Olympic National Park & 2nd Beach

A Segment of the Bill Forney Workshop, Olympic Peninsula, WA

(6th of 7 Posts from this Trip)


(Note:  Click on any of the images below to see an enlargement in a new window)




Before visiting the Olympic NP on Bill Fortney’s His Light Workshop, I had an impression that the entire peninsula would most likely be shrouded in mist or drizzle much of the time.  That wasn’t the case, and in fact, the sunshine made shooting other than at the day’s extremes a bit challenging.

The one exception was Hurricane Ridge, about 20 miles above Port Angeles.  We made three trips (two sunset, one sunrise) and clouds covered much of the ridges and even the ridge itself during the first evening’s shoot.  So we were forced to alter the plan and instead to try out a few macro and close-ups.

Olympic5The most popular subject of the group that evening was of the misty, young lupine leaves along the trail from the parking lot.  It was really funny to be in a big setting like the Hurricane Ridge overlook and see two dozen photographers all huddled near the ground with cameras only inches off the plants – like scientists over microscopes.  Hilarious!

1-px-x-560-px-background-line-shimBut the star of this location is clearly the distant snow-tipped mountains in setting sun.  This isn’t a great example, but was as good as it got for me on those shoots.Hurricane1

Olympic8About halfway down on the drive back down to town, I dropped below the ceiling of clouds that had covered the ridgeline.  An amazing sky, clouds and even a rainbow popped out.  By the time I found a pull-out, most of the rainbow had dissipated, but he scenes from there were worth shooting nevertheless.1-px-x-560-px-background-line-shim

Olympic9Next stop, the Sol Duc River and Falls.  I wasn’t feeling well and fatigue was setting in big-time, so I postponed the hike up to the falls until the next visit.  Instead, I hung out down lower or the river and concentrated on some “picture-within-the-picture” details.  1-px-x-560-px-background-line-shimOlympic4Bill always reminded us not to miss the picture within the picture (details and “extractions”).Since doing that aligns with my enjoyment of shooting abstracts, I was very happy to look for those situations.  Sometimes, the main subject is less of a capture than one or two of its details.

On to the small town of Forks on the western side of the park.  The planned shoot there was at the Hoh Rain Forest, which is best known for its drizzly skies, hanging moss and an almost “Jurrasic Park” feel.

Fern1But in keeping with our luck so far, it was an unusually sunny day, and one thing that isn’t easy to photograph is a rain forest in the sunshine.  I came away with almost nothing notable, but enjoyed the “Hall of Moss” trail anyway.

1-px-x-560-px-background-line-shimThe highlight of this leg of the Olympic segment was the evening shoot on “2nd Beach” near the small resort community within the Quileute Native Reservation.

Beach1Most of us have been somewhere at sunset to photograph the beach.  But is a particularly nice setting due in large part to the rugged shoreline and offshore Crying Lady Rock and natural arch.  Matt Kloskowski gathered several of us around a spot he’d identified and coached us through setting up for low-angle, long-exposure captures of the surf, rocks and tidepools.  I’m not exactly sure whether I would’ve found this spot, much less captured it with whatever emotion it might convey.  But, since most everything in this workshop was in the context of group settings, it’s hard to separate out what I might not have captured on my own vs. what I did as a part of a workshop group.

I think that may be a good topic for another post.

I had some weird and still unexplained problem with light leakage behind the 10-stop filter, even with the viewfinder cover closed.  So, some of what might have otherwise been nice compositions went into the deleted category due to a ghostly glow too far into the image to crop.

Everyone else cleared out shortly after sunset.  Matt and I were the sole stragglers, staying almost an hour more.  I really came to share Matt’s appreciation for shooting the beach at that time, even after the “blue hour” more than most any other time.  He and I shared some laughs about possibly getting lost on what was now a more challenging return hike without a headlamp, and we talked about why that part of waning day was so special.  I’m sure he’d still be out there at midnight if he’d had a ride back.  I might’ve stayed with him.

Thanks, Matt, for sharing some really nice moments and a beautiful spot.

So, this ended a really great workshop and photography experience.  As I said in a previous post, this one is certain to stay on as one of my favorites, and I hope I’ll stay in touch with many of the new friends I met.

Thanks for letting me share these various posts from the workshop.  I hope they were  interesting and conveyed just a tad of my enjoyment and the value from what I learned on the trip.

Oh, and I also hope you’ll check back for some of the images I captured on the remainder of the drive back home along the Washington and Oregon coast (lighthouses, a shipwreck, more harbors, and night lights) (Next post of this same date).  Stay tuned for that later.


p.s. Matt.  Thanks also for helping to tote some of my gear.  Now that didn’t make me feel too old!!



  1. The shot of the beach later in the evening is pretty unexpected, it’s amazing that just a littler later in the day makes the beach look different than you would typically see in other late-day beach photographs. Very usual looking.

  2. Really loved the Crying Lady Rock pic. Beatiful. Also loved the golden sky pic with the cloud formation above. They look like paintings, not photographs.

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