Showing posts from 2017

Return to Kukutali

Between getting one house organized to live in and another one sold, I have not had much time for hiking.  This week, after a rainy weekend, I decided it was time to get out and get a look at early fall in the North Sound.  I headed over to Kiket Island in the Kukutali Preserve .  The Deception Pass State Park Newsletter  (.pdf) indicated some new amenities were being installed, and I wanted to check them out. Off Kiket Island, there is a swim float out in Similk Bay, about 100 meters away.  It can be seen from the causeway leading to the island.  It is usually populated with Cormorants and gulls, but something was different this time.  Zooming out to 400 mm, I spotted this pair.  They were at least twice the size of our little Harbor Seals.  I believe these are either young Steller or California Sea Lions, more likely the latter.  From this distance, I'm not sure it is possible to distinguish which species they are.  Cormorants can be seen swimming at the right edge of the

How I Spent the Solar Eclipse of 2017

Here in northwest Washington State, Monday's solar eclipse would reach 91% of totality at 10:21 a.m.  For the event, I picked a spot at Hoypus Point in Deception Pass State Park to experience the eclipse, and take some pictures.  Looking west, this is a photo of the Deception Pass bridge taken at the moment of totality.  I expected it to be darker, but the light had decidedly taken on " golden hour " tones. At the same time, these are the light patterns that appeared on the road behind me.  The dappled sunlight passing through the trees was now projecting images of the eclipse on the pavement of Cornet Bay Road.  This effect is called camera obscura or pinhole image.  In this case, the leaves of trees were only allowing pinhole beams of light to pass through the canopy.  I wasn't expecting this at all.  For me, it made the event all the more special, as surprises often do. I arrived at the State Park early to find Deception Pass completely fogged in.  I wo

Getting Ready:  Eclipse 2017

As everyone knows by now, the Pacific Northwest will be experiencing a solar eclipse this coming Monday, August 21, 2017.  The path of totality will pass through Oregon, but here in Anacortes, Washington, at 10:21 a.m., we will experience 91% of totality.  The website has a nifty page for determining times and extent of totality for any location.  Just plug your city or zip code into the search box. A 91% solar eclipse will still be amazing and I want to be out in it.  I realized experiencing it is more important to me than looking at it.  I want to see the light changing.  I want to feel the air temperature and hear the sounds.  I have been thinking about where I would like to be.  I have selected Hoypus Point in Deception Pass State Park.  Cornet Bay Road provides views of Deception Pass and the east face of the bridge.  While the bridge should be lighted by the sun, the sun itself will not be visible behind the trees of the Hoypus forest.  They will provide my

Where There's Smoke...

Yesterday morning, I went hiking on Kiket Island in the Kukutali Preserve.  There's an overlook on the North Trail that provides a good view of Deception Pass.  It has become a habit to stop there and take a couple of shots of the bridge.  The haziness of yesterday's image was the result of wildfires burning in British Columbia and the Washington Cascades.  The haze also confused the camera's auto-focus. Yesterday morning, the problem was just getting started.  Today, the National Weather Service Seattle Office tweeted an image that dramatically illustrates the situation.  Weather conditions are producing an offshore flow.  Air masses are pushing the smoke from the north and east into the Puget Sound Basin and Strait of Juan de Fuca.  This is also delivering hotter than normal temperatures for a double whammy of both heat and smoke.  The air in Anacortes, Washington is tinged with the reeking stench of wood smoke, irritating to eyes, nose and throat.  The sky is parti