Thursday, I purchased the first piece of equipment that I’m going to need for my big Wyoming backpacking trip this summer…perhaps the most important piece of equipment: my boots.  I did a lot of research, asked my father, and settled on getting a pair of Hi-Tec Altitude IV boots.  (I almost didn’t buy them because part of me can’t abide a company that spells its name "Hi-Tec" but I figured that a 50-60 mile hike at 10,000 feet is not really a time to be sitting on my high horse about spelling and grammar. 

I want to break them in a little bit, so this weekend, I did a fair bit of walking.  Saturday, I drove about 2 hours, and also spent about an hour walking around taking pictures.  (See yesterday’s post.)  Today, I woke up and took the dog for a 3-mile walk.  Then I got home, climbed back into bed, and was just about to drift off to sleep when I got a call from my friend Bill, reminding me that we had planned on going on a hike to Cougar mountain in Bellevue.  So, I got up, strapped my boots back on, and we went for a, shall we say, invigorating six mile hike through the forest taking pictures.  Afterward, we decided to head over to Bellevue Botanical Gardens and, you guessed it, take some pictures, so we walked around for another mile or so.

Suffice it to say, my feet are a little sore.  It’s been a long time (i.e. never) since I’ve walked 10 miles in a single day. I’m exhausted.

But, I was able to snap a few pictures that I didn’t hate.  About 3/4 of the way through our hike out in the middle of the woods, we came across the corpse of an old car.  I have absolutely no idea how this car got there, because there is nothing resembling a road anywhere near here.  Most of the time, the path was only a 2-3 feet across.  The only way I could think that the car might have made it there was if it had been dropped by plane from the sky or something.  In any case, it was a pretty cool little chunk of metal in the middle of a very ferny and mossy forest, so, of course, we took lots of pictures.

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IMG_0899 One of the things that my hiking companions mentioned was the color of the green in the forest.  For those who aren’t familiar with Seattle’s greenery, it’s a different shade of green than almost anywhere else I’ve ever lived.  It’s almost electric.  And moss grows on EVERYTHING.  (I didn’t adjust the color on the photo below at all…this is exactly how it looks.)  Even in Michigan, I never saw green like this.  I guess they call it the Emerald City for a reason. 

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When I go hiking, I have a tendency to notice very small things on the ground since I’m watching where I’m going in order to prevent eating it in a giant mud puddle.  One of the more interesting finds (besides a boatload of snails and slugs) was this fungus. I’d tell you to taste the rainbow, but something about this tells me that the rainbow might just kill you.

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This is the time of year in Seattle where EVERYTHING is in bloom.  A couple of weeks ago it was just starting, but now it’s really starting to go haywire.  The Camellia, Rhododendron, Tulips, Daffodils, Jonquils, Hyacinth, Cherry Trees, Magnolias, Dogwoods–they’re all in full splendor right now.  If you can combine those flowers with a sunny day and a blue sky, the flowers just sparkle.

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So, all in all, I liked the way these photos came out far more than the ones from yesterday.  Just goes to show, I guess, that even when you have a bad day, you just keep on keeping on, and eventually you begin to find what you’re looking for.  Or something like that.  I don’t want to start crafting life-lessons from a simple hike through the woods.  If I start doing that now, imagine what a tome I’ll have to write when I get home from my Wyoming Trip in August.  And I don’t have time to write a tome. 

  • It was a good hike!  I got one photo processed so far:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/doranwa/4452266748/
    I did an HDR render from -2ev, 0ev, and +2ev exposures.  The dynamic range was nice, but the color was a little crazy, so I spun it through Silver Efex Pro and got a pretty nice B/W out of it!  We'll have to do this again some time.

  • The one picture with the yellow flowers and the blue sky?  I would frame that and hang it in my room.  Yep, a chunky black frame with a white mat.  It's art.