Favorite 41 – Return to the USA

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It has been just over a year, that I have moved to USA, with my family. Many of my friends [all my students are my friends, all my friends are friends too :-)] have asked me what am I up to? So here is a little update…

1. Yes, it is always tough for anyone to have to leave the house you build, bit by bit. So yes it was for me. With 10 plus years of IMPRESSIONS photography workshops & expeditions photography group one of the most active for both learning photography and also exploring, over 2000 actual students through many workshops, classes, lectures, colleges..it was quite a something. Well, the good news is it’s still very active Even during the pandemics, my team [ Saee Bhurke Mayur Desale Snehal Joshi Sarang Mhaskar Manasi Chaphalkar Ketaki Pujari and many more] has been constantly finding creative ways to encourage everyone to share or prepare. We conducted online photography and editing workshops with our client friends from India, the USA, and also New Zea land. and we just had our awesomely successful first wildlife photography tour too. WE ARE HAPPY TO SERVE YOU MORE! with all the safety precautions! I too plan to return to India for a short time India for personal work and would love to meet my friends from India including Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, and wherever you are.

2. You people have been a joy of my life. It took me a few months. I remember on my last trip one of my students had said “Sir, it will be really difficult for you!” I remember going quiet and yes it was.
I started exploring with my friends, starting at the Death Valley area in February with Manasi Chaphalkar my passionate hiking and exploring buddy, This area has been my favorite, especially the eastern sierra has been like a temple for me with the existence of Galen Rowell still felt. I have a few images of my Death Valley trip in this album.
3. A few days after my trip COVID hit and we were staying at home. My shoulder began to get worse and I was partially handicapped with no driving at all. Fortunately, after many months it’s much better. As it got better I learned to cook. This was something I wanted to do for a long time. I only wish if I could make the entire meal for my mother when she was still with us. She always encouraged me to work hard and acquire any good skill. Today, I still am very content about being able to feed my family, I know my mother is feeling the same.

This was also the time I did huge learning of new post-processing techniques and then continued to apply them in the images I captured. Thanks specifically to Ryan DeFreece-Dyar and Nick Page

4. There are some wonderful friends I made here. Joe aka Joseph Thomas Campisi gave me the hand, showed me new places. His passion is immense and while I was hurting, I still was motivated. I can never tell how grateful I am to him. He introduced me to many of his good friends. His friend Rick Schump made me his partner during the autumn year, I learned to be confident to walk through the forest due to him and started appreciating so many things. Joe, Rick, and another great friend Randy Gemar we did many camping and hiking trips together to explore the pacific northwest. Honestly, this was an incredible time of my year. Chris, Bruce, John, Tim, Lisa, and many more are a cozy little group of friends overflowing with positivity. With my friends here in the Seattle area, I focused on the Pacific northwest mostly the Washington region and some areas of Oregon. It helped me stay close to home and stay safe. Avoided hotels, slept in camps or in cars. It was not the most comfortable but still, it was worth it.

5. Met a couple of extremely capable and exciting friends. Parimal Deshpande thanks for all the inciteful sessions with my Guru Art Wolfe and your constant motivation. It really meant to me. I remember your words after our dinner meeting, “Don’t wait for the flow to come to you. Become the flow yourself and you will attract more. ” It was really necessary for me when I was hitting low. You woke me up!

Met a very exciting personality Preeti Suri founder of AdventureTripr had very interesting hikes with her. Hats of to your focus and persistence.

Got connected with many new friends here, Candace DeFreece-Dyar and Erwin Buske your images and posts always motivated me. I even played the game, where is Erwin today ? It how much I enjoyed knowing about the Washington season from your pictures ?

I now have also been preparing to offer photography workshops, personalized, online, and on-location workshops. It would be fantastic if you can spread the word, will help me serve more.
This is just my little token of thanks to my extremely supportive family, all my friends here in the USA, my team, and also many friends in India, who always stood behind me. I hope you enjoy the pictures of my exploration.

Sentinels of St Helens

St Helens, June 2020

The mountain was completely engulfed in the heavy storm clouds just before sunset. The wind that made the clouds still push toward the peak. Before the sunset, the sun seemed to peek through the dark and heavy storm clouds from time to time creating interesting lighting conditions. A Huge cloud cap had covered the entire landscape but there were no clouds at the horizon. After the sun went behind the range towards the west the valley far beyond was slowly bathing in the alpenglow. The trees stood like the sentinels on the ridge overlooking the valley to the west. I was a witness once again for something so beautiful, an astounding art by earth!


I have this fascination with trees, especially the ones that stand out with their bare form in the winter, apart from this visually interesting geometry, I get awed by their resilient character.

This afternoon, a storm moved across the mono lake in the great basin to the eastern Sierra mountains. The wind brought the turbulence in the skies filled with storm clouds creating a very dramatic lighting condition. This neglected and supposedly lifeless tree turned alive with the greenish golden light, in the middle of the sagebrush filled desert. A large cumulus cloud hovered over for a few moments before being swept away towards peaks on the west.

Tree in the Mono Basin March 2020


My mind lingers in the past for the light that once I have seen, when it was frozen still with the winterness around.

This afternoon while returning from Paradise my friend and I noticed some light to the west and decided to stop. Very soon it turned dramatic. Many people stopped as they saw us and as it was becoming more dreamy with the snowfall. By the time the light was becoming really beautiful the park ranger asked us to stop, as the time they closed the gate at 5pm. Many times then we felt sad that we could have used just 2 more minutes to photograph that glorious sunset that we saw while getting back into the car. I somehow still like pale yellow around the sun while soft diffused light reflecting from the snow below in the riverbed, sunrays penetrating the fog in the distant valley.

Photographed at Mount Rainier National Park.

In Pursuit of Light

Once in search of light, I entered a dark canyon. I followed the sound of flowing water, and its sight stopped my heartbeat for a moment. Here I ended my pursuit of happiness!

While Traveling along the Mckinley river, my friend and I were saddened by seeing the devastation caused by the fire, with burned houses and charred or fallen trees. The turnoff we wanted to take was blocked by a forest ranger to stop any vehicles from getting into the area due to the hazardous conditions. We were absolutely uinsure where to go and shoot for the next two days. Fortunately we camped near this beautiful river farther east of this turnoff and we were so happy to see this place full of streams and waterfalls.

Mckinley River, Oregon October 2020

Fog Castle

When I first looked at this it looked like a castle to me and then I saw another one standing behind it. 

This day we came to photograph Mount Rainier. We reached here at 2:30 am only to find the entire place engulfed in the fog. We had thought of capturing the milky way, which idea was almost tanked by the time we started, but then there was no Rainier too. The fog was so thick earlier that we could barely see 20 feet from me. It cleared slightly after two three hours and then I enjoyed photographing soft and atmospheric scenes. 

Mount Rainier National Park Summer of 2020

Earth Lessons

Let the mountain be like a mountain, it will erupt when the time is right. Let the earth be like earth, she can feed all of you! Let’s just not let our hunger become greed. She will react and knows how to revive.
…and just respect what she is!

Mount St Helens Summer of 2020

Forest Creek

This is where you go to experience the peace. A creek sings the quiet mood of the forest…

I have a friend who is deeply in love with forests and streams. It is so interesting that I have always seen them, but not really felt as much until I saw the real passion, when I traveled with him.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest Fall of 2020

Middle Universe

Up there above the mountains there lies a universe between the sky and the earth… You would be rewarded with the feelings of weightlessness here, but you must continue to lift your spirits until you reach here…

Mount Adams volcano Summer of 2020.

Water sounds and I

Two of the strangest things that I have observed about myself, when I am engrossed into shooting waterfalls.

One: I always hear people’s voices, even if I am the only human that is present there for hours.

Two: I have a song that’s stuck with me while I continue to photograph that I cannot seem to get rid of.

Waterfall from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Spring of 2020

Once upon a dawn…

Autumn storm hovered in the skies over the mountain range of eastern washington. A soft morning mist lingered over the cold water of the lake. A lonely bush was the only witness to the romance between the darkness of passing night and the pink hues of the predawn light. While taking pictures, I felt no different than the bush as a living being for the nature around us.

Sunrise hues in Central Cascades lake, Washington Autumn of 2020

Sierra Sunrise

This was my first trip here  and seeing this arch and the beautiful mountains through.. it was a treat! Being such an easy place you will always have a company I guess, no matter what day or evening it is, no matter the weather…

I simply love the mountains, arch, and pastel-colored clouds together in this picture. For a moment I had forgotten the popularity this place has gotten. For an even longer duration I want to keep all the ego and self prejudice away about being how great photographers and editors we have become to create something great. All I think about is admiration of Mother Earth, and how fortunate we are to be around here, to see this, experience this. After all, as nature and landscape photographers, however great editing skills we acquire we still work under the boundary of nature.

Sierra Sunrise Spring 2020

Forest Being

Forest in Washington sure has its own character and personality.

I have photographed autumn in some of the beautiful regions of easterns regions of the USA, and it’s truly breathtaking. Over here in the pacific northwest, we don’t get that type of weather and trees. But then we also learn to appreciate the fall that’s so subtle and different.

North Cascades Autumn 2020

Passing Storm

The afternoon storm has moved on. The dusk still lingers before the nightfall. Tufas stand at the shore of the Mono lake, as the waters have calmed down and the blue hour has begun.

Mono Lake Spring 2020

Evening Glory

Large waves appear as the winter approaches the pacific shore. The bluff glows in the warm hues just before the sunset. I had lost the count of the large waves that arrived since the afternoon and any feeling of hunger and thirst.

Long Beach Peninsula Beginning of Winter 2020

Change of Seasons

Against the wall of pines on the mountain behind, these cottonwood trees firmly clustered at the shore of the lake.

I was so confused here to really find out what I was so amazed with in this scene. Is it the snowy pine trees, the golden cottonwoods, morning light falling on trees or the fog that lingered …

Many times, landscape photography is an association of various subjects in nature, amalgamation of two different seasons and existence of various weather elements…

Lake in Central Cascades, Winter 2020

Forever Rainier

On an almost clear day the golden light rays cut the shadows in the dark valley between the mountains. As the last light hit the walls of the Tatoosh, I was so happy it brought the red and orange palette from the face of this mountain, it was a sight to behold in my heart forever.

Mount Rainier National Park, Spring 2020

Golden Larches

Seeing larches was my dream. Living in Idaho, exploring the Rockies and the mountains of India didn’t yield me a sight of these. It really helped when I stayed here to experience these. These coniferous trees span over the Canadian mountains and some along the borders. They become glowing yellow as the temperatures in the mountains dip.  Enchantments or the Canadian Rockies will be special but this sight in North Cascades was no less beautiful. Especially this area is so blessed with the mountains, emerald blue lake as the name stands, a mix of pines and larches, spires and slopes and some beautiful fluffy clouds against the blue skies made a fascinating color contrast with the green, blue and yellow elements on the land below. This was my first time here, and honestly, I had forgotten that I was supposed to be creative in terms of taking pictures! So here it is..just as I had seen it!

North Cascades National Park, Autumn 2020

Summer Song

Crisp mountain atmosphere. A little chilly…yet welcoming breeze. Dancing clouds over the horizon. Rising Sun and soft mist for this love in the air!

Mount Rainier National Park, Summer 2020

Balcony View

Walking through the meadow of blueberries, cautiously to avoid startling any bears, seeing the beautiful larch trees change colors was an incredible experience. My two friends and I then laid down on the beautiful balcony with crisp cool air. We watched the (almost) full moon rise behind the ridge and then shine its light on the slopes, lighting the tundra, pines and the larches!  Mars then rose up above the peak of a mountain. What a night!!

North Cascades National Park, Autumn 2020

Soul of the Olympics

Returning to some places in the Pacific Northwest is like meeting your old friend. I came here 15 years after my first visit. I had shot this on my Fuji Velvia at that time using my Canon EOS1V and now it is with 5D Mark IV

There are few things changed about the involved parties 🙂

1. The waterfall is still as beautiful as it has always been, plus I believe there is a new wooden log, I think it just makes the composition interesting still. There are more tourists… 🙂

2. Canon is now number one in the Digital Camera market and more mature machine, still as beautiful as it has always been.

3. Lalit has changed profession to teach photography 5 years after coming here, yet as amatuer as I have always been, getting too excited, making mistakes and more so 🙂

Nevertheless, it is joy as always!!

Olympic National Park, Summer 2020

Never give up

Sometimes you want to give up. But just because you don’t, can create the entirely hopeless situation to something much more positive.

My friends wanted to shoot somewhere else here this morning thinking too many clouds could mean no luck,but just because we pushed on… we found new compositions, new ideas and then we were not ready to leave 🙂

Olympic National Park, Summer 2020

Quiet Autumn

I saw the clouds flying low. I felt wind bringing chills. The lake rarely stayed still. The mountain tops started to hide. The ground is now wetter. Snowflakes are now getting more regular. Sunshine really now becomes a luxury. Hmm..this is autumn… I think.. This is autumn!

Lake in Central cascades, Autumn 2020

Weather Makers

A beautiful sunny day turns into a very dramatic high up in the Cascades. Clouds roll in towards the high snowclad slopes! Wind begins to blow over the ridgetops and then before the end of the day, inclement weather sets in! 

North cascades, Summer 2020

Another Day in Paradise

When the morning lifted higher and the mountain was still covered in the clouds, I decided to explore the trails in St Helens region. The slopes were blooming with the paintbrush…a strange sense of uncontrolled exaltation filled me up from the head to toe. 

Tree at Mount St Helens and Indian paintbrush, Summer 2020

Collecting the Storm

Mount Rainier… I remember those days, 15 years ago.. filled with the energy..physically and psychologically. Photographing always gave the joy.. while climbing the mountains remained my passion. I had dreamt of climbing this volcano once. I may have reached heights more than Rainier in the Himalayas, yet this has still been my dream. Physically.. partially disabled at this moment and going through the psychological roller coaster over the last few years, I still have not forgotten my dreams and I am not ready to give up.

This mountain stands at a distance when it supposedly springs elsewhere, still getting ready to fight for the winter storm approaching. I look at it with inspiration and happiness and prepare myself to train for the ascent ahead!

Lake in Central Cascades, Autumn 2020

A Lone Hiker

On a summer day when you spend the entire 14 hours waiting for any light at all… and then get rewarded with a sunset so beautiful. I consider myself so fortunate for being so patient, on an extremely foggy day, that magically cleared in the end to give me the light in every direction at the artist arena in the North Cascades this September.

Thanks to the unknown hiker standing still for a fairly long period of time, appreciating the view.

North Cascades, Summer 2020

Floating Mountains

Light plays a symphony above the inland Pacific Sea. Olympic Mountains float in the sky.

Unusual lighting conditions in the northeastern Washington state made this scene extra special.

Rosario Strait, Winter 2020

Virgin Beach

At the Olympic coast on a rainy, cloudy day, I reached just in time before the sunset at the beach. The light after sunset made the sky to blossom in colors. The stream was flowing in full rush to the pacific sea. I stood in these frigid waters with just my flip-flops so I could photograph these sea stacks and lovely lights. The initial few minutes were extremely painful. After a while I did not feel much cold. And I was relieved that I was now accustomed to the cold water. After I returned to my car, I realized I was pretty darn close to having a frostbite.

Olympic Coast, Winter 2019


There are always some things about nature that lure you more than the other. The badwater salt flats are the areas that excite me with its geology more than the beautiful patterns they create. This is what keeps me drawing to them again and again and I made my fourth trip to Death Valley. It had been so many years since I had shot in the USA and it really took me a few days to get into this mode of following the weather and predicting the light for the landscape. .

On this afternoon, after returning from an amazing trip on the rough canyon road, I looked at the congregated clouds over the mountains to the west all over. It was time to switch to a photographers mode from an explorer’s mind. The light was now soft and diffused, what usually is strong at this time. After discussion with my friend, I drove sixty miles even further south to these salt flats. As expected the clouds and sun were playing quite a dramatic game in the skies. I walked one and half miles to an area I had seen the evening before, constantly keeping an eye on the light. .

In earlier years of my landscape photography I always used to wish for the vibrant colors of red, magenta, orange. I still enjoy the moment when I get a chance to shoot in that beautiful light. However over the years, I have come a far beyond just the light and enjoy the experience of being able to bring together the light and landscape in a composition that emotes by itself for the place, weather or any other feeling I possess at that moment. .

While I was returning, I got in conversation with a young enthusiastic photographer who shared his disappointment about the light. However, I was returning in joy to the beautiful formation of the clouds and the light I got to see that evening. A few low dark clouds stretched between the mountains while golden clouds formed a gentle cap of the frame I captured. With the slight peachy golden light reflecting from the bright salt patterns and the soft shadows was all I had been thinking of!

Death Valley National Park, Spring 2020

Make Art for the Love of it…

In landscape photography, we love going there, looking… exploring, finding compositions, thinking light..thinking wind..clouds, bracing all that remains in favor when the sun rises and sets. As we know that is the crucial time for nature, there is a sudden change in the atmospheric temperatures and so pressure could create clouds, could move clouds. It could make a hopeful, anxious mind return thinking…maybe the next day..Maybe next time…may sometime again in life… But we have to take what comes, stay hopeful… art is one thing, love of nature is another but we must know the science. Every mature photographer knows this well, who has seen many successes but more failures. When things don’t turn in your favor ..instead of feeling dejected, my mind starts analyzing the situations never feeling totally disappointed..neither having just a false feeling that yes, we are blessed to be there… we all know “we are”. But this is about photography, there is a reason we invest ..time, money, career and our life. It is not just coincidence or luck that the clouds magically appeared exactly where they needed to be. Luck only favors efforts. Study the weather, pattern, know the mountain, know the earth and the atmosphere.

Photography is not just about an ART. It is an amalgamation of both ART and SCIENCE.

and if we think, we know that it’s true, think about the tool that we hold in our hand. Modern Camera is a little something but such a magnificent example of the scientific masterpiece we hold in our hands. And who thinks that it’s just about the technology. Technology is about art too. I learned that as a Software Designer in the past and would spend hours without having any sensation of hunger or thirst at all. There is an art in the science we make and science is an integral part of every creation in this universe.

North Cascades National Park, Early Autumn 2020

Absence of color. Prominence of the emotions. 

This morning the fog filled the cape. As the sun came out, all the spectrum seemed to have come together as a white! And where it did not reach..remained dark. I feel drawn to the mood here more than the usual spectrum of colors.

King tide, Cape Disappointment, Winter 2020

I think more than the scenery here, I remember the beautiful time I had with my friends. Reaching campground at night, cold and wet atmosphere, scavenging for the leftover firewood in fire pits, making chai, cooking instant Indian dinner and breakfasts with hot water, campfire and fragrance of the pine needles, long chats and laughs, admiring everyone’s work, sharing horror stories, smokey clothes and roaring sounds of the water throughout the trip…

Eastern Washington, Autumn 2020

Trophy Hunting

When my friend and I were venturing here at the dawn, a small group of photographers arrived at the same time. It was one of the most exciting mornings in terms of light. About an hour and half later one of the guys came to us and said that it was such a plain morning with no light at all. My friend and I looked at each other in confusion and surprise. They all were shooting at a different mountain, really majestic one right opposite to this scene a few feet from us. 

Instead, I had such a happiness in finding a composition that I had never seen before! The golden brown meadow, a steady stream running towards the mountain ridge to the east, two trees against the clear sky, the morning mist,  sunrays spread with their orange hues on the clouds, and just a few short pine trees in the meadow watching this scene divulging in front of us!

North Cascades National Park, Autumn 2020

Storm Light

If you can persevere in a storm, you have the best chance to see the light someday.

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, Autumn 2020

The Day’s End

I was walking on this trail after 14 years. My children were little, I showed them the colorful tidepools with sea anemone, urchins and stars. I arrived here at midday for children’s safety. I had thought of returning here during the evening hours. Some decisions caused me to move to India. Funny how time flies. Now seeing kids leading the trail was quite a special feeling.The aspirations of coming back here were so strong.. And so here I was again!

After about a mile through the lush green forest on a damp trail, we walked to the edge of the sea. I stopped at the first sight of the sea. I could see the vast expanse of the sea and the sky. It was low tide. The sandy shore had stretched far into the sea. The clouds had fully covered the skies and the large dark sea stacks tried to invade in the sky. The salty cool sea breeze filled my nostrils and lungs. After that brief pause.. I walked down carefully. Deadwood from the large fallen trees of the forest had blocked every way. I jumped over them and moved towards the south to scout the area. Many small pools had formed a maze. I walked cautiously, making sure that I did not disturb the area near them. I knew I could be using them to compose my photograph. The sea stacks were to be my most favorite compositional objects, to begin with. I contemplated going closer to the sea to capture the movement of the waves. However, the geometry of convoluted pools in the foreground had somehow taken up strongly in my mind. A slight hint of golden color appearing over high clouds, brought hopes for some colors.

I made some careful rounds around the pools to find interesting visual geometry for the more compelling foreground in my composition. While the sea stacks and light peeking through the clouds was going to be the most important element, I wanted a very ably supporting foreground to bring the necessary balance and lead towards it. I was constantly looking for the golden light from the setting sun bouncing from the edges of the pools of water. I like how the golden reflection on the sand and water leads the way to the bright and beautiful golden sun illuminating the surrounding region in the sky & sea.

Chilly new year evening at the Olympics!

Olympic Coast, Winter 2020

Picture Perfect Sunrise

This has been a special summer and fall season for me. I struggled my first few months with limited or no movement of my right shoulder. Driving, holding, lifting my camera bag with my left hand…limiting my outdoor hiking activities to easier than any scrambling…heck yeah, it’s kinda tough when you live in this mountain heaven and are not able to climb. Several times any sudden movement will feel like a jolt and the physical pain lasted for more than two minutes. Yet, I pushed myself to do as many hikes as I could and have done more than 15 short to long hikes mostly in Pacific Northwest. The good side effect is that I lost some precious fat on me, making myself a less interesting food article in this bear and cougar country 😉

One morning I woke up at 2 am to go hiking in the Mount Baker wilderness with my friend , who is a passionate hiker and drove here. It was an incredible day when we hiked by many lakes on either side of the mountain ridge through the blueberry meadows gorging ourselves with blueberries along the way, admiring the first color change in the high tundra. The clouds and sun played the hide and seek for the whole day. Mount Baker then joined this game while the giant Mount Shuksan remained largely unmoved. This is such a magnanimous area, where you experience the mountains so closely. I have always felt so privileged to get closer to nature, as it allows me to travel, experience and returns me safely to my home. While the winter is now setting in this region and transforming to another wonderland for the next eight months, luring me to embrace the cold with all the warmth of my heart.

Mount Shuksan, Autumn 2020

Lost Trail 

One of our first trips together for the Fall photoshoot, also my first one at this lake in Washington. My friend and I were speechless when we saw this light and started shooting instantly. We missed the trail to the lake in the morning, returned, found it again and there was this glorious Light.. and then rainbow against the mountain over the lake a few moments later. I instantaneously fell in love with this place.

Lake in Central Cascades, Autumn 2020

River of Light 

There was this river, very gentle until it jumped down from the cliff. Her sound echoed persistently in the canyon, bouncing from the walls of the canyons. It did not stop. Renewed with the latest adventure, expressing the excitement forming the cascades above the rocks that tried to stop her. It then flowed peacefully and continued through the forest that is now preparing for the looming winter. It was now bathing in the beautiful golden autumn afternoon light, that passed through the leaves and grasses making the surrounding so …. enchanting! River now bathes in the light of autumn gold!

Oregon, Autumn 2020

Bucket List

After moving back to the USA last year, I opened up my bucket list of places that I wished to see and experience. Oregon’s Multnomah Falls is a marvellous waterfall and I really wanted to see it during autumn. I was happy I could.

On this day it rained lightly from the morning in the Columbia River Gorge. My friend had to cut short his trip and he left. I was a bit unsure what to do. Met another friend who was taking a workshop in the gorge and went here after some discussion. The historic highway was lined up with the peeking big leaf maple trees. The dark roads were sprinkled with the golden leaves. It was one of the most enjoyable drives that I was having there. I reached here fairly early in the day before the crowds. There were persistent winds that I had to fight with. Though I would have liked a vertical composition for such a subject, I preferred this one at the end where the autumn colors have created a bowl for the falling waters.

Multnomah Falls, Autumn 2020

Field of flowers

Paradise meadows are known for the colorful wildflowers it holds during the summer. I took this picture where these white flowers carpeted the descending meadow, enlightened by the light just before the sun set behind Mount Rainier.  

Paradise Meadows, , Mount Rainier National Park, Summer 2020


Many years ago I had given my students a theme to photograph ‘Peace in the Ladakh region of Himalayas’. When I was here, on this cold frosty morning..an almost stagnant stream and the mountain reflection reminded me of that assignment this day.

North Cascades National Park, Almost Winter 2020