This week I find myself in Bellingham, Washington on a mostly business, partly pleasure visit. Simply dazzling here! Incredible! Breathtaking! Fill-in-the-blank with your own superlatives.
The Pacific Northwest is quite a bit different than where I live, in Flagstaff, Arizona, so I’ve jumped at every chance I’ve had to photograph the area. So far I’ve found myself perched along a rocky coastline, walking through dark forests with towering canopies, and alongside rivers that look as if they belong in Alaska. At each location, I thought a lot about light.
Flagstaff sits at 7,000 ft in elevation, in a sprawling high desert, marked by a towering stratovolcano, a LOT of open space dotted by pygmy trees and shrubs (classic desert fair), and a remarkable number of cloudless days, on average. While the largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest in the world is found there, walking through the dense forests in the Pacific Northwest has been strikingly different. As I meandered a riverside trail the other day, the first thing that really struck me was the way the high canopy filters the light of the sun (yes, the sun was out in January in Bellingham, Washington – stop the press!) creating perfect soft light, seemingly dancing from one spot to the next.