Mount Rainier is a large active stratovolcano about 50 miles southeast of Seattle. It towers over the Cascade Range as the most prominent mountain in the contiguous United States at 14,411 feet, and the highest mountain in Washington and the Cascade Range.
The mountain and the surrounding area are protected within Mount Rainier National Park. With 26 major glaciers and 36 square miles of permanent snowfields and glaciers, Mount Rainier is the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states. The summit is topped by two volcanic craters, each over 1,000 feet in diameter with the larger east crater overlapping the west crater. Geothermal heat from the volcano keeps areas of both crater rims free of snow and ice, and has formed the world’s largest volcanic glacier cave network within the ice-filled craters. A small crater lake about 130 by 30 feet in size and 16 feet deep, the highest in North America with a surface elevation of 14,203 feet, occupies the lowest portion of the west crater below more than 100 feet of ice and is accessible only via the caves. Recently I was asked if I had any aerial photographs of Mt Rainier and it happened that I did once do some on an Alaskan Airways jet to San Diego . I was on assignment for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on my way to photograph them meeting Oprah Winfrey and touring some high schools there. As I was was passing Mt Rainier I pulled out my panorama camera and added a red filter and shot a few rolls of black and white film. The aisle I was sitting in, near the back of the aircraft, was empty except for me so I had free rein to shoot on either side of the aircraft and made a few images that I was happy with. There was a lot of cloud cover around the mountain but the summit itself was sticking out of its shroud. This is not the normal view of the mountain one usually sees, but made from about 30,000 feet, it is a view I like to enjoy. Photograph by Seattle Photographer Daniel Sheehan specializing in photojournalism, portraits and photography for publications and corporations.