Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
f/11, 1/3sec, ISO 100
I visit the park frequently throughout the year and draw inspiration from the changing seasons' colors, sounds and fragrances. Winter has its own special magic, however. As snow carpets the mountain, a gentle hush settles over the park, and nature slumbers under a coat of ice.
This past winter season, I was joined by my friend and fellow landscape photographer, Kris; we braved the chill of winter morning and set out together at 04:00 to witness, and hopefully capture, a perfect Pacific Northwest sunrise over Mount Rainier. Kris is more familiar with the park in winter than me, so I relied on his experience as we discussed possible compositions.
Time was of the essence, and the last fragments of gentle weather were waning. It was pitch black when we entered the park. As we stepped out of the car and onto the deserted parking lot, we were greeted by the mournful call of an elk in the inky darkness. The brilliance of our headlamps brought our terrain into focus; we loaded up our gear and easily managed a hike to our desired location.
As I waited for the first glimpse of light to pierce the mountain’s peak, I began to examine more closely the location and the weather. Morning clouds move swiftly over this area, and a flood of activity would blot out the sun and propose further challenges. I set my tripod to my desired location and waited. Within 20 minutes, our view shifted from shadows and outlines of shapes within the blackness to slivers of light. Eventually, a symphony of lavender and pink hues filled the sky, and Mount Rainier majestically stood before us.
I captured several images that morning, but this composition stood out as my favorite. This was the final image I took that day. Seconds later, the sky brightened and turned to bright blue.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor