[/caption] Unbelievable! I mean simply unbelievable! That’s the only way that I can begin to describe how awesome the swells were at the Oregon coast on 9/28/10. Not to mention that it was 78 degrees and balmy as well as one of the best sunsets I’ve witnessed this year. The Oregon coast offered everything that a landscape photographer could ever ask for on this day. Who said that summer is over? It may be in other parts of the United Sates but not in Oregon. While making the drive from Portland to the coast, I was welcomed by a low cloud system that surely threatened to ruin my beach trip. I thought for sure that it would be either foggy or completely overcast on the Coast. However, I was glad to see that the clouds stopped just 1/16th of a mile from the coast but there were some wicked clouds that lingered just over the water that made for some really dramatic shots. I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon. I took this shot from cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It doesn’t have a name but if you’re a longtime Oregonian you may have been here before. There is no marked trail and if you come here during the summer months, you won’t be able to find the trail. Most people either just make their way to this spot by following other hikers. the trail ends at a 100 foot cliff that offers incredible views on either side. One slip and you would surely become chum. However, if the fall doesn’t kill you first, you would be thrashed by the huge swells crashing against the rocks and then eventually forced under one of the many caves lining the cliff’s. It’s best to just stay near the middle of the rock platform and set up your tripod or just sit on the only rock available. On a sunny day you can take in the suns rays and ponder out towards the horizon. To get this shot I set up my tripod and used my bubble level and remote switch. Because the sea water was getting my lens wet with salt water, I had to constantly wipe the lens and camera. I was using my 18-55mm Canon lens and had the focal length at 24mm. Because the sun was so intense I made sure to attach my UV, warming and CIR-PL filter. Don’t even bother to attempt this type of shot without a CIR-PL. I had the camera in Program mode and shutter speed was taken at 1/166 of a second. The F stop was at F-8 and the ISO was at 100. I also had the white balance at -0.3 due to the intensity of the sun as well as the glare from the water below. Since I was taking these photos around 4:00 pm, the sun was somewhat low at the horizon and I was forced to manipulate my settings as much as possible before getting the right exposure. This was especially tricky since I was also trying to get the crashing of the waves against the rocks from both sides of the cliff.
[/caption] Downtown Portland Oregon on the last day of summer 2010. The cloud formations in Portland had been creating some dramatic shapes so I decided to take some shots at sunset and twilight. September and early October always seem to be the best times to get great sunset shots throughout Oregon and This time was no exception. The sun set at about 7:25 and this shot was taken at 7:54, just after sunset. Since the glare was still pretty high, I attached my ND4 along with my CIR-PL, warming filter and UV filter. Since the clouds were moving pretty fast I reduced the shutter speed to only 13 seconds. This allowed me to smooth out the river movement but also capture the clouds without getting too much blur effect. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch during the whole evening since the light was too low. I had the ISO at 200 and the F stop was at F8. I was using my 18-55mm Canon lens and had the focal length at 24mm. I also had the white balance at only -0.3 since the ND4 filter had darkened the shot pretty well. Whenever I want to get the best panoramic shots of Portland I almost always go the the east side of the Willamette river and stroll down the jogging and biking path that parallels the I-5. There are several great places to set up your tripod and several areas to stop along the way.
[/caption] Three pools is one of the best places to visit when hiking along the Little North Santiam River. The 9 mile round trip trail begins near Elkorn and ends at the Shady Cove campground. The trail follows the river the entire way and it’s located on the opposite side of the road. There are several swimming holes and small waterfalls throughout this hike. There are also several spring trillium’s and mossy old growth forests dotting the wilderness area. There is also a short hike to the top of adjacent 4650′ Henline mountain, which allow for great views of the foothills of the Cascades. On a rainy day I would recommend hiking along the rivers edge in order to get some great photographs of the swirling river. The water is so clear that you can easily see the bottom and the water gives off a neon green glow. This is one of the best places to maximize your shutter time and really capture the movement of a beautiful and scenic river if the day is well overcast. If the weather is clear or partly sunny I would recommend hiking to the summit of Henline mountain. The views are awesome and you can really see just how massive the foothills of the Cascades truly are. To get this shot I was lucky enough to be here when the weather was rainy and very overcast. The rain was coming down while I was taking this particular shot. However, I was still only able to set the shutter to 10.37 seconds since the glare from the river was high. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch so I wouldn’t have any camera shake. I was also using my 18-55mm canon lens and had the focal length at 24mm. I attached several filters on my lens, which included my UV, warming, CIR-PL and my ND4 filter. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -2. Because I took this shot in September, the water level was pretty low. However, I was able to capture the edge of the river bank that otherwise would be submerged. On a warmer day, one could easily traverse more towards the center and really catch the personality of the river.
[/caption] The best place by far to really enjoy the scenic wonders of Mt. Jefferson is at Jefferson Park, which is about a 10.2 mile hike with 1800 feet of elevation gain. The trail starts on the west facing side of Mt. Jefferson and the last 8 miles of the drive are on a well maintained gravel road. The entire hike is loaded with amazing scenery and it’s probably the most pristine place in the state of Oregon. I never saw any clear cut, heard any automobiles, nor did I hear or see any planes flying overhead. The only thing I saw was an awesome forest with miles of trees, dozens of views of Mt. Jefferson, as well as dozens of different types of wildflowers and alpine lakes within Jefferson Park. You also hike over several small creeks that make for a perfect spot to rest and soak in the pristine cold water. The trail is well maintained but it’s not as clearly marked as I would have expected. With Jefferson Park being hailed as one of the busiest trails in Oregon I expected it to be more clearly marked. I hiked the trail the day after we had two days of heavy rain showers and the higher elevations of Mt. Jefferson had received a good little dusting of snow. Unfortunately I took a wrong turn near the top of the first 1.5 miles and headed towards Triangulation Peak trail and ended up hiking about 4 miles total in dense forest with the rain water and dew clinging to the shrubs that had lined the narrow trail. Within 1/4 of a mile my socks, shoes and my entire lower body were soaked. I had almost decided to cancel my quest to Jefferson Park but I actually ended up missing the switchback that headed back to the parking lot and then again found myself on the Jefferson Park Trail. I was informed by some backpackers that I was now only about 2 miles from the Park at that point. I will for now on always make a copy of the trail and have it with me. The mountain finally made its appearance later in the afternoon and I was amazed at how close I was to it. I was able to see where the mountain had repeatedly sent an avalanche of snow throughout the years which had created a swath of downed trees that looked like a smooth carpet of grass with trees that looked like snapped twigs on the outer banks. Once you get to Jefferson Park you will see dozens of alpine lakes, wildflowers and thousands of vantage points. I could spend months photographing from within the park. However, there were several closed parts due to heavy traffic that had destroyed many of the Park’s fragile vegetation. The Sentinal Hills and Park Butte surround the outer parts of the Park which really gave it a true alpine atmosphere. I took this shot right in the heart of Jefferson Park and the small pond in the foreground didn’t have a name. You can see the alpine grass in the pond and the Paintbrush wildflowers teaming all along the Park. To get this shot I was using my 12-24 wide angle lens and had the focal length at 15mm. I had the ISO set at 100 and the White Balance was at -1. I had the camera on Program Mode which allowed the shutter speed to run at 1/60 of a second. I was using my CIR-PL, warming filter and my UV filter in order to cut down on the glare and increase the warmth of the setting. I was using my tripod, bubble level and my remote switch in order to avoid any movement since I was concerned about losing some of my photos due to camera shake. I didn’t want to take any chances on this photo trip. I would highly recommend this hike and next time I hope to backpack here so I can have more time to really take in this amazing place. I can only imagine how beautiful the sunrise and sunsets are here.
[/caption] Ramona Falls is a great 7.1 mile hike within the Mt. Hood National Forest. I have meant to hike this trail for several years but I always chose to hike in an area that gave me a grand view of Mt. Hood. I finally chose to hike to Ramona Falls on one of the busiest days of the year…Labor Day! However, it was a great time to hike to the falls since it was overcast and rather chilly. You couldn’t see the mountain so the hike made perfect sense. However, the water level was rather low and all of the summer flowers were long gone at this point. The Ramona Falls loop is about 7.1 miles and the elevation gain is about 1,000 feet. The trail starts out through a mossy forest of small alders and hemlocks and parallels the Sandy river and Ramona Creek. The most scenic of the trail loop follows the mossy bank of Ramona Creek which also passes the huge granite cliffs just east of the trail. You can jump across the creek and look up at the immense granite facade and walk along the many fallen granite rocks resting on the floor of the cliffs. Most of them are covered by moss but many seem to have just broken from the cliffs and tumbled near your feet. This is a great spot to take some photos of the granite rock wall and the trees hanging along the cliff edge. There are many spots to take of the creek’s many small water falls that parallel the trail. The forest floor is teaming with mossy areas that create a very scenic and tranquil setting. Though my main goal was to photograph the falls, most of my photos that I took were mostly from the forest, the cliff’s, the creek and the forest high above the Sandy River. However, I was able to take several photos of the falls since it’s a very photogenic waterfall. However, I could only imagine how much water passes down the waterfall in early Spring. To get this shot, I was using my 18-55mm canon lens and had the focal length at 24mm. I was using my tripod along with my bubble level and remote switch. I was using the shutter mode and had the shutter at 3.22 seconds. The glare was too intense to increase the shutter time. The ISO was at 100 and the White Balance was at -2 due to the glare from the waterfall. The lens aperture was at F-22 since I was using my CIR-PL and my warming filter. I would highly recommend this trail since it’s a great area to get several different types of photos as well as offering a very scenic and calming environment.