Photography tips for the local snipe hunter

Did you ever go snipe hunting? If you haven’t, you have missed one of the rituals of the growing-up process.

Did you ever go snipe hunting? If you haven’t, you have missed one of the rituals of the growing-up process.

Much like snipe hunts are the many hours that Valley residents have spent searching for mountain goats on Mount Si.

The following exchange could easily describe a conversation between myself and a Wildcat alum.

“Nope, never seed any goats up there.”

“Where did you go?”

“You know, the Mount Si trail”

“Oh, I see, no goats making the hike today, right?”

Early one morning last spring, one of my co-workers came in the office. The day was one of those Valley beauty days, and the sun was bright but low in the eastern sky. In the near distance, Mount Si was wearing a halo as if backlit from behind. The air was fresh with a lingering hint of refreshingly cool air. My co-worker asked me if I had been over on the west side of Si that morning.

“No,” I replied. “Why?”

“The mountain goats are out, you can see them from near the blueberry farm.”

I grabbed my camera and headed to Moon Valley Road. Arriving at 93rd, I used my camera lens as a telescope. If I really strained, I could see white animals bigger than dogs — mountain goats. I used max zoom x32 and began snapping.

Initially, the pictures didn’t look too good — small, blurry, not worth my effort. That’s why I took the pictures, to see what the computer and I could do for them. I ended up getting some of the best pictures of the Mount Si traveling mountain goats. I’ll show them to you sometime.

Mountain goats are sacred to our local tribe, as is Snoqualmie Falls. However, unlike the goats, my photographic efforts have not been very successful at the Falls.

After trying different conditions and times of day with little success, I decided the only way to photograph the Falls would be to fly over in a helicopter. If you’re ever spinning up there in your ‘copter, give me a call and I’ll pay you back with some dynamite photos.

Another very picturesque spot for good scenery and photography is in Fall City on the north side of State Route 202. I sat down there in the grass for lunch last year, and took several photos, up and down the river.

Nobody can forecast good photo opportunities, so most times when I go out, I take the trusty camera with me. I try to stop for camera action where I don’t block the road and am not in anyone’s way.

I had a mild panic attack a year or so ago. I was driving past Meadowbrook Farm one late afternoon, and there were several cars pulled off in a section of roadway with no shoulders. That was bad enough, but then I noticed, out in the field, a couple of guys walking toward the local elk herd. In and of itself, that is scary — I don’t think it’s a tourist activity Snoqualmie or North Bend should promote. That incident prompted me to write an article, and one day, you might get to read it on these pages.

We are fortunate to have access to all the wonderful advantages our corner of the world has to offer. From the native berries, to the fresh grown produce, to our spectacular wildlife, we are truly blessed.

I bought my first bag of cherries of the season recently. That always brings back childhood memories of sitting in a neighbor’s tree, eating cherries and spitting seeds until I was stuffed. Eating cherries has always been a two-step process with me — spitting seeds is the vital second part of gourmet cherry eating.

I wonder if mountain goats eat cherries? I know the local deer enjoy feasting on the plants and plum trees in my yard. And rapping on the window has never slowed them down either.

With all the goats, elk, turkeys and deer in the Valley, the only thing we need to put it all in perspective would be a flock or two of snipe. Then, all our creatures could get together and eat all our cherries and berries, along with other assorted fresh fruits and veggies.

What do snipe eat, anyway?

• Bob Edwards is a member of the SnoValleyWrites writers’ group. He lives in North Bend. E-mail him at