It is almost the end of August, the prime time to be at Mt Rainier National Park for wildflowers, good weather, clear nights, and all-around scenic beauty. I am with 5 friends, with all of us staying at the Paradise Lodge for several days of shooting before moving on to Mt Baker and other Washington photo spots. We are all up very early as the majority plans to hike up the Pinnacle Peak trail to the small lake/pond with a good sunrise view of Mt Rainier. The trail is about a mile and a quarter with a little less than a 1,000 ft gain, a little too much for my old legs, particularly at a little after 03:00. My goal was Bench Lake.
Even though I lived on the East side of Seattle and visited Mt Rainier numerous times, I had never visited Bench Lake. It is a little out of the way, down Stevens Canyon Road and past the well-visited hot spots of Reflection Lakes and Louise Lake. The goal was to be at Bench Lake sometime after 04:30, just after the beginning of Astro time. Finding the trailhead, the hike was an easy 3/4 of a mile, and I arrived well within my goal and began to shoot Mt. Rainier as the sun came up.
There really wasn't any moon to speak of as we just had a new moon a couple of days earlier with a Waxing Crescent that rose around noon and set at 9:30. While I got a lot of very good images that morning, the one I selected here was taken not too long after arriving. It is a 45-second exposure, and the brightening sky is already lighting the mounting to the East. What is unique about this image is the pink glow caused by the lights from the Puget Sound basin of Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue and other municipalities. I had better success than my friends……
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor