About once a quarter I pick a destination to shoot. There isn't a whole lot of thought process behind it other than "That would be a cool place to visit" and I try to pick places I haven't been before, which means I have a lot to choose from. Last year I Monument Valley, the Grand Tetons and Rocky Mountain National Park. Earlier this year I was in Big Sur and it was a fantastic trip. But, now I needed to find a unique place that I hadn't even been close to and something was pulling me towards Washington state.
So, I boarded a flight from OKC to Seattle and arrived a little after 9 p.m. pacific time and that was a little tough to start off with because of the two hour difference in time that my body clock was used to. I had about an hour drive to my hotel in Olympia so by the time I got to my room it was after 1 a.m. Oklahoma time, well past the time I usually head to bed.
I got some sleep and woke up early the next day ready to hit the road. I chose to drive west on my first day to get coastal shots, I didn't want to be too obvious and drive directly to Mount Rainier which would have been the easy thing to do. I went through the town of Aberdeen then headed for the coast up Highway 109 finding Roosevelt Beach along the way. I was there fairly early in the morning so there was no one else on the beach and it gave me a lot of time to explore. The scenery was pretty nice with the forest coming up to the shore while fog made its way inland. I love shots like these because it's not an obvious subject and can easily be overlooked. But, not this time.
I found a few more interesting subjects along the beach including a sandpiper asleep along the beach and a makeshift wedding alter made of driftwood. I'm sure if you've seen this stuff a million times it's easy not to give it a second thought, but since it was all new to me I think it comes out nicely in the photos.
After spending quite a bit of time on the beach (it felt amazing) it was time to head inland towards the rain forests. It took exactly five minutes once I was out of Moclips to leave the coastal scene and get into dense forest lining each side of the road, which felt a little spooky especially with the fog lingering in the low lying areas.
After about an hour drive I arrived at the Quinault Rain Forest and it was a pleasure to explore the area. The temps were warm and it was as green as I've ever seen any place. Fog obscured the higher altitude views so I focused on the immediate area to shoot in and stumbled upon a couple of nice waterfalls, including the impressive Merriman Falls. I almost missed seeing it, in fact I drove right by it and didn't know it was there until I saw another visitor stopped on the side of the road looking upwards at it. It was such a beautiful waterfall with the lush vegetation all around. I may have been pretty upset knowing I missed a place like this.
After exploring the rain forest I headed back out of the park to get some lunch. It was time to travel up the coast further north as far as I could go for the rest of the day. The fog had pretty much lifted for the day so as I traveled west the views became amazing especially as I drove north on Highway 101 right along the coast. There are several stops along the way where you can get out and walk down to the beaches, aptly named Beach One, Beach Two, etc. The views were incredible and getting to shoot the forest leading right up to the coast was a real treat.
I finally stumbled across a gem of a beach called Ruby Beach. There I would find seastacks like you see in those classic beach scenes and knew it would make some great photography. Unfortunately, sea fog had developed and rolled in making the rest of the day a wash as far as capturing anymore photos. So I jumped back in the car and headed back south, but only for a bit. I stopped at one of the numbered beaches and got out just to soak up some beach life before I headed back to Olympia for the night. I was incredibly lucky because gray whales (at least that's what I was told they were, I had no reason to doubt the info) had decided to make their appearance, but again the fog and rain was a factor. I was fortunate enough to capture a couple of shots with my camera although they were more for personal enjoyment more than anything.
The fog and rain intensified and I called it a day and drove back to the hotel. My first day in Washington was incredible and the next couple of days held lots of promise and I couldn't wait to see what else I would find.
Be sure to check back for my Day Two post very soon.
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