Olympic Peninsula, WA (Early May 2014)

Highlights

  • Small waterfalls & streams of Quinault rainforest
  • Hall of Mosses hike in Hoh Rainforest
  • La Push First Beach
  • Madison Creek Falls
  • Point No Point Lighthouse in Hansville, WA

In early May 2014, My friend Chris and I did a 400 mile/2-day tour of the Olympic Peninsula in Western Washington State.

May 14 Olympic Peninsula Trip

We left Redmond, WA in the afternoon and checked into Rain Forest Resort in the Quinault rainforest. Next morning, we headed to the rainforest. Although it is overshadowed by nearby Hoh, this is not a slouch. It has some terrific small waterfalls and streams worth photographing. I believe it is a better spot to learn nature photography especially practice long exposure and waterfalls/stream techniques compared to the Hoh. You can spend hours photographing the falls and streams right from the road (but you need to get out of the car :-)).

Our first waterfall was Cascade Falls. The 0.5 mile hike was serene. As it was a cloudy and rainy day, the lighting was perfect. Direct sunlight would be a major issue to shoot this falls.

Cascade Falls, Quinault Rainforest
Nikon D610 24mm f16 1/2 ISO100
(47.46305, -123.84133)

The next stop was at Falls Creek Falls. Although it is the smallest of the multitude of waterfalls along the South Shore Road, the 12′ falls is the easiest to access and beautiful to photograph. You can shoot from either side of the creek.

Falls Creek Falls, Quinault Rainforest
Nikon D610 18mm f16 1/1.6 ISO100
(47.468654, -123.846048)
Falls Creek, Quinault Rainforest
Nikon D610 18mm f11 1sec ISO100
(47.468487, -123.845757)

Merriman Falls situated on the side of the South Shore road is a good one. I felt that the base of the falls was more interesting than the 40′ falls itself. It started to rain heavily when we got there and we covered the equipment with rain covers and hoisted the umbrellas.

Chris @ base of Merriman Falls, Quinault Rainforest
Nikon D610 44mm f16 1.6sec ISO100
(47.500575, -123.784589)
Base of Merriman Falls, Quinault Rainforest
Nikon D610 44mm f16 2.5sec ISO100
(47.500575, -123.784589)

Last falls we encountered along the South Shore Drive was the Bunch Falls (also called Bunch Creek Falls).

Bunch Falls, Quinault Rainforest
Nikon D610 48mm f16 0.5sec ISO100
(47.529533, -123.696076)

In addition to the waterfalls, there are some spectacular streams that you can photograph right from the road. Below is an image of one of the streams.

Quinault Rainforest stream crossing the South Shore Drive
Nikon D610 34mm f22 1.3sec ISO100
(47.518666, -123.771800)

After an excellent lunch at Lake Quinault Lodge, we drove around the lake towards Hoh rainforest. Along the northern side of the lake, we encountered a few elks forcing us to stop the SUV. I got back into the back seat and shot these 3 images from within the confines of the vehicle.Can’t get out of the vehicle when an elk is nearby.

Quinault Rainforest Roosevelt Elk
Nikon D7100 112mm f5.6 1/250 ISO1600
(47.534671, -123.698507)
Quinault Rainforest Roosevelt Elk
Nikon D7100 150mm f7.1 1/320 ISO1600
(47.534671, -123.698507)
Quinault Rainforest Roosevelt Elk
Nikon D7100 150mm f7.1 1/200 ISO1600
(47.534671, -123.698507)

It was still cloudy and drizzing a bit and we headed to Forks for an early dinner at Pacific Pizza on US101 in the town. We could see the sky clearing and our anticipation spiked for a terrific sunset. We first headed to Rialto beach and we were not super impressed. We did not have the time to hike to the Second beach as well and so we decided to go to the First beach. The sunset was just amazing and we grabbed a bunch of keepers. Here is a sampling.

Sunset @ La Push First Beach
Nikon D610 100mm f11 1/60 ISO100
(47.908276, -124.639972)
Sunset @ La Push First Beach
Nikon D610 58mm f13 1/200 ISO100
(47.908276, -124.639972)
Sunset @ La Push First Beach
Nikon D610 85mm f10 1/125 ISO100
(47.908276, -124.639972)
Sunset @ La Push First Beach
Nikon D610 78mm f10 1/40 ISO100
(47.908629, -124.639877)

Next morning, we got up before sunrise and drove to the Hoh Rainforest. We were the first ones to park our vehicle. We directly headed to the 1-mile Hall of Mosses trail. What an experience. The scenery was superb but composing images was a challenge for me. Green was everywhere. You can do a virtual hike on Google Maps. Here are three images from the hike.

Chris @ Hall of Mosses trail in Hoh Rainforest
Nikon D610 46mm f8 1/4 ISO200
(47.860346, -123.934217)
Hall of Mosses trail in Hoh Rainforest
Nikon D610 34mm f8 0.6sec ISO200
(47.860346, -123.934217)
Hall of Mosses trail in Hoh Rainforest
Nikon D610 44mm f8 1sec ISO200
(47.860346, -123.934217)

After completing the hike, we drove to the Madison Creek Falls, a 76′ waterfall splashing into a small pool near Port Angeles, WA. Though up against some tough competition in Sol Duc Falls and Wolf Creek Falls, Madison Creek Falls is one of the most photogenic waterfalls on the north side of the Olympic Peninsula and early summer is one of the better times to photograph this. As it was not cloudy, early afternoon sun shine was hitting portions of the falls creating a challenge to photograph it.

Madison (Creek) Falls
Nikon D610 20mm f16 1sec ISO100
(48.042000, -123.588578)
Madison (Creek) Falls
Nikon D610 38mm f14 1/2 ISO100
(48.042000, -123.588578)

After an hour at the falls, we drove to the last spot of the trip – Point No Point Lighthouse in the town of Hansville, WA. Built in 1880, it is an operational aid to navigation on the northeastern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula on the west side of Puget Sound, at Point No Point where Admiralty Inlet joins Puget Sound.

Point No Point Lighthouse, Hansvillw, WA
Nikon D610 50mm f11 1/320 ISO200
(47.912109, -122.527086)
Point No Point Lighthouse, Hansvillw, WA
Nikon D700 35mm f11 1/100 ISO200
(47.912092, -122.527283)

After completing the lighthouse shoot, we drove to Kinston-Edmonds Ferry, loaded the SUV on the ferry and returned home by dinner time!!!

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