Posts Tagged ‘WA’

Exploring the Pacific Northwest: Washington’s Palouse Region

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Rolling green and sun flare in Colfax

I recently took a road trip from Seattle to the Palouse region of southeast Washington with a photographer friend. The area is agricultural and gorgeous in June, when the fields are growing winter wheat, rapeseed (used for canola oil), and other crops. It’s no surprise, the area is popular with photographers in the Pacific Northwest.

Hyperlapse of the drive down Steptoe Butte

Red barns, abandoned houses, and glorious rural landscapes are a feast for the eyes (and cameras).

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Crumbling grainery

Photographers should pack their tripods as well as wide angle and telephoto lenses to make the most of the rural scenery.

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Striped fields in the Palouse

Among the don’t miss sights are the view from Steptoe Butte (particularly at sunrise and sunset). To catch the sunrise, we needed to leave our hotel in Pullman at 4 am, but it was worth it.

Lone Tree Palouse

This lone tree is ready for it’s close up

The Pullman Chamber of Commerce’s Photography Hotspots in the Palouse map is a great guide to the area.

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Power lines in the agricultural land in the Palouse

The colors in the Palouse were almost cartoonish in their vivid hues of green, yellow and blue. Red barns dot the landscape as well.

4V1C3358An abandoned barn 

Not all the area is friendly to photographers. While shooting the image above, my friend and I got crop dusted.

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Magic hour with tree and wheat in the Palouse

Driving loops around the Palouse Scenic Byway, you can take in quite a lot. Not to be missed are Palouse Falls, Steptoe Butte, and driving the backroads in search of rural gems like red barns, abandoned houses (more on the zombie houses in a future post), and some magnificent trees.

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 Shaft of sunlight through the wheat

Colfax and Pullman are the best places to stay if you’re interested in exploring the Palouse region. Pullman has more dining options since it’s the home to Washington State University.

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 The view from Steptoe Butte

The Palouse region extends to Moscow, Idaho although you would not know it from the boundaries of the maps.

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Rolling Hills of Palouse and windmills seen from Steptoe Butte

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Sunset view from Steptoe Butte

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Kurt Cobain Memorial Park and Landing in Aberdeen, WA: a Photo Essay

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Underneath the Young Street Bridge in Aberdeen 

If you are looking for things to do on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and a music fan, a stop in Aberdeen at the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park (also known as Kurt Cobain Landing) is a no-brainer.

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Kurt Cobain Riverfront Park signage

 I am a huge music fan, and grunge is one of my favorite genres. I recently watched the HBO Documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.

One of the film’s greatest strengths is the incredibly innovative use of animation. The animation about Aberdeen is very compelling, and extremely grim.

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Statue of a left handed guitar

Two of Washington state’s most famous guitarists, Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix, were left-handed. To honor these hometown lefties,  Seattle’s Hard Rock Cafe‘s neon guitar sign is upside down. Hendrix played a normal guitar upside down and restrung it backwards.

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Nirvana-inspired street art underneath the bridge

Cobain lived just a few blocks from the Young Street Bridge and spent time under it. It’s referred to in the Nirvana song Something in the Way.

Something in the Way from MTV’s Nirvana: Unplugged

Nirvana Unplugged is the perfect soundtrack for a road trip to Aberdeen. Listening to that album, which holds up incredibly well after more than twenty years, made me realize just how very talented Cobain was. It’s not just the powerful lyrics and haunting melodies. It made me respect Cobain for his ability to translate the vibe of this depressed former logging town into music.

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Plaque on Kurt Cobain Guitar Statue

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Tributes in Kurt Cobain Riverfront Park

Now street art and tributes to Cobain decorate the space under the bridge, and the green space next to it has been converted into a lovely green space filled with statues and plaques honoring Aberdeen’s most famous export.

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Sweet street art tribute to Cobain created by a fan

Aberdeen feels like a town that Walmart killed. The downtown is mostly shuttered mom and pop shops, while newer construction strip malls and recreation marijuana shops line the streets that lead to more affluent Olympia.

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Aberdeen’s favorite son

Kurt Cobain Landing is compact and worth a stop for music fans. Visiting Kurt Cobain Landing left me with a newfound respect for this wildly talented musician.

Kurt Cobain Landing 

near the Young Street Bridge

1100 block of E. 2nd Street

Aberdeen, WA 98520

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Fifty Shades of Green: A Photo Essay on the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park, WA

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 Among the trees in the Hoh Rainforest

The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the world’s biggest stretches of temperate rainforest. I got a chance to explore Hoh Rainforest, located in Olympic National Park, for the first time and I found the scenery spectacular.

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A fern in Hoh Rainforest

Highway 101 loops around Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula and it took about 4 hours (and a ferry ride) to reach the Hoh Rainforest from my condo in Seattle. I spent the night in the tiny town of Forks, Washington, which is the former “Logging Capital of the World.”

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Left: moss grows on the bark of a tree Right: shafts of life peek between the tall trees

Today Forks is best known as the setting for Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series of novels. Forks has a new found popularity among Twihard fans and has no problem with that. The city even has a page on it’s official website devoted to the Twilight series, and hosts an annual gathering of Twihards and fanpires in September.

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Dripping moss clings to a tree in the Hoh Rainforst

The drive from Forks to Hoh Rainforest is rather beautiful, and it was sunny the day I visited, with shafts of light peeking through the tree tops. After stopping at temporary visitor center, I explored with my cameras.

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Shafts of light peeking between evergreens

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Light illuminating ground growth 

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Fifty Shades of Green in the Hoh Rainforest

Expect to see giant spruce, cedars, and hemlocks dripping with moss throughout the Hoh Rainforest. It was elk foaling season, and there elk along the trails and even near the visitor’s center.

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A pond in the Hoh Rainforest

I hope to return in the fall, when the leaves have turned and the Hoh is rocking full autumnal splendor.

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A peek at a stream along Upper Hoh Road

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Entrance sign to Hoh Rainforest, elevation 573 feet above sea level

Entrance Fees for Olympic National Park went up on June 1st. You can check the rates here.
I entered in Private Vehicle $20 valid for 7 consecutive days. This fee admits one private, non-commercial vehicle (15 passenger capacity or less) and all occupants. The $40 Season pass might have been a better option since I plan to return to Olympic National Park a few times this year.

Visitor Information
(360) 565-3130

Olympic National Park Visitor Center
3002 Mount Angeles Road
Port Angeles, WA 98362

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Visiting Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park: a Photo Essay

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Rocks along the rocky shores of Ruby Beach

I plan to explore much of the Pacific Northwest this summer, and decided to start with a road trip to Olympic National Park. Located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, one of the park’s big draws is the proximity between the coastal beaches and rainforest. Ruby Beach was such a gorgeous discovery.

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My lab, Zeppelin, exploring Ruby Beach

Rocky with a rugged stretch of coast, Ruby Beach reminded me a lot of the beaches along Big Sur, in California. It’s nice to know that same Pacific goodness stretches all the way up the coast.

Ruby Beach Hyperlapse

Ruby Beach is pet-friendly, and many dogs were there and loving it. My two labs enjoyed sniffing the surf and got their paws sandy.

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The view from one of the caves on Ruby Beach

Every dog has it’s day on Ruby Beach.

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Ruby Beach is a dog lover’s dream GIF

 Driftwood along the beach was a popular spot for visitors to build piles of rocks. The rockitecture was impressive.

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This driftwood was a popular spot for visitors to stack rocks, and children to knock them over

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Another view of the rock formations along Ruby Beach

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Waves, sand, and rocks along Ruby Beach

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Stacks of rocks along the Washington coast

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Water along Washington’s Ruby Beach

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Driftwood, rocks and water along Ruby Beach

 

Ruby Beach is located within Olympic National Park.

Olympic National Park

3002 Mount Angeles Road

Port Angeles, WA 98362

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