – just what I was hoping for.
Due to the early hour, the observation site was completely empty and I was able to take my time wandering about for the right spot. As I looked about I suddenly realized how absolutely quite it was where I was standing. There was the slightest breeze, I could hear coyotes yodeling far off in the valley below, birds were signing all around, and then I heard the strangest sound…sort of a deep “whump whump” sound coming from a stand of trees far below across the Toutle river. It was a fascinating sound and if two young men hadn’t stopped on their way up the mountian to scout for fishing spots, I would never have found out. We introduced ourselves and talked for a while. Mike and Joe were long time residents and had spent their teenage years every summer and every chance they could on the mountain. Their uncle had owned a store where they worked at and in their free time, they would explore. The “whump whup” began and I asked was that was. They told me it was a Blue Grouse and that was their mating call. They would puff up their chest, extend their wings out, and begin a dance while making the “whump whump” sound. They told me it was the bird equivalent of “doing the chicken” dance. We spent quite a bit of time taking and I was fascinated by their knowledge of the mountain and the wildlife.
Mt. St. Helen from the West:
As I promised earlier…here are the frontal and eastern views of Mt. St. Helen.
This frontal view is from the Johnson Observatory in 2006..it was a very cloudy day and the sun would not come out no matter how long we waited:
The last view is from the east looking west from Windy Ridge in September 2007. This was the view that completely shocked me and made me realize the full magnitude of the blast and how much of the mountain was carved away (from the right side).
My apologies for such a long post…it was needed to get me back into the game.
All but the frontal view and the east view were taken with the Nikon Df. Both the frontal and east view were taken with the Nikon D300.