Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Winter Photography

I have added two Web pages for winter photography in Mt. Rainier NP. The first is an introduction and overview and the second is a map of locations. It's the initial version and will be reviewed and updated over the winter as I find more information.

You're welcome to send suggestions, comments, problems or questions. I haven't been a winter person in the last few years due to health reasons so my experience is limited to a few areas so I'm relying on other people who have information or recent experience in the NP. And some of the information is translated from spring to fall trips and my winter experience in other areas and reports by the news, media and outdoor groups.

If you do plan a winter photography trips, it would be wise if you don't any experience with winter in the NP, you find people who are, because it's a different world, and can easily be unforgiving if you get too far in the backcountry. I've been there often enough to know navigation and winter skills are not just essential but mandatory. Lots and expanses of snow hides a lot of details and can make things difficult and cold.

In addition, make sure your photography equipment, especially the camera(s) are cold weather tolerant. A lot of situation in cold weather which creates problems, like freezing lenses, battery failures, frost on filters, and especially electronics problems or failures. The last thing you need is to get there and everything quits or freezes.

Anyway, that's it for now. Stayed tuned, it will improve and there will be more Web pages over the winter.

An evolving idea

While working on some new Web pages (soon to be on-line and here) I was thinking about how people may use the Photo guide to Mt. Rainier NP. I hope folks undestands it's an evolving idea and that over time, the pages will be updated or replaced and new ones added, so hopefully it will be current to the available information for your visit and photography. That said, I'm only one person working here, so some work takes time and has to fit into the other ascpect of my work and life.

The eventual goal of this guide is a book, probably on-line and, hopefully, a publisher, but that's a few years away for now. Now it's develop the framework and get the overview into each catagory and type of interest, and then expand it as I work and find new information or new ways to present information. I already have the visual idea of the book, mostly an introduction guide with maps and links to the Website for additional and current information.

The book will also have maps, preferably six, one overview, the four quadrants and the Paradise area, the last five with points and details. Eventually I plan to add photos from my favorite places and examples of some of the photo opportunities. But fitting the photo trips into the work along with the Mt. Rainier NP history, maps and expedition projects will take time. There are too many excellent photo and photo essay books on Mt. Rainier, so mine wouldn't help much.

Anyway, that's the thoughts. Take the Web pages as works in progress. And you're always welcome to send questions, suggestions, commetns or problems about the Website and photo guide.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Photo Guide

Click on photo for Photo Guide

My goal is to provide a photography guide to Mount Rainier National Park. This guide is in the initial stages of development and it will expand and updated as I add my own hiking and photography experience, the experience of better photographers on their Website and in their books, and from the current and best available Website for background, travel and photography information.

Below are the list of topics in the photography guide. Those sections noted as "in progress" mean the Web page is basically there but the content is still in progress as I research and assemble the existing data and do my own in the field. Those sections noted as "forthcoming" are place holders for future sections, meaning they're simply ideas I plan to add to the guide.

Latest News
Current Access
Monthly Report
NP Overview - forthcoming
Background to Guide
Chronological Blog List
Web Cameras

Area Overview
Travel and Places
Weather Overview and Map of sites
Weather and Snow Resources
Forests & Trees - forthcoming
Wildflowers and Map
Geology Information
Glaciers & Ice Caves - forthcoming
Sun & Moon

Road Trips - Map - forthcoming
Trail Overview
Hiking Tips
Day Hikes - Map
Backountry Hikes - forthcoming
Winter in NP - forthcoming
Bike roads & trails - Map
Lakes - Map and List
Waterfalls - Map and List
Lookouts - Map

Photo Overview
Photo Tips
NPS Photo Permits
Area Overview
Paradise Area
White River - In progress
Ohanapecosh - In progress
Nisqually River
Carbon River & Mowich Lake - In progress

History of NP - forthcoming
Early Explorations - forthcoming
Early Photographers
1896 Expedition
1893-97 Forest Reserve
National Park Effort - forthcoming
1899 Designation
Laws governing NP
Early USGS & NPS Maps - forthcoming

Photo Gallery
Other Photographers
On-line Trail/Hike Guides
Maps - USGS and Resouces
Topos as DRG's or PDF's
Books on Mt. Rainier NP
Information & Resources
information copyrights
Photo Guide Suggestions

Another version is found on my Website.

MPG V2.5

Click on photo for Photo Guide

I have updated and upgraded the photo guide with a new Web pages about Mt. Rainier NP, namely NPS Mt. Rainier NP Web cams, USGS 7 1/2 minute topographic maps and resources, and the 1893-97 Forest Reserve.

You can get a more complete description of the status of the projects along with immediate and longterm plans for new Web pages. When there is sufficient material, the photo guide will be redesigned to accommodate all of the work, which at this time is just an idea in the back of my mind.

I hope you find the Web pages and material helpful and useful, and as always, you're always welcome to send e-mail with your questions, suggestions or problems.

1893-97 Forest Reserve

Before Mount Rainier was a Naitonal Park and while the effort was going on to designate the area as a National Park, another effort was underway and successful before the NP law to incorporate the area into a larger national forest reserve, which extended from north of the later NP to just north of the Columbia area and encompassening much of the western side of the Cascade Mountains and the eastern part over the divide abutting to the recognized Native American (Indian) reservations.

The first was proposed in 1891 and then designated in 1897, see the laws, where the later NP was designated within the forest reserve boundaries and still exists inside the larger US Forest Service national forests and different wilderness areas. The reserve is identified in the USGS report "Mount Rainier Forest Reserve, Washington", Fred G. Plummer, US Geological Survey 21st Annual Report, 1899-1900, Part V, pages 81-143. (Not available as on-line version). This is the first study of the forests and timber resources of the whole reserve including Mt. Rainier NP. Also, obviously dated but worthwhile with photos and original map.

I found an original print of the report along with the attached map, which you can see the map. As near as I can find, the forest reserve and national park designations were separate efforts, as the NP designation is well documented but the Forest Reserve designation isn't. Since it's pre-dates the creation of the US Forest Service, I haven't found any history beyond the report. Yet, anyway.

As I've found the period of 1890-1900 was a busy period for the Mount Rainier area. I'm still working and researching, and I'll post more entries here and on Web pages as I develop enough to put on-line. Please let me know if you have ideas suggestions or resources, please let me know.

USGS topo maps

I've finished the first version of the maps resources Web pages. There are three Web pages, starting at map resources which lists the various maps and sources of maps available on-line and locally, when you visit. In addition you can get USGS maps from their on-line store.

The other two Web pages are for downloading 7 1/2 minute (1:24,000) topographic maps produced by the USGS.

The first are the Digital Raster Graphic (background) image files of the older topographic maps. They're in TIFF files which any photo editor can edit when unzipped.

The second are the Abode PDF image files of the latest topographic maps downloaded from the USGS Map Locator. You can use Adobe Reader or Pro to open and edit the files as well as most photo editor.

The PDF files were created by the USGS with a commercial software package, and when displaying them will produce a popup window about the package. You can simply ignore it. I'm working to produce PDF's without this quirk, but they're embedded in the file.

Please let me know if you have any problems or questions about the Web pages and maps.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Well, I'm working on updates and new Web pages and wandering around the Web I discovered the NPS has reactivated the Webcams they used to have in the old Jackson Vistors Center (the concrete flying saucer building now gone). There are now four Webcams in the new Jackson Visitors Center, one facing due north at the summit, one southeast at the Tootash Range, one looking east and one looking west.

The latest images can be found here and a list can be found on the NPS Mt. Rainier NP Website. However, at this time (1/15/09) they're current down due to winter conditions and haven't been updated in almost two weeks. You can also easily locate other Webcams for the Mountain via a Google search but I found none of them are really useful for seeing conditions in and around Mt. Raiiner except in a cursory way. But I'm still looking too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sun and Moon Information

I have updated the Web pags for the sunrise and sunset and moonrise and moonset and sun and moon azimuth for January through June 2009. The new information is available here. In addition there are links to Websites to calculate your own times and information.

One word of caution, which is mentioned on the Web page is that this information is calculated and depends on your location relative to Mt. Rainier and the local terrain, usually making the sunrise and moonrise later or the sunset and moonset earlier due to Mt. Rainier and the mountains. This could range from a few minutes, also within the error of these calculations, to up to 30 minutes or more in valleys or on west facing slopes for sun/moonrise or east facing slope for sun/moonset. The same applies to the time for twilight as it's relative to the local terrain, especially in the valleys or on opposite facing slopes of the sun or moon.

In addition the calculations were done for Paradise on the south side of Mt. Rainier in the NP, and the moon information is calculated for Seattle. These times are fairly consistent for this area within the margin of error of a few minutes and differences can be accounted for in the field. You can also use the links at the bottom of the Web page to calculate the information specific to a location in the NP.

Please let me know if you find or experience any errors with the information.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Updated news and access

I have updated the three news and access Web pages, see the table of contents for the links. I apologize for not updating things since about Thanksgiving, and I can only say between the Thanksgiving Day Holiday and the New Year's holiday life and work got away from me. I'm slowly getting back into the photo guide and the history of the NP from 1890-1920, so you can expect more updates and new or updated Web pages over the next few months.

And so what's new? Well, Mt. Rainier NP has experienced numerous storms and has experienced minor but signifcant road and access closures. The Nisqually Entrance and road to Longmire closes occasionally from flooding between the Kautz Creek bridge to the new Kautz Creek channel east of the rest stop. The road from Longmire to Paradise closes daily and only open after snow removal, if possible.

The Longmore Visitors Center and Longmire Inn are open when accessible, and the Jackson Visitors Center is open weekends and holidays when the road is open. Everything else is closed. The Carbon River Road is closed before the NP entrance and access in the NP is restricted due to flood damage to trails, so you need to call ahead or be flexible if you're going there.

As of January 12 there is over 8' feet of snow at the Paradise snow course station (southeast of Paradise) and as much as 1-2 feet down to about 3,000 foot elevation. Snow will accumulate lower as storms go through as January to March is when the majority of the snow happens and only rarely melts.

So that's it for now. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 Plans and Work

I hope everyone had a good New Year's celebration and wish everyone a good New Year for 2009.

To begin with I have to apologize for the lack of work on this blog and with the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide in December. Events of the season, month and life took a lot of my attention beside some medical problems (short story, approaching 60 sometimes sucks). I have a todo list of updates, new Web pages and blog entries which will take awhile, likely a week or more, so I hope you'll be patient and eventually things will be done and caught up to where I can resume work on the other projects with and associated with the photo guide.

The saving grace for this is that it's winter and only a few people visit the NP, and even then you have to be a diehard winter and snow person, which I'm barely that as my I can't take the cold for very long. Getting there isn't the problem, getting out of the van is, thanks to having Raynaud's Syndrome. My hands stop functioning quickly in cold weather and stop altogether shortly after that. And working with cameras, especially 4x5 cameras, that's not a good thing.

Anyway, what are the plans for the immediate future with the photo guide and blog? First, get the winter guides and news Web pages done and on-line. Second, get new sun/moon information Web pages on-line. Third, update the monthly reports for photographers. After that it's back to the projects, namely the history of the NP, the 1896 expedition, and the first maps. And then resume the normal work of developing the photo guide.

So, that's the story to start 2009. And as always, as they say, "I'll keep you posted."