Tag Archives: tulips

Tulip Town

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The last time I visited the Skagit Valley tulip fields was back in 2005.  And I left in a huff after capturing some really cool photos because I (and a number of other people, photographers and non-), were yelled at by what I assume was the foreman of the tulip pickers.  We’d parked before they opened and our bodies were in the way of the pickers (they weren’t, I’m here to tell you).  We all understood the deal and that obnoxious cretin didn’t have to yell – all he had to do was simply ask us to please move our cars because the parking area was not yet open.  That would have done it and none of us (read: me) would have been bent out of shape. I vowed never to return and I wrote a letter of complaint to the organizers of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  There was no sign, no nuthin’ telling us the area was not open.  And apparently none of the tulip field owners or the tulip festival organizers were photographers, else they would have known that sunrise and sunset shots of the fields are the best, so there should be at least one field allowing people (who might buy their bulbs or their  cut tulip bouquets) to come and set up their tripods.

Fast forward to 2012.  I decided – now that I understood most parking areas were not going to be open at sunrise-thirty AM – this year would be a good time to break my promise never to return, and actually go back to the tulip fields.

Although I try to have no expectations, I guess for the tulip fields, I had way too many.  I do admit to being tired on the day of my arrival, having driven a little over 3 hours from Mt. Rainier National Park up to the Mt. Vernon area (about 60-70 miles north of Seattle).  I did capture some really nice images (I think).  But….well….it just wasn’t what I thought it would be.  When I lived in Seattle some 17 years ago, I remember there being more than just 3 fields, which is the number of tulip fields I found that day of my arrival  (Ok, I didn’t look too hard, I’m sure there must have been more).  Only one of those fields was open and available to the public:  Tulip Town.

Quite the little enterprise, is Tulip Town.  For $5, you can park your car, enter and walk through a huge tent full of cut tulip bouquets, a couple of food stalls, a couple of art gallery-type stalls, a few tables and chairs, and then find yourself out among a couple of small tulip fields.  Although walking between the rows was prohibited, people were allowed to get as close as possible to the flowers.  They even had a tractor trailer to ferry people around  (for a fee, I believe).

It’s been a very cool spring up there (ironic, since it’s been an exceedingly warm spring here in SE Texas), so the majority of the tulips were not in bloom or only just beginning to open up.

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The red and yellow tulips were in full bloom, so  I have a lot of red and yellow tulip photos.

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5150 Red Tulips CROP

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The day was sort of ho-hum, but I could discern a little bit of detail in the uniformly-spread cloud cover, so with my Lightroom 4 gradient tool, I managed to get that slight detail/drama to show through in some shots.

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For these images, I used a 70-200mm lens and my trusty 24-105mm lens (for the close ups).  I don’t have a macro (next on my “to buy” list) at this point in time, so no really close close ups.

I left satisfied with my image captures.  No dramatic sunrise or sunset with the mountains and foothills in the background.  No barns surrounded by tulips.  That was ok, though.  I got photos of my favorite flowers and I was content.

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Filed under flowers, Photography, Travel, tulips, Vacation, Washington State

Looking Forward

Looking forward to my April (2012) vacation, that is.  Hopefully nothing unforeseen will occur to prevent this trip.  My first vacation of the year, and by then, I am going to need some time off or else I might end up going postal at work (just kidding, really I am, but by then I really will need a break from the 4AM – 4PM daily grind).

Anyway, this is not a lesson-type post or a detailed travelogue-type post, but rather a just-because-I-want-to-post-some-photos post.  So, here are a few photos taken between 2005 and 2010 showing you some of the places I plan on heading this April, if all goes according to plan:  Seattle, Skagit Valley to see the tulip fields, Mt. Rainier, and my sister and brother-in-law’s home to celebrate both my birthday and my bro-in-law’s.

On a side note, a number of these photos were taken with my then-trusty Nikon D70 (my very first digital SLR).  I loved that camera!  And, although I am now a pleased and proud Canon full-frame owner, I will readily tell people that I think Nikon made the best first digital SLRs.  Canon sucked in the beginning.  In addition to my D70, I bought the Canon digital Rebel (6mp), which was touted as the first reasonably-priced digital SLR (and it was, compared to Nikon’s digital SLRs).  However, in a side-by-side comparison, the D70 bested the Canon, both in camera body and kit lens.  So I ended up selling the Canon and bought a Nikon lens.  Although that was just 5 years ago, I have gone through a series of digital cameras, including the Nikon D40, Nikon D40X, Canon 5D, and my current Canon 5D Mark II bodies.

And yes, for those of you thinking it, I’m digging through archives yet again.  I’ve shown most of my more recent photos and haven’t gotten out very much for any new photography (although Feb 10-12, I will drive down to Port Aransas to visit some friends and do a little bird photography).  I think my archived photos are awfully nice, and there’s nothing like going back through the Raw files for a fresh re-edit.

Sea-Tac Aiport – one of my favorite airports (admittedly, I haven’t been through too very many airports, but still, I like this one).  This is a part of the huge long, wide, floor-to-ceiling window in the main portion of the terminal, where all the food/shopping is located.  Note the little airplane flying away.

Puget Sound, a Washington State ferry, and the Olympic Mountains

Washington state ferry “Tacoma” heading toward Bainbridge Island

View from the Seattle waterfront looking out toward Bainbridge Island

Harbor Island, Elliott Bay, and the Public Market at sunset – photo taken from the patio of the Inn At The Market

Inside Pike Place Market

When I lived in Seattle, I shopped at the fruit and veggie stalls in Pike Place Market alot – I loved cooking with chanterelles

There is nothing like fresh salmon – I won’t order it in Texas, though, because they just don’t know how to  cook it like they do in Seattle (IMO)

Ristras in the Market

I used to buy fresh flowers from the Market quite often, because I worked downtown and it was easy to stop off, buy a bouquet, and take it with me on the bus home

Seattle has all sorts of public art

The funky structures at Gasworks Park, on the north shore of Lake Union  (which is where I took that top photo looking toward the Seattle skyline)

Skagit Valley tulips early on an April morning

Heading toward the Sunrise entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park

On the path to The Mountain

The view near Emmons Vista

Looking back down from whence I came – to the distance on the left is Mt. Adams, and on the right is Mt. St. Helens.  Far down below is the Paradise Inn.

Up, up, up the path

Lone viewer looking over Nisqually Glacier

A room with a view

Waterfall and river of ice

Mt. Rainier and Nisqually Glacier (at the Paradise area of the park)

Sunrise at Paradise (sunrise in Paradise)

Becky and The Mountain

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Filed under Mt. Rainier National Park, Photography, Seattle, Travel, Vacation

Spring

Spring – I’m wishing for it.

Spring is one of the most beautiful times of year here in Texas, and the weather is pretty much perfect:  not humid, not too hot, not too cold.  The bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, spider lilies, and primrose pop up to blanket swaths of fields, boulevards, and front and back yards with blues, pinks, purples, reds, and whites.

At the same time the wildflowers are coloring up Texas, they are also popping  up in my favorite state in the whole US:  Washington.

I lived there for 10 years (Seattle), I have family there, and I hope to retire there.  I try to make it out to WA to visit family and favorite sights every year, but last year (2011) I didn’t make it because of my big Ireland trip (see my previous posts about that trip).  I generally like to visit Washington in April, to celebrate my and my brother-in-law’s birthdays.  I also like to visit during that month because my bro-in-law is a flower grower extraordinnaire and their front, side, and back yards sport tulips, daffodils, iris, and other spring flowers of every shape, kind, and color grow-able in that state.

Since the flowers are not in bloom yet down here (it’s January 21 as of this post), I’ve been digging through my spring flower photos (I’ve got a pretty large archive of stuff through which to dig) and thought I would post these reminders of the season in which I was born.

For most of these images, I used a macro lens or a wide-angle lens, depending on how I wanted to  capture the images.  The cameras vary, from the Mamiya medium-format images and Canon film cameras (which were then scanned years ago to digital format) to a Nikon D70 and D40X to the Canon 5D and 5D Mark II.

Spring is not only lovely in color, but in monochrome as well.

Spring – I’m wishing for it.

Hey – if you like this photoblog, please click on this link to vote for me for the Photoblog Awards .  And THANKS! 😀

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Filed under nature, Photography, Seasons, Spring