It’s that time of year again – time to visit the Tulip Festival up in Skagit Valley.   So out came the camera and I set up a road trip with a couple of friends from work (Chris Pearson and Eric Bie).  The plan was to drive up to Mount Vernon to get some tulip shots, then head out to La Conner for lunch, and finally check out Deception Pass for some scenic shots of the bridge and beaches.

Now I’ve been going up to the festival for the last few years so none of this is that new.  Last year I went early April and none of the tulips were out – big disappointment.  So I had to go back towards the end of the month to get the good flower shots.  So this year we decided to wait until the third week of April until we went.  As you would expect this year it was different and the flowers bloomed early.  So we got there today and found a LOAD of empty fields.

There are really two places to go, one is Roozen Gaarde which is run by the Roozen family who have been growing tulips since the 1700’s, the other is Tulip Town where another family (the DeGoede’s) also have a huge history in tulip growing.  Both families stem from Holland which is perceived as the home of the tulip. As the tulips were pretty much gone we hit Tulip Town first and were lucky to find some there.

Now I have hundreds of tulip pictures already, so rather than shoot the same thing over and over again I chose to be a bit picky and just shoot something different.  As it was a little wet early this morning it wasn’t too busy there so we got some nice shots.  Unfortunately though the sky was pretty crappy so most of my shots were low down capturing the flowers.

Anyway we got some great pictures and decided to head out before it started to rain again, so we went back to the car with a ridiculous amount of mud on our shoes (the car is a right state) and drove over to La Conner.  La Conner is a great little town located on the water front just off Skagit Bay.  We found somewhere to eat and grabbed a burger.  Then it was off to Deception Pass.

Deception Pass has this huge bridge that’s really popular for photographers and it’s basically located in a state park.  The park has loads of trails and beaches and we thought it might be nice for some pictures.  The beach we went to had a great view of the bridge and was a beach I hadn’t been to before and I was really pleased with the shots I got.  After that it was time to go home.

We left this morning at 9am and got home around 5pm.  In all I took a pretty low 200 pictures and got less than 20 I really liked (and I would class that as a successful day out).  Some of the shots I liked are below.


Today’s posting is an unusual one for me I guess, as I don’t typically post images that have been so heavily processed.  But I only have a few days to go to the end of the year and I thought why not. (Plus Lisa really liked this image).

This was taken in Mount Vernon at the Tulip festival up in Skagit Valley.  The tulips were really that red and the sky was pretty blue and I was lying on the floor (on a black bin bag) taking shots.  I was getting loads of funny looks from people there but that’s really not that uncommon.

This is going to be a big surprise but I processed this image in Lightroom and Photoshop, I increased the saturation and clarity (that makes the image shaper) and added a dark vignette. The end result looked pretty cool and is my picture for today.  Hope you like it too.

I swear I can’t bring anything nice into the house without these two little dudes getting their hands on it.  Today they “found” some dark chocolate Truffles!

It’s been a while since I posted any tulip pictures and quite frankly I still have hundreds left so tonight’s image is of some white tulips and was shot at Mount Vernon during the tulip festival.  This was one of those shots where I got out my black bin bag, laid it in the mud and got down on the floor.  Passers by looked at me like I was nuts but I’m used to that now.

I wanted a shot of a tulip row disappearing off into the distance with a nice sky above.  This is what I got.  The dark pink tulips behind added to the image by making the white ones stand out a little.

Fortunately this was one of the few times when nobody was in my way stomping around the field, so absolutely no Photoshop here.

I haven’t posted any black and white for a while so tomorrow I’ll look for something to shoot that will make a good black and white image.  I also need to shoot more people so I’ll look for some subjects there too.

Carter found a can of crazy string and went a little mad today – poor Master Chief!

Yeah yeah I know I said no more tulip pictures, but I like this one so suck it.  This picture was taken in Mount Vernon at the tulip festival (now that’s a surprise).  Can you see all the people walking in the field?  No?  Well that’s the magic of Photoshop!

I liked this one as the tulips looked beautiful and the leading line of the row on the right going off to the distance draws your eye to the trees, hills and mountains behind the flowers.  That white peak “poking” over the hill top to the right of the barn is Mount Baker.  I also liked the barn behind the tulips.  It kind of provides a feature of interest between the flowers and the sky.

When I took this picture I actually took several versions all with varying depth of field, some had everything in focus, others (like this one) had the flowers at the front in focus and the focus dropped off into the distance.  I liked this look most of all so I picked it for today’s picture.

Obviously this wasn’t taken at work as that would be quite naughty, but the guys found a bottle of scotch somewhere!  (My Dad will like this one).

Today’s image is again from Mount Vernon and shows rows of tulips.  This image is a favorite of Lisa’s, she likes the one tulip sticking out into the row (that’s different from all the others).  I like the lines of the rows that lead you to the building structure in the top right of the image (unsurprisingly this is called “leading lines” and guides the eyes where to look).  Also if you look at the top center, you can see Mount Baker popping above the hills.

This is another image that was taken directly from the camera.  In this one there were actually no tourists in the way so I really didn’t have to do anything in Photoshop at all.

If you’re getting tired of these tulip pics, don’t worry, I have Monday off work and plan to get LOTS of cool pics, so expect some new ones next week.  That said of course I still have loads of tulip ones left so they may pop up throughout the year.

Carter and Master Chief found a friend to play with at work and took turns riding his back.