Forum Index > Trip Reports > Tamanos Mtn, MRNP, Sept 19, 2015 (Brocken Spectre pics)
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radka
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radka
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PostMon Sep 21, 2015 11:17 pm 
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Weather forecast for this past weekend pointed very clearly in the south direction, as the new system was moving from the NW, so we chose Tamanos Mountain in the MRNP as our Saturday destination. The trail starts at Owyhigh Lakes trailhead and leads through beautiful old growth forest. At the lakes, we caught up with a large group of hikers and contemplated shortly whether we should continue ascending towards Tamanos as the clouds had already rolled in and visibility was limited. We decided to give it a try – who knows, maybe we will get above the clouds? Just a quarter mile past the lakes, there is a climber’s trail leading up the ridge. The trail is quite prominent and easy to follow. We were enjoying being on trails for once, without having to bushwhack.
The final ridge narrows at some point and requires a brief section of scrambling. After that, it’s a short walk to the summit.


Tahoma played hide and seek in the rolling clouds. Watching the clouds flow over the Cowlitz Chimneys was spectacular.

11th essential - the summit pillow
11th essential - the summit pillow
What the pillow saw
What the pillow saw
Little Tahoma framed by clouds
Little Tahoma framed by clouds
waterfall of clouds over Cowlitz Chimneys
waterfall of clouds over Cowlitz Chimneys
patch of red
patch of red

After two hours on the summit, we thought it was time to leave, but just as we started to hike back, a glory appeared on the clouds below us. Then, for a very brief moment, this glory turned into the Brocken Spectre! Well, we’re definitely not leaving now! Over the next few hours, the spectre would show for brief moments before it disappeared with moving clouds.

first spectre sighting!
first spectre sighting!
trying to hike out, ugm
trying to hike out, ugm
lenticular
lenticular
more cloud waterfall
more cloud waterfall
lenticular detail
lenticular detail

Several hours later, we tried to leave again and were hiking along the summit ridge, when the Spectre became more prominent, colorful, and was projected onto clouds directly below us. Nope. Can’t leave now. It was a breathtaking show. I had a hunch that we might see a Brocken Spectre, as the conditions appeared ideal, but didn’t expect such a beautiful display. This was our first time observing this phenomena.
As if the Spectre wasn’t enough, we also saw lenticulars and a rainbow. In the end, we spent several hours on Tamanos and had to hike out with a headlamp!

fantasy land
fantasy land
glory and a rainbow
glory and a rainbow
spectre for two
spectre for two
watching the Brocken Spectre channel
watching the Brocken Spectre channel
Brocken selfie
Brocken selfie
ghosts
ghosts

Brocken Spectre is a rare sight so last night I thought I would email Scott Sistek on Komo 4 News whose blog I enjoy reading. His response was enthusiastic and he immediately decided to write about the Brocken Spectre on his blog and post our pictures. Scott’s blog post along with our pictures was briefly mentioned on this morning’s newscast. On Facebook I noticed that our new friend Matt, who we just met last week on Devil’s Tongue, also saw the Brocken Spectre on the same day, only 4 miles away from us (we almost ran into each other again!). So I emailed him late last night to see if he would be interested in sharing his photos on Komo 4. It was great to see Matt’s pictures added to Scott’s blog post later this morning.

Scott Sistek's Blog is here.

Brief newscast link.


Then out of nowhere, I receive an email from an ABC News Reporter, interested in posting our pictures! Our pictures ended up on the main page of the ABC News today, much to my astonishment. It was only a year ago that our picture was published in a small local magazine. National news? Not even in my dreams! What a day. Incredibly honored and grateful to have our work published on national media.

ABC News link is here.
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Brushbuffalo
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Brushbuffalo
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PostMon Sep 21, 2015 11:44 pm 
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Chris and Radka,
WOW!! chickenleg.gif
I retired recently from teaching Meteorology (among other Earth Science subjects). We always included knowledge  of atmospheric  phenomena, and I can say unequivocally  that you have photographed the sharpest images of Brocken  spectre I have ever seen! I have personally observed the phenomenon  several times on mountain tops and from airplanes, but never with as many pleochroic rings or with such sharp images enclosed. It's  great that you got good pub.from this, too.
One minor quibble with the ABC News headline is this is not really an optical "illusion,"  which is a visual appearance  of something that tricks our brain into seeing something different than reality.  The Brocken spectre is much like a rainbow, mirage, or corona, as well as a host of other common and uncommon  atmospheric  phenomena  that can be photographed  ( as you wonderfully prove!) and generally are pretty well understood  using basic optics. But one could argue about what is or isn't  an illusion, I suppose ( Scott Sistek used the term illusion as well).
I was nearby on Saturday  on top of Crystal Mountain assisting for the Crystal Sky Marathon when the clouds rolled in but we weren't  fortunate enough to get such a grand show as you did....so cool!!

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Matt
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Matt
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PostMon Sep 21, 2015 11:54 pm 
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Great job getting the gamut of Brocken effects, Radka.
Sometimes the partly cloudy days are best, especially when you're willing to stay longer to watch the clouds and light develop.

Thank you, BrushBuffalo, for contributing the term "pleochroic rings" so now I know what the call the halo of multiple diffraction rings around the spectre.

radka wrote:
watching the Brocken Spectre channel
watching the Brocken Spectre channel

Does anyone know if there is a term for the much wider dark/light ring that one can see in the photo above?  I've seen it some other times also.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Brushbuffalo
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Brushbuffalo
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PostTue Sep 22, 2015 12:19 am 
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Matt, the ring surrounding the glory or Brocken is a fogbow ( not a fogbowl, which would be a football game in Aberdeen). A good reference for the glory, Brocken spectre, fogbow, and others is http://www.atoptics.co.uk/phen800.htm.  Check  the category  for water droplets.
Beware! If you explore that webpage fully, you head will be spinning as the hours fly by.  dizzy.gif  This is the same reference given in the blog by Scott Sistek that Chris and Radka  link.

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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the Zachster
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the Zachster
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PostTue Sep 22, 2015 7:31 am 
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"Brocken selfie"....AWESOME!!! embarassedlaugh.gif  Radka, those are absolutely amazing photographs. What a great experience that had to be for you to be there and see that. Who knew a foggy trip up Tamanos would end up on national news. Congratulations! up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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"May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am"
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radka
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radka
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PostTue Sep 22, 2015 7:37 am 
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Well folks, I woke up to more emails from national media. I kinda want to hide under a rock.... I gave them a link to NW Hikers, too  dizzy.gif
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GaliWalker
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Have camera will use
PostTue Sep 22, 2015 8:00 am 
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While the Brocken Spectre pics are great, my favorite photo is this one (closely followed by "more cloud waterfall"):
radka wrote:

Gorgeous!

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
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Voxxjin
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PostTue Sep 22, 2015 9:07 am 
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Brocken Spectre. I had never heard of that before. That is pretty cool  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

Awesome even.

And congrats on your pictures going across the nation.

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Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war
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hikerman
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hikerman
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PostTue Sep 22, 2015 9:20 am 
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Cool pics.  Way to keep at it and head up there anyway.

The comments on the ABC news link are, ummmm, interesting and humorous.
Everything from Obama caused it, to aliens, to "2 voyeuristic idiots fortunate enough to have the leisure of mountain-climbing over-enthuse over their own shadow and subject us all to their so-called achievement. Which one's daddy works for the AP?"  Sorry, but that last one made me laugh.

Again, some great shots.
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puzzlr
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puzzlr
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PostTue Sep 22, 2015 9:40 am 
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Enjoyed the photos and the discussion, learned a lot at that linked site.

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Mid Fork Rocksflickr
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silence
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silence
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PostTue Sep 22, 2015 10:48 am 
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We find ourselves always lingering on Tamanos for some reason ... but this was an extra special gift. Awesome stuff!

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PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. – Bob Dylan
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EastKing
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EastKing
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PostFri Oct 02, 2015 8:17 am 
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Way to go! You made the Weather Channel main page!!!

The Weather Channel article

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I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

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Jim Dockery
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PostFri Oct 02, 2015 8:58 am 
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Great job on the trip into the mist - often the best photos are found in inclement weather, but it's hard to go when you never know. Excellent photos as usual - I like the black & whites even better than the broken. Also very cool that you got picked up by the national press - I hope they are offering to pay!  up.gif  up.gif

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BarbE
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PostFri Oct 02, 2015 5:52 pm 
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What a fantastic payoff for a cloudy day on Tamanos.
Seeing a Brocken Spectre has been a highlight for me also.
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Gwen
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PostFri Oct 02, 2015 7:53 pm 
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Wow! You're brocken spectre shots are way better than what I was able to capture up on Three Fingers last month. We'd have totally missed it if Matt hadn't pointed it out to us!

I think this is the best I got...
Brocken spectre zoom
Brocken spectre zoom

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Tomorrow's not promised to anyone, so be bold, scare yourself, attempt something with no guarantee of success. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve. -Olive McGloin
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