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Greenland Sea Kayaking Adventure

As an avid sea kayaker, Greenland has been a paddling dream destination of mine for several years.  And as an outdoor photographer, I’m always seeking out giant open landscapes in beautiful light.  Hours of Greenland’s low-angle arctic light is hard to beat.

My big Greenland kayaking dreams came true this summer with a 10 day paddling adventure to the Ammassalik area of East Greenland.  Our group of nine European and American kayakers paddled 60 miles around the northern half of Ammassalik Island, starting in the settlement of Kusuluk and ending with a hike across Ammassalik Island to the town of Tasiilaq.

A fun group and perfect weather made it easy to enjoy the arctic landscape, icebergs, whales and vertical mountain scenery.

Settlement of Kulusuk
Settlement of Kulusuk on Torsuut Tunoq sound, East Greenland (Brad Mitchell)
A few colorful Danish-style houses in the settlement of Kulusuk overlook Torsuut Tunoq sound.  Kulusuk provides East Greenland’s primary airport to the rest of the world, with up to two flights per day from Iceland.  We packed our boats and immediately headed off to our first camp on the side of Ammassalik Fjord, where a feeding mink whale entertained us just off-shore.

Paddling on Ikaasatsivaq Fjord
Sea kayakers paddling on Ikaasatsivaq Fjord, Ammassalik Island, East Greenland (Brad Mitchell)
Our group of 9 paddlers in 5 kayaks (I was in the only single boat) paddled through vertical mountain scenery alongside Ikaasatsivaq Fjord.  Loaded down with camping gear and food, we paddled an average of 20 km (12.4 miles) each day.  I carried my SLR camera on deck in a Ortlieb dry bag for quick access.

Ammassalik Island mountain scenery
Hiker looking over glacial melt river and mountains, Sammileq Fjord, Ammassalik Island, East Greenland (Brad Mitchell)

Here I am, enjoying an un-named glacial-fed river and mountain scenery on Ammassalik Island near our camp on Sammileq Fjord. The glaciated mountain Qimmeertaajaliip Qaqqartivaa rises 974 meters in the distance.

Time for a stretch on Ikaasatsivaq Fjord
Sea kayakers taking break on beach, Ikaasatsivaq Fjord, Ammassalik Island, East Greenland (Brad Mitchell)
With mountains often coming right out of the water, it is important to take breaks at any available beaches and fresh water sources along the way.

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Skagit Valley Tulip Sunrise

Another year, another spring and another sunrise in the colorful RoozenGaarde fields of tulips in Washington State’s Skagit Valley.  Now at least a 15 year tradition, my family makes the 45 minute pre-dawn drive to witness and photograph another spectacular sunrise over 350 acres of tulips standing in neat rows organized by Dutch settlers since the 1950s.

Before the sun rises over the Cascade Mountains, the air is still enough to photograph the motionless dew-covered blooms.  The air is cool and scented more by the muddy fertile soil than by the tulips themselves.  As the sun rises, the dewy tulips become rim-lit when photographed in direction of the sun.

Alas, the air begins to stir and the light looses its softness.  It’s off to the Calico Cupboard Old Town Cafe and Bakery in downtown Mount Vernon, where my daughter orders her much-anticipated cinnamon roll French toast.

Rows of pink tulips, Mount Vernon, Skagit Valley, Skagit County, Washington, USA (Brad Mitchell)

Rows of pink tulips, Mount Vernon, Skagit Valley, Skagit County, Washington, USA (Brad Mitchell)

Rows of red and white tulips, Mount Vernon, Skagit Valley, Skagit County, Washington, USA (Brad Mitchell)

Rows of red and white tulips, Mount Vernon, Skagit Valley, Skagit County, Washington, USA (Brad Mitchell)

One pink tulip standing out from row, Mount Vernon, Skagit Valley, Skagit County, Washington, USA (Brad Mitchell)

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

 

Carnival Kicks Off in Lucerne

Thursday, February 4, 2016 (Dirty Thursday)
Lucerne, Switzerland

Carnival season has kicked off here in Lucerne, with tens of thousands of costumed Swiss partiers prowling the streets for parades, music and street partying.  40-50 marching bands, many dressed as monsters, wander from plaza to plaza pounding their drums late into the night to entertain the locals and scare away winter’s ghosts.

The festivities continue with more parades, music, marching and partying through Fat Tuesday.

Marching band playing in streets of Lucerne, Switzerland during 2016 Carnival.

Marching band playing in streets of Lucerne, Switzerland during 2016 Carnival.

Marching band playing in streets of Lucerne, Switzerland during 2016 Carnival.

Marching band playing in streets of Lucerne, Switzerland during 2016 Carnival.

Point Wilson Lighthouse and Mt Baker Sunrise

I saw this photo last winter on a visit to Fort Worden State Park, with the Point Wilson Lighthouse perfectly aligned to Mount Baker.  But I wasn’t happy with a previous attempt at the shot.  This year conditions couldn’t have been better.  Mount Baker is covered in a fresh coat of snow, the cold winter air was crystal clear and the winter sun rose at an angle to the scene allowing effective use of a polarizing filter to cut through any remaining atmospheric haze and reveal the saturated colors of the rising sun.  A beautiful way to wrap up 2015.

Point Wilson Lighthouse and Mount Baker at sunrise, Fort Warden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington, USA (Brad Mitchell)

Point Wilson Lighthouse and Mount Baker at sunrise, Fort Warden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington.  Shot with Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens on tripod at f8 and 1/8 second.

Exploring Fort Worden Bunkers with the Fujifilm X100T

With its industry-unique X-Trans sensor promising super-sharp images, I though the old abandoned bunkers of Fort Worden State Park near Port Townsend would make a great testing ground for my new Fujifilm X100T camera (get one here bundled with a free Audio Technica microphone).  Would it render the much touted sharpness and rich colors?   Not having image stabilization, could I hold the camera steady enough?  How would high-ISO perform in low-light conditions on an overcast day?  I intended to find out.

Fort Worden was built in the late 1890’s as part of U.S. seacoast fortifications to protect Puget Sound, including Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.  The concrete bunkers and artillery gun placements embedded into the top of Artillery Hill were in operation on and off from 1902 to 1957, though most of its guns were removed and sent to Europe during World War I.  The guns were never fired in battle at Fort Warden.

Today, the site is owned by Washington State and operated as a State Park, with the old army buildings, barracks, officer’s quarters and parade grounds providing lodging and accommodating conferences, workshops, festivals and other special events.  The Park also offers camping, hiking and beach walking that draw my family here at least annually.

With my new Fujifilm X100T in hand, Fort Worden provided an excellent opportunity for a family walk while I learned the handling characteristics of this new camera and checked out its performance on some detail-rich rust, moss and algae covered fortifications.

Open rusty steel door at concrete bunker tunnel, Artillery Hill, Fort Warden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington, USA (Brad Mitchell)

Rusty steel door at concrete mortar tunnel, Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington

Open and closed rusty green steel doors in concrete bunker tunnels, Artillery Hill, Fort Warden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington, USA (Brad Mitchell)

Bunker tunnels, Fort Worden State Park, Washington

Closed rusty green steel door in concrete bunker, Artillery Hill, Fort Warden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington, USA (Brad Mitchell)

Rusty green steel door and latch

Closed rusty green steel door and ladder on concrete bunker tunnel, Artillery Hill, Fort Warden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington, USA (Brad Mitchell)

Rusty steel door and ladder on algae-covered concrete bunker wall

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San Juan Island Highlights

A few winter shots from my favorite of the San Juan Islands, including Cattle Point Light and Lime Kiln Light standing watch under starry night skies, and Pacific madrone trees on an obscure coastal trail on Westside Preserve …

Cattle Point Lighthouse under starry sky, San Juan Island,  San Juan County, Washington, USA (Brad Mitchell Photography)

Cattle Point Lighthouse under starry sky, San Juan Island, San Juan County, Washington

Lime Kiln Lighthouse stands watch over Haro Strait under a starry sky, Washington (Brad Mitchell)

Lime Kiln Lighthouse stands watch over Haro Strait under a starry sky, Washington

Lime Kiln Lighthouse stands watch over Haro Strait at dawn, Washington (Brad Mitchell)

Lime Kiln Lighthouse at dawn, Washington

Pacific Madrone tree and trail through prairie, Westside Preserve, San Juan Island, Washington, USA (Copyright Brad Mitchell Photography)

Pacific Madrone tree and trail through coastal prairie, Westside Preserve, San Juan Island, Washington

Pacific Madrone tree and trail through prairie, Westside Preserve, San Juan Island, Washington, USA (Copyright Brad Mitchell Photography)

Pacific Madrone tree, Westside Preserve, San Juan Island, Washington

Pacific Madrone tree and trail through prairie, Westside Preserve, San Juan Island, Washington, USA (Copyright Brad Mitchell Photography)

Pacific Madrone tree, Westside Preserve, San Juan Island, Washington

 

Mount Rigi

Enjoying a fine day in Switzerland with a cog train ride up Mount Rigi for spectacular views of the Swiss Alps, and then a steep scramble down it’s north side on the Bänderenweg route …

Red cog rail train car on summit of Mount Rigi, Switzerland, Europe (Brad Mitchell)

Cog rail train on summit of Mount Rigi with Swiss Alps in background

Red cog rail train car on summit of Mount Rigi, Switzerland, Europe (Brad Mitchell)

Cog rail train car on summit of Mount Rigi

Man hiking above foggy valley from near summit of Mount Rigi, Bänderenweg route, Switzerland, Europe (Brad Mitchell)

Hiking down off the summit of Mount Rigi via the Bänderenweg route

Man rappelling on the Arschbagge near summit of Mount Rigi, Bänderenweg route, Switzerland, Europe (Brad Mitchell)

Rappelling down the Arschbagge on the Bänderenweg route, Mount Rigi, Switzerland

 

Cologne City Skyline

Cologne skyline and Hohenzollern Bridge over Rhine River, Cologne, Germany, Europe (Brad Mitchell)

Cologne skyline and Hohenzollern Bridge over Rhine River, Cologne, Germany

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany, Europe (Brad Mitchell)

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge reflected in Rhine River, Cologne, Germany

Love locks on Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany, Europe (Brad Mitchell)

Love locks on Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany

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Multnomah Falls Featured by Printed Art Curator’s Blog

The curators over at Printed Art have featured Multnomah Falls as part of a portfolio on “The Motion of Water“.

“Cascades of color and energy flying by, and there you are, taking it in, trying to create the feeling for the viewer. Many say that timing is everything. I like to think that creativity, patience and talent have a lot to do with it as well. We hope you enjoy these glorious outpourings of nature’s intensity, trickling, gushing or frozen!”

Thanks guys!

Multnomah Falls and bridge, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon, USA (Copyright Brad Mitchell Photography.9601 Wall St.Snohomish, WA 98296.USA.425-418-7279.brad@bradmitchellphoto.com)

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon


Adventure

Sea kayakers paddling on Ikaasatsivaq Fjord, Ammassalik Island, East Greenland
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Sea kayakers paddling on Ikaasatsivaq Fjord, Ammassalik Island, East Greenland
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News

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