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Soap Lakes Photography Road Trip

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Just another road trip update.  This trip was to the Soap Lakes in central Washington state.  

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Our first stop was the Lake Lenore Caves, where we hiked up and wandered in the morning fog.  It had a very surreal feel in the morning fog with the basalt columns cloaked against the sky.  Across the valley was a great waterfall, which I tried to shoot with my 150-600 lens but the fog was pretty dense.  I had propped my lens on the rocks since I didn't pack my tripod up the hill.  Totally regret that.  The lichen on the rock that I propped my camera on for the shots was like static cling to my lens.....  Ugghhhh spots everywhere in those shots.  Needless to say, camera will be getting a good cleaning when I get home.  

Next stop was at Lake Lenore where the sun began to emerge and created beautiful light rays coming down illuminating the basalt cliffs with their lines and patterns.  The waters edge had these white coatings from the minerals in these lakes.  Tons of ducks, geese, swam and other bird life everywhere.

We drove up the road about another mile to try and reach the waterfall we saw from the Lake Lenore Caves hike.  We pulled into a parking area and crossed the gated barrier by the barb wire fencing and began our hike up and through the sage brush.  No real trail here so a few scrapes here and there.  Came to the bottom most part of the waterfall, which was much smaller than what we could see from our hike earlier.  It was still a great view.  The bottom of the falls were a little hard to reach, there was so much scraggly brush at the base where it had carved out a pretty good creek.  I setup for my first shot and got some cool dead wood in the shot and then ventured down farther to crawl into the creek bed.  Got into the creek and setup for my next shot, which I was super excited about.  Had the creek with several water drops and then off in the distance to the right was the falls, then it started to rain.  And rain good. Camera was getting soaked, my filters were covered in water, it was a no go.  Then the hail started so I grabbed my gear as quickly as I could and headed back to the truck as fast I could through sage brush and no trail.  By the time I got to the truck it was now hail and sleet.  Well so much for those shots. 

Kept drying up the valley and looking in awe at all the waterfalls along the way, that were huge from all the spring meltoff.  But it was dumping rain by this time and all the falls were way to high to reach.  FLASH, holy cow was that lightning.  Blew me away, seeing lightning this early in the spring.  

By the time we reached our next stop the Dry Falls viewpoint, the rain had stopped and the storm was moving NE.  We climbed out to find a fabulous rainbow over the butte above Dry Falls.  Was getting my spot all picked out, the camera all setup and BAM, I missed 3 full sky lighting shots that were in my cameras viewpoint.  I still got great shots of the rainbow over the scene and the storm in the distance.  But man, I missed the lightning by seconds.  Then.....  I was refocusing a new angle and had to remove my 10 stop glass filter to re-adjust my lens.  Dink, Dink, is what I heard and then watched as if in slow motion as my glass filter fell down the basalt cliff edge clinking against all the rocks. I stood up and covered my eyes.  I can't believe I did that!!!!  I swear I was going to cry!!!  But I didn't.  I LOVE THAT FILTER.....  Very sad!!!  No way anyone is finding that and if they did, it would be scratched to beat hell and broken. 

We stayed into the night hoping to get aurora that night, but couldn't really find a great spot and the numbers just didn't' pan out, so we headed home early.  

Well that was the last of my shots for that trip.