The End…

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I’ve been writing this blog for over five years now and it feels like the right time for me to stop, I’d like to thank you all for your support during my Photographic Journey, thank you for all of your comments too, its been lots of fun. I’ve been very lucky to have had over 111,000 views on this site since I began and that is very humbling.

I am still around completing my 365 Project until the end of January. I’m still very active on Instagram and Twitter, I am also currently updating my Photography Website and I have begun a journal of my photography and travels there. Thank you, Helen x

Olympic Mountains, WA

The second trip I took from Seattle was a small group trip to the Olympic Mountains. A ferry ride across to Bainbridge Island, fresh coffee and biscuits started our day. I have to admit I have travelled quite a bit in my life and I don’t think I have ever seen such a beautiful place as Bainbridge Island, early in the morning just as the fog was lifting from Elliott Bay.

We visited a workshop in Sequim Bay to begin with, where we saw the process of an artist who still hand carves totem poles. Then a further drive to Port Angeles and a hairy drive up to Hurricane Ridge (no barriers). We had lunch here and did a few of the walks to view points, only a couple of miles, but the mountain views were beautiful and reminded me of the book Heidi.

Finally we made a short visit to Crescent Lake and then the long (beautiful) drive back to Bainbridge Island and the ferry to Seattle. The last shot was while I was down in the car deck and the sun was just beginning to set as we sailed off from Bainbridge Island with added views of Mount Rainier.

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San Juan Islands, WA…

One of the trips I went on from Seattle was to see the Orca Killer Whales as they followed the Salmon run north through the San Juan Islands, which are just east of Vancouver Island. We did catch up with the K pod and enjoyed over an hour watching the whales breaching the surface of the water. Deception Pass had beautiful emerald green water, I think it was something to do with the algae that thrives in this tidal pass.

We stopped for a few hours in Friday Harbor and I enjoyed a salted caramel ice-cream and  watched the sailing boats. Then we sailed back towards Seattle, but not before viewing lots of sea lions sunbathing, an incredible sunset and that famous twinkling Seattle skyline as we finally sailed back into Elliot Bay.

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Deception Island
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Deception Pass

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Friday Harbor

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Seattle – the city…

The moment the airplane started to descend down into Seattle, I knew it was going to be a special city. My first impression was of millions of trees, a large archipelago, long bridges and even more evergreens, like someone dropped a city in a forest.

I only spent four days in Seattle, but got a really lovely feel for the city, in fact I loved it so much I’ve already booked a flight back here at the end of next summer. I have several posts to show you as I did a couple of amazing day trips during my stay here, but here are a few images of Seattle – the city.

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Looking towards Queen Anne neighbourhood Seattle
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Seattle News
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The Gumwall
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Pike Place Market
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Pike Place Market
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Nirvana – Bringing Punk to the Masses, at the EMP
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The Bench outside Kurt Cobain’s house
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Space Needle
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A quiet city centre – The Seattle Seahawks were playing
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The Space Needle from Kerry Park – only a few high rise buildings downtown.

Two years sitting on a Ridge..Part 2

The Autumn and Winter months up at Arthur’s Pike can be very windy, so windy and cold I cannot use my cameras at all, my fingers become so numb I have to pop my hands up inside my fleece sweater to bring back the circulation. The Bracken has completely died back after its beautiful russet colours in the Autumn and the open ground on Barton Fell reminds me of those wide American plains in cowboy movies.

The light especially during a weather change is truly beautiful. I have sat up here and watched huge black and furious weather move in from the west and I’ve walked back along the ridge and over the open ground before it even reached me, thats a really lovely thing to watch. The snow and ice up on Helvelln’s summit hang around until the end of May at least and I don’t dare go up onto Barton Fell without hat and gloves until early June. I really want to get up there during a very snowy period like we had back in the winter of 2010. I’m sure Ullswater and the surrounding fells would make a stunning image.

I dont tend to hang around much at the summit because of the cold sometimes, although star jumps help keep me warm if I want to wait out some time. I’m often visited by crows up here. I lost a lens cap up here once, it slid down the very steep side of the ridge and there it remains forever.

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The Spring and Summer months are much warmer and the colour palette changes to warmer hues. The thing I notice as soon as Spring arrives is the smells, a warm aromatic smell, the sweet smell of the yellow flowers on the Gorse. There are a few Cuckoos in Barton Wood below the ridge and I hear them call out especially in June. The grass smells very sweet and the purple flowering heather in August is delicious. I have to be careful laying in the heather as there are so many bees buzzing around too. I can sometimes hear the laughter from the people camping at the many campsites to the east of the lake, their voices carrying along the water.

The view as I sit on the south ridge of Ullswater is due north, so a brilliant panoramic view of the Northern fells and Blencathra from here. I always think it is a great vantage point for the long view up the lake and the recession of the fells around it. There are a few other vantage points in the Lakes where you get that lovely fading recession of mountains, but you feel so close to it up on this ridge. Blencathra has a small saddle shape on the top, hence its old name Saddleback. The small mounded shape hill in the near distance is Little Mell Fell.

Mid September heralds cool winds and the arrival of Autumn here and the green bracken begins to explode into shades of russet. Sometimes when I walk off the Ridge at dusk, I swear it is the most peaceful and beautiful place in the world.

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Two years sitting on a Ridge..Part 1

I looked back over my photo catalog and realised I’ve been going up to the same ridge, walking out over Barton Fell, up to Arthur’s Pike since the winter of 2014. These images are from an evening back in late June of this year. In the next post I’ll show you my very favourite historical images from this ridge. As a photographer and nature lover I enjoy the repetition of going to the same vantage point high above Ullswater.

I start out near Pooley Bridge and walk out across the open fell, passing The Cock Pit, an ancient stone circle. The light is really beautiful here, even in the dead of winter I always love this part of the walk, It takes me about an hour to get to the foot of the ridge itself just by Barton Wood. Then a steep short climb up and I take the sheep path right on the edge of the ridge. I use the safer inside path during the winter months, when the wind can knock you over. There are always sheep here, sometimes they chase me along the path, stamping their feet at me.

Barton Fell is pretty boggy all year around but there is always lots of Bog Cotton here and on the ridge itself in August, the heather is in full flower. Sometimes I lay here and watch the Ullswater Steamer sailing up and down the lake. My objective is always the cairn by Arthur’s Pike, I looked this up on the OS map and its name is actually Whinny Crag. Sometimes I walk on a little bit further and watch the water pouring down Swarthbeck Gill.

In all the time I’ve been here, I have only bumped into humans on two occasions and that suits me just fine. It’s so rare to find very quiet fells in the Lake District. If I have my head torch packed, I will sit up there until the sun sets with my flask of tea and a warm blanket. I have started to take my Hasselblad up here to try and catch some of that lovely light and will carry on doing that through this coming winter for a project I am going to do.

 

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