[/caption] Lost Lake is one of the best places to get a great shot of Mt. Hood in the background of a beautiful and quiet lake. Motorized boats aren’t allowed in the lake and you have to really want to visit the lake since it’s a 110 mile drive from Portland. This means that you’re more likely to experience a smaller crowd during the off season or on a weekday. Your best photographic opportunity is when the lake offers a glare of Mt. Hood and the trees. Late afternoon and early evening are the best chances of getting this type of photo since you are more likely to have high clouds and some sun glare during the morning or early afternoon. The winds are also more calm later in the day, which will allow the lake to be more calm and provide a perfect canvass for the glare. I actually took this photo about two years ago during the month of October but I finally got around to going through the raw photos again in order to reduce the saturated color of the photos that I made in photo-shop. There is an awesome 3 mile hike that travels around the lake as well as a trail that takes you to a viewing area at about 3500 feet and takes you through an ancient forest. Plan on spending the entire day or even camp at the spotless private campground and maybe even bring a canoe, kayak, paddle board, wind surfing board or anything else that doesn’t require a motor. You may even spot a hawk, osprey or bald eagle diving for their meal or see deer or black bear foraging in the forest.
[/caption] With its numerous craggy spires, Broken Top is one of my favorite Oregon Cascade mountains to photograph. On any given day you may hear rocks tumbling down either of its sides as the eroded volcanic rocks loosen from the steep terrain. The easiest routes to the the mountain are from either the north or east side since the paved highway is just to the north. The Cascades lakes highway offers several hiking trails that allow you to choose between coming in from the north or east. I took this photo while hiking along the east side of Broken Top on an alpine trailhead. We actually had to drive over 5 miles on a non maintained and very rough road to get to the parking lot. However, you park at about 6,900 feet and you have the choice of either taking the 2 mile trail to Todd Lake or traversing around Broken Top from either the south or north. We chose to hike north and I took this photo just before you get to the trial junction. You get to the parking lot by turning towards Todd Lake but instead of parking at the lake parking lot you want to continue up the rough road, which is Forest Road 370, and continue for about 5 miles. It seems like cheating but it gets you to the higher elevations sooner and we were short on time since it was already in the early afternoon and the sun was going to set around 6:00pm. However, you could start at the Todd Lake trail and continue the entire loop trail around Broken Top if you wanted to make it an all day and very grueling 15 mile hike. This hike is a must if you love the outdoors since you will experience every aspect of being in the high mountains. You will hike over creeks that are partially frozen, tarns, canyons, pumice, lava rock, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, lava domes as well as some spectacular views. This photo was actually taken from about the 1 mile mark and I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 28mm. I had the camera mode in Program/Normal and I wasn’t using my tripod since the lighting was descent and we were covering a lot of ground with limited time. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7 which caused the aperture to be at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/125 seconds since I also attached the CIR-PL and warming filter. The sky was fairly saturated and the color was descent but the sun was fairly low and there were some clouds hovering below the sun. I was visiting the area on 10/27/11 and it was probably one of the last days to hike the trail since they close the HWY in October and the snow is just days away. I would put this hike on my short list and visit as soon as the snow melts and the HWY opens.