New Work from Olympic National Park

Seastacks at Sunset, Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park. Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
3 second at f/22, ISO 100

I recently returned from a family vacation to the Pacific Northwest. We visited family and friends in Ashland, Portland and Bellingham in Washington.  In between, we visited Olympic National Park where I hadn’t photographed since 1996 and managed to squeeze in some photo sessions.  The first two images I made during an evening trek on Rialto Beach.  The tide was high, which required me to do a lot of wave dodging and climbing around, over and under driftwood to avoid the waves.  After seeing no clouds all day, the marine layer brought great excitement to the sunset!

Early the next morning it remained overcast on my trip to the Hoh Rain Forest, giving me the soft light I was hoping for.  I walked two of the NPS nature trails, relishing the quiet peace of the lush forest, finding a few photographs along the way.  Like I’ve done for the past forty years, I found sanctuary in Nature, even if for a brief couple of hours.  My photographs come from the deep love I have for those moments.  And from the sense of wonder for what I’ve seen.

Enjoy!  Please add your comments here, share any summer vacation stories or photos.    Let me know which image here is your favorite.


Rialto Beach at sunset, Olympic National Park. Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/60 second at f/22, ISO 100


Alder Forest, Hoh River Valley, Olympic National Park. Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/20 second at f/11, ISO 320


Ferns, Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
15 second at f/19, ISO 100


Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
2 second at f/22, ISO 320


Ferns, Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
15 second at f/19, ISO 100

Ferns, Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington 2014
Ferns, Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington 2014



Avalanche Lily, Hurricane Ridge. Olympic National Park, Washington 2014
iPhone 5
Copyright © 2014 William Neill



Published by William Neill

William Neill, a resident of the Yosemite National Park area since 1977, is a landscape photographer concerned with conveying the deep, spiritual beauty he sees and feels in Nature. Neill's award-winning photography has been widely published in books, magazines, calendars, posters, and his limited-edition prints have been collected and exhibited in museums and galleries nationally, including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Vernon Collection, and The Polaroid Collection. Neill received a BA degree in Environmental Conservation at the University of Colorado. In 1995, Neill received the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography. Neill's assignment and published credits include National Geographic, Smithsonian, Natural History, National Wildlife, Conde Nast Traveler, Gentlemen's Quarterly, Travel and Leisure, Wilderness, Sunset, Sierra and Outside magazines. Also, he writes a monthly column, On Landscape, for Outdoor Photographer magazine. Feature articles about his work have appeared in Life, Camera and Darkroom, Outdoor Photographer and Communication Arts, from whom he has also received five Awards of Excellence. His corporate clients have included Sony Japan, Bayer Corporation, Canon USA, Nike, Nikon, The Nature Company, Hewlett Packard, 3M, Freidrick Grohe, Neutrogena, Sony Music/Classical, University of Cincinnati, UBS Global Asset Management. His work was chosen to illustrate two special edition books published by The Nature Company, Rachel Carson's The Sense of Wonder and John Fowles's The Tree. His photographs were also published in a three book series on the art and science of natural process in collaboration with the Exploratorium Museum of San Francisco: By Nature's Design (Exploratorium / Chronicle Books, 1993), The Color of Nature (Exploratorium / Chronicle Books, 1996) and Traces of Time (Chronicle Books / Exploratorium, Fall 2000). A portfolio of his Yosemite photographs has been published entitled Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness (Yosemite Association, 1994) which received The Director's Award from the National Park Service. A retrospective monograph of his landscape photography entitled Landscapes Of The Spirit (Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown, 1997) relates his beliefs in the healing power of nature. William has taught photography since 1980 for such prestigious organizations as The Ansel Adams Gallery, the Friends of Photography, Palm Beach Photographic Workshops, The Maine Workshops and Anderson Ranch Workshops. He specializes in landscape and nature photography and is concerned with conveying the beauty seen in Nature. Currently, he teaches online courses for and One-on-One Workshops in his home studio near Yosemite National Park.

37 replies on “New Work from Olympic National Park”

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  2. Bill-As always, great images.
    In re: your article on OP. I know what you mean about being lost in the process and finding “sanctuary in nature”. Many times, while photographing In Yosemite, within the immersion of getting images, time becomes meaningless. All other distractions are ignored and only the scene before me has relevance. I sometimes even forget to eat the lunch I packed. And only realize I’m hungry on the way home.

    1. I served in the 101st airborne under Gen. Weteomrsland and I have over 50 parachute jumps with a M1 Garand turned upside down over my left shoulder and tied to my leg with a piece of twine. I love that weapon and would love to own one again. Ex- SSGT Hal Novak

  3. Dear Mr.Neill

    My name is Tristan. I’m 10 years old & an unschool kid from Missouri. My mom & I read your article in Outdoor Photographer magazine. She helped me look up your blog after.

    I loved your shots of the ferns in the Hoh Rain Forest & the seastacks on Rialto beach!! My favorite picture is the lush green ferns.

  4. Hi Bill! I have known and admired your art through a couple of your ebooks and a hard copy of your Landscapes of the Spirit. I also follow you through you articles in the Outdoor Photographer. These present images were made with that same philosophy you have enhanced through the years (similar to the Zen of Seeing by Frederick Franck: Seeing as meditation). I love them all but I keep coming back the Sea stacks. I easily picture myself in front of that place seeing, smelling and listening to the see. Best regards from Venezuela. Arturo

    1. ZY,Dear kafircon friend. How could we ever have disagreed? It’s interesting what you say about localization, because this is exactly my conclusion too. We do not need a grand concerted ciiivlzational approach to this problem. This is 4GW. Hundreds of local approaches work fine, each in their way. I would even go as far as saying that it is the large-scale common approach that is hampering us here. Break away from the world community, as they are doing in Flanders!CVF speaks of networks of networks. I like that very much. It fits this view.May the force be with you,CS

  5. Great set of images. I have been to Hoh Rainforest and agree there is something peaceful when you hike through slowly. It gave me a sense of visual overload with all the possible images.

  6. Hi William, some wonderful images of Olympic National Park there, I particularly like the Seastacks at sunset and the colour version of the ferns. Olympic is close to my heart as it shows strong similarities to the part of Australia I live in, the island state of Tasmania.
    One technical question I’d like to ask you – I have for some years been using the Canon 5D MkII, which while a great camera does show one serious fault, namely occasionally severe shadow noise with a cross-hatched pattern in deeper shadows in exactly the type of shot you have with the Seastacks. This noise, which has been well documented on the web, unusually is most prominent at low ISO, e.g. 100, and can be especially noticeable if you’ve applied any sort of shadow recovery in PP. Just wondering whether you’ve noticed anything like this with the 5D MkIII, as I’m curious whether Canon have solved the problem with that model?

    1. Hi David,

      No, it is still a problem. I just bought mine, and it is still a good camera, but I am frustrated with Canon overall, and especially this issue. Bracketing plus using 32-bit HDR has helped mitigate a problem that shouldn’t be there considering the competition. Could you send me some of those links?


      1. Thanks Bill, for your answer re. digital noise in the Canon 5D2/5D3. The best site which quantifies the problem with the 5D2 is on the link below. The test results shown graphically on this site clearly show the significant bidirectional noise which can affect 5D2 images at low ISOs, and the way it decreases markedly at higher ISOs. There is also a table which quantifies the ‘Apparent Read Noise’ – note, double the noise at ISO 100 compared with 200! The link is:

        I have noted that the problem is not present in all images – mainly in recovered deeper shadows at low ISOs like 100. It can be a frustrating fault on an otherwise great camera. Perhaps Canon may provide a solution with the new sensor technology purported to be coming soon with the 7D MkII, and which may also be ported into the 5D MkIV sometime next year?

          1. I think I heard that scream in Australia, Bill! I would also not switch systems myself for similar reasons. But in any case, even though Nikon have hit a sweet spot with their D800 series cameras (and we’re still waiting for Canon to match that design), they have had serious issues for instance with the D600 and its sensor-spotting problems. Even with the Canon 5D2, the shadow noise problem only affects a small percentage of my images and I’m testing PP techniques to get around the issue (e.g. luminosity masks to isolate the affected areas, then NR in only those areas). And also, if you’re still making top-class images (and you most certainly are in my judgement) I think you can safely say you’re winning the game anyway! The technology of digital photographic sensors is still being perfected in my opinion and there will certainly be more improvement to come, regardless of what system you’re in.
            Incidentally, in case you didn’t come across it, Clarkvision also did a similar set of tests on the 5D3, on the following link:


            Cheers, David

  7. Bill,
    As always, your love of the natural world, and willingness to share inspires…..
    Seeing the color, and then the similar black and white fern image – beautiful, and a real lesson in the value of black and white imagery as descriptive of form….. My favorite.

  8. Dear Mr. Neill, all five are beautiful shots. My favorite one took a little time to pick. I would say it is number five, the landscape shot: Hoh Rain Forest. The moss growing on the branches and vines arranged with the ferns is wonderful. And as you “I found sanctuary in Nature”. You are such a great inspiration to us all.

  9. Bill,

    As nice as these images are, it always amazes me that you find time. It inspires me to request a few hours from family obligations to just concentrate on photography. Your passion comes through in all the images, and it speaks of your skill that you can get these images in a short time.

    The Rialto Beach images are my favorites.


    1. Hi Boit,nberesting to catch up on your world… it has been an age since we had a cup of tea under the bivvy rock at the bottom of the Burton Ridge… lot of water under the old bridge since… might have another one right now…regards Don

    2. I was trying to figure out how solar panels work today and I found that electrons get displaced in 2 layers of a solar panel by photons coming from the sun to create power. If the electrons come from the solar panel and go into the electrical grid, how are they replaced in the solar panel? Wouldn’t the solar panel eventually lose all of its electrons and stop working? Electrons have mass, so wouldn’t the solar panel slowly deteriorate?I think solar energy is awesome and I really want to know how it works. Any help in enlightening me on this subject would great, thanks!

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