SUESS RAVINE

About a half hour from my home, a winding two lane road traces a deep cut into a hillside as it follows a lively stream.  The little ravine seems to hold on tightly to whatever moisture is in the air, forming a micro-climate of cool and damp, green growth that hovers over the creek.

The Big Leaf Maples that grow in profusion here host thick swaddlings of chartreuse moss, set with delicate emerald fringes of Licorice fern. Every limb and twig appears to be clothed in globs of glowing green, as if imagined by Dr. Suess himself.

It’s the kind of roadside landscape that appears and disappears in a flash as you speed to your destination. That quick burst of green captivated me the first time I saw it, and I noted two pull-outs on the road as it glides down the S curves.

The other day I pulled over onto the gravel, got out, and worked my way along the edge of the steep drop, shuffling carefully over the deep blanket of last year’s leaves lest I trip on a hidden rock.

It was raining pretty steadily. Winter in the Pacific Northwest. I did what I could in the rain and dim light to photograph the mossy limbs.

Eventually I got back in the car and shot from there – the view now obscured by thoroughly fogged windows. I rolled the window down and shot a few more pictures, decided it was too wet, and rolled it back up. Then I simply focused on the water-splashed glass itself – glowing green from the mossy branches behind it.

I don’t think I really did it justice at all but I was desperate enough to get out that I didn’t care about the rain and dim light. On a drier day, maybe in the spring, I will come back and try for sharper pictures. This verdant, glowing speck of land is worthy of more attention.


27 comments

    • It’s been drier than normal here, too – it’s the same high pressure ridge, or whatever it is, that’s drifting above us all out here, I think. We have fog every morning and if the sun struggles to get through, it doesn’t make it til the end of the day, barely – and I know I should hope for rain, but…

  1. Great shots Lynn! Definitely that lush West Coast rainforest look to them. Like the photos through the car window – very nice softening effect to them.

    If you want something a little different on those dark, dreary days, try a tripod. You can set your ISO to 400 or so and shut down your aperture. That will give you changes in your depth of field and clarity. I put my self timer on at 2 seconds when I take photos at that setting to eliminate any camera shake (even with a tripod). One of the things I love about my digital SLR is the fact that I can get great hand held shots in very low like but my ISO can be 1600+ with a wide open aperture which makes very shallow depth of field and adds some noise to the photo. Most times that’s ok but it doesn’t give me as much flexibility. Not something I do all the time because I don’t like the bulkiness of the tripod.

  2. You sound like me BB, always on the look out now for a layby to pull in to when I catch sight of something that DEMANDS me to go take a look 🙂
    Fabulous mossy dressing on the trees …. I do believe it’s a look that never will never go out of fashion Lol
    Wonderful pictures …

  3. Well worth the stop and I feel ‘the wet’ is the right medium for this growth to be photographed. However it would be interesting to take photos after rain, but when the sun has come out as I’m sure you’ll get some wonderful different effects, with slants of sunlight illuminating the wetgreeness.
    .

    • Oh, give me a day like that! I’m afraid it’s far away – it may be months before we get a day where it rains and then the sun comes out. It’s just not the way the weather works here, except sometimes in spring. I agree though, that would be great to see and photograph.

  4. Great name for your post. It does look like a scene from those books. Love the greenness and lushness of the ferns and moss. I especially like the last image — such a great abstract. I’m into those these days…

  5. Lyn, when I was last back in the UK, I thought of you and how much you would adore the green of the riverbank, and what great shots you would take! It hasn’t stopped raining there either but all this fabulous green has to come from somewhere. So pleased you pulled over to get these great shots!

  6. Oops – I just replied that you should see this post for more moss-covered cars but I see you’ve been and gone…how nice to hear you were thinking of me – that’s really very cool! Funny thing about the winter here is that we’re short on rain (relatively speaking!) but there’s so much fog and overcast skies and rain the rest of the year that you don’t see any difference. Maybe after I’m here another decade I’ll catch the subtle changes in how weather affects the vegetation, but so far it all looks very green. Except in the summer, when we go up to 3 mos. without rain and people use sprinler systems – crazy! Someday I hope I’ll get to the mother country (I’m 1/4 Welsh!)!


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