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Sunday, October 2, 2011

••◊ An Ever Green State of Mind, Part 1: Hurricane Ridge

I feel like if I was Catholic this blog post would begin, "forgive me follower, for I have sinned.  It's been three weeks since my last blog post.  I lusted after adventure and pictures, rather than take care of my duties to blog."  Hopefully this multi-part series of road trip (!!!) pictures makes up for my laziness. 

The week before last I spent in Washington State venturing around with mom in the Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula.  For those less familiar with the geography, the Olympic National Park is just west of Seattle, across Puget Sound.  The Park was founded in 1938.  According to historical documentation the first euro-expedition party to explore Hurricane Ridge, just south of Port Angeles, was led by Lt. Joseph P. O'Neil in 1885.  It took him approximately a month to carve through the dense rain forest in the same general direction.  Today you simply hop in a car and drive up in about a half hour to the gift shop/ranger station at the top.

So... on to the pictures... 

My mom spotted this afternoon dew on the leaves and thought the droplets looked like diamonds. 

The view to the west provided a grand vista of the treeline and valley below.

Yes, this was the ridge line you had to climb to get to the panorama photos, only slightly exaggerated by a 24mm lens - really, only slightly.  It left me breathing hard with my photo pack strapped to my back and tripod Paul Bunyan'ed over the shoulder.

For the grand vistas, here are some panoramas I stitched together.  I generally stuck with a 50mm focal length and used my lens offset fixture to offset the front element of the lens to the center of the pivot axis.  It worked like a champ!  Below are examples of why I feel at home in the mountains.

On the way down this dear (shown in the first shot above) decided to stop in the middle of the road and have lunch without regard for the steady stream of cars.  In fact, the deer were so tame that the first thing I saw at the top of Hurricane Ridge was a deer coming straight down into the parking lot to check us out.  No fear of people.  When one couple's dog started barking the deer didn't even flinch.  I guess they're used to teasing dogs on leashes about the dog's apparent lack of freedom!  Funny how the deer have figured out dog leashes, but not multi-ton moving objects.  I guess they understand insurance deductibles too.

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