Visceral Morning at Camp of the Cascades

Posted February 20th, 2012 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink
Reeds and reflections at dawn. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens, handheld.

Reeds and reflections at dawn. Nikon D7000, 18-105mm kit lens, handheld.

Last weekend I attended a retreat at Camp of the Cascades, near Yelm Washington. It was a short event where we arrived at 6pm on Friday evening, then departed by 3pm the next day, but I still brought my camera to see if I might be able to capture a few pics of the area. On Saturday morning, I woke up before dawn and went on a quick 40 minute jog around the lake. I brought along a Nikon D7000 with an 18-105mm kit lens and took off into the darkness with my head lamp. Along the way, I photographed the morning sky and the trees along the lake.

Lake reflections at dawn. Since I was hand-holding my Nikon D7000, I used a high ISO and bracketed three shots. I merged them together in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Lake reflections at dawn. Since I was hand-holding my Nikon D7000, I used a high ISO and bracketed three shots. I merged them together in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Although the shots from the morning adventure might not be the best I’ve ever taken, the experience was visceral. Before the morning light opened up detail in the shadows, I could hear loons rapidly flying by in the darkness. As they landed on the water, their whoosh made an eerie sound that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. A few minutes later, as I was running the perimeter of the lake, my headlamp highlighted the leg of a freshly killed deer on the trail. There was hair and blood all over the place and it was clear that a mountain lion had taken this deer within the last few hours. If the hair on my neck wasn’t standing up on end earlier, then it sure was now! My eyes darted to the left and right trying to figure out if I was in immediate danger. I found nothing so I continued on my journey while adrenaline caused my heart to race.

I never found the mountain lion, nor did I capture any shots of the loons, but I did get a chance to experience creation through my camera that morning. For me, that’s a big part of what photography is all about.

Boats in the early morning light. I hand-held this shot and exposed for the sky. Then, I opened up the shadows using Photoshop's "Shadows and Highlights" filter.

Boats in the early morning light. I hand-held this shot and exposed for the sky. Then, I opened up the shadows using Photoshop's "Shadows and Highlights" filter.



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