Boardman Lake, North Cascades

A late summer day –

a bit of rain here and there,

and sun.

It was cool

in the mountains.

Perfect

for a walk among giants.

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Trail’s end:

the distant view –

heaps of cloudmountain.

 

Photos taken in the North Cascade Mountains on the trail to Boardman Lake.

 

CHANGING TIDES

Tides nourish the land, and their dependable changes remind me that if life is difficult now, it will get easier…

Sunset at Lemon Creek Pier

This week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge is “Change.”  The serene view above is minutes from a  busy New York City highway. Maybe the beautiful colors were caused by pollution, but that thought was far from my mind as I sat on the beach that evening, lost in the sound of gently lapping waves and the changing hues of sunset.

A receding tide offers foraging opportunities for Willets on Captiva Island in Florida.

The ebb tide lends itself to soft focus, also on Captiva.

Just after high tide, the noise is deafening as waves crash hard onto the rocky Washington shores of Rialto Beach.  Bit by bit, centuries of changing tides have carved a dramatic seascape here.

Happily, the only buildings in the area are well out sight – it’s just rock, water, and sky as far as you can see.

Deception Pass divides two northern Washington islands. Water from the Strait of Juan de Fuca, separating Washington from Canada, is sucked in to Skagit Bay through this narrow passage, creating whirlpools and eddies.

The bridge whose shadow you see was built in the 1930’s – it’s WAY up over the pass, but if you’re not subject to vertigo you can walk across it.

On the  bridge, you can look east towards Swinomish Indian lands,

watch the incoming tide as it ripples and flows,

and gaze straight down into paisley water swirling a tidal song of change.

Just to the north, on a rock in Rosario Bay, a gull perches precariously as an incoming tide approaches gently, leaving soft herringbone patterns on the Pacific blue waters.

In the intertidal zone the tide pools are slowly filling back up, wafting kelp in open circles.

Sea anemones (Anthopleura elegantissima), packed tightly into the tide pools, have closed up shop as the tide is out, but a few are starting to reach their tentacles out into the shallow, nutrient rich water.

At Salt Creek Recreation Area on the Olympic Peninsula the tide is halfway out, exposing a dizzying variety of colorful seaweed on the rocks.

Mussel shells tangle with seaweed on the rocks at my feet. It’s getting late, but gulls, cormorants and ducks will feast here til dusk. Tidelands along the Strait of Juan de Fuca  support a complex ecosystem of plants, invertebrates, numerous species of fish and shellfish, porpoises, whales, sea otters, birds…I’m sure there are other living things I left out. People, for example!

In Seattle the ocean is a hundred miles away but the waters are still subject to tidal changes.

Looking west towards that distant ocean, the Olympic Mountains draw a ragged edge on a golden sunset as a lone pleasure boat heads north on an ebb tide.

More Weekly Photo Challenges on the topic of Change – a BIG one! – can be found here.

THE SUBTLE COLORS OF JANUARY

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Photos taken at Markworth State Forest, Carnation, Washington, and on Cherry Valley Road, Duvall, Washington, on two frosty, early January afternoons.

Left to Their Own Devices

No gardener worked to create the strange song of the blues this leaf sings, alone on the wind.

No one designed this quiet intermingling of clinging lichens and springing moss, sharing secrets on a damp branch.

Ravaged to their core, grasses still bow and send soft arabesques into the cold.

And stalks of fireweed wind their wacky way to the sky, innocent of human intention.

I have no argument with gardeners or human intent though. I know –

with or without our intervening helping hands,

there’s beauty out there,

balancing

along with us

on the precipice

of the darkest day

of the year.

Photos taken recently at Juanita Bay Park, Kirkland, Washington.

Time to Play

I’ve been playing with a free photo effects program put out by Onone, called Perfect Effects 4. There are textures, borders and vintage effects, HDR effects, what I call “quick and dirty” brushes you can use to highlight an area, make it warmer, change its contrast…and it goes on. The program works with Lightroom and/or Photoshop and they say that soon they’ll have a stand alone version.

The fabulous old truck pictured above is parked in an industrial area of Staten Island. There’s a wholesale food market I used to go to, and one day when we had to park way in the back we discovered this treasure. So cool! It said “E.H. Scroogy” on the side and had a 1956 N.J. inspection sticker, but it’s obviously much older. I only had my phone but I still got some good pics. But I digress.

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I tend to use most effects with a light touch, but sometimes a heavier hand makes an interesting picture.

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The yellow flowers and this road to a farm are in the Snoqualmie River Valley, not far from home. I took the pictures a few weeks ago. There were horses in the field, and those are the Cascade Mountains you see in the background. You can bet those are the last flowers blooming wild around here this year.

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I used some selective blurring, highlighting,and darkening, and played with the colors of this photo of Japanese Hakone grass at Snug Harbor Botanical Garden in NYC. I think its curves are pure grace.

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I ran into this wonderfully cool man in a parking lot in North Carolina. I’m guessing he carved his own crutch. His beard is braided & tied. Look at his sunglasses – so nonchalant! Such warm and lively eyes. What stories he must have.

You can find Onone software at their website – and no, I’m not advertising. You may be able to get a free program through an online magazine called BehindtheShutter.com. They offered the program free for signing up for the (also free) magazine. It’s a self-promotional world…but I digress….

Washington Coast Day Trip

I took a drive up north towards Canada, not long ago, to explore the coast. The rock formations at Larrabee State Park, on the Samish Bay near Bellingham are fantastic. While clambering around them, I found a few bright purple sea stars – I used to call them starfish but I’ve learned better – and various limpets, barnacles and tiny snails.

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Purple Star, or Pisaster ochraceus, common from Baja California to Alaska in mid-tidal zones. You can see barnacles under it – they eat barnacles and limpets, slowly prying them open with their many tube feet and then inserting their flexible stomachs to digest them. They’re sometimes orange, red or brown, and live to be 20 yrs old…I really am eager to see another one!

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I drove west towards Samish Island and saw this Great Blue Heron near a bridge at the mouth of the Samish River.

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An abandoned fishing boat was looking photogenic on the other side of the same bridge.

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Samish Island, one of the Inner San Juan Islands, was quiet and peaceful.

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Evening light on the bay – and it’s time to go home.

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