On his continual quest to visit as many of the U.S. National Parks as possible, Marco Crupi decided to head for Seattle this past December to visit Olympic National Park in the state of Washington. "The next day, I met up with Dustin, a photographer buddy of mine from the Sacramento area. We jumped on the Bainbridge Ferry and headed to the Port Angeles and Olympic National Park area.
"Driving from the ferry to Second Beach in a heavy downpour, I wasn't at all confident that I could capture any images. From the parking lot, we hiked about a mile through mud, rain and flimsy wooden bridges to reach Second Beach. What a sight! As soon as we got there, the skies started to open, displaying beautiful reds, oranges and purples. Walking along the beach, we saw a collection of starfish within tide pools. My tripod was completely retracted and within a tide pool to capture this shot. My camera settings were f/22 at ISO 150. I achieved an 8 second exposure by setting my Singh-Ray Vari-ND to a lighter density because the light was already fading. It was a magical experience and a great way to start our trip. We decided to call it a night.
"The following day we headed to the Seven Lakes Basin Loop and planned on taking the short trail. The rain was very heavy so that rain gear was essential for us and our beloved camera equipment. On this trail, my first surprise was the beauty of this falls I titled “Surprise Falls.” With my camera on the tripod, I used the Vari-ND to reduce the light intake and achieve the beautiful water movement with a 4 second exposure.
"The following day began with a visit to the Hoh Rain Forest of the Olympic National Park. The day's weather as should be expected was not cooperating too well. No matter how hard we tried, our lens would be splattered with rain drops. The day was a partial wash out.
"The next day, Rialto Beach was on our radar again. From the parking lot, you can head to the famous Split Rock and Hole in the Wall. It was a bit of a hike, about 2 miles each way. Because of the high tide, we had to tackle the terrain by balancing our way over the logs. It truly felt like an obstacle course. When we reached Split Rock, we waited for the sunset which was quickly approaching. The colors were magical. My camera settings were f/11 at ISO 100, with a .5 second exposure.
"Along our final stop in the southern edge of Olympic National Park, we captured shots of Lake Quinault Valley. From the road, we saw a quaint bridge. We hiked down about 5 feet and came across rushing water. I stood in the water and captured a wide angle of these water shots. With the Vari-ND, I was able to achieve the slow motion feel of the water. This shot was captured with the following settings: f/16 at ISO 100, with a 16 second exposure.
"For the second shot of this valley, we pulled off the road to capture this massive waterfall. This was a difficult shot because my lens needed to be wiped dry constantly. Settings used were: f/16 at ISO 100, with a 5 second exposure.
"If you decide to visit this area in the winter months, my small piece of advice is to not go at it alone. It pays off to be in the company of others, particularly because of the dangerous terrain. With phone service ranging from limited to no service at all, it is important you research the trail maps. Or, you can always take a nice handy snap shot of the trail map with your smartphone before you head off. These are good pixels to fall back on if you get lost. Happy trails everyone."
Marco's passion for landscape photography has led to awards with Photography Master’s Cup, Photographer's Forum and Nature's Best Photography. Pictures from his portfolio have appeared in National Geographic's Intelligent Travel Magazine, National Geographic's "Your National Parks" and Outdoor Photographer.
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