Laura had to head back to South Carolina just as the weather was improving here. Over the week or so that she was gone I took the opportunity to head out and get some photos. I couldn’t do much because of my foot, but I could drive around to interesting places to shoot sunrises, sunsets, and lots and lots of birds. Here are some of the random shots from those excursions.
As we approach the winter solstice the days up here are VERY short. From a photography standpoint that means that you don’t have to get up at the intergluteal cleft of dawn to get pictures of the sunrise. It also means that the Golden Hour lasts pretty much all day, with spectacular sunsets late afternoon.
The lighting here is so different from back home. Even when filtered through clouds, the sunlight creates large spots on the water out over the bay. Brilliant colors mark the rising and setting of the sun. Morning fog with clear skies above just adds another dimension to the lighting. These light shows take place every day and I’m tempted to drop whatever I’m doing and grab a camera.
I did make a few special efforts to get just the right shot. One morning I headed up Chuckanut drive to catch the sunrise. I couldn’t find a good pull-off with decent views, so I just pulled into the parking lot for Chuckanut Manor.
I drove back along the flat farmland to catch the light through the fog.
At 10,781 feet above sea level, Mount Baker is the first to catch the rising light of the sun and the last to be lit by its rays in the evening. Its snowy peak reflects reds and oranges tinged with blue ice. I have to resist the urge to take yet another photo of it every time I spot it when I round a corner. Here are a couple of times that I gave into that urge.
One morning I decided to get very ambitious. I woke up early and decided to drive up to Mount Eire on Fidalgo Island to watch the sunrise. Mount Eire is the tallest point on the island with views of the Skagit River Delta and surrounding areas back toward the Cascade Mountains. I made the long, dark trek up the tricky road to the peak…and was disappointed. The views were spectacular, yes. However, there were trees in the way of the viewpoints that would obscure the sunrise photos I wanted. Since it was still dark I didn’t take any photos from that vantage point.
I had a Plan B, though. I figured I had just enough time to drive down through Anacortes and over to Cap Sante. The large rock outcrop has unobstructed views across Fidalgo Bay and Padilla Bay. While I wouldn’t have the lofty distance views of Mount Eire, they would still be quite spectacular.
I arrived and climbed out onto the rocks, ignoring my doctor’s warnings about re-injuring my foot. I did take it easy, though. I got photos of the boat harbor at Anacortes, the town itself, and the sunrise over the refinery. Several large tankers sat in the harbor below Mount Baker. Mount Ranier loomed on the horizon to the south.
Even when I couldn’t get out of the house in time to catch sunrise from a precise location it was pretty spectacular just through our windows.
All of my sunset photos are just from our yard. I didn’t make it to any great locations to watch the sunset.
I did try to get some sunset photos over the Skagit Wildlife Area, but I was still not sure of the time.
Birds and Scenery
Speaking of the Skagit Wildlife Area, I made several trips out to look for the large flocks of trumpeter swans and snow geese. I found several along the flats in our area, but the most dramatic were on Fir Island near the Skagit preserve.
One particular field attracted not only swans but also lots of bird watchers and photographers.
I’ll just be glad when I can get this stupid boot off so that I can get out and do even more exploring.