Wednesday, August 20, 2008

15-minute trip from Seattle

Because of water level differences between fresh water and sea water, Ballard Locks give the ships a way to cross from Lake Washington to the Puget Sound and vice versa.

It is also a place to witness the remarkable journey of salmons that swim upstream from the ocean (hundreds or thousands of miles away) to the lakes and rivers to spawn. After growing from eggs into young salmons, they instinctively go back to the ocean by reversely swimming through this canal and will come back to the same place to breed when they mature. The same process is repeated, known as the Salmon circle of life.

Hmmm favorite sushi. They sure don't look as good as they taste.
Salmons swimming to fresh water to spawn

View of Puget Sound at Discovery Park, when the sun is setting behind the Olympic mountains
Sunset at Puget Sound

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Road Trip to the Olympic

While everybody is cheering for the Olympic games in Beijing where the best of the best athletes from around the world are competing against each others and trying to beat the world records, I too am cheering my way to the Olympic - Olympic National Park, west of Seattle that is.

The trip begins with a cloudy morning but the sky on the west looks sunny and promising. An hour of driving later I reach the highway W16 accompanied by the tall pine trees and mountains. It is still mostly cloudy as I drive along the winding scenic road. But another hour later I arrive at Port Angeles where the sky is blue and the sun is brightly casting upon the town.

Unhurriedly, I decide to take a walk around the port before going to my final destination as I remember a saying; "It's the journey that matters, not the destination." Located on the Olympic peninsula, Port Angeles offers a terrific open view of the Pacific inlet to the North and the Olympic mountains to the South. I feel the cool ocean breeze as I stroll along the shimmering water front and looking across I could see Victoria island on Canadian side.

An hour later, I head for Hurricane Ridge at the Olympic National Park despite being warned by the Information Center that it might be too cloudy up there to see anything. It does look cloudy at high elevation but at least the clouds are not dark enough to produce rains. Having come this far, I can't be deterred by these clouds. Plus the elevation is probably high enough above the clouds that I can still enjoy the view up there.

After another hour drive climbing up on a serpentine scenic road, I finally reach Hurricane Ridge at 5400 ft. elevation. Up here it's not as bad as it looks from Port Angeles. It is less cloudy and I am actually as high as the cloud. Though I cannot see Port Angeles and the Pacific inlet down below, I can still have a breath-taking view of the Olympic mountain peaks covered with ice caps. It's still bright enough to hike along the meadow trails.

Hurricane Ridge

Soon after I park, I eat my lunch sandwich, drink good amount of water and hike up to the tallest hill around. Without enough sun and the wind, the weather is a bit chilly but calm. Along the trails are pine trees and beds of green grass and wild flowers mostly in purple, white and yellow. I encounter squirrels, birds, and deers as they are coming out to eat their dinner buffet on the rich meadows. The air is pristine and hiking through the white clouds at high elevation is really spiritually uplifting.

Dinner time, Hurricane Ridge

I'm busy

In sum, hiking at the Olympic National Park is as spectacular as the Americans unexpectedly beat the French in the 400 meter Free-style Swimming Relay tonight.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

My tools

These Canon lenses help me capture the beauties of natures, landscapes, objects and the living things around.

From left to right: 10-22mm, 28-135mm and the newly bought 70-200mm 2.8 L IS
10-22mm, 28-135mm, 70-200mm

Each lens is great at serving its specific shooting purpose. But the one I use most frequently is 28-135mm. It's a carry-around lens with good quality, my first good lens for my start-up photography. It has a good range of zoom serving multiple types of shooting. But most importantly, it has a sentimental value as it was a gift from my dad.