Windy Ridge – Mt. St. Helens

Once in awhile I get the opportunity to take some photos in an amazing environment.  A place that is awing and overwhelming. Yesterday was one of those days.

Spirit Lake

Spirit Lake

This is Spirit Lake, near Mount Saint Helens in Washington State. When I was six years old, the same age my son is now, the mountain blew her top and devastated the Cascades Range for miles. Over three decades later, the evidences of the fearsome power of the blast are visible everywhere near the mountain.  Trees laid flat, rock faces blown clean of soil, and a more barren landscape compared to the surrounding lush forests in the Cascades.

Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens

Turning almost 180 degrees from the first photo, I had this view.  What used to be a pointed peak, is now a giant crater.  Evidently most things don’t grow well in ash and bits of volcanic rock.

Valley below Mt. St. Helens

Valley below Mt. St. Helens

This was also my first time using the Canon EOS 6D with my 17-40 f/4L lens. The full-frame camera turns the lens from a 27-64mm (35mm equivalent) on the 7D (or any other APS-C sensor body) into a real 17mm, and I love the result!  There is a very obvious image quality difference when I started editing the RAW files for the first time.  I’ll miss some things on the 7D (can’t afford to keep both bodies), but what I am really after is image quality and low light sensitivity, and that’s where the 6D is the clear leader.

Mt. Adams - from Windy Ridge

Mt. Adams – from Windy Ridge

I was getting dark and saturated skies with the Tiffen polarizer. When facing away from the sun at 17mm, I got an odd effect with a dark sky in center with lighter edges.  I understand this is just a side effect of using a polarizer at a very wide angle.

I am considering upgrading to a B+W brand circular polarizer, but those are over $100 and I just broke the bank on the new 6D, so it’ll have to wait.  It just doesn’t make sense to use cheap filters with an expensive body and lens combination. I don’t need my images softened up, I can do that in post if I feel like it.

Spirit Lake

Spirit Lake

One more shot of Spirit Lake. It could not have been a more beautiful day! It was just over a 2 hour drive from my house, but well worth the amazing views.


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