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regnaD kciN

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Maple Valley, Washington
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 25,221

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2011: A Look Back

Time for my annual photo retrospective. For those of you who haven't seen one of these before, I always have two rules in building this collection:

1) One photo per month.
2) None of which has been shown on DU before.

Normally, at this point, I gripe about how difficult it's been to choose this year, because I tend to post every good image I shoot here. This year, it was even harder...but not for the usual reason. Rather, since most of my photo posts this year we on DU2, I honestly have no idea which images I posted here already and which I didn't. So, when making picks, I had to work on the principle of "if there's even a slight chance this photo got posted, leave it out." Nonetheless, there's a slight chance that I may have inadvertently included an already-displayed image in this thread; if so, my apologies for not living up to my usual standards.

January starts off with the actual first photo I took all year, at the city plaza in Renton, Washington, a few hours before work crews arrived to take down the lights.

In February, a trip to the San Diego Wild Animal Park (I still refuse to call it the "Safari Park" ) brought an image of these two, just lion' around.

March, in this La Niņa year, provided less early blooming than usual; nonetheless, I was able to capture Chained Beauty.

La Niņa or no, April is always "tulip month" in the Northwest, and this year didn't disappoint, even though they arrived a couple of weeks later than usual.

May brought my first serious Water Falling Over Things trip, this time up to Bellingham for Whatcom Falls.

June continued the water theme, with Rocky Brook Creek on the Olympic Peninsula.

July was for the birds, as a trip to a Sequim lavender farm brought a bonus of a few (caged) peacocks on the property. (You know you're old when the first thing that comes to mind upon seeing a peacock in full display is "this program is being brought to you in living color on NBC." )

August brought the "sunset for the ages," subject of another thread. The evening before, we had a somewhat-less-impressive sunset, but a returning fishing boat showed up at just the right time.

Because of the aforementioned La Niņa, the usual August wildflower shows on Mount Rainier got delayed until September. Thus is was that I got up at an ungodly hour on, yes, 9/11, with plans to be at Reflection Lakes for sunrise. These plans lasted until I got to the southeast park entrance and discovered, unbelievably, that the National Park Service had already closed Stevens Canyon Road for the year, making access to my planned location impossible. Needing a "Plan B," I wound up at Tipsoo Lake on Chinook Pass in the pre-dawn hours, in time to catch this view of Orion.

Late October brought the (once again, delayed) first signs of fall color, with this view of Middle Tumwater Falls.

But the foliage didn't turn in the Seattle area until November, as seen in this shot from Kuboda Garden.

Finally, we end the year as we began it, with December bringing the spectacular Garden D'Lights display at Bellevue Botanical Gardens.

A Sunset for the Ages (August 24, 2011)

(It's taken me a long time to post this, as processing of these images took longer than I expected, and I was taking a conscious break from posting for some time as well. In the long run, it's was probably a good thing, as I wasn't expecting DU3 to become active as soon as it did, and this post would have met an early disappearance on DU2 if I had done it earlier.)

This past August, we spent a few days at Semiahmoo up by the Canadian border. The day we drove up, there was a great sunset...which I got to witness through the windshield of my car, as we were late getting out and arrived several hours after I had planned. I hoped that we could get there in time for me to capture it, but, as soon as we pulled into the parking lot, the last of the sunset faded away, and I was left with nothing but a darkening blue sky with dark gray clouds. The next day was frustrating, too, as there was not a cloud in the sky, leaving me with a "pretty" but boring subject.

On the 24th, the forecast called for mostly sunny with a few clouds by late afternoon -- a forecast with solid potential for a good sunset. I set up from a good vantage point on the hotel's deck as the sun was starting to go down and, for awhile, it looked like a good but unexceptional sunset was in the offing.

Shortly after taking that shot, however, a bank of clouds rolled in at the horizon. Generally, that spells the end of any hope for sunset photography, as the lower clouds will block the sun's rays from hitting any of the clouds above them.

At that point, I pretty much figured the show was over. However, as I continued shooting, I saw an unexpected phenomenon that gave me hope: the lower clouds lit up from below, with a telltale glow on the horizon that suggested that the band of clouds was a narrow enough one that the sunlight would eventually be able to reach from under them.

While waiting for that to happen, I walked off to shoot other parts of the property. While setting up a shot pointing to the east, away from the sunset, I noticed that the clouds in that direction were beginning to light up in pink.

Turning around, I set up from that position pointing toward the west. In a few minutes, the show had begun in earnest.

I returned to my original vantage point just in time for the shot I had been hoping for to come to full color.

From that point, it was only a matter of picking one composition after another.

Finally, the show was over, with time for one final image as night fell upon the bay.

Eclipse through the trees

As the lunar eclipse reached the end of totality, the moon sunk behind some trees at the end of our block. I had to shift into a tight position by the corner of our neighbor's porch to get a shot of the eclipse through a gap in the treetops.
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