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For the afternoon I had parted ways from my colleagues and rented a car, daring to find my way to Mt. Rainier.

It took nearly two hours of vehicular prying and dodging to shove my way past the mostly inescapable monster that is Seattle traffic, making the likelihood of a daytime vista more like an eroded dream. I knew it wasn’t very likely to begin with, though, and once the wilderness began to basify the acid of driving stress I became far more present in the lushness of Washington and much less reactive to its warts.

By the time I reached the Chinook Pass low clouds had covered every bit of sky. There still was the possibility that they were localized or patchy and so I pressed on, percipient of my eventual disappointment but also very aware that I was breathing clean, non-recirculated air for the first time in days. The only miteration upon the public streets in this area came from things like elk, wolves, eagles, or bears. There was no car visible for tens of miles at a time, something quite rare in the eastern states. The vastness of Mr. Ranier National Park had tasked itself with delivering the sublime like my friend Alliene would appreciate.

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The color of the adjacent White River first caught my eye as I rounded a gentle turn in the road, like the appearance of plaster that the drywall specialists had used to patch the ceiling two years earlier. It was as if the earth had opened up its own milkshake well and left the pump on. I missed the first pull-off and after passing the next gave myself the all-clear for a high speed stop and U-turn. Windshields don’t block THAT much light, but when I stepped out of the little box on wheels it was as if this volcanic-ash-laden liquid, this slurry of grey (GREY!), suddenly had saturation. Yellow flowers shouted from the sidelines as stands of aspen looked aimlessly for their reflection. The sky was falling and I knew I wouldn’t be seeing Rainier on this trip.

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I looked up, anyway, and was introduced to Skookum Falls.

 

Skookum Falls

47°03’10.5″N 121°34’19.7″W

Paris, je t’aime.

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Preparing for a long nap

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Summer’s flowers, Sun having lengthened its gaze to shorten the day enough that Dusk can be seen from Dawn, wilt toward their beds in anticipation of a restful Winter sleep.

 

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Just a little bit of snow

West Prong Little Pigeon River

I once commuted weekly through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and, on occasion, had the pleasure of stopping for a photo or two. This one was from a bridge near Sugarlands Nature Center, and is a favorite from my Winter shots. There wasn’t so much snow or ice that limbs became heavy, but the grey and purples of the overcast sunset gave a weight to the scene that made me feel like getting out of my car; in fact, I remember driving by and catching the view peripherally. I quickly convinced myself to turn around and am very glad I did.

 

Arc de Triomphe de Carrousel

What I gather to be the most prevalent argument against the use of digital manipulation seems founded in some idea that photography must be journalistic, that it cannot cause or imply discrepancy between reality and its depiction. On any given day I could stand awash in such a sea of criticism and still keep my keel steady: I don’t manipulate my photos because I feel that I must – I do so to experience a stronger connection to my memories; memories that involve boldness of color and contrast far more abundantly than any non-realistic adhesion to “the journalistic” would allow.

Here, to illustrate the point, is a photo I took of the Arc de Triomphe de Carrousel. I was vacationing in Paris for the second time and had been quickly impressed with how deeply passionate the French were toward art while at the same time having become somewhat ambivalent to the art within their architecture. The same could be said for the tourists, whose agenda included only the monuments that convention demanded a visit to, and who blatantly ignored almost anything not designed by Eiffel. Here, grandeur is somehow muddled by the almost happenstance, apparently only mildly-convenienced people of interest, ranging from fully unimpressed to wearing paper thin expressions of gratitude for the momentary seat provided by a traffic pillar. Funny thing is: they all choose to walk under the arch. In triumph? Only they know, but without their stories I found them distracting, so…



 

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I removed them:

Arc de Triomphe de Carrousel Arc de Triomphe de Carrousel