Backlit Trees, Snow Lake, Mount Rainier National Park

Backlit Trees, Snow Lake, Mount Rainier National Park

Last weekend I made a trip down to Mount Rainier with Mike Hornblade for a day to take in what was left of the fall color before it was gone and the roads became compromised by snow. Without much of a plan or agenda, we found ourselves hiking (at a little over a mile, I use the term losely) to Bench Lake and Snow Lake, just to see what was there. We pushed a little past Snow Lake to what was essentially a large tarn, a brief stop for the waters flowing off snow melt on Unicorn Peak (in the background) before it feeds Snow Lake.

We were both struck by the great backlighting of these pine trees in the early afternoon. At this time of year the sun does not get all that far above the horizon, and was just clearing the top of the mountains here to cast light into the scene. I don't believe I have ever struggled so much to manage lens flare as I did here in this shot, even a proper lens hood did not seem adequate in this particular case. Managing the highlights proved even more challenging, as the specular reflection from the wet shoreline was substantially brighter than anything else in the scene, and was prone to completely washing out.

This was one of my first images captured once we arrived, and I subsequently attempted to improve on it by switching to a better lens, using my tripod, and being particularly careful of managing the flare. However, in that brief delay most of the light faded from the distant treetops and I just didn't care for those images as much, though they were perhaps technically better executed. All in all, I find this to be one of those images that I couldn't manage to do justice to the scene itself, but hopefully serves at least to reflect what a great scene it was in person.

Nikon D90 | Nikon 18-55@26mm | f/9 | 1/125s | ISO200 | Handheld

See more related images in my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery.

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