Thursday's Travelogue: Mt. Rainier National Park

Photograph by Rick Sammon
This is part of a series I run here on my blog: Thursday's Travelogue. This week: Mt. Rainier National Park.

Juan Pons and I are running a photo tour/workshop to the park next month. We have one spot open. Click here for info:

Photo tips:
• Bring wide-angle, telephoto and macro lenses.
• Pack a polarizing filter.
• Be prepared to shoot HDR. For discounts on HDR plug-ins, click here.
• Shoot a series of images for panos. Great pano opportunities.
• Tote a tripod.
• As simple as it sounds, shoot horizontal and vertical photos of the same scene. Frame for a cover.
• Work with reflections.
• Pre prepared to photograph small waterfalls - pack an ND filter.
• Also pack a split ND filter for landscapes.
• Always look up, back and up - for added photo opportunities.
• Get to the park before dawn to capture the beautiful dawn light.
• Stay until after sunset, when you capture the afterglow of sunset.
• Remove all filters when shooting into the sun.
• Explore the area surrounding the park. You'll find other great photos opportunities. See image below.
• Bring a flashlight for early morning shoots. Head mounted flashlights are best for photographers.

Head-mounted flashlights:
Streamlight 61407 Enduro Head-Mounted Flashlight with Visor Clip and Elastic Strap, Blaze Camo
SpareHand Head Shot Flashlight with Head Band

Photograph by Rick Sammon
Travel tips:
• No gas in the park. Gas up!
• Pack a map for your park visit.
• If you will be leading a photo tour, you'll need a permit.
• Not too many hotels/motels near the park. Do a search on-line and book early.
• You can camp in the park, but you need a permit.
• You'll probably be coming from Seattle. Keep your camera handy. It's a beautiful drive.
• Dress in layers and bring gloves. It's cool in the morning but it warms up - at least in September when we are going :-)
• Hiking boots are a must.
• Plan your shoots in advance - so you are on site in plenty of time to catch the light.
• Check out the Mt. Rainier National Park site for detailed info about the park.

Photograph by Rick Sammon. We may eat or shoot HDR here. It's a possibility.
Explore the light,

P.S. Here are two bonus tips by Juan:

Photograph by Juan Pons
Get closer. Sometimes getting closer than you originally intended can create a completely different but very interesting and engaging image. While at Mt. Rainier National Park I noticed these awesome looking plants that reminded me of the "Truffula Trees" from the famous Dr. Seus story "The Lorax". I was looking for a way to capture both the detail as well as number of these you would encounter in the fields. So in order to do that I used my widest lens the 10-22 mm Canon zoom lens set at the 10mm and got in VERY close to one of the Western Pasqueflower seedpod while carefully framing my background to include items of interest. The front of my lens was probably about 4-5 inches away from the seedpod on the left, and I was lying down on the ground on my side. A little uncomfortable, yes, but this allowed me to capture the exquisite detail of this seedpod while also including the environment.

Photograph by Juan Pons
Think outside of the box. We've all heard the saying "Dead Center is Deadly," and for the most part that is correct. But sometimes rules are meant to be broken. In this case I placed Mt. Rainier dead center mostly because I thought it was such as strong element that it deserved to be dead center. However I made sure to balance the image by having other strong elements in my image to keep the viewer interested. It is important to know your basic compositional rules, but don't be a slave to them break them form time to time to add more impact and interest to your images.

Rick and I look forward to the workshop. We may even recored a segment for our Digital Photo Experience podcast.