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July into August in Mount Rainier National Park is a very special time. Snow is melting off, revealing meadows of a wide variety of wildflowers. Lupine, magenta and orange paintbrush, “mouse on a stick,” bracted lousewort, avalanche lilies and heather are a few of the many varieties. Some years, the bloom is massive and vast. Other years, it seems held back. Heat and snowfall seem to be factors. The main thing is if it seems to be, if it’s a good year, get out there.
Being a great year, I’ve spent a week or two scouting my favorite Paradise-side locales for flowers. Some are better for sunrise; others show better at sunset. It’s a different plan, of course, for the other side of the mountain, Sunrise.
This spot is along one of my favorite trails close to the Skyline Loop. It’s not particularly vast, sometimes the tiniest spots will really shine. I had been in the area for a few hours and was skeptical about a good sunset no matter what the sunset apps, tea leaves, horoscopes said. They had promised a better sunrise and it ended up being the reverse.
So, the light unfolded, the bugs were swarming, attention was paid to foreground elements and questions about shutter speed to compensate for the breeze. Including the sky and the spread of flowers was my goal. The Fuji GF23mm lens, which gives a 18mm fov in full frame terms, was the right lens for this shot. I had fortunately figured out three shot brackets on the GFX100s and was able to shoot this as such. I ended up using only the dark and middle exposures and adjusting as necessary in LR.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor