View 412: Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center

After a 17 mile (29 km) ascent up the Hurricane Ridge Road, you come about a tight right hand curve and arrive at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Until the curve, the splendor and majesty of the Olympic Mountains is hidden from view. The very popular area has a two story visitor center with a large parking lot which can accommodate cars, trucks, motor homes and even tour buses.

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and Trails

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and trails in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 1600, EV 0, 46mm Focal Length.

Though the drive up can be a bit harrowing if one is afraid of roads along a mountain ridge with no guardrails.

Hurricane Ridge Road

Hurricane Ridge Road from High Ridge Trail on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 640, EV 0, 120mm Focal Length.

Considering how hard it can be to find a parking space during the busy summer months, most people find a way. Once parked, you can find out all about Hurricane Ridge inside the visitor center.

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center

Interior of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington.

When you enter the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center from the parking lot, you are on the upper floor with a National Park Service information counter where a Ranger or volunteer can answer questions and supply maps of the subalpine environment of the ridge. Behind the counter are interpretive displays on Olympic National Park history, floral and fauna, a short documentary plays at a touch of a button and chairs and benches surround a wood stove used during the winter months. Downstairs is the gift shop full of all kinds of apparel and souvenirs and a snack bar.

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/50s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

From the snack bar, you can go outside to the patio with picnic tables, benches and this view…

Olympic Mountain Range

Olympic Mountains from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center overlook in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Skylum Aurora 2019.

The patio is the perfect place for people to take photos of themselves and their family and friends traveling with them.

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center Overlook

Tourists enjoying the view from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center overlook in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 125, EV 0, 21mm Focal Length.

There are paved trails fully handicap accessible where people can explore the subalpine life of Hurricane Ridge. The Cirque Rim Trail is on the north side with views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Port Angeles.

Cirque Rim Trail Overlook

People at the overlook on the Cirque Rim Trail on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 560, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length.

The Big Meadow Loop Trail meanders through a Subalpine Fir forest and, though the trees are only a feet tall, they are nearly a hundred years old due to the harsh environment and short growing seasons. The trees grow under the winter snow cover which create skirts seen in the photo below.

Subalpine Fir Trees

Subalpine Fir trees along the Big Meadow Loop trail near the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 220, EV 0, 34mm Focal Length.

I got down low and used my camera’s flip out viewfinder to photograph these Pearly Everlasting (Anaphlis margaritacea) wildflowers.  June is the better time for wildflowers but, as the name suggests, Pearly Everlastings bloom throughout the growing season.

Pearly Everlasting Wildflowers

Pearly Everlasting (Anaphlis margaritacea) wildflowers in an alpine meadow on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/80s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 34mm Focal Length, Skylum Intensify CK.

While 95% of Olympic National Park can only be explored by wilderness hiking, the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is a wonderful day trip to explore a part of this wilderness most people would never be able to enjoy.

 

 

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View 411: Hurricane Hill Trail

During the winter months, my time is taken up with sports photography. When time permits, I will go out and explore with my camera. Otherwise, I will be sharing my adventures from last year as I have a large backlog of photos from my travels.

Today, I am returning to Olympic National Park as my wife and I hiked up Hurricane Hill on Hurricane Ridge as part of our vacation last August. The Hurricane Hill Trail starts 1.5 miles from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center up a winding and hallowing mountain road. The trail is well groomed and maintained but not handicap accessible beyond the parking lot.

Not in the best of shape, we took it easy and started early in the morning to take advantage of the cool temperatures and to beat the crowd of tourists as this is a popular trail in the park.

Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Hill

View of the Olympic Mountains from the Hurricane Hill trail on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 125s, f/16, ISO 220, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length.

Along the way whenever we would take a rest break, we were treated to breath taking (sometimes literally) views of the Olympic Mountains as we climbed up the trail.

At the top of Hurricane Hill, we were treated to 360 degrees of views from the Olympic Mountains to the South with Port Angeles and the Straits of Juan de Fuca 5,757 feet below to the North. The elevation change from the trail head to the top is 650 feet.

Olympic Mountains from the top of Hurricane Hill

Olympic Mountain range as seen from the top of Hurricane Hill on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/70-200VRII, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 140, EV 0, 70mm Focal Length, Skylum Intensify CK.

Port Angeles from Hurricane Hill

Port Angeles from the top of Hurricane Hill on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/70-200VRII, 125s, f/16, ISO 160, EV 0, 170mm Focal Length.

At the top of Hurricane Hill, I switched from using the Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR lens to the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens. The 70-200VRII is known as a sport lens but worked very well as a landscape lens on this hike. At full magnification I was able to pull in Mount Olympus from Hurricane Hill. Mount Olympus is the tallest mountain in Olympic National Park at 7,980 feet.

Mount Olympus from Hurricane Hill

Mount Olympus as seen from the top of Hurricane Hill trail on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. Nikon D750/70-200VRII, 1/500s, f/8, ISO 100, EV 0, 200mm Focal Length.

On our hike back down the Hurricane Hill Trail the longer lens came in handy as we spotted and photographed the sub-alpine wildlife. This was a big treat for me as all the wildlife were either hibernating or had migrated elsewhere back in 1981 when I interned at Olympic National Park.

Hurricane Hill Wildlife

Wildlife encountered along the Hurricane Hill Trail on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington.

From left to right: Olympic Chipmunk (Neotamias amoenus caunnus), Blue or Sooty Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) and Olympic Marmot (Marmota olympus). Both the chipmunk and marmot are species only found in Olympic National Park.

A word about the hike. As I stated, my wife and I were not in the best of physical condition but, by taking our time with lots of rest stops, we were able to do the 3.0 mile round trip hike in 3 hours and 20 minutes. Keep in mind the entire hike is above 5,280 feet or 1 mile in elevation.

Hurricane Hill Hiking Time

Our Hiking Time for the Hurricane Hill Trail.

We brought lots of water in two 25 ounce insulated water bottles, snacks and sandwiches for a meal at the top of Hurricane Hill. Afterward, we visited the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center’s snack bar for lunch and ate it while sitting at a picnic table overlooking the Olympic Mountains.

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Best of Views Infinitum 2018

This year marked the return of my posting here at Views Infinitum after a long hiatus. While I did not post a lot I would like to share my favorite photos from 2018 as we turn the page to 2019. As in the past, they are in chronological order. I leave it up to you to select your favorites from the list. Click the links to visit the original blog post for each photograph.

June saw my first blog post of 2018 and the first since January of 2017 which was my “Best of” for 2016 ironically. I knew I would need something special to get me back blogging and a trip up to Oswego, New York for a sunset was it.

STP_20180609_523

Sunset taken from Fort Ontario Park of the Oswego Harbor in Oswego, New York on Saturday, June 9, 2018.

I attended and photographed the annual All Ford Cruise In which featured Ford automobiles and trucks going back as far as 1917. My favorites though are the Mustangs including this beautiful 2014 Shelby GT500.

2014 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang

2014 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang checking in to the All Ford Cruise In and Swap Meet at Longbranch Park near Liverpool, New York on Sunday, June 10, 2018. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/160s, f/8, ISO 100, EV 0, 100mm Focal Length.

The New York State Chinese Lantern Festival came back to the NYS Fairgrounds after an absence due to construction the year before. I packed up my tripod and enjoyed an evening of long exposures and capturing Blue Hour above the brightly colored and large lantern displays.

New York State Chinese Lantern Festival Blue Whale

A Blue Whale of the New York State Chinese Lantern Festival at the NYS Fairgrounds near Syracuse, New York on Friday, June 22, 2018. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 3s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 22mm Focal Length, Tripod.

I have done very little wildlife photography over the last three years which is why it felt so good to visit the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York again last summer.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York on Saturday, June 30, 2018. Nikon D500/80-400VRII, 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 125, EV 0, 340mm (510mm DX) Focal Length.

Another annual event I have missed over the last couple of years was the big Syracuse Nationals car show. This year I featured some HOT cars including this UPS Delivery Truck.

UPS Flamed Truck

United Parcel Service (UPS) Delivery Truck painted with flames was parked outside the Syracuse Nationals Hot Rod and Muscle Car Show at the New York State Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 21, 2018.

As the summer calendar turned from July to August, I wanted to get out and practice some landscape photography. I immediately planned a trip to my favorite New York State Park, Taughannock Falls State Park near Ithaca. Upon arrival I found out many, many other people had done the same thing. I decided they would assist me.

Taughannock Falls Lookout Platform

Tourists at the lookout platform at the end of the Gorge Trail in Taughannock Falls State Park near Ithaca, New York on Saturday, August 4, 2018. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/25s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, Skylum Intensify CK.

Soon after, my wife and I traveled to the state of Washington for our big 35th Anniversary trip. The first couple of days we explored the city of Seattle and I was not to be denied photographing from Kerry Park with a view of Seattle’s unique cityscape.

Cityscape of Seattle, Washington from Kerry Park

Cityscape of Seattle, Washington from Kerry Park on Sunday, August, 12, 2018. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 30s, f/13, ISO 100, EV 0, 66mm Focal Length, Tripod.

From Seattle, we drove over to a place I visited some 37 years earlier as an intern for the National Park Service: Olympic National Park. Over the next 12 days we visited Hurricane Ridge, Hoh Rainforest and Ruby Beach.

Couple at the Hurricane Ridge Overlook

Couple at the Hurricane Ridge overlook of the Olympic Mountain range in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington on Saturday, August 18, 2018. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 160, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length.

Hall of Mosses

Hall of Mosses Trail in the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park near Forks, Washington on Tuesday, August 21, 2018. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/3s, f/16, ISO 100, 16mm Focal Length, Tripod.

Ruby Beach Sea Stacks in HDR

Sea stacks in the fog on Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park near Forks, Washington on Monday, August 20, 2018. NIkon D750/16-35VR, f/16, ISO 400, EV 0, 35mm Focal Length. Processed in Skylum Aurora HDR 2018.

We took the time to ride the ferry from Port Angeles, Washington over to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and soaked in the beauty of the city.

Hanging Flowers

Two of over 1300 hanging flowers in the City of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 250, EV +0.3, 24mm Focal Length.

After returning from that vacation, we needed another one to recuperate and hopped on a plane to Florida for a cruise on the Disney Dream with my family.

Disney Dream Cruise Ship

The Disney Dream cruise ship docked at Nassau, Bahamas on Tuesday, September 25, 2018. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 110, EV -0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

Before leaving Florida, I visited the Florida State University’s Robert Manning Strozier Library Special Collections and Archives Reading Room and was shown a very important book in science and my history.

On the Origin of Species Book Binder

An 1859 1st Edition On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin seen in the Reading Room of the Strozier Library Special Collections at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Nikon D750/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 1100.

I ended my blogging year with coverage of the Syracuse Crunch as they started their 25th year in the American Hockey League and their NHL affiliate, the Tampa Bay Lightning (though I was more interested in the team they played).

Onondaga County War Memorial Arena

Opening Night for the 25th Anniversary season for the Syracuse Crunch American Hockey League (AHL) team at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, October 13, 2018. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length, Skylum Intensify CK.

Captain Jonathan Toews

Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews (19) breaks in on Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Louis Domingue (70) in National Hockey League (NHL) action at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on Friday, November 23, 2018. Tampa Bay won 4-2. Nikon D500/70-200VRII, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 800, EV +1.0, 70mm Focal Length.

I am still processing photos from my vacation trips this year plus one I have not blogged about so look for those to be featured in upcoming posts.

Happy New Year!

2019 is going to be another great one!

 

 

 

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View 410: Chicago Blackhawks

Brandon Saad

Tampa Bay Lightning Erik Cernak (81) battles for the puck with Chicago Blackhawks Brandon Saad (20) in National Hockey League (NHL) action at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on Friday, November 23, 2018. Tampa Bay won 4-2. Nikon D500/70-200VRII, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 1100, EV +0.6, 200mm Focal Length, Cropped.

With the assistance of the Syracuse Crunch and Tampa Bay Lightning, I was able to photograph another Original Six National Hockey League (NHL) team play in Amalie Arena against the Lightning. This time it was the Chicago Blackhawks who still wear their classic jersey from the 1960’s.

Defensemen Duncan Keith

Chicago Blackhawks Duncan Keith (2) skating with the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning in National Hockey League (NHL) action at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on Friday, November 23, 2018. Tampa Bay won 4-2. Nikon D500/70-200VRII, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 1100, EV +1.0, 200mm Focal Length, Cropped.

The Chicago Blackhawks won Stanley Cups in 2010 breaking a long dry spell since 1961, 2013 and 2015 by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Finals. After a run like that it is hard in the salary capped NHL to afford to keep such a team together.  Yet, I wanted to get photographs of the remaining core from those teams still playing for the Blackhawks.

Goalie Corey Crawford

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) in net against the Tampa Bay Lightning in National Hockey League (NHL) action at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on Friday, November 23, 2018. Tampa Bay won 4-2. Nikon D500/70-200VRII, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 1400, EV +1.0, 70mm Focal Length. Cropped.

Those Stanley Cup teams were lead by Captain Jonathan Toews (19), Brandon Saad (20), Duncan Keith (2) and backstopped by goalie Corey Crawford (50). Though the last season and so far this season has shown the effects of health, salary, late drafting and player turn over, I was still thrilled to see this team and those players on the ice.

Captain Jonathan Toews

Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews (19) breaks in on Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Louis Domingue (70) in National Hockey League (NHL) action at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on Friday, November 23, 2018. Tampa Bay won 4-2. Nikon D500/70-200VRII, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 800, EV +1.0, 70mm Focal Length.

I was also glad to see the Tampa Bay Lightning get the win!

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View 409: Sigma Sport Lens

Earlier this year, I purchased a Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport Lens  to use for amateur field sports under less than optimum lighting conditions. Think high school football stadiums and you get the idea. I use it with a Nikon D500 dSLR camera which has a 1.5X crop giving the lens’ effective range from 180mm to 450mm.

The lens is heavy and needs to be used with a sturdy monopod and tripod head but it focuses fast and has excellent image quality. The f/2.8 aperture throughout the focal lengths allows me to shoot under the challenging lighting of the field sports I cover. Having said that, I decided to use this lens for ice hockey under the excellent LED lighting of an American Hockey League (AHL) arena.

Sigma Sport Lens One

Syracuse Crunch Cameron Gaunce (24) skating with the puck against as Binghamton Devils Kurtis Gabriel (39) gives chase in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, New York on Friday, October 19, 2018. Syracuse won 4-0. Nikon D500/Sigma 120-300OS, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 2200, EV +1.0, 240mm (360mm DX), Monopod.

Shooting from the media row inside the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, New York to cover a recent AHL game between the Syracuse Crunch and Binghamton Devils, the lens worked flawlessly to capture the excitement and color of a professional hockey game.

Sigma Sport Lens Two

Syracuse Crunch goalie Connor Ingram (39) in net against the Binghamton Devils in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, New York on Friday, October 19, 2018. Syracuse won 4-0. Nikon D500/Sigma 120-300OS, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 3200, EV +1.3, 195mm (292mm DX), Monopod.

It was not all fun and games as the lens would often pull the monopod’s head mount suddenly downward. I missed a goal being scored when it happened during the second period. I really tightened down the lens for the third period and captured the goal you see below.

Sigma Sport Lens Three

Syracuse Crunch Andy Andreoff (15) redirects the puck past Binghamton Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood (29) for a Power Play Goal in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, New York on Friday, October 19, 2018. Syracuse won 4-0. Nikon D500/Sigma 120-300OS, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 2000, EV +1.3, 145mm (217mm DX), Monopod.

While this lens is not the easiest to use in the often close confines of hockey arenas, I shall use it from time to time to get a different prospective of game.

The lens comes in mounts for Nikon, Canon and SONY digital cameras. For more information, follow the link at the top of the article.

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