Another spectacular shot of Mt. Hood taken from the Fanning, Oregon. Just another example of how photogenic Mt. Hood is when you have a stunning blue sky in the background and snow covered trees in the foreground. It also helps when the mountain is completely white and resembles a giant vanilla snow cone. This photo pretty much sums up that if you want to enjoy an epic snow journey, you only have to drive about 1 hour from downtown Portland, Oregon. However, the best kept secret is to visit one day after a massive snow storm blankets the Cascades and then check the weather and see if Government Camp is expecting sunny skies. Since the forested trees sometimes have a difficult time holding up the weight of the snow, you have to be pretty quick or you may have some spotty snow covered trees. I usually try to get up as early as possible in order to avoid the afternoon sun or the rising of the temperatures. However, even if you can’t get up at the best possible time you are still going to have a great time skiing, snow-boarding, snow-shoeing, cross country skiing, sledding or any other winter activity that you enjoy. Either way, Government Camp is a great place to visit and it’s especially magical during the winter months.
[/caption] Mt. Hood ski bowl is still using the old style chair lifts that look like they belong somewhere in the Swiss Alps and they make for some great photos. I could almost pass this photo off as a ski resort in the mountains of Europe but it’s actually located in Government Camp, OR. Mt. Hood Ski Bowl doesn’t offer any gondolas or high speed quads but they do offer you the opportunity to think back to how the original ski lifts used to operate. The wooded structures that run the chair lifts are a great example of the old days and they allow you to get some great pictures. I took this photo last month and on a day that the resort wasn’t opened. This allowed me to snow-shoe and wonder through the area without having to dodge skiers or snow-boarders. I was using my Canon T1i and my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I noticed the backdrop of this shot so I tried to make it look as though the mountain behind the structure was several hundred feet above it. The blue sky added a dramatic scene as well as the snow covered trees and rock outcropping.
[/caption] Awesome view of Mt. Hood after a snow storm blanketed the lower elevations near Government Camp. Mt. Hood stands out like a giant ice cream cone with plenty of deep rich vanilla snow drenched over its summit. Snow shoeing is one of the best and sometimes the only way to get photos like this. Plan on bringing plenty of water and snacks and expect some awesome views.
[/caption] The easiest and shortest drive to get an amazing view of Mt. Hood is the Crosstown snow park trail. The snow park is before you even get to the west Mt. Hood ski Bowl parking lot off of Hwy 26 and the trek to Enid Lake is only about 1/4 mile from the parking lot. The only drawback from this snow park is that Enid Lake is one of the only viewpoints that you can get of Mt. Hood. Unfortunately, the rest of the snow park is buried in towering trees and you won’t have much luck getting a view of the summit unless you hike your way towards the summit. There aren’t any designated viewpoints and I’ve spent several hours trying to find a viewpoint without any luck. However, you can find them but you just have to be adventurous and make sure you have a compass so you don’t get lost. And trust me, you will probably get lost during some part of you trek. I took this photo of Mt. Hood while standing on the other side of Enid Lake. The lake was completely frozen and covered by 5 feet of snow. Even though you’re only a short distance from the Hwy and Government Camp it’s surprisingly quiet and peaceful. You probably won’t hear any traffic noise and you will be amazed by the towering trees. The Crosstown Trail is actually best for trekking through the massive forest that towers over the area. There are also several small creeks and streams with snow bridges that allow you to cross. It’s better snow-shoeing terrain than x-country skiing due to the fact that it can get pretty steep and you will be trekking around huge trees as you venture the area.
[/caption] There is nothing more beautiful than looking at a blue sky looming over a mountain covered in snow. The spring flowers are blooming in the lower foothills so it’s feeling a lot like spring in the Willamette Valley with the rainy and warmer temperature’s but not so much in the Cascades. This is the best time to enjoy some serious snow storms along the Cascade mountains. March is usually the snowiest month of the year which allows the mountain chain to collect its largest amount of snow. Spring also brings the warmer temperatures in the mountains so you don’t have to bundle up as much, the days are longer and you’re more likely to see some sunny skies after a big snow storm. I was using my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens to get this shot. I wanted to have as much of the mountain in the field of view so I set the focal length at 24mm. The field of view was still pretty high so the entire landscape is in focus. The camera mode was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was set at F-10 and the shutter speed was at 1/200 second. This photo was taken at 11:40am and the sun was very bright and intense. I stood in the shadow’s of the tall trees in order to avoid any glare in the foreground. The shadows in the foreground helps draw the viewer to the mountain as well as the snowy landscape in the distance. I also set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -0.3 so the mountain wouldn’t be overexposed. I also attached my warming filter and my CIR-PL.
[/caption] There is a very short and scenic snow-shoe trail that will take you to one of the most scenic and beautiful spots to view Mt. Hood. The trail is right off Hwy 26 and within an earshot from the chairlifts of Mt. Hood Ski Bowl. You can see the condos and lodges in Government Camp as well as hear the groomers plowing along the groomed runs of the ski resort. The Summit trail starts near the ski bowls west parking lot and ends at the Mazama sno-park. However, the lakes are right between the two chairlifts at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl. As long as there is enough snow covering the two small lakes you can gingerly snow-shoe along their banks or even navigate your way through them. The day I visited it had snowed over 2 feet of cold champagne powder the night before and I was the first to visit since the snow had fallen. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the conditions were epic. However, the high winds were whipping the snow from the trees which made it seem as though it was snowing at times. I was using my Canon EOS T1i along with my Tamron 12-24 wide angle lens. I had the focal length at 24mm in order to add as much of the mountain to this shot as possible. I also wanted to get the small branch in the foreground as well as frame the mountain with trees on both sides. The lake is in the foreground and you can almost make out the creek carving its way through the snow. I wanted to increase the field of view as much as possible so I kept the ISO at 100 and the white balance to -0.3. I took this shot on 2/25/11 and it was about 11:30am so the sun was somewhat bright but still low enough to create shadows from the tall trees. The camera mode was at Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-10 and the Exposure Time was 1/200 second. I was using my warming filter and CIR-PL to highlight the mountain but calm the intensity of the sun drenched blue sky. The warming filter also helped eliminate too much glare from the snow. I highly recommend using both of these filters whenever photographing in snow during a sunny day.