Sunrise at Reflection Lakes & Sunset at Tipsoo Lake | Mt. Rainier Photography

I recently blogged about scouting locations at Mount Rainier for where I wanted to shoot sunrise and sunset once the wildflowers bloomed. Now, I'm excited to share the photos from that magnificent trip!


My first stop: Tipsoo Lake at sunset. I hopped in my car after work around 5 p.m. on a Tuesday and was at the mountain around 7 p.m. I wandered around the lake marveling at the spectacular and colorful wildflowers before heading up to my sunset viewpoint.

I wasn't alone at my viewpoint. In fact, there were quite a few other photographers up there with me. It was fun being surrounded by people who also loved photography and appreciated this glorious mountain as much as I did. We had an unspoken camaraderie, quietly sitting and shooting away as the breathtaking sunset unfolded before us.

I had every intention on staying well past sunset and shooting some astrophotography here, but I got a little nervous being by myself in such an isolated location. So, I decided to pack up and head down to my car just after the sun faded. For those of you who don't know, I recently converted my Subaru Outback into a little camper. I'll share more on that in another blog post, I'm sure.


I snuggled into my sleeping bag, set my alarm for 3 a.m., read a few chapters of Harry Potter, drank a beer, and hit the hay.


At 3 a.m., I woke up and immediately got on the road. The drive from Tipsoo Lake to Reflection Lakes is about an hour. I think I might have taken a bit longer because I got a little freaked out driving in such complete darkness. I felt like the only person on earth. I've never experienced anything quite like it.


I arrived at Reflection Lakes a little after 4 a.m. to find several other cars already parked there. I wasn't sure if they had the same idea as me, camped there overnight, or what, but nobody was out yet setting up or anything.


I strapped my headlamp on and got to work setting up my gear.

I tried to get some photos of the stars here, but since I don't have much experience in that real, struggled a bit. I think it was actually already a bit too light out already. I'd love to come back with a bit more research under my belt and shoot when it's truly the darkest point in the night!


As dawn drew closer, a few fellow photographers stumbled out of their cars and even more arrived at the lot to capture the show.


I really don't have words to describe what it was like to watch the day begin in this spot. So, I'll let the photos do the talking for me.

After I had my fill at Reflection Lakes, I decided to head up to Paradise for a few more quick shots before I had to get to work.


I ran into a little marmot friend and watched him do his thing for a while with another photographer. It's those little special moments with nature that just fill my heart. He was so cute, so we had a little photoshoot!

It was truly an incredible trip that I'll remember forever. I can't wait to do it again!

Madeleine Wilson is a Seattle, WA based natural light wedding and engagement photographer.

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