Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ape Caves: An Abused Natural Wonder

This was going to be a typical trip report, replete with fanciful language describing the wonders of Ape Caves, a 3 mile long lava tube burrowing through the flanks of Mt. St. Helens. I would have described the feeling of descending into another world, of traversing natural train tunnels, towering Lovecraftian cathedrals, shining slabs, and twisting patterns in the rock. However, this ancient, hallowed cavern has been so badly defaced that to promote it without mention of its poor condition, and the need to remedy the circumstances that continue to degrade it, would be remiss in the extreme.

Lava Tubes and Light Trails

Mt. St. Helens is best known for its cataclysmic eruption in 1980, but on its southern flank lies the entrance to the longest continuous cave in the contiguous United States: Ape Caves. Many wonders may be found here in this tube formed in an eruption that occurred millennia ago; Giant caverns, natural railroad tracks, and even a giant meatball suspended high above the tunnel floor. Fellow visitors passing by lit the cave and formed startling light trails in the air as they passed. By allowing others to unwittingly provide me with illumination I was able to avoid the harsh light that would have been cast by a flash. What follows is a photographic journey into a surreal world of darkness and light.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Shell ultralight camera cover review

Rain, mist, fog – damp weather brings out the best colors and most interesting conditions. Famous landscapes that have been photographed a billion  times may look unfamiliar like alien landscapes with swirling clouds, flowing mists, and skeins of virga to reveal them in new and intriguing ways. Sadly, such weather often makes getting a shot not smeared with water droplets impossible,  so many photographers avoid going out in the kinds of weather that produce the most interesting and unique photos. The Shell by Peak Design allows you to conquer inclement weather and brave the storms that thwart your photographic success.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Flowers in the Blast Zone

Who could have guessed just a few decades hence that today that the then barren, blighted landscape of dust and rock that was left in the wake of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens would in 2016 be a paradisaical flower garden! That is indeed the case, as Indian Paintbrush and Gentian now conceal gray ash.