Pilgrimage

Moss-covered Spruces, Olympic National Park

I can see the Olympic Peninsula from my house. To get there, however, especially to the misty west-side rainforest valleys, is a 5-hour trip.  Yet every spring I make the journey, a pilgrimage to one of the most beautiful, if soggy, corners of the world. And when I say soggy, I mean it. The Hoh valley gets 150 inches of rain a year – that’s over 12 feet. I’d say about an inch of that fell yesterday when I was there. It is a challenge to keep everything dry, but this really is my favorite weather: the wet green leaves seem to glow, and there are none of the harsh shadows that sunlight creates.

Other than the rain, the photography is pretty straightforward : a tripod (generally half-second exposures inside the forest) and a polarizing filter to cut the reflected light and let the green shine through.

No, there are no beautiful sunsets here, no eye-popping reds, no beams of transcendent light to gladden the heart of a landscape photographer – just a universe of green. I’ve got no problem with that.

Bracken Ferns and Sitka Spruces

Nikon D3, 24-70mm lens, polarizing filter