INTRO:

I have been lucky enough to visit a number of National Parks both in the US and internationally, and Olympic National Park, like all of them can normally be well described as majestic and awe inspiring. But, what really took me when visiting this park was the amazing variety of completely different types of landscapes.

Yosemite I think is known for its huge rock formations, Sequoia for its trees, so I would have to say Olympic National Park for me is best known for coastline, but also Avatar like rock pools… wait… also a prehistoric jungles and lakes, and mountains. Its so hard distill into one key feature, which made it a fantastic location to photograph as every stop was totally different from the last.

ESSENTIALS:

Camera Gear Used

  • Leica MP240
  • Leica 35mm Summilux 1.4 FLE and 21mm Super Elmar Lenses
  • B&W 0.9 3 Stop ND Filter and B&W UV Filter
  • Some flat rocks as a makeshift tripod!
[BetterWeather location=”47.9691804,-123.49848079999998″ font_color=”#ffffff” unit=”F”]

Highway 101 from Portland takes two hours and 51 minutes for Highway 101 from Seattle is just over two hours.

http://www.olympicnationalparks.com

Sometimes a location is just too big for one article so here are some related articles

Map

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TitleCategoryAddressDescription
Lake Quinault Lodge Photo Spot 47.466952, -123.8482861
Kalaloch Beach No. 4 Photo Spot 47.73023999999999, -124.37773199999998
Ruby Beach Photo Spot 47.708430, -124.41391
Cape Flattery Photo Spot 48.384923, -124.715757
How Rain Forest Photo Spot 47.8168588, -124.04630179999998

CONTENT:

We stayed at the historic Lake Quanault Lodge which was once visited by President Roosevelt (you can even eat in the restaurant named after him and order his dish from the menu. We did. It was good!).

The lodge sits right on the lake and features a number of walking trails and water sports like canoeing, which were well worth making use off. As soon as we arrived, my wife and I headed for a walk around the lake to stretch the road trip legs. It wasn’t my fault the tripod happened to be taken and set up for a few sunset photos along the way. 😉

We started our exploration of the park by driving to Kinoloch Beach number 4. I picked this one, as after doing research online, I had seen some images of the rock formations, along with some really interesting rock pools, to explore at this particular beach. It was also a little more unique because some of these rocks could be climbed on from the shore.

Always look around for different angles and locations to take your photos (where safe to do so!). This image was taken after I had climbed up some of the rocks so I could look down at the rock pools below.

Around 15 minutes further up the road is another great beach, which I had seen photographed with the driftwood logs scattered all over the sand. Ruby Beach has a very unique look due to this and I was excited to find that someone had built a number of log houses / teepees along the water front.

(My wife was excited because it was filmed in the Twilight saga movies. This did not have the same effect for me. Chris would have been happy though. Its his favorite movie. He loves him some Robert Patterson. Weirdo.)

The weather conditions were a lot harder to photograph here. I had stupidly been convinced not to bring my tripod this time and found at Ruby beach it was very overcast, but also really bright too, making it all easily overexposed or washed out. So, using some of the bigger flat rocks I fashioned a makeshift tripod which I could sit my camera on and set it to two second timer with a three bracket of +1 and -1 exposure. This way I could capture the full range of tones in both the shadows and highlights with the intention of creating a HDR image in Lightroom.

Don’t do what Mike did. Always pack your tripod!

Something I wanted to try and capture at Ruby Beach which I thought was different to the other locations I had already been to was the smaller details. The logs, the small houses, and the tall stacks of pebbles which were teetering on any relatively flat surface that could be found.

We drove through Forks, only known for Twilight. We didn’t stop except to have lunch in a coffee shop where it looked like the carpet hadn’t been cleaned since 1973. It opened in 1972.

The next driving leg was a big one, a bit bigger than maybe I had planned or understood. Cape Flattery. I happened upon this place when scrolling through instagram one night and an image flashed up which caught my attention. It looked like something from another planet. I had to go there, no matter if it is the furtherest most north tip of the mainland USA (my phone even got confused with us being so far north that it switched over to an international carrier and welcome me to Canada!)

Idiot Photo Tip: A new kind of special tip made for people just like me and my Dad (who was also on this trip);

Viewing platforms are for tourists. Real photographers get off the platform and stand on the tiny loose rocks on the side of the cliff face for the better and less overly photographed angle.

(just be careful and Photo BaseCamp takes no responsibility for idiots following the Idiot Photo Tips – hence the name).

After a few hours on highway 112 and Cape Flattery Road, we finally arrived. My travel companions were not overly impressed. We had just spent two hours driving on very twisty roads. But they quickly got over this when the view revealed itself.

Cape Flattery has a number of great photo view points along a easy to walk one mile path. These include:

• View 1: The main viewing platform which was the image I had seen online. Really impressive rocks pillars in the water surrounded by lush plants and rough cliff faces.

• View 2: The second viewing platform where you get a view towards Tatoosh Island which features a lighthouse which would be great to have a zoom lens, 35mm did not cut it here!

• View 3: A small trail from view 2 leads to these really impressive caves and great shots (again if you have a zoom) of the birds nesting on the rock faces.

Our final stop was the Hoh Rain Forest. This is what blew me away at Olympic National Park. In a matter of hours I had traveled from sandy beaches, rugged coastline and now to a prehistoric jungle.

There are a number of hiking trails within the Hoh Rain Forest, but the one which really stood out to me was the Hall of Mosses. Huge trees are covered in thick dangly moss which drapes from almost every inch of the forest. It truly felt like you had stepped into Jurassic Park (the mosquitoes where prehistoric size too!).

I really enjoyed photographing the forest. There was such a variety of different trees to capture which looked so interesting with the moss all hanging off them. But also for the details and getting up close to the lush plants all around you. A number of these images I cropped into to really get a good look at the tiny little details.  If you have a macro lens, this would be a great place to take it. The Leica macro adaptor is now high on my list after visiting here.

I feel like I just scratched the surface of Olympic National Park. There is so much more to see including Port Angeles, Mount Olympus and the scenic roadway (which I will go back after winter to capture with snow) and the river rapids of Goblins Gate. I want to go back to Olympic National Park very soon.

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