Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sugary Lupines

Sound asleep and I hear it, my phone alarm going off. Ugh not now I'm still tired. *2:05am* the screen reads. I think to myself "why did I fall in love with photography again?" Oh that's right I can never do things the easy way, I seem to be drawn towards a challenge even if I don't need to do it.

Within 3 minutes I'm dressed and out the door. My wife insisted on packing me food and water for today even though I told her I would be fine. But she's more stubborn than I am unfortunately.

So I'm on the highway headed north
towards a place I've never visited. Every June the White Mountains spring forth the purple lupines. My location though is Sugar Hill, the place most known for these flowers. After 2 hours of driving in the dark I see it. Mist. Thick mist and a sprinkle of rain.

Oh no not again, this seems to be my luck. I drive for a very long time and it either ends up in overcast or no color at all even when it's predicted to be colorful. I'm not turning around now. Besides there's still an hour before the sun rises.

So like a creeper I pull into the parking lot of the local pancake place and wait in the dark. After about 20 minutes I start to get hungry, thanks to my wife I have a cooler full of chocolate chip muffins, cookies and granola bars. Not the healthiest but she knows me. Oh look a little love note too. This is why I married her.

After another 10 minutes my anxiety problem  kicks in and I start to get antsy and worry. Then I see something that I didn't expect, orange light behind the mountains.
I race down the road to a farm I noticed on the way in and since its so far north and it's still only 4:40am I have the whole area to myself.

I set up on the side of the road as some soft purple night started to appear, so I zoomed in on a portion of the mountains I hoped would get some light. As luck has it, the mist breaks and I'm treated to some amazing light and texture I haven't seen before. It's very surreal to see what looks like a living sky. The shadows and forms of the clouds look like some angelic alien creatures than moisture.

I snapped away capturing this purple scene. Then headed off down the road to St Matthews Church to shoot the lupines there. Though when I arrived my nerves spiked as I realized all the long grass Id have to walk through. My wife has made me paranoid about ticks from all the horror stories she tells me from her work. Lyme disease being at the top. I'm wearing black pants which doesn't help. So I mustered up enough courage and used my tripod to gently push the grass away from my legs as I walked.

I found a clear spot finally and shot this image.

Then I raced out of that grass like a deer and thoroughly checked my legs. Shockingly, not a single tick. So I hopped back in my car and decided to explore a little. After driving through town I came down a hill to see a doe nibbling some grass on the side of the road. I parked a ways from her to give her space and switched to my 28-300mm lens. Just then as she stood there watching me, her tiny fawn stepped out of the tall grass in front of her. I couldn't believe my luck. So I quietly crouched down and pressed the shutter......wait what's wrong why didn't  *click*. Great, I left the 2 second timer on from the last shot I took. I quickly switched it off and hit the shutter again but the fawn was gone and I got this.

Just then she raced away across the road and into the woods with her baby close behind. I assume it was born in the past 24 hours since it was still a little wobbly when hopping. Oh well, at least I got to see it and they were now out of danger of the road.

I headed back towards the highway and passed the farm again and quickly pulled over as some more amazing light started to appear.
Deciding to go wide again I switched to the 14-24mm and shot this.

My next destination was The Basin and a Kinsman water fall. Again the highway was covered in thick mist and I waited for some monster to come across the road. Unfortunately it didn't and I arrived at the parking lot. Another new place for me. So I got my gear and started the hike to the waterfall. The path reminded me of a lot of photos from Oregon I look at online and made me wish I was there. In due time though I guess so I continued on.

Half a mile doesn't seem like a lot of walking until you realize it's a pretty steep trail. After about 20 minutes I saw the sign for the waterfall and looked down the steep path down to it. Not very inviting when everything's soaked from the mist. I got down easily enough and ended up with this photo. I wasn't very happy about what I was getting so I left disappointed.

On the way down I decided on some close up shots and found this little fern bunch that was stuck to a boulder along the "river" that runs down the mountain.

Just as I was leaving I found this little leaf on the ground and thought it looked like a life and death scene. The leaf with green still in its veins surrounded by the orange and yellow body of it laying in the dark brown earth. Kinda moody but I liked it.

My final shot of the day was at the parking lot of these trees still shrouded in mist. Then I packed up for the long drive home feeling tired and ready for bed. Oh right...its only 7:34am.....

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