[/caption] Early spring offers a great view of Mt. Hood from the banks of snow covered Trillium Lake in the Mt. Hood National Forest. Trillium lake is located on the south side of Mt. Hood and the sun travels directly behind you when facing the mountain. Your best opportunity for getting great shots is either in early morning or early evening. However, winter and early spring doesn’t always give you a good window of opportunities due to the unpredictable nature of the weather. It’s about a 6 mile round trip snow shoe trek from the snow park and it will take you about an hour to get to the banks of the lake. This photo was taken at about 11:55am and the sun was just behind the trees directly behind me. The shadows in the foreground are from the huge trees directly behind me. I set the camera setting to normal/program mode and the aperture was at F-9.1 and the shutter speed at 1/250 second. I attached my CIR-PL, warming filter and UV filter to my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I set the focal length at 28mm and set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at 0 due to the brightness of the sky due to the albedo/reflection caused by the snow covering the lake. I was also using a tripod and bubble level to avoid and camera shake. The best time to visit Trillium lake is just after a huge snow storm and the entire forest is blanketed in snow.
[/caption] If you’re looking for an opportunity to view Mt. Hood while perched on a steep slope with forested trees vying for space, you will want to follow the snow shoe/x-country trails that take you along the White River West trail. Winter is the best time to visit since you are almost guaranteed to find yourself trudging through several feet of fresh powder. If you decide to go all the way to the top you will enjoy one of the most grueling days of your life. Not only is it steep but you have to navigate through the trees and the snow can be very deep. The top of the climb takes you smack in the middle of Timberline lodge on your left and the tallest chairlift at Mt. Hood Meadows on the right. There are several crevasses separating you from either of the two ski parks. The climb ends at about 6,500 feet and by the time your at the top, you’ve climbed close to 2,300 feet in elevation gain. You have a great view of Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters in the south and the overall view is pretty spectacular.
[/caption] Even the tallest fir trees can’t escape the huge snow storms that dominate the Cascade mountains. The best time to snow shoe along the forest of the Cascade mountains is on a sun soaked day just after a massive snow storm dumped several feet of powder. Once you get inside the forest, you can look towards the skies and try to find the perfect photography scene. I took this shot while snow-shoeing in the Mt. Hood forest. I was trying to get a good panoramic photo of the tree tops and the blue sky in the background without any clouds. I was very lucky on this photo so I made sure to set the focal length at 17mm and bent down as much as possible so I could frame as many trees as possible as well as the blue sky.
[/caption] A rare view of the snow covered trees with its reflection from the lake. Normally the Fanning is completely frozen after a good winter with only a few spots where the creeks meander along the lake. I was surprised by this opportunity to get a photograph like this. I normally end up trying to get some panoramic shots of the snow covered lake with the creeks slicing through the snow. However, this scene gave me a great opportunity and I ended up noticing that the trees were being reflected from the lake and luckily it was calm enough to get a pretty descent reflection since the water wasn’t moving too much. I’ve actually very gingerly snow-shoed over this very same area and never saw any openings like this. This is especially surprising since this winter has seen way more snow and cooler temperatures than the last two years. You can actually snow-shoe around the entire perimeter of the lake as well as cut through parts of it only if it’s covered with enough snow. Since the light was very unbalanced I made sure to use my tripod and bubble level in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. I was shaded from the sun by the forest but the lake was sun drenched. This created a really nice opportunity.
[/caption] The summit of Mt. Hood is normally snow-capped throughout the entire year but late winter offers some of the best views since the timberline and its summit is engulfed with the white stuff. visiting on a day with a clear blue sky gives you the advantage of photographing the entire summit with only blue sky and snow capped mountain. It’s best to use a tripod in order to avoid any camera shake and blur. However, I took this shot without a tripod and the winds were howling at near 45 mph. I was fortunate to have good lighting and kept a steady hand. I only kept a few of these photos since many of them were blurry due to camera shake but if you take enough, you can sometimes end up with a few keepers. I just make sure the image stability is on and I make sure to wait for the wind gusts to slow down and then concentrate on keeping a steady hand. Removing the CIR-PL will help reduce the risk of camera shake but then you risk the chance of over exposure due to the intense glare caused by the sun and the albedo from the snow. Best practice is to always use a tripod but if you don’t use one be sure to secure the camera and take several photos. I was using my Canon 55-250mm lens and set the focal length at 187mm.
[/caption] Picture perfect day after a huge snow storm dropped several inches of snow at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl. While resting near one of their chair lifts I decided to take a few photos of the snow flocked trees standing over the massive cliffs looking down at me. I framed the powder in the foreground and tried to create the best panoramic view possible. I ended up having to tilt my camera and tripod at about a 70 degree angle to get this shot. I was lucky that the clouds had passed over and was able to get this photo with only a few clouds. I actually took about 50 different photos from this same spot as well as several more in different locations but this one stands out really well.
[/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] With photos like this, Mt. Hood can be one of the most photogenic mountains in the Oregon Cascades. You know you’re going to have a great day when you travel to the mountains on a sunny day just after a huge snowstorm dumped a foot of fresh powder. The Fanning is a great place to look for awesome photo opportunities during the winter since the lakes freeze and become completely covered with snow. However, there are several areas where the water is traveling beneath the snow which creates several pockets of creeks. Mt. Hood is positioned perfectly above the lake with the forested area lined with ancient trees begging to be included in your photos. It’s beneficial if you visit while the trees are snow covered since they create the best shots. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 34mm. I attached my warming filter and CIR-PL and made sure to use my tripod and bubble level in order to avoid any camera shake. These photos were way too important to risk anything to go wrong and camera shake or blur can destroy your entire portfolio. However, it was about 11:45am and the light was good and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1. The camera was in Normal/Program mode and the shutter speed was at 1/200 second and the aperture at F-8.
[/caption] Trillium lake offers a great place to view snow-capped Mt. Hood just after a snow storm. The lake is about 2 miles from the Trillium lake snow-park and it will take you about an hour to snow-show but even less time if you’re x-country skiing. There are several areas where you can explore and you may even spot some wildlife along the way or near the lake. The best times to visit is either during mid winter, after a big snow storm, or during Spring, when there is still plenty of snow on the mountain and the skies are clear. The lake can get pretty crowded during the summer months so I would try to visit on a weekday. There is an endless amount of trails beckoning you once you’ve reached the lake. You could spend days or weeks exploring the Mt. Hood National Forest if time and weather permits.
[/caption] Mid morning view looking up along the ridgeline near Mt. Hood. Winter offers some spectacular and interesting photos in the mountains. Sometimes you just need to turn around in order to find a great photographic opportunity. This photo made for a great Christmas/Holiday card. The sun was at about a 90 degree angle and the skies were filled with blue. A dry snow had fallen the night before and parts of the snow were being blown off of the cliff and trees so I had to wait for the wind to die down before I could take this shot.