Time for Tipsoo and Summer Wildflowers
by Shutter Stops on 08/07/2012 - 11:10 am
Tag: Shutter Stops
Flower photo fanatics know of the treasures that await them come August. That time is upon us! The mountain wildflower bloom has begun!
Most shooters head to Paradise and rightly so, with its miles of trails and endless meadows. But with Paradise, you get people – lots and lots of ‘em. These enamored strollers – awash in flora delight -- have an uncanny knack for getting camera time.
Here’s my favorite alternative: for an equally colorful vista and fewer folks, head to Chinook Pass via SR 410 to Tipsoo Lake and the Naches Peak Loop trail. Here you’ll find two lakes, acres of wildflowers, easy trails and mighty Tahoma looming over all. Tipsoo is not undiscovered by any means but visitors seem more widely dispersed between the quick-visit strollers and determined hikers, cued no doubt by wonderfully varying light and weather.
Embrace the Fog
Early morning, you’re likely to find fog hugging the two lakes, even in August. Fog-shrouded wildflowers are a delight for midrange and close up photography -- your subject has a soft appearance with details and color nicely enhanced. This even light means no shadows mucking up your pics. Get low and go slow.
Ah, the Fog Lifts
By mid-morning, the fog will burn off -- shift your photo compositions accordingly. Work in trails and paths to give a sense of pastoral wandering and a bit of context to your photo. And don’t hesitate to get in close – the moisture from the fog adds terrific accents to flora.
By early afternoon, that welcome cloud layer that provided you such great diffused light is likely gone. Here comes the sun and with it, harsher light. Forgo the big vista and concentrate on close-ups in shade. Place the flowers in the foreground and minimize cloudless skies.
Mid-day is good time to take a break, eat your lunch, and re-hydrate. Wait out the harsh light by nibbling and napping.
The Magic Hour
Golden light time at Tipsoo begins somewhere after 5. The sun moves low against the surrounding peaks and that light pours onto the meadows and flowers like butterscotch (to borrow a phrase from Joni Mitchell).
Now’s the time to go nuts. Use all your angles and lenses – go low, go high, close up and panoramic – it’s all there. Here’s where the magic begins.
Two cautions – as August spurs your hunger for wildflowers, it also spurs the local bugs’ hunger for you. Bring the spray. That goes for the UV rays too. Come early afternoon, you’re baking in mountain sun. Take precautions.
The summer painting of our mountain meadows is one of scenic Washington’s greatest natural events. Gather your gear and go capture the color.
p.s. come back to Tipsoo in the fall for great colors of different hue!
Shutter Stops features photo opportunities and must-sees recommended by Insider Richard Duval, professional photographer/writer who travels the state extensively in pursuit of wine, scenic and landscape images. As his photo treks go, he passes on to Scenic Washington readers the often-bypassed and somewhat hidden treasures, along with tips for memorable photos. See Duval’s work at VineLines and Duval Images; email him at email@example.com. ©2012 Richard Duval Images