For the month of April, you should head back to the Skagit Valley to the tulip and daffodil fields. Many people don’t realize that they grow as many tulips in the Skagit Valley as they do in Holland. The rows and rows of brilliant color is a spectacular sight. Thousands of people from the Seattle area venture north to see this beautiful display of bright colors. One of the best ways to see this fields is from the air; the rows of flowers abstract into bands of color. In Washington, it is how we welcome the spring!
March is a great time to head to the Skagit Flats. One of my favorite subjects is the tens of thousands of snow geese that have migrated from Siberia and the North Slope down to the rich fields of the Skagit River Valley. There are also thousands of trumpeter and tundra swans. An interesting note, over the decades that I’ve been going to photograph in Skagit Valley, the population of trumpeter swans has mushroomed. Climate change has affected the spring melt in Alaska at earlier times in the spring which opens up more lakes. A couple of trumpeter swans need a lake to themselves, with no other swans, to raise their brood. More lakes means more swans. Skagit Valley’s tilled fields offer a feast to these migrating birds, and you can see thousands of geese just a few feet away. In the late afternoon on a clear day it is magical as the birds light off the ground and swirl in the air all the while Mt. Baker, a volcanic mountain in the Cascades that boasts an elevation over 10,000 feet, looms in the background. As the sun sets, everything goes pink. It is one of my favorite places to go in Washington State, and March is the perfect time to go.
In the last week I have photographed in two very different agricultural areas of Washington State. Some may remember my earlier post on the Palouse last fall. That was such an interesting location that I decided to go back and shoot more. The old abandoned farmhouse has such a dramatically bleak appearance, especially in the severe gray tones of winter.
I followed up that outing with a drive north to the Skagit Valley, where snow geese and trumpeter swans overwinter in the farmers’ stubbly fields. We’ve experienced a glorious stretch of weather, which has been icy cold and dry with bright blue skies. During this type of weather there is always an inversion and it makes for tremendous sunsets.