[/caption] This hike along the Washington side of the Gorge is one of the best trails along the northern part of the gorge. There are two amazing waterfalls and the scenery from the top of the trail are stunning. You can see Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood as though you can almost touch them. The trail to the summit of Hamilton Mountain is a grueling 7.6 round trip hike and gains a total of 2,000 feet of elevation gain. There are several sure drop views along the trail and you are welcomed with some of the most stunning views of the gorge. I wouldn’t recommend this hike if you’re afraid of heights or get dizzy easily. You can sometimes hear the distant sounds of gun fire from the nearby shooting range and the Bonneville Dam can be somewhat of an eye soar. Though I still think that the views are still worthy of this challenging hike. Hardy creek is one of the most scenic creeks and I really enjoy photographing this area. On this hike, I decided to only hike to the bridge that crosses Hardy Falls since I was planning on an additional hike the following day. I had climbed down from the bridge and carefully navigated my down along the creeks edge. The rocks and moss made it challenging and I eventually found out that my hiking shoes still keep my feet dry when I slipped into the creek. I ended up planting both feet in the creek when one of the many rocks rolled as I stepped on it. The morning was mostly overcast and it rained periodically but the sun eventually came out as I settled on this photo to post on my blog. Again, the water was thundering from high above and the moss was just starting to show its neon green that makes it famous around the gorge. I had to set up my tripod on a very narrow rock and plant my feet at the very corner of the creek. I used my 18-55mm kit lens and set the range at 18mm. I set the shutter speed to 1 second and the F stop at 18 since the glare from the creek was pretty high. I set the ISO to 100 and kept the sensor at Program mode. I used my warming filter as well as my ND4 and CIR-PL filter. I have hiked this trail several times and I would recommend it to anyone that wants to get a grand view of the gorge as well as two volcanic mountains.
[/caption] I spent a fantastic day at the gorge yesterday. This time I wanted to take some pictures of the falls while the sun was out. I was hoping to get some great shadow features in my shots and I wasn’t disappointed. I decided to post this picture since it shows just how fast the water was moving and it details how diverse the vegetation is. This isn’t my favorite shot but I thought it summed up my day pretty well. The water was moving with so much force that I had to reduce the shutter speed in order to avoid the heavy glare from the sun reflecting off of the water. The water is currently thundering down from the Cascades with unbelievable force. If you look closely, you can see that the creek has spread to every nook and cranny of the basalt, winding it’s way towards the Columbia river. Now is the best time to see this in it’s rawest form. However, some of the vegetation still hasn’t come out. Also, many of the spring flowers are starting to bloom. I would give it another week or two before all of the neon greens break through the soil. To get this shot I stood behind a tree in order to block some of the suns light. I set my shutter speed to one second and set the F-stop to 8. I used my 18-55mm lens and had to use the 55mm focal length since I was standing high above the falls. I set the ISO setting to 100 and used my tripod, as I always do when photographing moving water. I’ll be posting several more shots on my business facebook page.
[/caption] I wasn’t sure the name of this flower but I believe it’s called a tulip tree flower. Most of them weren’t open but there were a few that had. I took this at the Portland International Rose Garden on Friday. However, while driving near my house I noticed that there were 5 of the same trees just 800 feet from my front door. I will be photographing more of flower since it’s so interesting. I can’t believe that I never noticed this before. Sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees. I took this with my 18-55mm kit lens. I removed my CIR-POL so I wouldn’t have camera shake since I didn’t use my tripod. However, I did use my warming filter to bring out the vivid colors. I had my lens at 55mm focal length and I was about 6 inches from the flower. I kept my camera in Auto Exposure with an F-stop of 5.6 and my ISO was at 100. I had taken several pictures while in Flower mode but this one was taken in Auto.
[/caption] Who’s ready for Spring? I couldn’t help but include one of my rose shots from last year. I took this shot in early June at the Portland Rose Garden. I sprayed the rose with my water bottle to give it more personality. The sun was pretty high so it really allowed me to avoid any shadows from hiding the pedals. I am really amazed that I’m able to get my best shots without using a tripod. I used my Canon 18-55mm kit lens to take all of my flora shots last year. However, it does have IS. I just make sure to remove my PL-CIR or at least crank up my exposure so I don’t have camera shake. I usually only use my warming filter, which is a must. I’ve really experienced great macro capabilities with this inexpensive little lens. I am able to get just inches from the flowers and still get great shots. During the late summer months, I was able to get some great shots of bees pollinating the flowers. You can even see the pollen on their little legs. I plan on purchasing a 50mm macro lens so I can really get some even better shots of flora during this spring and summer.
[/caption] Yesterday was a great day at the White River East snow park. As I drove from Portland, the entire west side of mt. hood was blanketed in clouds. However, as I neared closer to the Trillium lake snow park, I noticed that the trees in the higher elevations had a dusting of snow on them. I realized that the south and east part of the mountain had accumulated a few inches of snow. I quickly headed to the east snow parks. The day seemed like a spring morning….Sunny and 39 degrees. As I ascended towards the mountain, I again didn’t need my snow-shoes until about 1/2 mile up. The snow finally started to get deep and I could see several x-country and snow-shoe tracks. Once I got to the main lookout area, above the power lines, I noticed that the smaller creek just below was still covered. I decided to snow-shoe towards the higher elevations of the glacier on the south east side of Mt. Hood. I was able to shoe up the moraine, until I was met my a sheer drop from both sides and only about 2 feet of walking space. I decided to stop at that point. The day was epic. The mountain showed itself several times and the storm clouds continued to move north at light speed. The sun never left since the clouds were at a very low altitude. I would recommend this trip since it gives a much better perspective of the volcano and the sheer magnitude of the snow drifts on both sides of the mountain gave me some great photo opportunities.
It was another beautiful day in downtown Portland on Sunday. It may have been a little overcast and somewhat chilly but that didn’t keep people from hanging outside in downtown. I had a friend visiting from Orange County, so I decided to take him to Portland so he could test out several of his recently purchased lenses. I figured that the walking tour around the business district and the museum district would be a good start. We finished the day at the waterfront, near the Hawthorne bridge again. The cloud’s had formed into popcorn style shapes, which made for a great landscape since the sun was in a perfect position to create plenty of backlight.