There is something truly special about the Pacific Northwest. An area of rich eco-diversity, one can drive for only a few hours and encounter an assortment of different habitats and climates.
One of the marvels of this region is Olympic National Park.
There are over 350,000 acres of old growth Red Cedar, Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock and Douglas Fir forest laden with Sword Ferns, Club Moss and Vine Maples; boasting the most bio-mass per cubic meter on earth! Rising up from these dank forests are impressive glacier bearing peaks. Mount Olympus, the pinnacle of the Olympic Mountains stands at nearly 8,000 feet. These mountains are home to plentiful wildlife, including Mountain Goats and the endemic Olympic Marmot.
Mountains and forests aren’t the only features ONP has to offer. A thin strip of land, only a few kilometres wide and 117 km’s long runs north/south along the outer coast of Washington State. Comprised of prestine, nearly impassible wilderness beaches as well as popular, sandy tourist destinations. Located only 5.5 hours from Vancouver, 4 hours from Portland and 3.5 hours from Seattle, it’s a convenient getaway into some truly untamed forest and coastline.
Battered by storms throughout the winter months, erosion of the coastal geology creates rocky escarpments and towering sea stacks. This dramatic landscape brings visitors from all over the world. Photographers, such as my self, also flock to the area in hopes of capturing a vibrant sunrise or sunset.
The possibilities for powerful landscape images are endless in this area. High seas crash against the unique formations that litter the coastline, colourful cliffs reflect in the still waters of tidal pools, home to plentiful sea life. Each wave offers a new design as it filters through crevices in rocks or sweeps out over the sand.
During the summer months, a thick marine layer blocks out most of the light in the evening and it’s generally not all that condusive for photography. The images below were all made at various locations along the Olympic Coast during the winter and early spring, the best time to visit.
My good friend Alex Mody, originally from Vienna, Virginia, now resides in Olympia, Washington. Alex has been putting in some solid hours behind the wheel and lens, discovering what the Pacific Northwest has to offer and has compiled quite the portfolio, only a year into his stay. If you’d like to check out his work it can be found here. His knowledge of the area has been extremely helpful. Generally, the weather in these parts during the winter is pretty dreary. Trapped under a cloak of angry clouds, the sun rarely peeks through. However, knowing just the right time to head out to these locations can produce some great images!
A beautiful area that I would recommend to anyone that is looking to improve their landscape photography skills or just appreciates the sound of the surf, or soaking up a nice sunset.