L’éclaircissement of the forest

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Above: Fog rises from trees as smoke from a fire, a forceful wind whisks away the previous night’s downpour. Taken at Mountain Lake on Orcas Island, Washington. 

I learned a new French word the same day I took these pictures, and it fits perfectly. Éclaircissement: a clearing up of something obscure. 

The dynamic and fluid scene changed rapidly. I struggled to find an element to incorporate into the foreground for depth perspective — instead focusing on the swirling patterns. 

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Fog lifts from a hayfield

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

 

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My happy place is a state of being — the culmination of numerous factors. A breath of fresh air in sun or snow. Freedom to run through the woods, twisting along a skinny trail. A beer and a dance floor with great live music, or a slow sunday with a cup of hot coffee.

Of course looking through a viewfinder is often a happy activity for me.

Moss on Mt. Rainier

Above: A small stream snakes through vibrant green moss on Mt. Rainier in Washington state. The picture reminds me how alive and diverse the mountain is, from the thunderous cracks and groans of enormous glaciers to the smallest bubbling stream sustaining a secluded ecosystem. The picture is a rough scan of color positive film, shot on Hasselblad.

Belgium, briefly

Above: A duo poses for a picture in front of Manneken Pis, a tiny bronze statue of a young boy urinating. I like taking pictures of people taking pictures, this one has a quite comical element. August 10, 2014.

Not an awful lot to say in this post, was only briefly in Belgium. I will say that Manneken Pis, a small statue of a young boy urinating, is far too popular.

The amount of people around and photographing the statue in the heart of Brussels is baffling. I almost feel bad contributing to the hysteria by posting three photos of the statue. I’ll admit, it is kind of cute, and the figure is often dressed in different costumes – which is probably charming. But with that said, I still don’t understand the draw of this little character.

 

 

Gorgeous turquoise ceiling of a Brussels church.

Gorgeous turquoise ceiling of a Brussels church.

The Atomium - design to resemble an atom - was built for the World Exposition of 1958.

The Atomium – design to resemble an atom – was built for the World Exposition of 1958.

 

Mittenwald, Bavaria: Waterfall and More Mountains

Above: A canyon with cool-blue water cuts through the mountains surrounding Mittenwald, Bavaria. Photographed August 7, 2013.

A long day of hiking is guaranteed to make one sore. One way to loosen up is another hike – this time to a swimming pool under a waterfall. A bike ride and a 30 minute trek up a stream bed led to the pool. The water was not warm, but greatly refreshed achy muscles.

A natural shower and a swimming pool to play in outside near the village of Mittenwald, Bavaria.

A natural shower and a swimming pool to play in outside near the village of Mittenwald, Bavaria.

The stream bed alone was gorgeous, with teal water, smooth stone and tall canyon walls. 

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Cool blue canyon.

The road between Mittenwald and the stream and waterfall is occupied with farmland. The return trip at sunset gave me a few great photographic opportunities.

Farmers enjoy mountain views at sunset while driving a tractor.

Farmers enjoy mountain views at sunset while driving a tractor.

Faded German signs, a biker and mountain ranges.

Faded German signs, a biker and mountain ranges.

Mittenwald, Bavaria: Part One

Above: Alps rise just north of the German-Austrian border. The winding road leads to the summer house of Kind Ludvig II, whose main castle I featured in an earlier post. Photographed August 6, 2013.

Mittenwald is a small village in the German state of Bavaria. It’s situated on the German Alps and shares a border with Austria. A friend of mine lives there, so it was a few-day stop while traveling in Europe.

Mountains are a high-hop and quick-skip away. Architecture follows strict guidelines. Ski hills and mountain bikes are popular pastimes. There’s more to come from Mittenwald.

Caribou, Moose, Dall Sheep and Ptarmigan in Trees

Above: Mother moose sheds her winter coat, followed close by a  yearling, Denali National Park, May 2, 2014.

My last post was the scenery I encountered during a long and hilly 50-plus mile bike ride inside Denali National Park. There were multiple large mountain passes, hot temperatures and in my case more then 10 pounds of photo gear. 

I brought along my telephoto, predicting I would regret not taking it. While I probably could have done without, it certainly got me a few wildlife shots. 

Both to my relief and disappointment, there were no bears on this trip. Bears in Denali are common, and traveling solo I didn’t want to see one too close. 

These were far from the only instances I saw wildlife, most were too far away to do anything but acknowledge their presence.