(EDIT: I have since gone through my files and found two more images that I feel are worth sharing.)
Meandering for miles down the western slopes of the Olympic Mountains and towards the Pacific Ocean, the mighty Hoh River and its turquoise waters are a beautiful spectacle of nature on their own. However, along the banks of the river there lies a lush and verdant natural treasure equally as astounding as the craggy, glaciated peaks that tower above it, the Hoh Rainforest.
With an astounding average of 140-170 inches of precipitation a year, the aptly named Hoh Rainforest is just that–a rainforest. Her massive old growth Western Hemlock and Sitka Spruce trees have been be found to grow over 300 feet tall, and interlaced in these stands of massive old growth, one can find almost inconceivably verdant groves of Epiphyte-covered Bigleaf and Vine Maples. In this temperate rainforest, there is not a single direction that one can focus their eyes and not be gazing directly upon flora of some kind.
From the sound of it, one might assume a place like this to be a nature photographer’s dream, which it very well may be, but not in a conventional sense. The temperate rainforest is so chaotic and messy that despite everything being lush and green, it is truly a compositional nightmare! It takes a great deal of patience, persistence, and concentration to identify just how to compose an image in this kind of place, and I recently learned that the hard way.
I just returned yesterday from a brief three day trip to a few of the temperate rainforests of Washington’s Olympic National Park, focusing my camera mainly upon the Hoh. For the entirety of my visit I was lucky to have bright overcast skies and light, misty drizzles, which bring out all of the best qualities these mossy green jungles have to offer. I hiked, scouted, and photographed all day for three consecutive days yet I came away with such few photographs that I am truly happy with.
One day of this trip was spent with fellow photographer and recent PNW transplant Floris van Breugel, We enjoyed a full day of hiking in the Hoh Rainforest, slowly meandering and photographing about nine miles up and down the river.
This is my take on the Bigleaf maple we took a lunch break next to. A light mist was moving in and out of the grove, and I was briefly able to make some order out of the chaos. I look forward to returning and photographing more!