How Photographers Hike

Went on a hike to see pretty things and get a little exercise. But it was a photographer’s hike, which means doing it during hours that don’t make sense to most people. And the people it does make sense to are either mountain climbers or, well….

How Photographers Hike

You take off mid-day, drive 3 hours, fight for a parking place, or wait for people to leave. Hike 3 hours, donning and removing your spikey feet several times, take some photos, and wait for the day hikers with reasonable judgement to leave the mountains. Then you take some photos, eat a leisurely dinner at your chosen post, watching the main feature change colors as people continue to clear out. Shoot, shoot, shoot, with your camera. Wait for the last few unprepared idiots to go… “Dude, with this gallon water jug, I’m 220, cool man!”… yes, you’re also shirtless, sunburned, road-rashy and nearly hypothermic from sliding down that snowfield on your face. Probably should drink the water and high-tail it off this hill, mmmmmkay? “Heh, ok…I’m…I’m not crazy!”

Deep breath… set up tripod. More photos, watch the sun drop and the colors turn golden, still shooting until color leaves the sky. Pack up gear, hike out after dark with head lamps, traversing a couple sketchy snowfields in the dark, and return to a nearly empty parking lot just before the moon rises (it was red). Shoot a couple photos of the Milky Way, because you can see it up here like a ribbon across the sky. Get a little tired of being cold and tired (note to yourself that it’s still “early in the season” on July 23, and coolish, like 40 degrees). Pat your hiking partner graciously for picking a picture perfect weather day. Drive 3 hours home. Hit bed at 2:30 am.

Then when you look at the photos the next day, realize why you do stuff like that, and vow not to wait so long until you do it again!

The Photos


Chain up area ahead. And low clouds that blew over us for an hour, making us wonder if we’d see the main event at all this trip.

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But it did clear and that behemoth was right in our face. No telephoto lens needed, captain.


Mid-day, you shoot and wander. Fremont Fire Lookout on the right, Glacier Peak on the left (below).

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Indian paintbrushes and Little Tahoma in the shadow of Tahoma (Rainier).


Pretty things yonder.

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Awwww, critters!! Chipmunk, meadowlark, ptarmigan and her baby! We also saw a packrat – a real one! Also known as a bushy-tailed woodrat, we caught him in our headlamps long after dark. They look just like rats, but with fluff at the end of their tails (and no sewage behind their ears).

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Main Event and side show…

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Final moments and afterglow.

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Stars in the parking lot.


Milky Way (above), moon-lit Rainier (below).