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

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.

Skagit Valley Tulips 2015 – Best Images

I went to the tulip and daffodil fields often this year.

Daffodils, Morning Light

Daffodils, Morning Light

Eighteen times to be precise.

Yellow Tulips and a Smile

Yellow Tulips and a Smile

A new record for visits in one year.

Skagit_Valley_Tulip_Festival 2015_3

Backlighting, my favorite

The Daffodils started in February.

Skagit_Valley_Daffodil_Festival 2015_3

Stars!

As of today, April 17, the tulips are done.

Skagit_Valley_Tulip_Festival 2015_29

Beheading

Finished, kaput.

Skagit_Valley_Tulip_Festival 2015_15

Pink River

Skagit_Valley_Tulip_Festival 2015_2

Maximus

I am not sorry, I’m relieved.

Skagit_Valley_Tulip_Festival 2015_6

Tulip Selfie

My Tulip Goal for this year was two-fold: to get an image of a huge double rainbow directly over the blazing tulip fields AND to somehow capture an image of dark skies over the tulips being ripped asunder by searing bolts of lightning.

Skagit_Valley_Tulip_Festival 2015_33

Converging

Skagit_Valley_Tulip_Festival 2015_45

The Barn

Skagit_Valley_Tulip_Festival 2015_52

Mud

Skagit_Valley_Tulip_Festival_1

Pinks

I failed miserably on both of these counts.

MUD!

MUD!

All of these image, and many more, are for sale as fine art prints as well as Canvas Wrapped Prints. Here is the place to view and buy!

Love the backlit cene

Love the back lit scene

Reflection

Reflection

Water in the rows

Water in the rows

Loner

Loner

Skagit Valley Sunsets

These first three images were taken along Cook Road, just east of I-5. There is a barn here, with no house nearby and the views are expansive. Of course landscapes and skies are always better with stuff in the foreground! tractor-and-sky-1m

tractor-and-sky-2m1

tractor-and-sky-3m

This next set of three images was taken 2 nights later, out along the Bayview-Edison Road, just west of Edison. That’s the Samish River there.
barn-1m1

barn-3m

barn-4m

Focus Stacking: First Effort

Focus stacking is a technique used to ensure that every part of an image is sharply in focus. What you are doing is to combine several images taken over a number of different focusing distances.

The main steps are:
1. Capture of a multi-focus sequence of images
2. Process the RAW files to ready them for merging
3. Align the image sequence
4. Merging the aligned images into a final product

I read about this technique a few weeks ago and for some reason did not get around to giving it a try until today. I was out this morning checking out the daffodil fields and remembered to get the image sequence captured.

the post-processing was easy and the result stunning as to clarity and focus! This is a technique I will be using on every photo shoot I do from now on!

If you’ve never heard about this technique, look it up and give it a try! I am not going to write up here how to do it, there are already many good instructions and write ups, including videos on line detailing how to do it.

Here is the result of today’s work.

This first shot is one of the multi focus set, un-modified.
IMG_6695

Here is the final, merged image.
stacked and merged 2em
The clarity and depth are really something!

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