Royal Basin

I had the opportunity recently to backpack into Royal Basin within Washington’s Olympic National Park for a Photographic Odyssey.  Royal Basin is a notable choice amongst Washington backpackers for its meandering meadows, scenic waterfalls and aqua-colored tarns. It also boasts one of the finest composting-privy accommodations a sweaty hiker could ask for.

Some 7 miles of boot travel brings one into contact with Royal Lake, which is a fine and scenic destination in its own right; however traveling a bit further brings one into contact with an abundance of  interesting details. I found the striated and jumbled geologic patterns in the basin to be particularly striking.

Here a couple of the geologic snacks:

A small detour beyond the ranger station accessed slightly beyond Royal Lake brings one into contact with the scenic Royal Falls. This Falls boasts one of the more photogenic flows I have come into contact with in the back-country ,despite being a bit tattered by some recent blow-downs around the falls. I thought the crimson mountain ash around the falls to be particularly complementary.

The various tarns around the basin are a feast for the eyes and offer some rugged-complementary peaks reaching to mid 7,000 ft heights. I captured several sunrise and sunset images around the photogenic tarn near our campsite.

There is definitely a value to camping multiple nights and absorbing the essence of a place. I am not sure precisely how long it takes the body to adjust its biorhythms back to a more natural setting, but even giving oneself an extra day in an outdoor setting seems to help recalibrate one’s mind to the movements of nature. The process of photographing shifting light certainly runs hand in hand with this natural awareness. It can be very difficult to truly conceptualize an image in a new environment, but dwell in a space for a while and it will lend you the secrets of its light patterns. From here the imagination can take root and stay for a while.

After a first night of seeing the big dipper dance in its celestial context to the basin, I was much more equipped to formulate this composition on the second night.

Hopefully you enjoyed your stay here!


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