Scenes of the beautiful Pacific Northwest and Japan from 2013

My passion is photographing people but I like to retreat to somewhere quiet every now and then so I can hear the birds chirp and the marmots whistle. Once in a while, I come upon a place that I get addicted to on the first visit. A few years ago, that place was Mt. Rainier during the wildflower season. I’ve returned there every year and try to go as much as my schedule allows. It’s like having paradise in my own back yard. Here are a few photos from this past wildflower season there…

BDC_9317_18_19_20_21_fused-Edit

BDC_9158_tonemapped-Edit-2

BDC_9295-Edit-Edit-Edit

BDC_9111-Edit

BDC_2440_1_2_3_4_tonemapped-Edit

I found another place this past summer that I got addicted to on my visit – the Palouse. Even though I graduated from Washington State University in the Palouse area, I didn’t explore the area surrounding the campus┬ávery much. I wasn’t into photography at that time and never saw it’s true beauty since I was away from college during the best time to see the land. Now that I know how beautiful this area of the state is, I’m definitely keeping my calendar open for photographing there every year.

Thanks to a couple of WSU alumni who hired me to be their wedding photographer, I got to photograph their engagement photo shoot at WSU in Pullman which became a good excuse to photograph the various scenic areas of the Palouse. Here are a few of the photos I captured before I photographed them….

BDC_8542

BDC_9300

BDC_9794

BDC_0653

BDC_0852-Edit

Palouse Flowers

BDC_0959

BDC_0818-Edit

Another place I like escaping to every year is Leavenworth, Washington. This year, the autumn colors were not as good as previous years but I was still able to capture some color at this river…

BDC_6852

When I lived in Vancouver, Washington, I would go mountain biking with friends on the Plains of Abraham on Mt. St. Helens. I had a lot of fun with the crazy biking we used to do there but I had never hiked St. Helens. Funny how I summited Mt. Adams but never had an interest to summit St. Helens until I moved away from the area. My friend was able to get us a pass to climb St. Helens this past summer and we had a blast doing it! We successfully did the popular dance, The Harlem Shake, at the top. Click on the link to see the YouTube video of us – The Harlem Shake at Mt. St. Helens.

The best part of the hike was glissading down the mountain on a garbage bag. That’s the fastest way down (besides paragliding). Below are my St. Helens pix…

IMG_3300

Below, my friend decided it would be a good time to go fly a kite above the edge of the crater!

IMG_3252

The bottom of the photo below is the cornice over the rim of the crater. I couldn’t photograph straight down into the crater. If I tried walking towards the edge to get the crater shot, I would have probably fell through the snow and into the crater!

IMG_3182

I’ve always heard people talk about having good hikes at Mt. Dickerman so I was excited to have finally hiked it with some friends during a beautiful summer day. It’s in the North Cascades off the Mountain Loop Highway.

IMG_3456-Edit

I didn’t get as many Seattle cityscape/Puget Sound photos this past year. It seemed like every time there was a good scene of fog or beautiful sunset, I managed to miss it. And when I woke up extra early to drive to a good spot for a cityscape shot, the conditions were bad. I hope to have better luck in 2014! Below are a few shots I was able to get thi past year…

BDC_0623-Edit-Edit-Edit

BDC_8198-Edit

BDC_8371

BDC_8404_5_6_7_8_tonemapped-Edit

BDC_0605

The yacht below is one of the 10 largest yachts in the world. It’s owned by a Russian vodka distributor. The 440 foot yacht is valued at approximately $330 million.

BDC_0577_78_79_80_81_fused-Edit

I was able to get some beautiful lighthouse scenes at the Mukilteo Lighthouse Park in 2012 but 2013 was a challenging year. Every time there were elements in the sky that had the potential for an amazing sunset, somehow it would not all come together for a good image. Here is the only one that worked for me. I like how the ferry is sailing off into the distance during sunset. Reminds me of a classic western movie when they ride off into the sunset. I wonder if there was a cowboy on the ferry!

BDC_4293_4_5_6_7_8_9_tonemapped-Edit

I got the scene below by waiting around another 20 minutes after doing a family portrait session at the Point Defiance Park.

BDC_0242-Edit

I love visiting Portland when I can since it’s my old stomping grounds and I still have friends who live there. I was fortunate to get hired to do a family portrait session in Washougal that allowed me to visit P-town only about 20 minutes away from there. Below are a couple images from the Columbia Gorge. The one on the right is from Multnomah Falls.

BDC_6218

The tree below is from the Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. It’s one of the most famous trees photographed. I’m not sure which famous photographer was the one that is responsible for making it such a popular tree with photographers. If I had to guess, it could be Peter Lik who has multiple galleries in Las Vegas. For most of the days during peak autumn, there is a line of photographers in front of the tree all waiting their turn to photograph this beauty. I was fortunate enough to have the time this year to take some photos of it for the first time during the peak of autumn. If you haven’t visited the Portland Japanese Garden, you definitely need to add it to the top of your list of things to do in Portland.

BDC_6295_6_7_8_9_tonemapped

I always enjoy visiting Skagit Valley every year for the abundance of tulip fields. Even if I don’t have time, I will still drive up there to try and capture something good for a couple hours. It makes for a good break of editing photos for clients.

_BDC9619-Edit

Pano Right 0A-Edit

On my way back from photographing the fields, I captured the nice mountain scene with the cherry blossoms from a parking lot!

_BDC9883-Edit

My year ended with a fair amount of travel. In the last 3 months, I went from Florida to Seattle to Japan to Seattle to California to Seattle to Japan to Seattle. They were all for paid photo shoots. Below is the location of my photo shoot in California.

BDC_5608-Edit-Edit

I got to stay with some friends in Tokyo before going to Sendai for my photo assignment. Below are some photos from my Tokyo trip. Although I’ve been to Sendai a number of times for photo shoots, this was my first time in Tokyo. It was good to see!

_BDC1208_09_10_11_12_tonemapped

_BDC0979_80_81_tonemapped

_BDC1023

Below are some Christmas lights from my trip through downtown Sendai right before Christmas….

_BDC2113

This was taken on a hill where the people from Sendai like to ski, snowboard, and sled.

_BDC5158_59_60_61_62_fused

I was photographing a wedding at the Westin in Bellevue on New Year’s Eve so I wasn’t able to photograph the fireworks display at the Space Needle. But since I have a fireworks photo from the first few minutes of 2013 photographed last January, I thought I would finish my 2013 post with a bang!

Space Needle Fireworks