Random Acts of Photography – Guest Article by Steve Russell

_MG_9975-1In the lowlands of the Pacific Northwest’s late fall and winter it is usually light-starved, wet and 50 shades of gray. Occasionally, though, the sun peeks out and it stops raining long enough for some shooting opportunities of the outdoor nature kind.

For example, I found salmon leaping out of the water trying to get upstream at a local fish hatchery during this year’s spawning season around Thanksgiving. I returned a week later to find the salmon had spawned out and died but a Great Blue Heron feeding on the carcasses let me inch up closer than ever.

_MG_0588-2I also sprang into action for two unexpected sunset opportunities at nearby Chambers Bay Park, which overlooks the Puget Sound. They yielded saturated silhouette shots (using a circular polarizer) that captured people crossing a bridge telling their stories in true environmental portraiture fashion.

Snow geese and trumpeter swans begin migrating to the Skagit Valley an hour north of Seattle this time of year, but finding sun and birds at the same time is hit and miss. And while the bugs are nearly all gone or in hiding, macro opportunities come up when it’s dewy or freezing overnight, which creates magical spiraling patterns on leftover spider webs in the park.

Random acts of photography in otherwise gray, dreary and wet weather. Lowland nature shooting is catch as catch can around here this time of the year, so it pays to be ready for just about anything when the right conditions do present themselves – or not – as unpredictable as that may be.

Steve Russell