[/caption] I would have to say that one of the most popular places in the entire state of Oregon to see the mountains of the Three Sisters has got to be along the Santiam Highway, just past the town of Sisters, when heading east towards Bend. There is a small parking area just off the highway where you can get an opportunity to photograph or just take in the view of the Central Oregon mountains. However, I’ve rarely seen more than one car at a time here. I wonder if drivers are content with the view from their car or maybe they don’t even realize that there is a place to stop. I almost feel like I’m cheating whenever I stop here to take photos since you don’t have to hike or snow-shoe several miles to get a photo like this. The lighting always seems to be either perfect or bland. Since you are looking southwest, the sun and time of day really play a role in your opportunity to get a great shot from this distance. The sagebrush in the foreground and the trees in the distance really add to the personality of the setting. I was a little disappointed that the middle sister was shrouded in the clouds but after a little patience it did start to creep out of the clouds but only enough time to get this shot before the clouds enveloped it again. The great thing about this photo is that there are so many things that your eyes notice as you pan around the picture. You have the clouds dancing around the mountains, the snow along the sagebrush in the foreground, the personality of the mountains and the rolling hills shrouded by trees as it winds up to the base of the higher elevations. To get this shot I was using my Canon Rebel T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm lens and my UV, warming and CIR-PL filters. However, I wasn’t using a tripod when I took this photo. I had the camera in Normal/Program mode so the aperture was set at F7 and the shutter speed was at 1/100 second. I set the white balance to -1, the ISO at 100 and the focal length was at 50mm.
[/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.