For quite a while now I’ve wanted to visit the Olympic National Park but for all sorts of reasons have never been.

So why visit at all? Well the Park in on the Olympic peninsular – that’s the big bit of land between Seattle and the Pacific Ocean, and with three distinct and diverse ecosystems that include, the Pacific coast, rain forest valleys and glacier-capped mountains the Olympic National Park is home to a stunning variety of plants and animals.

There are so many places to visit and things to see that it’s difficult to figure out an itinerary for just one day, add to this that fact that it’s pretty painful to get to (long drive, ferry trip, very long drive) I’ve had problems finding anyone to go with me.

Anyway this weekend I just thought I haven’t been out with the camera for a while and I fancied a car trip to somewhere new. So I got up super early and hit the road to Edmonds, that took around 40 minutes, then I got on a Ferry to Kingston, another 40 minutes, and found myself on the peninsular.

I had a couple of locations I wanted to check out, namely Port Angeles, Lake Crescent and Sol Duc Falls. The nearest was Port Angeles so off I set.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t that great, there was a lot of low cloud (no rain thank goodness) but a lot of mist, especially as I started to go up in elevation.

By the time I reached Port Angeles (nearly 3 hours later) the sky was actually pretty grey. Now if you have broken cloud this can look really good, but this was just a sheet of nothing, not very appealing for pictures, so I quickly headed on the Lake Crescent.

The lake was great, sure the sky was still a little grey but the scenic views were amazing. So I just drove round the lake stopping every mile or so to take some pictures.

After around an hour I got to the end of the lake and headed off to Dol Suc. This took another hour (and is about 30 miles from Forks for all you Twilight fans). I paid my entrance fee to get into the Park and drove the 14 miles to the end of the road. Then there was a mile hike into the forest to get to the falls.

As I was there at the end of summer there wasn’t a load water but the falls still looked good. I took a load of pictures walking around the falls, even walking out onto the rocks at one point to get some closer pics and then headed back to the car.

It was 4 in the afternoon and time to head home so off I went again and got back to Kinston by 7. I had an hours wait for a ferry and got home at 9:30.

For a first trip out I had a blast, took around 400 pictures and ended up with around 30 I really liked – some of which are below.
I’ll definitely go back there and maybe next time convince Lisa and Abi to come too (not even going to try to get James to come). Although next time we’ll find somewhere to stay for a couple of nights, that way I can shoot the coast too.

Anyway here are some of the pics.

What can I tell you, I HATE taking pictures of animals. It’s not that I don’t like them or anything, I just don’t have that patience gene that allows me to either sit over a hole in the ground for hours, stand quietly in a wooded area with a long lens or in my case this weekend, try to convince my stupid dog to sit still.

But as Lisa (my wife) wanted a new picture of Roxie our dog, that’s what I had to do.

Roxie is a Maltese Shih Tzu mix and just doesn’t like having her picture taken. She’ll sit there looking beautiful until the moment I pull the camera up to my face, at which point she runs for the hills.

Now I’ve read blog postings from other photographers who talk about offering treats and being patient for that perfect shot, but I just don’t have the patience – or quite frankly the desire!

But again as Lisa wanted a picture we grabbed the camera, one light and hit the garden with Roxie and a cheese stick. Roxie loves cheese sticks so I figured this might keep her still, but it had the complete opposite effect. She went mental.

Rather than sit still like all those amazingly trained dogs you see on TV, Roxie decided to dance around like a nutta. At all times she didn’t take her eyes off the cheese Lisa was holding, jumping up and down, spinning round in circles and when she did stop and sit still, the only shot I got was a great shot of the back of her head.

Have I mentioned I don’t like doing this?

Anyway, after lots of attempts (and I mean a lot), I managed to get four passable images that Lisa quite liked.

In every one I had to crop out Lisa who was holding the cheese and re-compose the shot so Roxie was nicely positioned in the shot.

Luckily Lisa got her image and I’m saved from having to do this again for a couple of years.

Here are the four we liked: