Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 16 at 9 am

A morning in the life of Mt. Rainier NP at 9:09 am off the NPS webcams at the Jackson Visitors Center at Paradise. First looking east over the parking lot to Mazama Ridge to Stevens Van Trump Monument and the trail south to the lakes and north to Paradise Glacier.

And then north to the mountain itself with the morning wind over the top creating a cloud cap.

And then south to the Tatoosh Range.

And finally west looking southwest to the road up the Nisqually River and the Longmire entrance.

You could spend a worse day there in person too.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wandering and workshops

I was wandering around the Internet, like we don't. Ok, bad joke, but I like to just think out loud and wander using search engine and other Websites, and occasionally links from reading. Really, reading. Some columnist write in periodicals. Anyway, I was reading the latest issue of LensWork, my favorite periodical and the editor referred to a Website which tracks Website popularity.

Well, I discovered my Website is only about 4,450,000th in the world. Ok, not great but good enough for me. I use Google Analytics to track which Web pages people access. It's a cool tool for see what your visitors are reading, or just peeping and surfing on. Ok, I got a lot of work to do to improve my standing. Or not. I'm not in this for popularity, but longer term to develop my Mt. Rainier NP photo guide, first as a Website and then as a book.

Well, looking at the stats on the Website I found two other Websites I wasn't aware of focused on Mt. Rainier and the NP. The first is Visit Rainier. It's a general NP and area tourist guide with lots of good stuff, and ok, one link I found to my Website. This isn't a recommendation but just a "Hmmm..., how did they find me." thought.

It could be useful to you and for your visit, and worth looking at if you're planning a trip. The second one is a photography one, Mt. Rainier Photography Institute, which is another name for photography workshop with field trips to the NP.

I can't argue with the photographer's credentials, clearly excellent and his images are good. I'm not an advocate for overly colorful or saturated calendar images, but hey, they sell and they look pretty, but then I'm an ordinary photographer who prefers realism more pretty. I like this looks like what I saw standing there images.

I know there are other professional photographers working around the Puget Sound region and southwest area (this guy works out of Morton southwest of the NP) on the way to Portland (Oregon for non-northwestern folks), and this guy's prices seem within the ballpark for what the photographers offer with their workshops.

To me, it's a matter of if you want the instructor and guide or like to venture out yourself. I like the latter, and why I work on the photo guide, for other like minded photographers. But some like the former, so it's woth the consideration for a top-notch professionals to provide the expertise and services, but you really have to look at the details of their workshop and their experience, especially in Mt. Rainier NP.

For example. Someone with lots of experience in photography and Mt. Rainier NP is Scott Bourne. I've listened to his presentations and talked with him years ago. He's spent much of his life around Mt. Rainier and exploring and photographing the NP. It's ironic because he also shows you can learn what he does by doing your homework about the places and working at your photography.

Another is the famous Art Wolfe who offers workshops in Mt. Rainier NP. While no one can doubt his photography, personally I would wonder about his workshops. I watched one of them in my excursions in Mt. Rainier in 2008. I got the impression people took the workshop for his persona than his teaching. But that's just my impresson and opinion.

And just doing a Google search, I found an upcoming workshops by Jon Conforth. I don't know about him but his images are very good and his reputation equally good.

In the end, though, the question is if you really need a workshop, especially since they run $300 and up per day, loding not included. Some workshops on specific subjects, such as waterfalls, wildflowers, etc. by local photographers run about half, because they're focused and aren't providing the full services of the others, namely they're the guide and all the rest is up to you.

But this is why I'm developing the photo guide, for the motivated, self-learning photographer, along with, for now free, some help with research and information. I won't guide you or tell you where to go specifically, but provide the background and resources for your interests and goals.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Update to maps

I have updated the two map retrieval Web pages for USGS 7 1/2 topographic quadrangles, the older DRG files and the latest PDF files. I added the eastern set of maps which covers the eastern extent of the NP, which I overlooked before. This set now covers the entire NP, 15 maps in all.

The PDF versions are from the USGS map Map Locator Web page. If you don't see a map displayed in the window, follow the instructions to the right of the space to set the preferences correctly. For some reason, the USGS uses a third party source with their cookies.

And you can download a tool provided by map2pdf, in the pop up window embedded with each map, if you have a PC (no Mac's). I've contacted the company which provided the software and service at public expense to offer Mac version and the USGS to update the requirements for Mac users with the maps. Like that will happen.

Anyway, sorry for the oversight with the maps. And now you can get all the topographic maps for the NP.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

Some news and notes for those planning visits to Mt. Rainier NP over the Labor Day weekend. I'm not persuading you not to go, please go and enjoy. I only want to let you know about some things you will encounter, beside the obvious beautiful Mt. Rainier, magnificant scenery and great weather. Like?

Ok, first, people. Outside of the other holiday weekends, it's often the busiest time and families get in one last quick, short visit before school takes over their lives. It's really the old adage there about going early if you plan to park and hike, or take the shuttle service from Ashford if you're just visiting Longmire and/or Paradise.

But if that's your goal but want to stop along the way, great, go for it, but likely as not you'll not find parking available at Paradise or along Paradise Valley road, and the NPS enforces parking restricts. And while driving, remember Washington's laws still apply, like cellphones, texting, etc. while driving. You're in the NP but it's still a highway. Besides the road is narrow and windy in places. Worry about getting to where you going, then stop and call or text.

Second, this weekend, the NPS is installing paw print signs and providing brochures with information to keep wildlife wild (PDF). Please don't feed the wildlife, even birds and squirrels. Don't leave food. Don't try to be cute and photograph them for food. Just leave them alone and photograph them as they are in the wild, or near it.

Third, if you plan hikes about the established trails at Paradise, namely the Panorama Point trail, to McClure Rock, or higher, like Camp Muir, please stop by the Mountain Guide Center for the latest information. There are rules now for hikes to Camp Muir (PDF) since the usual warming and the snowfield.

You can get the latest Tahoma Newspaper (PDF) with news and information (the one they hand out at the entrances). Not much after that, except enjoy, be courteous of other, only take home experiences and photos, and leave no trace (short for stay on the trails and don't litter).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Updates to Resources

I've updated the Web page of information and resources for the phot guide. It was mostly reorganized groups of links and updating links to new Web pages and I've updated the book resources Web page with some new material I've found. You can also get a list of some older documents and publications I've found and acquired recently. This are pretty cool to see the history of things in Mt. Rainier NP.

Well, that's it for now.