Mt Rainier NP, Washington, USA by Michael Thomas

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Picture Story

Mt Rainier National Park is only about a two hour drive form Seattle, Washington but a world away. The mountain is a dominating presence and especially photogenic from the west and south sides. One of the easiest places to photograph it at sunrise is the aptly named Reflection Lakes, a few minutes by car from the lodge and visitor center at Paradise. The lakes are really a couple of interconnected ponds, but there are still a number of spots with different foregrounds to keep a photographer busy. I suspect that being surrounded by a tall evergreen forest to block the wind helps keep the lake surface calm in the early morning. Like other large mountains, Mt Rainier makes its own weather. The mountain is often capped by a lenticular cloud. However on this morning the sky was crystal clear. So I chose to spend much of my time searching out scenes that did not need a dramatic sky to be successful. I found a small outlet stream from one of the lakes. The rising sun warmed both the mountaintop and the mid-ground conifers. The clear sky, I think, focusses one’s attention on the forest and its variety of plant species.

I recommend staying at the lodge at Paradise as many of the photographic points of interests are close by. There are also a number of campgrounds in the park. One of the prime attractions are the vast meadows of wildflowers, peaking in early to mid August. In late September the park is covered in red and gold shrubbery.

This is a single image processed in Lightroom. The principal adjustments were a gradient filter to adjust the brightness/contrast of the sky and a brush to reduce the brightness of the stream.

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