North Cascades Photography – La Conner Daffodil Festival

North Cascades Photography – La Conner Daffodil Festival

The La Connner Daffodil Festival signals the start of spring in the Skagit Valley.

As the dreary winter drags to a close the fields of the Skagit Flats slowly come alive. This years winter was a bit longer than we’re used to, snow was covering the ground only a few weeks ago.

Several warm, sunny spring days is all it took to start this years bloom. Here is a recent image, “Daffodils Under the Moonlight” from March 22, along the La Conner Whitney Road.

Daffodils Under the Moonlight

The bright colors is all it takes to chase away any lingering winter blues!

Each year the daffodils are in different locations, the Bloom Map shows where the fields are located, and when they are in bloom.

Spring is a wonderful time to hit the highway and drive along the Cascade Loop. Skagit Valley is one of many destinations calling you…

Here are a few images from earlier years…

The La Conner Daffodil Festival starts whenever the daffodils start to bloom, which can be anywhere from late Feb until late March.

There is a Photo Contest as well:

La Conner Daffodil Festival Photo Contest

Photographers get ready for the La Conner Daffodil Festival Photo Contest!  All you have to do to be entered to win is take your photos during the La Conner Daffodil Festival and then post to Facebook or Instagram with hashtag #laconnerdaffodils.  We will then choose the top 10 photos and have the public vote on the winning photograph!  The winner will receive a cash prize and be crowned the La Conner Daffodil Festival Official Photo. The photograph will also be used for publicity for the following La Conner Daffodil Festival!

The best times are sunrise and sunset. Please don’t park your car anywhere you’re not supposed to, and be careful out there!

Here are a few more images from years past.

If you’re interested in a sunrise or sunset Photo Tour of the Tulips or Daffodils, I lead Photo Tours Week nights for sunset and weekends for sunrise. here is the link to sign up! Skagit Tulip Festival Photo Tours

First Daffodils of 2014

Skagit Valley Daffodils
These images were taken at sunrise, on March 13th, 2014!

Skagit Valley is famous for tulips in the spring. And daffodils! Each year the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival harkens the arrival of spring to the Pacific Northwest.
Skagit Valley Daffodils
There are hundreds of acres of tulips and daffodils. If you want to visit, here is a link to the Bloom Map.

Daffodils bloom first, there three large fields alight now, with more to come. The arrival of the tulips generally happens in the first week of April, but it always depends on how many sunny days we get!
Skagit Valley Daffodils

Skagit Valley Daffodil Festival!

Skagit Valley Daffodils
Here in Skagit Valley spring brings daffodils and tulips. Lots of them! Winters tend to become dreary (!) and the bright colors are a very welcome relief from the monotony of dark and gray.
Skagit Valley Daffodils
Spring also brings dramatic skies which change very rapidly. Sunbreaks provide not only a feeling of hope but fantastic illumination on the fields.
Skagit Valley Daffodils
Daffodils arrive first, their yellow smiling faces greeting you…feeding my greedy addiction for bright colors I cannot stay away, drawn to the greens, browns and blues…
Skagit Valley Daffodils
These images were captured Friday March 22nd. The daffodil fields will be in bloom for another week or so. Hopefully by that time the tulips will be starting and so sate my desire for intense color immersion a while longer…

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival: A Photographers Perspective

It’s a riot of color, an assault on the senses, a full-throttle thrill ride. Being surrounded no, enveloped by fields of tulips and daffodils, stretching out to the horizon, is a fantastic sensation. The bright reds, pinks, oranges, greens, purples and yellows are literally shouting out loud. The smell of the moist earth and feel of the soft muddy soil add a tangible feel to the scene. It’s a completely sensual orgasmic rush of luminosity, hue and saturation, a virtual carpet of brilliant, vivid and radiant flowers…

And the skies….here in Skagit County the spring skies are filled with drama. Gray mixed with blue, threatening mist and shafts of sunlight, voluptuous clouds hovering overhead; all give an ethereal quality to the scene.

After the initial euphoria slightly subsides I am off in a frenzy of shooting. Grabbing my tripod I am off at a brisk pace, looking for the right angle of light, evaluating the shape of clouds, concentrating on foregrounds and backdrops, racing against the fading (or growing) light, trying to capture some part of the awe and wonder of it all.

My emotions run wild as I shoot, from anxiety (trying to get to the right spot for the perfect light), to exhilaration (from just being out here). I am focused in my calculations of aperture and shutter speed, considering the variables of wind (are the flowers moving?) and considering use of a filter. All of my frantic efforts are interspersed with an incredible feeling of calm and wonder of just how fantastically beautiful it all is…

Then, as the light fades out, I reluctantly pull myself away, slowly. Only a few more shots…taking several steps back towards the car, then a new shadow presents itself and I am again shooting…until, finally I am able to end off, done for the day.

I review my efforts, considering my choices, already contemplating my next voyage to the flowers…excitement builds as I drive home, quickly loading the images on the computer and reveling in my good fortune (or bemoaning my bad luck) while I look at the images.

Though I lived in or near Seattle for 15 years (1980 to 1995), I never once visited the tulip festival. Those years I was a captive of wrong thinking: that work took precedence over beauty. I left Washington for 10 years, traveling across the globe always dreaming of my return…7 years ago I moved back, this time to Skagit County.

Now I am making up for my mistakes, visiting the Tulip Fields 15 to 20 times each spring. Usually I am there on weekdays, in the early morning or evening, trying to avoid the crowds while chasing the light…

The web site for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival provides an overview and has a link for the most current maps and bloom stages.

The Tulip Growers, RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town have their perspective visitor centers where you can park, view tulips and shop for all manner of cool tulip-related stuff.

Visit Skagit Valley has a whole host of links and information for those visiting for the first time, offering a wide range of activities that one can add to the Tulip Experience.

Here is a link to a gallery of Tulip Festival prints.
As for me, I am content here and especially now: the coming of spring ushers in the glorious tulips, and then, as the snow in the mountains melts and the trails open up I am off for a series of enchanted journeys into the Great North Cascades