Tuesday, January 21, 2014

personal | winter adventure in the tatoosh.

This winter has been dreadful for snow here in the Cascades. I am missing Jackson and their lovely powder. There, I said it. To be completely up front, this is not a normal year for the Cascades. So since I plan to stay a while, I think I just have to endure this year of warm wintery days and rain and just look forward to the next. That being said, there is still fun to be had. Most of that time it just requires a good crew and a sunny day. Thanks to my friend Kristina (who was one of the few smart ones who came to visit us in Jackson) I was introduced to an awesome group of people who willingly put up with my slow splitboard transitions to take me out to the Tatoosh. The Tatoosh Range is on the southern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park with a perfect view of Paradise and the Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier. Really though, I couldn't stop looking at that mountain all day. It is a simply impressive mountain and that's it.

We got a really early start (6:30 am ugh!) in Seattle and headed south to the Park. Once emerged out of the thick fog that has suffocated the city for the past few weeks, we were greeted with gorgeous winding roads through the forest and peek-a-boo views of the peaks around. In the parking lot, we put on our skins and got a move on up the steep icy slope in front of us. Really, it wasn't any different than hiking the White Spider in JHMR and it was a great warm-up for the day ahead. A mellow skin up the access road then winding through the trees put us up into a beautiful open bowl right below the peak named Castle. It was smooth sailing from there.

photo courtesy of Brian Savery

photo courtesy of Brian Savery 

Once at the top we enjoyed 360 panoramic views of the gorgeous Cascade volcanoes. Mt. Adams, St. Helens and even Mt. Hood in Oregon all made an appearance for us. It was a great time to work on my nonexistent sun tan. After soaking that in for a while and eating lunch it was back down the way we came (well, for the most part). A pretty sturdy breakable crust atop sugar snow were the conditions we had to work with. If you didn't turn much it almost felt like riding a fresh groomer. Alas, it was fun and while the conditions weren't ideal, it still felt good to be sliding down snow. Once below treeline, survival skiing ensued as most of the terrain was a mixture of sort-of-soft followed by angry ice. You really didn't know what you were going to get with each turn. We had a little bit of a mix-up on the route finding which forced me to transition my board back to skins and climb back up a ways. And then transition back to a board to go down, and then transition again once I got to the road. It wasn't ideal really, but at least the patient group was cool about it. Faster transitioning (and side-hilling of course) is something I can definitely improve on with my splitboarding. An easy skin back down the road we came brought us back to our initial slope that we had bootpacked up. This time though, the sun had softened it a bit and we somewhat gracefully rode down it back to the parking lot.

Mount St. Helens out there.

Mt. Adams, Hood is there too just not in the photo.

Castle Peak.

Mt. Rainier, I can't stop looking at you!

Nick Drake crushing it.

Me & the crusty snow, then nordic-boarding down the road. Photos by Nick Drake.

All in all, today was gorgeous and it was the perfect day to be outside in the mountains. Now that I've gotten to know a few more backcountry enthusiasts here in the PNW maybe I'll be doing a lot more of this. Oh yah, and GO HAWKS!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

seattle engagement photographer | husky stadium proposal.

Hope everyone is having a great new year so far! I have been very busy meeting new couples for this summer's weddings, booking for 2015, and of course, finding as much time as I can to get to the mountains. It's been tough not being in Jackson Hole with all of their lovely snow but I do appreciate being in the city and all of the resources I have here in the Northwest. That being said, on December 30 I got photograph one of the most amazing proposals! Evan, a former member of the Husky Marching Band drumline, asked me if I could photograph him proposing to his girlfriend Brooke, a former member of the Washington Cheer Squad and drumline (yes, she is a woman of many talents!). When I heard he wanted to do it on the 50-yard-line of Husky Stadium, I was elated! One of my favorite locations in Seattle? Yes, please! Nice choice, Evan :)

The day of, I got into the stadium, and while hiding behind a trash can and laying on the ground, I photographed Evan's romantic proposal. Brooke was so surprised and excited! They celebrated with a clash of the cymbals that Evan had strategically placed on the field beforehand. Coincidentally, they were already dressed up for a night out to dinner and we ended up taking some photos around the stadium as well. Brooke was even wearing a purple scarf! So perfect! Here are some of my favorite images from the photo session and proposal. Congratulations to this wonderful, wonderful couple.