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Old 02-05-2014, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Tacoma, Washington
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Hey. I just moved up to Tacoma from Los Angeles. I just got into photography and wanted some suggestions on locations to go to and the best times of the year. So far, I've been through the Mount Baker area and some areas of Elbe. Fire roads and/or forest service roads are also welcomed as I have a Jeep Wrangler (has come in handy as it is a very capable 4x4).

Also, side question. What are the seasonal months up here? Like what months consist of spring, summer, autumn, and winter?

Coming from LA's 70-75 degree winters, it is taking a while to adjust..

Thanks!
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:17 PM
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Here it is for Wenatchee. Best light for photography is mid-September to mid-October around Wenatchee.

Winter begins on last week of November and ends around the third week in Feb. Generally, at the end of November it gets cold enough to snow rather than rain. We also get about 8 of our 10 inches of yearly precipitation during this time period. This is also the winter fog season when high pressure builds over the area and there is not enough solar energy to burn off the fog. Nighttime clear skies are the exception not the rule.

Spring runs from the end of February to late April. No more winter fogs!! Nighttime temperatures start running above freezing. Precipitation is rain, when low pressure fronts are strong enough to clear the Cascades. 50-50 split between clear and cloudy days.

Summer runs from early May to mid-September. Temperatures are consistently in the 80's and 90's. Humidity is usually under 20% during the day. Very little precipitation and almost all of that associated with thunderstorms. Clear skies on a consistent basis.

Fall runs from mid-September to late November. Warm days and nights get down to the 30's and 40's. Clear skies most of the time!! Best seeing of the entire year!! Why does this happen during the best time of year for fishing and hunting??

Our seasonal dates are very well defined, except for the transition between spring and summer. That can vary by as much as a month in either direction. It is amazing how consistent the other dates are year to year.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:02 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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be sure to see Snoqualmie Falls while it's well below freezing, like today, when the mist around the falls is frozen

Get up to Hurricane Ridge when the wildflowers are in bloom. The time of year can vary (call the ranger station) but usually June.

Any time of the year, the Hoh Rainforest, deep woods trails with moss, nurse logs and ancient trees. Just be prepared to protect the camera from the rain (100"/year).

In fall, the colors of the vine maples in the mountain foothills are great, Highway 2 from Monroe on up toward Leavenworth is a good spot.

Take a ferry to Bainbridge Island, and get the Seattle Skyline coming back after dark.
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:21 AM
 
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You get a lot of haze around here in the summer, so the best days to shoot anything are typically in the winter months on the rare (or not so rare this year) clear days. The top of Mount Walker south of Quilcene is an excellent place to shoot photos, as is the top of Mount Constitution in the San Juans.
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,638 posts, read 4,120,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessoftheCape View Post
You get a lot of haze around here in the summer, so the best days to shoot anything are typically in the winter months on the rare (or not so rare this year) clear days. The top of Mount Walker south of Quilcene is an excellent place to shoot photos, as is the top of Mount Constitution in the San Juans.
I am really into photography as well and have spent a lot of time in my 4 years here getting out doing landscape photography. Some places I recommend are the Skagit Valley up near Mount Vernon in April when the tulip fields are in bloom- that is a photographer's gold mine with the flowers, barns, and mountains in the background.

You mentioned my favorite spot already, Mount Baker. I would recommend going up there in August or September when the road is open all the way to Artist Point- absolutely jaw dropping views up there of Mount Shuksan, Mount Baker, and the valley down below to Baker Lake. You can easily end up taking hundreds of shots up there. I recommend very late September or the first couple days of October up there for crisp skies and fall colors.

There are some spots to the east/northeast of Lake Tapps where there are farms and pasture land with amazing views of Mount Rainier, those spots make for great photography of the mountain any time in summer or winter when the mountain is "out".

I haven't been able to do this myself yet, but I would highly recommend going into Mount Rainier National Park to the Picture Lakes area around sunrise to get amazing pictures of the mountain and its reflection in the lakes at sun rise. I know people who have, and seen lots of pictures- definitely worth the effort. It's one thing I am dying to make arrangements to do sometime soon!

One you may know about is right there in Tacoma- right along the shores of Puget Sound along Ruston Way, I think it is- the waterfront that stretches a few miles along that road, all the way almost to the end when heading west, where the land juts just a bit out into the sound, giving spectacular views of Mount Rainier over the city. I've driven down there a couple times in the past just to get some early evening shots there, which always turn out great. (especially if you have a good zoom lens, making the mountain look massive and looming over the city) That is again great to do any time of the year when you have a good day with the mountain visible.

**Edit
Another place I recommend is in West Seattle. Everyone knows about the park there along the waterfront looking back directly at the Seattle skyline. But if you go west from there up the hill there is another park on the hill directly above this spot named Hamilton Viewpoint (1531 California Way SW (between Atlantic St & S Ferry Ave))- you get the same view of the Seattle skyline but you are up higher so you get the Cascade Mountains as a backdrop to the skyline which you don't see when down at water level. It adds a great element, making for some really nice shots. I would recommend that location at sunset, since you are looking directly east, the setting sun behind you will give a nice orange glow on the Cascades making for a nice backdrop to your skyline photos. Any time of year is great, again as long as it's a relatively clear day making the mountains visible.

Last edited by jm31828; 02-06-2014 at 01:42 PM..
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Old 02-06-2014, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Kirkland, Washington
2,752 posts, read 2,205,952 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arrivederci View Post
Hey. I just moved up to Tacoma from Los Angeles. I just got into photography and wanted some suggestions on locations to go to and the best times of the year. So far, I've been through the Mount Baker area and some areas of Elbe. Fire roads and/or forest service roads are also welcomed as I have a Jeep Wrangler (has come in handy as it is a very capable 4x4).
You "just got into" photography, okay. Shooting landscapes? That is one possibility.

Landscapes are mostly wide field of view, 10-24mm type lens, fisheyes, other interesting stuff like that. Maybe macros, if you're into closeups of flowers and similar.

I've taken some of my best static-subject, normal-light work with portables, not DSLRs. Important takeaway from a couple photography clinics past few years: carry as little as possible.

Since you have a Wrangler, would suggest snagging a GPS with good base maps that list the fire roads. I'm not shilling for them, but Garmin has generally-great GPS and pretty good topo and similar maps including the fire roads. May want to pack a pistol, too, but that's me and I've never "needed" such a thing out in the Back 40, so far at least. Strange stuff out there, to be sure.

I've done this kind of fire roading on my GS-style motorcycles (Ducati Multistrada, Triumph Tiger before that) and gone way the hell out on fire roads. Note they are extensive in WA, into the Cascades. Thousands of miles (I suspect) of exploration. I've been on a portion of it, mostly in the NW.

Seasons: very approximately:

Nov-March: forget it. Rain and snowed in.
April-June: spring to late spring. Periodic rain, snow at higher elevations. Hit and miss, starts to be nicer-than-not by May-June.
July-October: gorgeous. Sometimes quite hot (rare), usually dry and temperate.

Interesting places for you to explore:

- Lester, WA (ghost town). You'll need to figure out how to get there, it's an adventure that isn't too radical (driving then hiking). I've approached it from the north and east, twice. There is a way in from the west, too, closer to Tacoma.

- Monte Cristo, WA: haven't been there since the road washed out c. 2008. Used to be quite interesting. Best it's on the way to ruins these days, which I think is great if-so. Access now involves fording rivers, which may or may not kill you.

- Any of the Mt. Rainier vistas, there are plenty approaching from the north and south.

- Further afield, Columbia River gorge. Various locations.

- Railroad line parallel to I-90 east out of Issaquah. Abandoned for quite some years, now part of the trail system. No motorized vehicles on the grade, I made that mistake once and was yelled-at by other users. You'll find it. I've gotten to it w/2wd truck, though 4x4 makes shorter work of it.

That's a start. Most of the fire roads don't have interesting vistas due to forest, but at-elevation some certainly do.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Arizona
255 posts, read 405,071 times
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For somewhere nearby, take the 509 North out of DT Tacoma, follow it all the way around past the fife lights, past the port, until it turns into marine view, stop at the cliff house restaurant..Do it on a nice sunny day around sunset.

I live down the road a bit near Dash Point, I stop along the way on my way home probably once a week to take photos.

This is from the cliff house parking lot


You can follow Marine View and make a few detours to Browns Point (Lighthouse), Dash Point Park, and Dash Point State Park..All offer potential for good photos depending on time you show up. And all are nearby.

I've covered quite a bit of the state since moving here from Arizona, and there are endless possibilities for the amateur photog. No matter the season, the weather or the location, there is almost always opportunity to take some good photos! Just get out there and start exploring! I will give more details of other locations I have found to be really nice for photography when I get a little more time, for now though I thought I would share some spots that don't require hours of driving from Tacoma!
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Arizona
255 posts, read 405,071 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post

**Edit
Another place I recommend is in West Seattle. Everyone knows about the park there along the waterfront looking back directly at the Seattle skyline. But if you go west from there up the hill there is another park on the hill directly above this spot named Hamilton Viewpoint (1531 California Way SW (between Atlantic St & S Ferry Ave))- you get the same view of the Seattle skyline but you are up higher so you get the Cascade Mountains as a backdrop to the skyline which you don't see when down at water level. It adds a great element, making for some really nice shots. I would recommend that location at sunset, since you are looking directly east, the setting sun behind you will give a nice orange glow on the Cascades making for a nice backdrop to your skyline photos. Any time of year is great, again as long as it's a relatively clear day making the mountains visible.

I am going to have to check that out! Sounds like a great alternative to Alki.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Oregon, Pacific Northwest
68 posts, read 215,445 times
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Here are some of the best photography spots in Washington that I know of, by region. I'm a new photographer, but here is some of my favorite places in the state. Although most places on this list I've never been to yet, I plan on going this summer to photograph them with my new camera.

North Cascades. A.K. A. "The American Alps":
The most rugged collection of mountains in Washington. Prime backpacking country.
Central Cascades and Snoqualmie Region (Don't know very much about this region I'm afraid):
  • Hwy 2 to Leavenworth- Scenic mountain views, and a scenic little Bavarian-style town surrounded by the rugged eastern Cascade mountains and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
  • Snoqualmie Pass on I-90.- Rugged mountain views, lakes.

South Cascades. A.K.A. "Volcano Country"-
Appropriately named for its four huge volcanoes---Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Goat Rocks, and Mount St. Helens--- as well as large, vast lava flows and mini volcanic cinder cones, shield volcanoes, and spatter cones.
  1. Paradise- wildflowers carpet the subalpine meadows in July, and towering Mt. Rainier looms above.
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-WSguXinUXP...+Wallpaper.jpg
    http://www.pacificcreststock.com/blo...08/flowers.jpg
  2. Reflection Lakes- Mount Rainier National Park, near Paradise. Best reflection of Rainier.
    http://www.ronsouthworth.com/Images/...ction_lake.jpg
  3. Sunrise- Best views of Rainier from the northeast. Best photographed in the morning.
    http://www.tylerwestcott.com/2009Oct...stcott.com.JPG
  4. Tipsoo Lake-Chinook Pass- On Hwy 410, east of Mount Rainier. Amazing reflection shot of the east side of the mtn. Best in the morning.
    http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b7...oSunsetNew.jpg
  5. Takhlakh Lake- On FR 23. Best lake reflection of Mount Adams (12,276 ft.). Mt. Adams is second in height to Rainier statewide; it's also the biggest volcano in Washington, when measured in volume.
    http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-ge...Horizontal.jpg
    http://images.nationalgeographic.com...92_600x450.jpg
  6. Trout Lake- Off WA 141. Nice reflection of Mt. Adams south side. Near town of Trout Lake.
    http://starlisablackphotography.file...pg?w=474&h=315
    http://www.longshadowphoto.com/image...Trout_Lake.jpg
  7. Bird Creek Meadows- Mount Adams own version of Paradise. Features wildflowers, lakes, creeks, waterfalls, glaciers, and canyons on Mt. Adams' southeast flank. accessed via a very rough road from Trout Lake. Many loop trails here too.
    http://mtadamsfriends.org/wordpress/...Tr-low-res.jpg
    http://gregvaughn.com/blog/wp-conten...s-09080214.jpg
    http://ksnapped.files.wordpress.com/...dsc01649-2.jpg
    http://www.deanmyerson.org/files/pho...ecamp%2025.jpg
  8. Olallie Lake- Near Takhlakh Lake. On NW side of Adams. Small, scenic lake providing nice reflections of Adams and its Adams Glacier.
    http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/73...b6157d2c02.jpg
  9. Windy Ridge- Best view of Mount St. Helens from the east. Overlooks Spirit Lake. Travels into the blast zone.
    http://blog.pacificnorthwestphotogra...2010/07/33.jpg
  10. Johnston Ridge Observatory- Best views into the crater of St. Helens. Easy access.
    http://www.lovethesepics.com/wp-cont...-7-31-2007.jpg
  11. Beacon Rock State Park-Columbia River Gorge- ~400 foot towering volcanic rock pinnacle in the Gorge.
    Taking the trail to the top, you are granted one of the best views in the Gorge.
    http://gorgefriends.org/img/original...%20Marbach.jpg
    http://gorgefriends.org/img/original...%20Marbach.jpg
  12. Mount Adams Viewpoint- best views of the west side of Mt. Adam. Off of FR 23 (paved section).
    https://static.panoramio.com.storage...e/94161105.jpg
  13. Muddy Meadows- Best close up views of Mount Adams' glaciated north face. Off of gravel FR 2329. Near Takhlakh Lake.
    http://www.worldpanoramastock.com/pa....php?src=29036
    http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8439/7...aa1bfcad_h.jpg
  14. Takh Takh Meadows- Amazing views of Mt. Adams from FR 2329. Very close to Takhlakh Lake.
    http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-ge...EdBook7709.jpg
    http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3282/3...f8d589a0_o.jpg
    http://th07.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/...ic-d6jw2mh.jpg
Olympic Mountains:

Eastern Washington:
Hope this helps!

---edit---
One of my favorite spots. Takhlakh Lake in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It's an unknown gem in Washington. Few people know about it, so it remains uncrowded and peaceful.

Last edited by FlutterTrees; 02-06-2014 at 07:56 PM..
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Old 02-07-2014, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Maple Valley
202 posts, read 319,201 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondebaerde View Post
- Lester, WA (ghost town). You'll need to figure out how to get there, it's an adventure that isn't too radical (driving then hiking). I've approached it from the north and east, twice. There is a way in from the west, too, closer to Tacoma.
Oh really?? Everything I've been reading has said there is no longer a way to access Lester from the west because of the Tacoma Watershed. If you know of a way in other than off 90, please enlighten me! I have Lester on my docket of places to explore.
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