[/caption] Mt. Tumalo is a great place to snow-shoe or hike since it offers a great view from the summit. The trail can get very dusty during the summer months and the mountains are much less spectacular since the high sun and lack of snow on the mountains can make your photo opportunities limited. However, it’s still a great hike and the views are breathtaking. The winter months can offer something much more beautiful and rewarding with the entire area covered in the white stuff for as far as you can see. However, it’s best to pick a day that the weatherman says will be sunny with lots of blue skies since an overcast sky can eliminate the view. Another great thing about winter is that you can make any trail for yourself as you snow-shoe towards the summit. There are no designated hiking trails when your on snow-shoes or x-country skis. You just pick a line and go for it. This particular photo was taken while I was snow-shoeing towards the summit during a blizzard. The temperature were so cold and the wind was so bad that the trees near the summit were completely frozen and crystallized. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a view from the summit and the wind made it difficult to take any photos. I was forced to find cover around the trees in order to take some shots of the frozen vegetation. On a sunny day you can see the entire Oregon Cascades from Mt. Bachelor in the south and Mt. Hood in the north. This photo was taken without a tripod and I set the ISO at 80 since the glare from the snow made the aperture at F-4.
[/caption] After a big snow storm hits the Pacific Northwest you can sometimes get lucky and have a few days of sunny skies which offers some great photo opportunities. There is no better way to get Christmas card ideas than to head out to the Cascade mountains and snowshoe around some of the snow parks. The trees are plentiful and almost beg you to take their picture. The only thing to do is take a bag of lights and create your own private Christmas tree in the National Forest. This photo was taken in the Mt. Hood National Forest after a big snow storm the day before. The weather changed to sunny blue skies with high wispy clouds. I wasn’t using a tripod since the light was pretty bright and I decided that it would be too much work to carry my tripod since I relied on my poles to keep me from getting stuck in the 5 feet of fresh powder. sometimes I just make the necessary adjustment but when I’m on a roll and only stop for a few seconds at a time, I like to just rely on my IS and make sure to review the histogram and keep a steady hand. Too get this photo I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.3 since I was looking almost directly into the sun. It was about 12:05pm and the glare was pretty intense due to the sun and snow covered platform. I attached my CIR-PL and warming filter and set the camera mode at Program/Normal. The aperture was at F-9 and the shutter speed was at 1/166 second. I was using my Canon 18-55mm kit lens and set the focal length at 32mm.
[/caption] The White River snow park offers one of the best areas to snow-shoe around the Mt. Hood wilderness. It’s located on the east side of Mt. Hood and the parking area is just off of Hwy 35. There are enough parking spaces to fit 10 football fields and there are enough snow-shoe and x-country areas to keep you busy for the entire winter season. the White river cuts between the West and East areas of the park and it offers some great views of a frigid river cutting through the snow packed river banks. You can make it as easy or as difficult as you want to. It offers some terrain for the most hardy winter explore or the most novice. There are over 10 different trails and they are completely different from one another. Some of my best winter photographs have been taken from this area and I will continue to visit since it offers some of the best photographic opportunities. However, the best time to visit is during winter since most of the trails are only available when the terrain is covered in 20 feet of snow. I took this photo on October 27th at about 12:50pm and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle. Unfortunately, the sun can pose some real challenges since the park is on the east side of the mountain and the sun is always on your left with the mountain just to the north of the sun and your photos. This is especially true since the sun only gets so high and sometimes there are little to no shadows near the mountain. I was using my Canon T1i and my Canon 18-55mm kit lens when I took this photo and I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I had attached my CIR-PL and warming filter to saturate the blue sky and warm the scene. The aperture was at F-11 and the shutter speed at 1/197 seconds since I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7.
[/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] Winter is officially here and he Pacific Northwest is experiencing some of the heaviest snow fall in the Cascade mountains. That also means lots of rain in the valley’s of Puget Sound and the Willamette Valley. So, dust off your x-country skis and snow-shoes and plan on getting out there and experiencing some of the best days of your life. What’s better than burning some serious calories, getting an awesome leg burn, enjoying some peace and serenity and witnessing some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. This photo was taken just east of Mt. Hood after a recent snow storm. I was on a snow shoe adventure and noticed that all of the trees were flocked like Christmas trees. A great post card setting for sure.
[/caption] The snow in the Southern Oregon Cascades are nearly 600% above normal and you will be sure to find that most of the hiking trails are completely covered in snow. You would be advised to bring some snow shoes and plan on having an epic time snow shoeing at Crater Lake National Park, Mt. Bailey or Mt. Thielsen. I spent one day snow shoeing on the south side and the next day snow shoeing the north side of Crater Lake and found myself amazed at the amount of snow there was. I camped at Diamond Lake and took this photo of Mt. Bailey just as the sun had set behind it. I was amazed at the amount of osprey and bald eagle that was flying along the lake as well as just over my head. I witnessed an osprey catching its dinner as it plunged towards the lake. I was using my Canon Rebel T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I was standing along the edge of the lake as thousands of hungry mosquito’s swirled around me. I took this shot at 8:58pm and the sun had just set to the right of the mountain when I noticed that some clouds were beginning to move over Mt. Bailey. I decided to set the camera mode to shutter priority in order to flatten out the water. I set the shutter speed at 4 seconds which put the aperture at F-18 since I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.3. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to ensure that there would be no camera shake or blurs. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter. I had the focal length at 38mm in order to keep Mt. Bailey as the main subject. You would be advised to watch out for avalanche dangers since I noticed that all of the mountains had been experiencing avalanches during the mid afternoon.
There is nothing more awesome than snow-shoeing deep in the forest just after a huge snow storm blankets the forest. I took this shot as well as many others while I was snow-shoeing within the Mt. Hood Wilderness. I had just finished photographing Mt. Hood when I decided to blaze through the trees and see what kind of pictures I could get. I was fortunate to have been visiting the day after it had snowed. I was trying to capture the perfect photo as I positioned my camera in every angle I could. This shot was taken at about 11:45am and I was pointing towards the sun. This created some reflections off the trees and made them look somewhat blueish as this can happen when you’re taking pictures in the snow. I was also shooting at about an 80 degree angle so this makes the light have to bend at a pretty steep angle which can also completely change the lighting and the perspective of the shot. I made almost no changes to the saturation or brightness in photoshop. This is pretty much a raw photo with me mostly just cropping parts of the edges out since I was using my wide angle lens and the edges were dark due to the use of my filters and lens hood. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. I had the focal length at 13mm in order to get as much of the trees in the frame. I attached my warming and CIR-PL filters in order to calm down the overexposure of the bright sunlit skies as well as eliminate any shadows that may appear from the trees. The camera mode was in Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-4 and the shutter speed at 1/40 second. I wasn’t using my tripod so I did increase the white balance to +0.7 so I could still keep the ISO at 100. I was lucky enough to avoid any sun glare, especially since I was looking almost directly in the sun and the aperture was at F-4. Using the trees to block parts of the sun and having filters helped avoid this
[/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] While snow-shoeing along two small frozen lakes near Mt. Hood, Oregon I noticed that the wind had blown some of the light champagne snow along the frozen lake. The scene looked a lot like what frozen ocean swells might look like if they were frozen in their tracks. I took several photos, including close-ups as well as panoramic shots. I liked this panoramic shot since it looks as though the frozen swells goes on forever. I was using my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens and set the focal length at 14mm. I also set the ISO to 400 in order to increase the field of view as well as ensure that I avoided any distortion or blur since I wanted to make sure that the entire photo was in focus. I pretty much just leaned down a bit and found the best scene to take the picture. I had the camera mode in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was automatically set at F-14 which was perfect and the exposure time at 1/400 second. The photo was taken at 3:05pm and the sun was directly in front of me but since I was using my warming filter and CIR-PL I was still able to have the ISO at 400 and the white balance at +0.3. Since the light was pretty intense I didn’t need to use my tripod.
[/caption] A snow storm that had brought 6 inches along the Mt. Hood Wilderness the night before gave way to sunny skies the morning I took this photo. This makes for an epic day since the sun creates a fantastic contrast, flocked trees create a great personality and the blue skies allow the mountain to really stand out. I normally stop hear whenever I am heading out on a snow-shoe trip during winter or a hike in the summer. This photo shows just how well your photos can turn out if you have all of these ingredients. The sun was still fairly low so parts of the trees are shrouded in the shadows. This also creates more personality in your field of view. I also made sure to crop out some of the sky high above as well as parts of the trees in the foreground. I wanted to showcase more of the snowy mountain in a panoramic view. I took this photo on 2/9/11 at about 10:23am and I had stopped along Hwy 26 to take this shot. I wasn’t using my tripod or my remote switch since the lighting was pretty good and I wasn’t worried about any blur or camera shake. However, I did make sure that the IS was on. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens. I also attached my warming filter and my CIR-PL in order to take advantage of the blue sky and bring out the colors of the flocked trees. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was set at F-8 and the shutter at 1/250 second. Due to the brightness of the sky, snow and sunlight I did set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -0.7. I also set the focal length to 60mm since I wanted to avoid photographing the Hwy below as well as eliminating some of the sky. Therefore, I was able to include the entire mountain without having too many distractions in the frame. I’ve taken hundreds of photos from this same spot which includes many different types of panoramic to close up shots of the mountain but this allowed me to showcase the entire volcano.