The Dam Eagle Road Trip

Finally… after over two months of being a couch potato to heal my broken ankle; I escaped on a road trip yesterday. The weather was the typical Pacific Northwest winter — rainy and gray, not exactly the best weather for landscape photography. But I didn’t care… I was in desperate need to get away before the insanity of boredom takes over permanently. I knew I was getting to the point of no return when I actually watched the season premier of The Bachelor. If I was looking to regain my self-respect and intelligence, I definitely lost more than a few IQ points for watching the entire episode. So… to redeem myself, I decided I need to put some creativity back in my brain. At first, I thought about escaping to the Oregon coast but given the fact my leg is still in the healing process, I decided to stay close to home — and shoot the bald eagle migration that happens around this time of the year, along State Route 20.

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Unfortunately, there wasn’t a single eagle in sight when I got to the area where they usually hang out. But… no matter, nothing could dampen my excitement and the exhilarating feeling to finally get out of the house and be in nature with my Nikon. I decided to do the dam road trip instead. There are several dams along Route 20. The route is also one of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever traveled. Because of the rainy, gray, sunless weather, it was a challenge with lighting and exposure; everything was mostly flat and lifeless in color. I knew most of the images would be converted to monochrome. With that in mind, I try to shoot with the exposure that would allow me to manipulate in Adobe Lightroom for the mood I wanted to create.


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The Diablo Dam is the second of the three dams along the upper Skagit River. The Diablo Lake is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture its beauty and grandeur. It’s one of those places that you really need to see it in person, especially on a sunny day, to experience its breathtaking vista.
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As I continued on to the third dam, Ross Dam; I came upon this sign. At the same time, I was starting to feel pain in my leg. So I took it as a sign to turn around and go back home… and lucky me — the perfect ending to a perfect day — I got to see a few eagles along the way. Since I still use crutches to get around, I wasn’t able to get close to the eagles without scaring them away. It was really difficult trying to hike close to the eagles with my crutches. After a few frustrating attempts of tripping and falling to the ground, I was able to shoot one from the comfort of my car. Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend. Happy shooting. 🙂

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The Dam Road Trip

I’ve wanted to take pictures of the eagle migration for the last couple of weekends but the weather has not been very cooperative. Finally there was a break in the weather yesterday and off we went on my eagle-shooting quest. Unfortunately, when we got there — not a single eagle to be seen. It looks like I’ve missed the migration. 😦  Oh well, there is always next year. Besides, we were driving on one of the most beautiful scenic roads in America — the North Cascades Highway. It offers an amazing display of enormous mountain peaks, lakes and dams along the way. Since the weather was so beautiful, we decided to do a dam road trip instead.

The highway is also a part of the Cascade Loop, a 400-mile driving tour through the cascades. Although, we knew we weren’t going to do the loop because part of the highway is closed during winter. We thought we would drive the distance to see the three dams: Gorge Dam, Diablo Dam, and Ross Dam.

The first dam we came to is the Gorge Dam. This dam is the smallest of the three.

After you pass the Gorge Dam, the next stop is the Diablo Dam and the amazing look-out point. Words cannot even begin to describe this view — you will see the surrounding Cascades, wild-life, Diablo Lake, and more. I was still hoping to see an eagle or two but     no luck.

While I tried my best to capture the beauty of the place, it was just too much for the camera. This is one of those places that you have to experience it in person to get a better sense of its true majestic beauty.

Though I wanted to explore the area a little more, unfortunately, the temperature was freezing cold and very windy. It wasn’t easy to hold the camera steady when my hands were shaking. After taking only a dozen shots, my fingers were numb. We continued on to the next dam, which is the Ross Dam.

A few miles after the Diablo Dam outlook, there were snow on the road and got thicker as we head up higher. It was a good thing, the SUV has four-wheel drive. We were able to continue up the hill without any problem and kept driving until we saw the sign.

We didn’t get to see the Ross Dam but the furry kids had a great time playing in the snow.