In November, Real Change profiled vendor Bryant Carlin and his plans to spend most of this year in the Olympic Mountains photographing wildlife and landscapes.
Those plans are still on; in fact, the donations to Conservation Made Simple have been so great that Bryant is extending his trip by a couple of months. He credits his Real Change customers for some of that.
Organizational support has brought Bryant’s photography to a new level. “This is my first time to shoot a professional digital camera,” he said. “By October, I hope to have at least 30,000 high quality still images and video as well. I love being able to change the ISO, especially in the rainforest.”
He’s also better equipped for bad weather. “I’ve got a negative 20 [degrees] sleeping bag and an all-season tent.” February’s snowstorm turned out to be a perfect test for the sleeping bag.
Because of a delay in funding, Bryant’s trip start was delayed from January to March. Given the February snowstorm, that was fortunate. “I would have been in the Hyak Shelter [on the Bogachiel River]. I’ve been in one of these before. I had to abandon gear and haul my ass out.”
Bryant says he’ll probably have to stay out of the Bogachiel rainforest for another month because of the deep snow. Instead, he’ll head north from Rialto Beach, on the coast, setting up a base camp about 6 miles north of the trailhead. “I’m dual packing.” That means he carries in basic supplies and sets up camp, then hikes back in a day or two to get more equipment.
“So all my distance you have to multiply by three,” he explained. “That’s 18 miles to get my base camp set. That one leg [back] is great for photography, because you’ve already hiked it once, so you’ve got a lot of time to look at it, and then you just go back with a small fanny pack and your camera. I will pace myself to begin with. I am literally coming off the street.”
After the beach, Bryant will head back up to the Bogachiel for another month. He’ll come back to Seattle for a week in early May and then head for the Queets rainforest to photograph elk herds during calving season, as well as the spring flowers.
In the summer Bryant plans to climb high on the east slopes of the Olympics, above the Hood Canal. “I’m not a mountain climber, but, you look at the Brothers, I want to get into the snowfield area above tree line. [That] gives me the eagles’ nest view of the Puget Sound. Sunrise, with Seattle in front, with the moon, or sunset, city fired up with light.” He also wants to use those viewpoints to document how development is spreading into the Puget Sound forests.
After that, “I go back to the same herds to watch them battle for dominance and mate. Also, some fall colors.” It’s the elk trails that give him off-trail access in the rainforest. “They are the guides. Once you understand elk, you can go anywhere you want.”
Read the full March 13 - 19 issue.
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