“If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one.” – Bhagavad Gita (Hindu holy book)

This view – the thousands of radiant flowers, endless wild valleys, glaciated peaks, and the life giving warmth of our dazzling sun – is the mighty one. Enjoy it!

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Avalanche Lilies, Olympic National Park, Washington

Radiance of a Thousand Suns : Prints Available
Fields of Avalanche Lilies (Erythronium montanum) glow in the fading sunset light high on the slopes of the Olympic mountains with a view of Mt Olympus (far left) in Washington’s Olympic National Park.

No flowers were harmed in the making of this image – I stayed at the edge of the field of blooms. Always respect the land!

The Tech: Canon 5D2, Nikon 14-24, tripod
Exposure: iso 200, f/16, (flowers) 1/25th (mountains) 1/13th (sky) 1/60th sec
Notes: five images hand blended. Two for depth of field, another two for dynamic range (sky and hills), and a final one for flare control.

I recently spent two days showing my good friend, fellow nature photographer, author, and publisher, Colleen Miniuk-Sperry, the wonders of summer wildflowers in the mountains of Olympic National Park. We always have enjoyable discussions; but the most lively ones are about the merit of clouds vs. blue skies. She being a platinum member of the Cloud Appreciation Society, and I being a devotee of the sun (though I admit that do enjoy a good cloud, too). The sun always brings such life and depth to a landscape, letting you soak in the warmth and day dream about the distant views. Of course, in the Pacific Northwest you have to enjoy it as you only get two months of this every year.

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Light Dancers, Olympic National Park, Washington

Light Dancers : Prints Available
Peaceful grasses illuminated by the setting sun in a field of Harebell in Washington’s Olympic National Park.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, 24-105mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 800, f/5.6, 1/125th sec

Olympic National Park is a place of extremes, and I’ve written in the past about the verdant jungles, alpine flowers, winter snowstorms, and wild coastlines, but I had not yet mentioned the almost desert-like landscape of the eastern part of the mountain range. This area lies within the rainshadow of Mount Olympus, and receives more sunshine than anywhere else in Western Washington. Down by the ocean is the town of Sequim, which is home to one of the best climates for lavender farms and retirees. Up in the mountains the landscape is one of austerity. The soil consists of sand, rock, and a few fragile plants sheltered by stately pines that get to enjoy the views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island to the North.

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Deer Park, Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic Serenity : Prints Available
Sunrise in Olympic National Park, from Deer Park, with a view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca (covered in clouds) and the mountains of Vancouver Island.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, 24-105mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/14, 1/5th and 0.6 sec
Notes: 2 Exposures hand blended for dynamic range.

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2 Comments to “Radiance of a Thousand Suns – Olympic National Park”

  1. Sarah Marino says:

    A beautiful selection of images, Floris! I especially like the light and composition in the third image. I will put in a vote for photographing landscapes under the colors of the earth shadow and Belt of Venus as being one of my favorite times for photography, which seems to be the most under-appreciated time of day among many landscape photographers.

  2. Ryder says:

    Hey Floris – great to stumble upon your blog just now, as I was nearby at Obstruction peak hiking last weekend. I decided to go down and camp at Moose lake instead of trek across to Deer Park. I’ve been looking at your image Twilight Blues for a number of weeks now, hoping to try a similar technique of waiting for the stars to come out and then putting the two exposures together.

    Also cool to read that you can keep up photography and get out of the city while still pursuing your research. I’m looking to find that kind of balance myself right now.