10 photographic spots on the Olympic Peninsula
OK it was difficult picking 10 images for the Olympic Peninsula, because I live here. But sadly, I have been traveling so much that I have not done much in the past 10 years. "This is going to have to change." in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice. My photography style changes about every 5 years, so I have fresh eyes now. But this will have to do until I get my next set of ten up. And 10 years ago I felt I was at the top of the heap. Going to have to work my way back up. But that is what happens when you don't photograph an area for 10 years. Lesson learned.
The key to photographing the Olympics is knowing what places to go to, depending on what the weather is doing and the time of day. I like to go to the beaches and coast when sunny, and forests when raining. Because of the short wave length of green, green is easy to turn yellow, when sunny (hard light.)
In choosing these images I picked areas that most people could get to. The Olympic Peninsula is bigger that several states and it takes a full day to drive around without stopping for images or going off on trails. There are less tourist during the week and off season. If you go durning tourist season and need a hotel/motel make reservations in advance near the spot you want to visit. Like I say it's a big place.
Scroll down to get to #1and don't forget to read the copy for an explanation and a few tips.
# 10 Hoh & Quinault rainforests
The unique thing about the Olympic Peninsula is that you have 3 climates: Water and beaches, Mountains, and Rain Forests. The Hot Rain Forest and the Quinault Rain Forest are two rainforests in the park even though you can find many on the west side trails. The Hoh has a campground where you can camp with the elk. The Quinault Rain Forest has a beautiful old lodge that was built for Teddy Roosevelt to stay in. It is one of five hotels located in the park. (Other four: Kalaloch, Lake Crescent, Sol Duc Falls, and Log Cabin.) There are also places to stay at Forks, Ocean Shores, Sekiu, Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Townsend, and along the Hood Canal.
# 9 Numerous barns
The Olympic Peninsula is peppered with old barns but not in the park. Best areas are Sequim, Forks, Port Townsend, Hood Canal, Shelton. If you like barns the best advice I can give you is to hire a guide. Actually anytime your photographic time is limited the smartest thing you can do is hire one of us to find the best places quicker. You will get more quality images per hour.
# 8 Ocean Shores
This is about the only commercial tourist area on the Peninsula. If you are looking for go-carts, motor bikes on the beach, horses, tourist shopping then Ocean Shores is the place to be. It is a perfect place for kids that are not used to hiking or people with limited endurance. I don't put myself in those categories and I've always had fun going there too. And there is a casino near-by if you like to gamble.
# 7 Rocky Brooke Falls and other falls
This one is Rocky Brooke Falls near Brinnon. It is hard to find because there are no signs that point to it. It is not far off the road. Since the snow covered Olympic Mountains quickly come down from 8,000 feet to sea level, there are a number of waterfalls on The Peninsula. And even the trails that lead to some of the falls have many photogenic streams, creeks, and rivers. The key to photo-graphing the falls is to be there when the sun light is not on them.
# 6 Hurricane Ridge in spring
Hurricane Ridge is great anytime of the year, but is closed in the winter when the snow is too thick. Winter time chains are required to get past gate. There is also a fee to get up to the top, unless you have a National Parks Pass. Same with Sol Duc and Hoh Rain Forest. Of course, if you are with a guide they will have a pass. Spring time in the Olympics is May and June usually. It depends on Winter snowfall. There are wild flowers on the Olympics that you will not find anywhere else in the world. It is a breath taking view. Sometimes the blue sky at the top is well above the clouds you may see below. Makes for a great image.
# 5 Victorian Port Townsend
Around the turn of the Century (1900) a lot of the towns on the Olympic Peninsula were expecting the railroad to turn them into boom towns. This was because of all the timber. The Spruce tree was used to make airplanes, but all that changed rather quickly and the Seattle area won out on the railroads. Lots of towns became deserted or close to it. Port Townsend was one of them. Rather than tear down all the nice big Victorian houses, they were just left alone. It wasn't until the 50s and 60s, that the town became a tourist attraction by remodeling all these beautiful Victorian houses.
Downtown Water Street is also famous for their old brick buildings that house unique shopping stores. And if you are there the 2nd weekend of September you can witness the Huge Wooden Boat Festival. PT as it is called by the locals has a number of weekend events. Call the Chamber to get a list. They always have something going.
# 4 Sunny Sequim is great for sunsets
Sequim actually has less rain than San Francisco. Lived here for 15 years and it has not had more than 17 inches of rain per year. Seattle gets between 36 and 40 and if you go over to the rain forest you could have as many as 360 inches a year. The average age of Sequim residents is 60. People from all over the world come here to retire. They are minutes away from beaches and mountains.
Sequim is also famous for the Dungeness spit, which is that thin line at the horizon. At over 5 miles long it is the world's largest natural sand spit. At the end of the spit is a lighthouse. The spit is a wildlife sanctuary. A great10 mile hike, and you have a great view of the Olympic Mountains on a sunny day.
Another main attraction is the Olympic Game Park where you can drive through and feed buffalo, elk, the famous waving bear, and many other animals. It used to be a game farm for Walt Disney to do there wild life movies like Gentle Ben.
And the month of July is lavender growing season in the North American Lavender Capital. Over 30 farms to visit. Over 100 species of lavender. 3rd weekend in July is Lavender Festival.
# 3 Cape Alava/ Lake Ozette/ Neah Bay
Ok well that is three areas, but this is # 3. Lake Ozette and Cape Alava are right next to each other. Lake Ozette is the largest lake in Washington and when there is not a storm brewing is a great place to Kayak and Canoe. Campgrounds are located at the lake but a lot of people like the 3 mile hike each way of the triangle trails that connect Lake Ozette to Sand Point and Cape Alava.
Cape Alava is the location of the Ozette Native American Indian dig. Around 1750 the Ozette Indian village was buried in the middle of the night by a mud slide. It was not discovered until 1969. In 1971 my brother and I were camping out there and surprised to find our old neighbor Dick Daugherty in charge of the dig. We got to witness them digging up some of the 55,000 artifacts. Then Dick took us up in a helicopter and showed us what he thought happened. Love to show you some of those images but mine got wasted in a flood. Artifacts can be seen in Neah Bay Makah Museum.
This image is kelp whips at Cape Alava and it was photographed with a polarizer to get these true colors.
By the way, if you go camping out there you need to pack your food in bear proof containers that you can rent at the ranger station. If you do the 9 mile triangle start early in the morning.
# 2 Sekiu Fishing Village
Sekiu is a small fishing village located on Scenic Byway 112 not to far from Neah Bay and the Makah Native American Reservation. I was down at ShiShi Beach where I badly hyperextended my elbow. So I drove that night to Olsen's Resort where I spent the night in my van. Think I got there about 1 am. Around 4 am I woke up in so much pain and could barely move my arm or body for that matter. But I saw this and hobbled outside to take a picture. Do you know how difficult it is to take a picture with one arm. Try to hold your camera and focus. The whole hilarious story is in my 100 Lessons course.
# 1 Beach Trail Number 1
If you are not from Washington there are a lot of places that you can say, "looks like some place out of this world." Well I am from Washington and trail number one in the Southwest corner of the Olympic National Park looked out of this world. I first photographed it in good weather and I was amazed at the growths on the trees. These are diseased Spruce trees I later found out.
Well when you are photographing the Olympic Peninsula you never know when marine fog is going to roll in. I was up at LaPush and this happened. I thought to myself I bet those diseased Spruce trees would look good in fog. So I drove two hours down the coast to photograph them. They looked even spookier. Knowing the options helps where ever you go. Pride yourself in always being able to find a great image regardless of conditions. Maybe I will go there next Halloween.