[/caption] The best thing about snow-shoeing in fresh powder is that you can always find some great photo opportunities. I always try to include the snow covered trees, the untracked fresh powder and a mountain or hill in the distance. It’s also beneficial if you have a sky with a great personality in the background of the mountain. The is a great shot since it includes everything that I just mentioned. The sky is really cool since the blue sky had just given way to some high clouds that were moving in from the north. I was snow-shoeing up near Mt. Hood when I turned around to see this great view of the snow and clouds. I was lucky enough to not have tracked through this scene and was very impressed with the color of the clouds moving in. I’ve been to this spot several times but I’ve always been disappointed with the clouds in the background. However, this time I was very impressed. To get this shot I was using my 18-55mm Canon lens along with my Canon T1i Rebel. I wasn’t using my tripod since the lighting was pretty good. I had the camera in Program mode with the ISO set at 100 and the white balance at -1.3. The F stop was at F-9 and the shutter speed was at 1/160 second. I was using my UV, warming and CIR-PL filter and the focal length was at 55mm. The snow was so awesome that I could have spent all day photographing within just a 1/4 mile radius of where I parked. There is something magical about being the first person to snow-shoe during the first snow storm of the year. There is nothing better that knowing that you can just point your camera in any direction and know that you don’t have to worry about finding unwanted snow-shoe prints in your scene. Unless of course it’s of your own snow-shoe tracks.
[/caption] The Pacific Northwest received its first early winter storm of the year and I wanted to make sure and capture the aftermath. the weather service was calling for partially sunny skies on Wednesday so I decided that it would be the best day to try and get some great photos of the fresh snow along with untouched powder. I was pleasantly surprised to find out just how awesome the day was as well as surprised that the east side of Mt. Hood was completely untracked. The temperatures were rising as the day moved along but the snow was still hanging on to the trees and the snow was still pretty solid. Earlier in the day, the wind was howling near 50 mph on the west side of Mt. Hood and the snow was thick from Timberline to the summit. However, as the day progressed, the snow started to melt a little, which caused several of the jagged rocks on the volcano to show several bare spots. The morning was the best time to get shots of the mountain when it still looked like an ice cream cone. The snow was as low as Government Camp as well as Trillium Lake. The gate at the Trillium Lake entrance was open so we were able to drive right to the lakes edge. I felt as though I had cheated some great shots of Mt. Hood and Trillium Lake in the foreground since I normally have to make the 5 mile round trip trek from the sno-park. We later traveled east and found that the wind on the White River East trail was non existent and the conditions were epic. Fresh powder, snow covered trees and a great view of the mountain. Our tracks were pretty deep since the temperature was rising and we were the first to snow-shoe the area. As the day progressed, the clouds started to roll in and the winds started to pick up. We finished the day at Timberline lodge where we warmed up with some great strong hot drinks at the Ram’s Head Bar and watched most of the snow near the summit disappear. I hope that the next storm brings in even colder temperatures and more snow to the Cascades. I took this photo near the White River East Sno-Park at 1:05pm. The sun was fairly low in the background, which created a nice glare along with some shadow’s from the trees as well as the clouds just starting to approach. The snow is completely un-tracked and the trees are still pretty well covered by snow. I was using my Canon T1I Rebel along with my Canon 18-55mm lens. I was using my UV, warming and CIR-PL filters since the glare was pretty intense and the filters helped create a much softer image. I set the White Balance to -0.7 and the ISO at 100. The shutter speed was at 1/200 second and the F stop was at F-9. I also had the focal length at 27mm. I brought my tripod on my snow-shoe trek but I didn’t end up using it while snow-shoeing. Therefore, this photos was taken without a tripod. Nothing is worse than carrying your tripod on your pack while you’re snow-shoeing. I did lighten my load by only taking two of my lenses but I always end up with additional weight once I factor in all of the survival gear and additional clothes that you carry with you when snow-shoeing.
[/caption] We are enjoying the last few days of sunny and warm weather in Oregon but I can’t wait for some snow to fall in the Cascades. The farmers almanac is predicting a snowy season in the higher elevations and colder temperatures in the lower elevations. Compared to our winter last year, I’m not going to argue with that. I’m hoping for snow during Christmas and some really good snow in the mountains by this Sunday. Snow-shoeing is by far the best way for me to travel to areas throughout the Cascades in order to get some really awesome photos. However, sometimes you can find some great photo opportunities in places that you would least expect. The photo in this article is a perfect example. I took this photo from the shoulder of Hwy 26, just before you get to Government Camp, OR. This spot offers some of the best views of Mt. Hood, looking from the west. Normally you find cars stopped at the shoulder putting on their chains or you may find the occasional tourist posing for pictures. I took this photo back in January 2009, after a huge blizzard. I was lucky enough to have the day off on the day the storm had broke just the morning before it snowed for 14 days straight. The mountain looks like a giant ice cream cone with no real visible bare spots. I ended up taking a 6 hour snow-shoe journey near one of the lakes that is surrounded by the presence of the mountain. Other than maybe x-country skiing, I can’t see anything better than snow-shoeing when trying to have an epic photography session after a massive snow storm. You may be able to go faster and cover more distance x-country skiing but you can go places on snow shoes that are impossible with x-country skis. I was using my 8 mp Panasonic DMC-FZ30 point and shoot digital camera. This was my first camera that I bought before purchasing my Canon T1i DSLR. I still have this camera and I’ve taken some great photos with it. I had the focal length set at 36mm and the ISO was at 80 and the white balance was at 0 step. I had the camera in landscape mode while in Program mode. The exposure time was 1/160 second and the F stop was at F-5. I don’t believe I was using my tripod but I was using my UV, warming and CIR-PL filters. I took several great shots on this day and I can only hope that this winter is half as good as the winter of 2009. I’m already dusting off my snow-shoes and going through my photos that I took during that winter.