Winter Morning on the Palix River, Washington, 2021

Winter Sunrise, Palix River, Washington, 2021

[Photo Link]

With a winter storm in the forecast, I wanted to get out for some photography before the weather hit.

As I set off in the morning, as usual, I had no destination in mind.

I arrived at the boat launch on the Palix River, before high tide, at first light. My experience told me that I had no need to travel further down US101 for a good sunrise.

The clouds were all lined up in the sky, creating leading lines to where the sun would rise over the Willapa Hills.

A bank of clouds hovered over the horizon to the south while a little mist formed upriver from my location. 

After a little exploring with my camera, I finally settled on my composition. The first layer in the photograph is the exposed rocks in the foreground. The next layer is the clouds reflecting off the water's surface. Then followed by the thin horizon line of the Willapa Hills and the far riverbank. The final layer is the line of underlit clouds, leading the eye to the sunrise.

I took a series of images, spaced a few minutes apart, to capture the ever-changing light of the sunrise.

The final photograph combines two focus-stacked images. The first point focused on the rocks in the foreground, and the second for the rest of the scene.

Winter Morning, Palix River, Washington, 2021

[Photo Link]

As the sun rose above the horizon, I shifted my attention to photographing the golden hour light.

Upriver from me, the light was hitting the river bank at a nice angle (side light).

A fence divided the public land and private property.

I set up my composition so that the river bank created a leading line through the photograph. 

The grass still had heavy frost on areas where the sun's warmth had not melted it.

I positioned the fence to the right in a location not to block the eye from traveling through the photo.

The mist was forming over the river in the far distance, with the final layer being wispy clouds in the blue sky.

If I capture one landscape photograph in a day's outing that I'm happy with, it's a great day. More than that is a bonus day of photography.

Thanks for reading.

~Steve