[/caption] One of the best places to get some spectacular views of the Three Sister’s and Broken Top are from the patio of Faith, Hope and Charity winery. Not only are you given great views of the Central Oregon mountain range but you also have some spectacular views of Smith Rock State Park. And not to mention the grounds of the winery are perfectly manicured and host several events like a blues concert that we attended as well as some opportunities to play several lawn games. There is even a large pond that the owners stock with Rainbow Trout and if you’re lucky, you may witness an osprey, hawk or even a bald eagle hovering high above. The tasting room is a renovated barn that houses several events and offers even better views of the landscape from the upstairs patio. The winery is nestled in a 315 acre private valley and they specialize in growing hybrid varieties in their 15 acre vineyard. Since there are so many variety of wildflowers dotting the vineyard, there are several opportunities to get some really cool shots of the high desert landscape and you may even be able to get the mountains in the background. The winery is located in Terrebonne, Oregon and is located amongst rolling farm grounds, canyons and ridges that will surely provide ample photo opportunities. If your visiting Central Oregon and you’re looking for some great wine, mountain views and great atmosphere, I would recommend Faith, Hope and Charity Winery.
[/caption] Massive storm clouds hovering over the Three Sisters! This photo was taken from Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon and there was a massive and impressive storm system that had been hovering over the Oregon Cascades for several day’s. Usually, the storm are held back by the Cascade mountains but this storm was no match for the mountains. This massive storm was worming it’s way through the snow capped mountains as well as around them and above them. To get this shot I hiked near the highest elevation in the Smith Rock Park and zoomed in to a focal length of 135mm in order to frame the entire storm clouds and mountains but still keep a descent field of view. I didn’t use a tripod and had the CIR-PL attached as well. I just made sure to change the white balance to 0 in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. I also set the ISO at 100 and the shutter speed was at 1/250 seconds. Normally I make sure to use a tripod whenever I max out the focal length of the lens I’m using but since I had hiked over 8.5 miles and was pretty well set with good light and plenty of sunshine, I decided to take a chance.
[/caption] A great place to stop and check out the great views of the Oregon Cascades is none other than the rest stop between Bend and Sisters. It may be the laziest way to take advantage of the mountain views but it’s a no brainer. You can see Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, all three of the Sisters and Broken Top. You also have a great view of lesser known Black Butte and Belknap Crater as well as the several other snow capped smaller mountains. You want to make sure and include your telephoto lens since you’re pretty far away from the mountains and unfortunately you can’t get all of them in the same frame. There are several power cables that block parts of Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Washington but if you move around and use your telephoto, you can get a pretty good shot. It’s better to visit during the early to late morning since you will be looking west and the sun will be south east rather than directly east. Make sure to bring your tripod and filters since the glare can get pretty intense off the snow capped mountains and the distance requires a sturdy tripod.
[/caption] You can nearly get this exact view of Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sister’s from the parking lot of Timberline lodge but it’s even better if you get this view from one of Mt. Hood’s moraines that exist on the north eastern part of the mountain. Your only way to get to the moraines are by snow shoeing since your cross country skis will become too cumbersome and the slopes are too steep for skis. However, you can ski down from the northern part of Mt. Hood Meadows if you want to do some out of bounds skiing. However, it’s much more difficult to get back to your car if you parked in the parking lot of Meadows. The best bet is to park at the White River East snow park and follow along the white river. The trail starts out gradually ascending and then will become much more steep as you work your way to the moraine that casts you directly in the mouth of the volcano. The imposing ridges that you will be encountering were formed by the debris and sediment left from the White River Glacier, whose bottom end resides several hundred feet above timberline. You will find yourself at the end of the line and have the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent views available. I took this particular photo just before reaching the top of the moraine. The clouds were heavier than I was hoping for and the sun was almost directly above the mountains. To get this shot I was using my Canon 28-135 telephoto lens. I made sure to attach my CIR-PL, warming filter and UV filter due to the harshness of the glare caused by the snow and sun. I didn’t use a tripod so I set the camera on IS and kept a steady hand since I kept the ISO at 100 and adjusted the white balance to 0. The camera was in Program/Normal mode so the shutter speed was set at 1/150 second and the aperture at F-7 due to the filters and ISO setting. I maxed out the focal length at 135mm and since it was about 1:00pm I had to make sure that there wasn’t too much glare reflecting into the lens. If you decide to take this route I would plan on bringing a lot of water and snacks since it will take a few hours to get to the summit point.
[/caption] One of the best views from Smith Rock State Park is from the top of the Park which is about 3,250 feet. You have a 360 degree view and can see as far north as Mt. Hood and as far south as Paulina Peak. You also can see the Crooked River as it winds its way around the park which offers great spots to cool off from the desert heat. The summit of the park also offers several hiking trails that allow you to move about the entire top part of the park including the ability to look down at the rock climbers working their way towards the summit. You can also practically touch Monkey Face but I wouldn’t advise it since the fall would surely hurt. The great thing about this photo is that I was able to frame the photo with the rocks all around and then focus on the Three Sisters in the background. It also shows just how magnificent and diverse the Central Oregon topography is. To get this shot I wedged myself under a small area inside the rocks and made sure to include the climbing hooks in the bottom right in order to show the unbelievable climbing available at the park. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and made sure that I had attached my CIR-PL and my warming filter in order to saturate the sky and the red rocks without having any overexposure. Since I was hiking with my 1 year old and extremely hyper Australian Cattle dog I decided that I wouldn’t bring my tripod. Unfortunately, this meant that most of my photos were taken while only using my right hand and spending most of my time keeping an eye on my dog. However, sine the sun was extremely bright I didn’t have to worry about too much shade to cause underexposure along with camera shake. This shot was taken at about 3:00pm and the sun was bright, hot and creating a strong glare. I just made sure to point my camera in the opposite direction as we hiked around the park in order to avoid too much glare. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -0.3 and had the camera mode in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was set at F-6.4 and the shutter speed at 1/197 second. Since I wanted to create the most panoramic scene I set the focal length at 17mm.
[/caption] Over the years I have tried to find the best spot to take a photo of the Three Sisters and Mt. Bachelor in winter. However, I have never been able to get both of them in the same photo. I eventually found one of the best spots to attain these photos with little more than a 2 hour snow-shoe adventure that ends at the summit of Bates Butte. The butte is just a few miles southwest of Sunriver. The butte is right off the road, the elevation gain is only about 600 feet and you have a 360 degree view of the land. I had no idea that any of these buttes offered views like this. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. In fact, you can see Paulina Peak to the east and Mt. Scott, the tip of Mt. Thielsen and Diamond Peak to the south. Once I got home, I starting looking through my Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer and found that there are several buttes in the area that are easy to get to and may offer even better views. To get this shot I was using my Canon Rebel T1i along with my Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens. I also had my UV, warming filter and CIR-PL filter attached. The camera was set in Program/Normal mode and the aperture was at F-7. The ISO was at 100 and the white balance was set at -1.3 due to the bad lighting. The focal length was at 100mm and the shutter was opened for 1/250 second. Since the photo was taken at 12:52pm the lighting was pretty dull. However, I had to wait for the sun to creep around the mountains before I could get a descent shot that included some light against Mt. Bachelor.