Fir Island Sunrise

Its always good to start any day with a colorful sunrise. Some nice clouds, water for reflections, a wide panoramic view…maybe some mountains off in the distance all make the scene perfect.

These images are from two very recent visits to Fir Island sunrise.

Sunday, November 24

Thursday, November 28

The broad expanse of sky, over the ocean and mouth of the Skagit River. There are several vista spots alone Fir Island Road, most require a Discover Pass.

2020 Night Sky Calendars are available here.

Interested in a Photo Tour? Tulip Photo Tours in April are now filling up fast. 

Night Sky Photo Tours are my favorite! More info here. 

Fir Island Sunrise

This last Sunday morning was forecast to be wet and miserable.

Somehow the clouds parted and the sunrise was long and varied, dark clouds, rain, then rainbows and sun!

Here are a few pics.

Washington State Ferry Sunrise

Washington State Ferry Sunrise

Not long ago I got lucky. I made a reservation to ride the ferry from Coupeville  (on Whidbey Island) to Port Townsend (on the Olympic Peninsula).

My final destination was Olympic National Park and I wanted to catch the earliest ferry in the morning to allow me more time frolicking on the beach.

I arose at 5am and made a beeline for the ferry. My arrival at the ferry terminal was just before sunrise. The dissolving  darkness progressed from a solely black and white light show to Technicolor.

Ferry 4 Ferry 5

Its amazing how fast the colors materialize…and disappear. I managed to get a few shots of purple, violet and magenta clouds as they enveloped the world.

So wrapped up in the orgy of color was I that the ferry was almost missed!

Dashing to board at the last second my dream morning of orange, yellow, pink, blue (oh, what blues!) and countless shades of wonder beckoned me,  and I followed.

Wandering about the ship, through the cabins, onto the decks, down the stairs, back and forth and through.

It was a wondrous adventure of sky and sea, colors and textures, a very magical moment.




Sunrise Over Puget Sound

Not far from my house is the Samish Overlook. It is one of my go-to places for sunrises and sets.

On Labor Day I awoke at 5am and though it was mostly cloudy took an chance and made my way there.

From the parking area there are two viewpoints, one facing south with a view of Skagit Valley and Samish Bay

Samish Bay

Samish Bay

and the other looking west out over the Puget Sound, towards the San Juan Islands.

Puget Sound 3 small

Puget Sound 4

Puget Sound 5

Sunrises are always a gradual awakening of colors.

The wind was calm over the water making for some nice reflections.

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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.

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

Tulips of Skagit Valley

March has arrived and it’s not too long now (hopefully!) until it gets a little warmer and the flowers start to arrive.
Row of Red Tulips em Rows of Reds, Reflected

NW Travel Magazine March-April 2014 This months issue of NW Travel Mag with one of my images on the cover!

I live in Skagit County, named after the Skagit Indians and Skagit River) in the NW corner of Washington State. And among its other striking features such as the North Cascades and Puget Sound we have the Tulip Festival every April. Yellow tulips Yellows at sunset

I understand that outside of Holland there are more tulips grown here than anywhere. The valley floor has a wide expanse of fertile, flat farmland and near the towns of Mount Vernon and La Conner there are fields and fields of bright tulips. infinite pink tulips Infinite Pinks

Each year the bloom times change, but generally its mid April when they are at their height of color.
This is a web site that has a link for a map showing exactly where the fields are and when they are abloom.
rows and people Rows and people
Every Saturday and Sunday the roads are crammed with cars forming long lines. This is not a good time to come! If you do come on the weekend make sure to arrive for either sunrise or sunset. I am often out for the sunrise and the fields are bright a crisp, a few workers and photographers are there, and that’s about it.

Weekdays are the best, plan to arrive about 5 or 6. The tulipy stores are closed and the manicured gardens. But the huge expansive fields are alive with the hue of low light and alive with vibrance!
tulips 2014 6em Yellowy mud!
Make sure to dress for mud, and bring your tripod and polarizer!
red tulips blue and orange sky Reds and a dramatic sky
If you decide to make the trip for a sunrise or sunset and want a tour guide, make sure to let me know! I am always happy to have company!