Time Lapse Video beauty: The Wild Wilderness of Washington

Photo: Stephanie Campbell

You don't have to go too far to get away from the city and out into the wilderness and once you're there, you'll find incredible beauty.

Photographer Stephanie Campbell spent much of the summer filming and photographing the area's landscape -- with a few locals mixed in for good measure.

"I live in the foothills near Mount Rainier so most of the scenes are taken from around that area," she said. "My favorite place to go is Chinook Pass summit because of the easy access and spectacular views."

The video above though spans quite a wide geographic footprint, including:

  • Snoqualmie Falls
  • Snoqualmie Pass area trails
  • Blewett Pass
  • Mount St. Helens
  • Orcas Island/San Juans
  • Whidbey Island and Deception Pass
  • Along the Columbia River near Orondo, WA
  • Dryden,WA
  • Ocean Shores

"Of all the photography I've done this year, the starlapses in particular are my most memorable," she said. "I would set up my camera and settle in for a 4-hour timelapse (usually 11pm to 3am) to try to capture the milky way moving across the sky. These nights were usually nights without a visible moon, making everything pitch black. It was so quiet up in the mountains you could hear all the conversations of all the other photographers and stargazers. I had so many conversations and tutorials in the dark, and helped teach some people how to capture the stars without ever seeing their face. It was also fun to watch the climbers heading up Mount Rainier, their headlights visible to the naked eye all the way from Chinook Pass."

And it's heightened her senses to her surroundings.

"After having learned from doing time lapses to slow down and really see the scene around me, I started to see a lot more wildlife. One time, I was hiking back to my car that was parked at Sunrise. It was late fall, and the grass in the meadows was very tall and golden, perfect for camouflaging coyotes. I felt like something was watching me. Sure enough, just a hundred feet or so, blending in perfectly with the grass, was a coyote just staring at the people going down the trail. Out of the corner of my eye he just looked like a weathered stump. It wasn't until I had pulled all my camera gear out of my backpack that anyone else noticed. By then the coyote had started to wander off, but not before I caught a little bit of video."

I also asked her how she got the bears that you'll see in the video:

"All of the bears sightings were by lucky chance, and all of them were completely aware of my presence. It's better that they see you and decide you're not a threat than to sneak up on them and startle them," she said. "The clip of the mama bear rustling through debris and the two cubs was actually taken from safely inside my car. My sister and I had planned an early hiking trip up to Sunrise and before we even got to the gate there was a string of cars stopped in the road, blocking both directions. We weren't sure what was going on until the mama bear walked down along the ditch towards us. While everyone was taking pictures of the mother, I noticed movement in the brush up on the hill, and sure enough, two little cubs darted in and out of sight. I barely had any time to catch footage of them before they ran.

"The second bear sighting (the extended clip) was actually when I was hiking down from Burroughs Mountain. He was a long distance away down a steep shale-covered slope and didn't show any interest in my presence at all. I watched him eating grub for almost an hour. He only looked up for a second when people would walk by (this is a very heavily used trail) and then he would go right back to eating. I used a long lens to capture the footage so that I could keep a safe distance just in case. Better to be safe than sorry."

She says she's also amazed her camera has survived the summer.

"So, I'm a bit of a klutz. I can't count the number of times I've landed on my backpack and camera gear after slipping or tripping or falling through snow, in mud, or over rocks," she said. "I'm amazed my camera still works at this point."

And she said she's grateful that she rarely has to hike alone.

"I'm incredibly grateful to have amazing friends and family who love the outdoors as much as I do, and I owe a good portion of the video to them for being my hiking partners and adventure buddies!" she said.

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