Skagit Valley Tulips and Daffodils

Skagit Valley Tulips and Daffodils

Spring, thankfully, brings the colors back.

The winter creates a grayish monochrome of everything that is interesting for about a week.

When the colors come back, things are better. The snow just melted yesterday and we’ll probably see more before the end of the winter.

So I shouldn’t get myself all excited just yet, but I can sense the subtle stirrings of green.

In February the hints of green will become more pronounced and then, finally, the yellows will arrive with Skagit Valley Daffodils.

Depending upon the year the daffodils start coming up in late February or early March. Skagit Valley has a rather mild climate, rarely getting snow. Early spring brings almost daily rain. The daffodils emerge slowly, reluctantly.

Once the temp starts rising a bit, tulips start to pop up. The anticipation of the coming color explosion is tantalizing!

Every year the tulips and daffodils are planted in different fields.

You can see their location and bloom status with the Bloom Map.

I usually visit the tulip fields 10 times each season, sunrise is my favorite, because of the light and lack of people. Workers are in the fields then, harvesting and at the end, topping the tulips. I offer guided Photo Tours of Tulip Festival each year, at sunrise and sunset, details and prices can be found here.

Because the fields rotate every year, so do the backdrops, and foregrounds!

Barns, school busses, tractors, irrigation ditches, and puddles all serve well for offsetting the beauty of the flowers.

I teach basic Photography Classes through Parks and Rec in Burlington. Here is the link for more info.
Starting in Jan 2020 I will also be teaching basic Photography Classes through Parks and Rec in Bellingham.

Sometimes a visit can bring good luck in the form of rainbows, long shadows, dirty kids and much more.

Need a 2020 Calendar? There are still copies available of the Night Sky Images of Washington State Calendar! Click here to order your copy.

North Cascades Photography – Skagit Valley Tulips

North Cascades Photography – Skagit Valley Tulips

Skagit Valley Tulips

The start of spring in Skagit Valley heralds the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

Broad swaths of brightly colored tulips spring up all over the flats.

This is one stop along the Cascade Loop that you don’t want to miss!

Photographing them is wonderful fun. The saturation of colors, the often cloudy skies and lots of mud always make the trip an experience.

The Washington Bulb Company is the leading grower of tulip, daffodil, and iris bulbs in North America. They grow bulbs throughout the valley and have a huge display garden, Roozengaarde. There is a store, a windmill and manicured beds of flowers, and in the back, large fields of tulips.

You can read about the history of tulips in Western Washington and Tulip Festival here.

Always stick to sunrise and sunsets, and avoid the “Tulip Area” at all costs between 10am and 6pm on weekends and your experience will be a pleasant one!

Each year the location of the fields change, and so do the backdrops. Barns are sometimes nearby the fields, as well as buses, trees and other cool stuff.  You can see where the tulips are, and when they bloom through the Bloom Map.

Once you have scouted out where the fields are for the new season you can get a good idea of whats best for each location. Some will be better shot at sunset and others at sunrise.

Parking is always an issue. Sometimes the large fields have a parking area nearby and collect fees for visiting. Sometimes the fields are located near no parking at all. Be prepared to walk a while.

I visit the fields often, they are close by. The skies in Skagit Valley can get crazy late in the afternoon. Often the worst, rainiest days are best: the dark, heavy clouds sometimes give way to magnificent sunsets.

Photo Tours are available, I take tours on weekdays, for sunset and on weekends for sunrise. Here is the link.

Here are a few images from Tulip Festivals Past!

 

Tulip Pictures

I go to the tulip fields often in the spring. The early and late light with moody clouds can be pretty awesome.

Last year I visited 8 times, and because there are so many images of the same things they tend to blur…

I had occasion to look in  folder from the last years Tulip Festival and found these beauties.

Skagit Valley Tulips Sunrise and Sunset

I have to admit that I have a cool job: taking people out for Photo Tours at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival…

So far this year I have visited the tulip fields 14 times. Each visit is different, the light, sky and clouds change very rapidly.

This first set of images is from a sunrise photo shoot. After finding the one lone red tulip and capturing it with a nice sky background, I was pulled towards the field workers and their truck nearby…

Interested in a Tulip Photo Tour? Here are the details and registration page!

I was mystified about what they were doing, collecting huge bundles of tulips and unceremoniously tossing them in the back of a big truck!

Then, the next evening I was out on a rather gray day, very dull…until just before sunset when the clouds thinned a bit and the most magnificent colors popped out for a short while. The tractor was, of course a magnet.

Interested in buying a print? Here is the link to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Gallery, where I offer canvas wraps and fine art prints!

Imaging Tulips

Once you’ve been out to take pictures of the tulips as many times as I have you start to get a bit bored with the standard images of rows of flowers and the usual shots. Skagit Valley Tulips

I have tried to find some different elements to add to the image, something in the foreground maybe to create a bit of the different look and feel.

Water and reflections do the trick nicely, accenting the colors and maybe the sky.

Are you interested in a Tulip Photo Tour? Here is the link for the details!

Living so close by affords more opportunity to visit often, and so I can make it there for sunrises and sunsets easily. Nothing adds more to a tulip shot than an dramatic sky!

Finding interesting foreground elements is based on where the tulips are each year. Every new year the crops are rotated. Some years they are near a barn, others a grove of trees…

This year (2016) is more difficult, the only interesting foreground element was a school bus. These are from sunrise on March 30.

Including people in the images is also an option, one I tend to avoid, but often with good results.

The two (so far) elusive shots I dream of are: a huge, gob-smacking rainbow over the tulips, and as unlikely as it may be, lightning firing above the fields. One can always hope!

Skagit Valley Tulips, Sky and Barn

I visit the tulip fields in Skagit Valley many times each year. I try to go when the skies will be colorful. Its not easy to guess when that will be! These images are all from 2015. It was a rainy,wet day. Not the sort of day you’d think to go tulip hunting. But just as the sun started to set the skies cleared. here are a few image! More information on Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Photo Tours here!

La Conner Daffodil Festival 2016

Skagit Valley Tulip and Daffodil Festival Photo Tours

Daffodil Photo Tours start Feb 21! Here is the link with the details!

Every spring the fields of the Skagit Valley explode with colors.

First the daffodils arrive, spilling yellow and green paint buckets over the browns and grays left over from winter.

These daffodil images were taken on Sunday, Feb. 21 2016 at sunrise!

Depending upon the weather this happens any where between late February and early March. In 2015 we had full fields of daffodils abloom in the third week of Feb. and it looks like we may see the same this year.

Skagit Valley Tulip and Daffodil Photo Tours get info on registering here.
Tulips arrive 3 to 4 weeks later, anywhere from mid to late March into April. fields upon fields of tulips of all shapes and colors spread across the valley their quilt like pattern changing each year with the annual field rotations.

The valleys main tulip grower, Roozengaarde updates their Bloom Map each day or so, showing where the fields are and when they are in bloom.

What is a Photo Tour? A Photo Tour is a guided tour specifically for anyone who would like to capture stunning images. Each sprint I spend time reconnoitering the fields, noting where are the best views and backdrops. I can offer advice for not only the best locations but also tips on exposure and composition as well as post editing so that you come away with fantastic images.

I also offer North Cascades Photo Tours and Night Sky Imaging Photo Tours as well.

These are tulip images from years past…

Skagit Valley Tulip and Daffodil Photo Tours

Skagit Valley Tulip and Daffodil Festival Photo Tours

Daffodil Photo Tours start next week, Feb 21! Here is the link with the details!

Every spring the fields of the Skagit Valley explode with colors.

First the daffodils arrive, spilling yellow and green paint buckets over the browns and grays left over from winter.

Depending upon the weather this happens any where between late February and early March. In 2015 we had full fields of daffodils abloom in the third week of Feb. and it looks like we may see the same this year.

Skagit Valley Tulip and Daffodil Photo Tours get info on registering here.
Tulips arrive 3 to 4 weeks later, anywhere from mid to late March into April. fields upon fields of tulips of all shapes and colors spread across the valley their quilt like pattern changing each year with the annual field rotations.

The valleys main tulip grower, Roozengaarde updates their Bloom Map each day or so, showing where the fields are and when they are in bloom.

What is a Photo Tour? A Photo Tour is a guided tour specifically for anyone who would like to capture stunning images. Each sprint I spend time reconnoitering the fields, noting where are the best views and backdrops. I can offer advice for not only the best locations but also tips on exposure and composition as well as post editing so that you come away with fantastic images.

I also offer North Cascades Photo Tours and Night Sky Imaging Photo Tours as well.