The warm and dry summer months have come and gone. For the Pacific Northwest, where I live, that means the rainy season is here. And it’s here for many, many months. But as my Seattleite friends and I like to say: if you don’t get outdoors when it’s raining, you won’t get outdoors.
For the holidays, my family was visiting us from the Midwest, where I grew up and went to school. We brainstormed outdoor adventures here in Washington State, despite a very rainy weather forecast. We decided on a classic American road trip around the entire Olympic Peninsula, a large arm of beautiful land, over 3500 square miles, across the Puget Sound from Seattle.
The Olympic Peninsula has it all: rugged mountains and age-old glaciers, pristine lakes and wild rivers, thick rainforests and rugged coastlines. The opportunities for fun are endless.
We left Seattle before sunrise, caught the first ferry across the Puget Sound, and then drove off the ferry and back onto land. Jumping onto Highway 101, we started our circular journey around the Peninsula.
Our first stop was Lake Crescent, a can’t-miss stop for any road trip around the Olympics. As we drove up to this deep, long lake, known for its brilliant blue waters, we looked up to find magical clouds dancing over the surrounding mountains tops. The forecasted unfavorable weather was resulting in some dramatic scenes and visuals, as it often does.
We parked our car along Lake Crescent’s shoreline and stepped out to stretch our legs. I ran to the water’s edge to take in the lakeside views. Pulling out my camera, I tested out my new blue MeFOTO Globetrotter Air tripod. Using the redesigned tripod legs, you can unlock, adjust, and re-lock the legs with just two twists, making for quick setup and adjustments. I shot images from a variety of perspectives and angels, including at water level. I’ve used the classic Globetrotter for several years, and will continue to do so, but the Globetrotter Air tripod has become an essential piece of my gear kit. Being surprisingly stable for an ultra-lightweight tripod (it’s just over 3 pounds), there’s no hesitation to bring it along on a hike or any trip I take.
After soaking up the views at a moody Lake Crescent, we jumped in the car, and hit the road again. Continuing on Highway 101, we reached the town of Forks, and eventually our next stop, the Hoh Rainforest. The Hoh, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the country, is truly one of a kind.
The rain kept falling, as it was at Lake Crescent, but we still hiked a loop through the Hoh rainforest. We took in the colorful abundance of flora and fauna.
Wrapping up our hike in the Hoh, we headed southwest toward the Pacific coast, hoping to make our last stop of the day: Ruby Beach.
The day’s rainy weather had been matching the rainy forecast, so we didn’t expect to see much of a sunset at Ruby Beach. But, to our surprise, as we drove up to the coast, we found a big break in the sky. We couldn’t believe our eyes. Stepping out of the car and onto the beach, we witnessed our first sight of sunlight and blue sky of the day. Our hopes were up.
Ruby Beach is known for its on- and off-shore sea stacks (various rock formations), which can make great subjects and elements in photo composition. As the sky lit up with warm light and color, I captured a variety of images with my camera and Globetrotter Air. Using the new Air tripod, and taking advantage of its ability to get very low to the ground, I could focus on the textures on the beach floor, in addition to the views in the distance and overhead.
In addition to its many sea stacks, Ruby is also known for its beautiful sunsets. With the last remaining light, I set up my Globetrotter Air to shoot a photo timelapse of the waves and sea stacks. I started the timelapse, and left my tripod to itself, as I joined my family for a celebratory beverage on makeshift driftwood benches.
After the sunset ended, we left Ruby Beach and drove another hour in the darkness down the coast, to where we’d stay for the night.
Settling into our home for the night, I peaked outside once more to find a sky full of stars. We all stepped outside to sit and admire the night sky, thankful to be together in a beautiful place. And because the night sky was too beautiful to witness only with the naked eye, I made sure to set up my Globetrotter Air for a long exposure night shot, which revealed some amazing colors and clouds.
Although our day had started with rain and clouds, it had ended with a beautiful sunset and a starry night. Knowing the next morning we’d complete our circular drive around the Peninsula and return to Seattle, we soaked up every last moment of our trip with smiles on our faces, and plenty of laughs.