I grew up in Vancouver, Washington, right on the border between Washington State and Oregon. I started photographing when I was 13, and became enthralled by the beautiful state that I lived in. Most people hate the dreary weather of the Pacific Northwest. Washington State rains 156 days on average every year. However, it's the rain that creates the waterfalls, the trees dripping in moss, and the lush meadows of wildflowers that makes this state a photographer's paradise.
Here is a collection of some of my favorite Fine Art Nature Photographs of Washington State, and an ode to the places I grew up:
Mount Saint Helens, Washington State
Washington State is home to the infamous Mount Saint Helens. Saint Helens erupted in 1980, spewing ash across eleven states and two Canadian provinces. The destructive explosion leveled everything in its path, flattening complete forests of pine trees for miles. This destruction, however, has paved a way for beautiful new growth. The nutrient rich volcanic ash has created flourishing meadows of Indian Paintbrush and other wildflowers. I have photographed this Mount Saint Helens half a dozen times from Johnsons ridge, and the beauty never seems to run out!
"The Saint of our Stars"
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State
In my opinion, there is no better place in the world to view wildflowers than in Mount Rainier National Park. In the late summer, the hillsides surrounding Mt. Rainier become a cacophony of colors. Indian Paintbrush, Lupine, Bear Grass, Lewis Monkey Flowers, Pasque flower, and over a hundred other varieties of wildflowers coat the hillsides. I have spent countless days hiking around these meadows looking for compositions, and the possibilities and endless. For all the National Park enthusiasts out there, Mt Rainier during wildflower season should be on the top of your list, it will blow your mind!
"King of the Truffula Trees"
"Fire on the Mountain"
The Olympic Coast, Washington State
The Olympic coast, is for the most part, undeveloped. Aside from your occasional gas station, and country restaurant, you wont find your classic beach town here. Instead, you will find mile after mile of pristine sea stacks, tide pools, and pacific sunsets (if it's not one of the 208 rainy days that is!)
The Palouse, Washington State
As you head east from the Olympic Coast, you pass over the Cascade mountain range, and enter into the Palouse region of Washington. Most people wouldn't give farmland another look, but in The Palouse, the hills rolls like ocean waves. During the spring, the country framland is transformed into a patchwork of colors and textures.
"Palouse Rolling Hills"
"The Grand Demonstration"
The Columbia Hills, Washington State
Thunderstorms are very rare in Washington State. When I first started shooting, I saw that there was the potential for thunderstorms in the forecast, so I decided to make the two and a half hour trip out to the Columbia hills. The Columbia Hills is a remote park in southern Washington that shows off an incredible variety of wildflowers for a short time in the spring.
I finally made it to the entrance of the remote park, and about 2 miles down dirt road, steam starts to pour out from my car. With a broken car I was unable to make it the rest of the way to the campground, so I decided to go exploring from where my car was parked and photograph whatever I could. I walked a few miles into an open field where I found a nice grouping of lupines and balsamroot sunflowers. I waited in the field for a couple hours until sunset finally arrived. As soon as the sun started to set, amazing thunderclouds floated through making for an incredible sunset. I started rapidly shooting when I caught out of the corned of my eye a really bright flash, and then just a couple seconds later came the “BANG!” Excited and a little freaked out, I photographed this amazing display of light and weather that very rarely ever formulates in the Northwest. The lightning kept getting closer and closer and I soon realized that I was standing in the middle of an open field, with a large metal tripod sticking into the air with a large metal camera affixed to the end of it. I began to sprint back to the car, the lightning flashing everywhere, thunder rattling my ear drums, and the rain pouring .
Thanks for looking at a collection of my favorite nature photographs of Washington State. Washington is a spectacular state, and one I plan on exploring for many years to come!
Want to see more? Explore the entire gallery of images taken in Washington State here: https://www.lijahhanley.com/collections/washington-state-fine-art-landscape-photogaphy