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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Favorite Places: From Readers & Pros

For real estate and nature photography, there’s nothing as important as location. Check out this selection of diverse places around the country so you can be in the right place to get your shots.

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favorite places
Jeff Ross, Mt. Rainier, Washington
This photo was taken of Mt. Rainier at dusk. Mt. Rainier National Park is located in the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington, about 50 miles southeast of Seattle. Mt. Rainier can be accessed from numerous entrances, including U.S. Highway 410, which runs through the northeastern side of the park, as well as U.S. Highway 165, which takes you to the lesser-visited northwestern corner of the park. The mountain often is hidden in the clouds associated with western Washington weather, but when the mountain is “out,” as we say around here, it’s still and always has been a head-turner for me. The national park is a photographer’s dream with its diversity of subjects to photograph, including alpine meadows with wildflowers as far as the eye can see, moss-covered rain forests, thousand-year-old evergreens, icy blue glaciers and abundant waterfalls, as well as the volcano itself. Pentax Optio S4

favorite places
Randy A. Baumhover, Gardiner River,
Yellowstone National Park, Montana

The Gardiner River in Yellowstone National Park is located about two miles south of the town of Gardiner, Mont. The river makes many twists and turns as it tumbles over boulders in the five-mile stretch between Gardiner and Mammoth. I shoot this location at least a couple of times each year, usually in daylight. This shot was taken on a very clear and cold morning by the light of a full moon. I usually don’t give my photos a title, but I couldn’t help but call this “Moon River.” Nikon D40x, Nikon 18-35mm ƒ/3.5-4.5D

favorite places
Eric Plante, Hidden Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana
Hidden Lake is a mountain-goat paradise and a nature photographer’s wonderland. At an elevation of 7,000 feet and well out of view from the road, Hidden Lake sits nearly on top of the Continental Divide. Herds of mountain goats frequent the lake, and they often use the trail to move about. Be sure to yield because some ornery males and protective mothers won’t. The picturesque lake also is a haven for the regal bighorn sheep, hoary marmots and deer. I spent a day photographing the serene scene because Hidden Lake is the epitome of mountain beauty. I photographed the two goat kids as they frolicked on a grassy and rocky slope just off the Hidden Lake Trail. Canon EOS-1V, Canon 300mm ƒ/2.8L

favorite places
* Art Wolfe, Hoh River Valley, Washington
I’ve always lived in Seattle, and for most of that time, I’ve been able to see the Olympic Mountains across the Sound from my bedroom, weather permitting. While I love all the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest—the mountains, the water, the rolling fields of wheat—for me, the Hoh River Valley of Olympic National Park embodies the essence of the region. It’s a temperate rain forest, absorbing 200 inches of rain each year—a green mosaic of conifers, maples and undergrowth draped in moss. I like to shoot in the spring when the forest is fully leafed-out and in fall when bright oranges and reds stand out against the predominant greens. As with any forest photography, overcast light suppresses contrast and brings out color, while bright sun creates harsh shadows and more contrast than any film or sensor can record. Given the moist conditions, a polarizer is essential to tamp down reflections and reveal underlying color.

Shooting amid the complexity of any forest is a challenge. In the Hoh, look for opportunities to isolate a strong shape within the chaos. Sometimes patterns reveal themselves—parallel lines of moss, a cross-hatch of fallen trees against vertical trunks or macro images that look like aerials. An elk or deer may pose for a moment, framed in foliage.

Essential Gear: If you venture out to the Hoh, bring good rain gear. They don’t call it a rain forest for no reason. Muddy trails require water-resistant footwear. I opt for lightweight, Gore-Tex® low-top boots. There’s no reason to clomp around in heavy boots on the flats where support isn’t needed.
Getting There: Located in the middle of Olympic National Park, the Hoh River Valley can be accessed by car and ferry. U.S. Highway 101 circumnavigates the Olympic Peninsula where Olympic National Park can be found, and the Hoh Rain Forest can be accessed by car.

Note: * denotes pro photographer


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