[/caption] A great way to view the Western Cascade foothills is by hiking in the higher elevations of any the many Cascade mountains and look west. This particular photo was taken from the western flanks of Mt. Hood and I was facing south west when I took the photo. The sun was almost directly overhead so the sky is somewhat hazy but it does give a cool glow to the foothills in the distance. I was at about 5,000 feet and since I wasn’t using a tripod I had to make sure and keep a steady hand and hope that the shot was level. I attached my Sigma 17-70m lens and set the focal length at 70mm in order to frame only the foothills in the shot. I set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance to -1 due to the glare from the sun. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to tame some of the glare. The shutter speed was at 1/166 second and the aperture was at F-5 due to the ISO and white balance settings. I would always recommend using a tripod but since I was covering a lot of ground on this day and because I was carrying a lot of weight I chose to leave my tripod in my car. Luckily there was plenty of sun and no shadow’s anywhere in sight to cause any blur or camera shake. It’s always important to look for great photos of mountain ranges or foothills whenever you’re hiking in the higher elevations since you can forget to look beyond your main subject and miss some great opportunities.
[/caption] The Santiam river offers some of the best views of the foothills along the western slopes of the Oregon Cascades. There are trails that will take you up to 5,000 feet so you can look over the forest below and view the many foothills that dot the landscape or you can hike the many trails that follow along the dozens of creeks deep within the forest. During the summer months you can cool off in the creeks and in Spring and Fall you can enjoy the beautiful setting of the ancient forest.
[/caption] Squaw mountain is a little known hiking spot that offers some of the best views in the Oregon Cascades. Only a few remnants of the fire lookout tower remain but at least the view is still there. You can see Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson from its summit. And best of all, you have an amazing view of the rolling foothills that make up the Cascade mountain range. If you look closely in this photo, you can see the tip of the North Sister and Mt. Washington in the distance. This photo also doesn’t show any of the logging scars left by the timber industry. However, there are plenty of scars surrounding the mountains and it’s almost impossible to avoid having them in your photos. This photo was taken on 6/12/10 at about 5:20pm and as you can see the weather was absolutely amazing. There was a few feet of snow still covering parts of the trail but the summit was mostly void of snow due to the sun exposure. I was using my Canon T1i and my Canon 18-55mm kit lens. I had the focal length at 24mm and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake. I had the camera in program/normal mode so the aperture was set at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/100 second. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at 0. You are almost guaranteed to see several hawks and even a bald eagle and keep a sharp eye out for owls since you will be hiking through an old growth forest. You may even want to bring a book since the view and solitude is so amazing that you really won’t want to leave.
[/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.