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February 17, 2015 at 8:08 PM

A drained Lake Tapps

Posted by Colin Diltz

MIKE SIEGEL / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Water levels in Lake Tapps have dropped to their lowest levels in more than a decade as Cascade Water Alliance, the owner of the lake, is doing major maintenance and replacement projects that can only be done by draining water from the lake. Mt. Rainier, looms in the distance of this popular summer time recreation area.

February 17, 2015 at 9:51 AM

Northwest Wanderings | Scenes from a journey through our region

Posted by Courtney Riffkin

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Multnomah Falls in the Columbia Gorge east of Portland, Oregon rises in two steps 620-feet. That's 15-feet taller than the Space Needle.

The water from Multnomah Falls comes crashing down 620 feet, a story-and-a-half taller than the Space Needle.

But you only need an umbrella if it's raining.

It's the most visited natural site in Oregon, according to the U.S. Forest Service center at the falls, with more than 2 ½ million people arriving annually, largely because it's less than an hour east of Portland in the Columbia Gorge.



ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A visitor to the Benson Bridge waves to a friend below to have his photo taken at Multnomah Falls.



There's a paved quarter-mile trail to the century-old Benson Bridge, with a view of the upper pool.

The falls flow year-round, fed by underground springs and snowpack runoff.

There's the continual, dramatic sound of the plunging waters, but not quite loud enough to mask the sound of Interstate 84 traffic or frequent freight trains on the adjacent Union Pacific tracks.

Multnomah, a Chinook word, means close to the water.

In 1995, a schoolbus-sized boulder weighing 400 tons fell into the upper pool as a wedding party was taking photographs on the bridge. People on the bridge heard the crack as the 25-foot-wide slab broke away.



ALAN BERNER/ THE SEATTLE TIMES

Multnomah Falls receives more than 2 1/2 million visitors a year making it Oregon's most visited "natural site."

It sent up a towering wave of water and gravel washing completely over the group.

Some feared they would be swept over the bridge. A few had broken bones; others, only minor injuries.

The boulder that was dislodged was so big that the waterfall's shape was changed by the slide.





-Alan Berner: 206-464-8133 or aberner@seattletimes.com

February 15, 2015 at 6:36 PM

Octopus released back in the ocean

Posted by Colin Diltz

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Aquarist Rob Kirkelie gently pours Hazel, a 45-pound giant Pacific octopus, out of a bucket and into the waiting hands of a diver in the waters of Elliott Bay at the Seattle Aquarium on Sunday. Hazel, a female, successfully mated with Franklin, another aquarium octopus, on their "blind date" on Valentine's Day. Five divers guided her to different dens nearby, but Hazel wasn't interested in any of the provided options. The picky cephalopod, who is at the end of her life, called a stage of senescence, will be looking for a den of her own where she will lay her eggs. The event was part of the aquarium's Octopus Week, which runs Feb. 14-22 and features octopus feedings, talks and hands-on activities for kids. The next octopus release event takes place on Feb. 22 at noon.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Dive coordinator Tim Carpenter, left, production coordinator Beck Bingham, center and dive supervisor Jeff Christiansen, top keep an eye on several screens as they watch divers help release Hazel, a 45-pound giant Pacific octopus, back into the waters of Elliott Bay.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Aquarist Rob Kirkelie keeps an eye on Hazel, a female 45-pound giant Pacific octopus as he rolls her to a ramp where they will release her back into the water.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Hazel curls her tentacles as she waits in a bucket.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Several Seattle Aquarium divers make their way back onto land after helping to release Hazel.

February 14, 2015 at 3:41 PM

Peaceful light falls between squalls

Posted by Katie G. Cotterill

STEVE RINGMAN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Between recent rainstorms, a quiet lull fell over Lake Washington with glassy water and a beautiful moonrise shot through winter trees from Seattle's Magnuson Park toward Kirkland.

February 12, 2015 at 9:38 PM

Behind the Byline | Photographing Tye Dutcher

Posted by Erika Schultz

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Tye Dutcher, an Auburn Riverside High senior, lost his right foot in an accident at age 11.

One of the best parts of photographing prep sports is access.

Photographers at The Seattle Times receive assignments several times a week to photograph high school sporting events, practices and arrange portraits to share local athlete's stories.

Earlier this week, I drove to Auburn to photograph swimmer Tye Dutche, an Auburn Riverside High senior.

Dutcher lost his foot in a lawn-mowing accident in California seven years ago. After four surgeries and physical therapy, he returned to swimming and water polo. This year he was voted captain of both teams.

Working with reporter Sandy Ringer on the story, we knew we wanted a mix of portraits and candid images. The coach quickly welcomed us into practice, and offered great access to the facility.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

He competes in the 100 backstroke and 100 free. "I don't give up," he says.

I focused on setting up lighting for the portrait and then on candid images of Dutcher swimming with his teammates. While working, I realized it would be difficult to show how Dutcher swims so well with a missing foot.

So, halfway through practice, I realized the answer might be at the called the King County Aquatic Center. The Des Moines facility, which hosts around 50 events annually, has an incredible underwater viewing window.

On short notice, the employees graciously granted Dutcher and I access.

Tye, who has an incredible can-do attitude, was game to try a second portrait after sitting for his first 10-15 minute portrait session. We both drove over, and after about 10 minutes of swimming, we figured out how to approach the underwater shot.

Photographing through an underwater window is incredibly beautiful, but difficult because the curved plastic easily distorts. (Think of photographing through an airplane window.) We had to avoid other swimmers cruising behind him, as well chart the distance he swam from the viewing window.

"With one foot, I can do unexpected things and amazing things," Dutcher said.

Dutcher's willingness to spend extra time and effort to work at the portrait really helped us capture a photograph that helped share his incredible story.

Thank you, Tye, for your great attitude and sharing your inspiring story.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Dutcher swims during practice in Auburn.

February 12, 2015 at 6:35 PM

Pick of the floral season: Harvesting salal

Posted by Erika Schultz

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Rudy Pablo Matias, 19, hauls freshly-picked salal-an evergreen shrub used in flower arrangements- near Belfair, on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. Matias and other workers sell the salal to Continental Floral LLC, the largest floral foliage producing company in the Pacific Northwest. Mother's Day is the company's busiest time selling salal, with Valentines Day coming just second. "Not everyone has a girlfriend or wife, but everyone has a mother," said Scott Schauer, general manager. The salal plants are harvested by individuals with permits, cleaned and packaged at Continental and then distributed around the world. On average, the company dispatches 15 shipping containers of salal worldwide each week. Schauer said brush picking has been an active industry in Washington state since at least 1915, and both sides of his grandparents have been brush pickers or managed brush plants. "Some of the ground that people pick on have been picked for 100 years," he said. "At one time it (salal) was a cottage industry. One hundred years later, it's one of the three most used foliages used in floral arrangements in the world."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A brush picker's glove sits out during a lunch break in the forest.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Joseph Morales works inside the cold storage at Continental Floral LLC near Belfair. Wooden bins of salal are behind. "Salal is unique in that it has a long life span if you properly take care of it," said Scott Schauer, general manager. In a cooler it can last four months.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Mike Fitzsimmons unpacks a truck load of salal at Continental Floral LLC.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Salal, an evergreen shrub, grows throughout the Pacific Northwest's forest floor. It can often be found under Douglas fir, hemlock and spruce.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Rudy Pablo Matias brings in his haul of salal.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Wooden bins are stacked at Continental Floral. During the Christmas season, the bins are used for holding wreath-making supplies and materials.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Brush pickers bind bunches of salal in the forest. Salal is sold by the bunch.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Workers collect salal in the forest near Belfair. An average brush picker collects about 150 bunches a day.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Rudy Pablo Matias, 19, collects salal in the forest near Belfair. The salal plants are harvested by individuals with permits, cleaned and packaged Continental and then distributed around the world, mostly Europe.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Cesar Andres, 30, hauls salal near Belfair.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Salal pickers unload their bounty at the end of the day.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Salal leaves, and other harvest plants, collect on the floor of a truck at Continental Floral LLC.

February 11, 2015 at 8:15 PM

SAM hosts journey of indigenous art

Posted by Alan Berner

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Maternal Journey, a 2010 work of art by Rhonda Holy Bear of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, is among the seldom-seen pieces in "Indigenous Beauty," opening Thursday at the Seattle Art Museum. Members preview masterworks of American Indian art from the Diker collection Wednesday. One hundred twenty-five pieces are in the exhibition spanning nearly 2,000 years of art.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

February 11, 2015 at 6:13 PM

Flower power at the garden show

Posted by Colin Diltz

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Bob Lilly and Phil Wood show off the "living dresses" photo opportunity they designed into their "Picture Yourself on Azalea Way" garden for the Washington Park Arboretum at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show on Tuesday. The show opens to the public Feb. 11-15.

Over three feverish days, some of the region's most talented gardeners, landscape designers and earthmover operators transported the Washington State Convention Center into another season.

"You're going to see color. You're going to see spring," said Terry O'Laughlin, producer of the 27th annual Northwest Flower & Garden Show. "Everybody has gone above and beyond this year."

For the main event, the display gardens, there are 50 percent more flowers in bloom than past years, according to the staff. This year's theme, "Romance Blossoms," nods to their Valentine's Day weekend timing. In addition, visitors can find more than 100 gardening seminars and a large marketplace for shopping.

The Northwest Flower & Garden Show runs through Sunday at the convention center, at Seventh Avenue and Pike Street. General admission is $22, with discounts for groups, kids and late-day entry. For more information, visit gardenshow.com.



This player was created in September 2012 to update the design of the embed player with chromeless buttons. It is used in all embedded video on The Seattle Times as well as outside sites.

LAUREN FROHNE / THE SEATTLE TIMES

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Joel Pratt puts shiny pieces of broken glass in Nature Perfect Landscaping's "A Moment to Remember" garden pool for sparkle at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

It's always sunny in preparation for the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

For more info on the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, visit this story.

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