The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is near Port Angeles, WA, on the Olympic Peninsula. It juts into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, an entry point into Puget Sound and a natural separation between the United States and Canada. This beautiful refuge teems with shorebirds, including bald eagles, and features a 5-mile sand spit (Dungeness Spit) named by British explorer George Vancouver.
I had come to this location early in the morning, hoping to capture some images of bald eagles in flight as they left their nests in the tall trees along the cliffs bordering the strait. However, I couldn't take my eyes off the nearby Olympic Mountains, mostly covered by a thick bank of clouds formed by the warm, moist Pacific air flowing over them, propelled by the prevailing westerly breeze. I hoped there would be a momentary clearing when the mountain peaks would be revealed, yet still framed by the moody clouds.
I selected some drifted logs as a foreground, composed a shot featuring the narrow beach running out in front of me, set an exposure that would soften the small waves lapping on the shore as the tide came in, and waited. My patience was rewarded for just a few moments as the clouds broke up a bit, allowing the mountains to be visible at the same time as the early morning sun shone through. I captured this shot and then retreated from the beach as the tide was beginning to threaten my location, and I had a lengthy walk to return to higher ground! I never did get a shot of an eagle in flight, but I am grateful that my intention to do so yielded this result.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor