[/caption] This is a view of Mt. Jefferson and its summit as viewed from Jefferson Park. With the elevation of the Park being so high, the forest that spans the area offers some great views with the mountain in the background. You can’t ask form anything better than photographing a 10,000 foot volcano with a hanging alpine glacier and nothing but blue sky in the background and an amazing forest of trees in the foreground.
[/caption] The Trail of Ten Falls is found within Silver Creek Falls Sate Park and is the primary draw to the park. The Park offers 10 spectacular waterfalls as well as a journey to some of the most awesome geological wonders. This is Oregon’s largest State Park and offers over 9,000 acres of wilderness as well as over 8 miles of hiking trails that takes you near each of the falls. Upper North Falls is one of the most spectacular but it is also one of the least known since it’s on a hiking trail that is split from the main trail. The waterfall is also the end of the trail head since the massive basalt cliff meets you head on as the waterfall spills over its edge. Getting to the head of the waterfall can also be very difficult since the constant spray of the waterfall creates a very slippery and slimy descent towards the creeks edge. In order to get a good photo without ending up with a soaked lens you must hike down the creek a bit and take your chances on the slippery basalt rocks. Only then can you set up your tripod and try to take a photo before your lens becomes soaked. Upper North Falls may only be 65 feet tall but if the water level is high the waterfall can grow in lateral size while it spans the length of the basalt cliff just before it spills over the edge. In order to take advantage of the stark green vegetation and high water levels you are best advised to visit in either late May or early June. If Spring is getting a late start you may find your best time to visit the park during the last weeks of June. It is a very sensitive timing issue since you want to be there when the vegetation is at its peak but also when the water level is at its highest. Visit too early and the vegetation will still be brown and lack most color and if you wait too long the water level will be low and the waterfalls will be reduced to a small trickle as well as the creek itself. You also want to make sure you visit on a very cloudy and possibly rainy day in order to avoid too much overexposure. I took this photo on June 10th and it was a very overcast and rainy day. It was about 10:10am and the sun was almost directly behind the waterfall. Luckily the overcast sky’s hid the sun but still created somewhat of a hue. I set the shutter speed at 6 seconds in order to get the stop look from the waterfall and creek. To do this I made sure to attach my ND4, CIR-PL and warming filter. I also set up my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I had to carefully place the tripod along the edge of the rocks and since the rocks were slippery than snot I pretty much held my breath that I wasn’t going to lose my footing and fall in the water. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 17mm in order to maximize the field of view and create a panoramic view. The aperture was at F-10 and I set the ISO at 100 and kept the white balance at 0. Due to the constant spray from the waterfall and the rain coming down I had a hard time increasing the shutter speed to over 6 seconds.
[/caption] There in nothing more beautiful and energizing than photographing tulips in the early months of Spring in the Pacific Northwest. However, finding a perfect sunny day can be somewhat difficult and challenging. I took this shot last April but unfortunately the tulips were very stressed due to the rainy and cold weather that stunted their growth. Last Spring was unseasonably cold, rainy and muddy, which created a very challenging situation for the many photographers that frequent the tulip festivals that dot the Northwest. I took this shot while kneeling down in the mud and positioned my camera towards the sky hoping to get a good shot. Since I was in such a peculiar position I wasn’t able to use my tripod so I had to be sure to keep a steady hand and keep it level. I was using my Sigma 50mm prime/macro lens which helped capture the shot. I attached my warming filter in order to maximize the color of the flower and take advantage of the suns rays. I was only about 8 inches from the flower which allowed me to get a good focus on the center tulip and it stem but kept the rest of the tulips out of focus. The shutter speed was 1/99 second and the aperture was set at F-4 since I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3.
[/caption] Visiting Crater Lake National Park during the early parts of summer offers some of the best weather and most exciting conditions available. This is especially true if the Park received a good amount of snow during the winter. This allows for the snow to hang around longer, which creates some spectacular photographic opportunities. However, you don’t want to wait too long since the park can get pretty crowded as the snow melts and the temperatures heat up. I was using my Canon T1i and my Tokina 12-24mm wild angle lens. I also attached my warming filter, UV filter and my CIR-PL. This photo was taken on June 30th and it was about 3:30pm so the sun was still pretty bright and the glare from the snow was created a strong hue. I was hiking along the south part of the rim so at least the sun was mostly behind me and wasn’t causing too much glare. I also made sure to stand in front of some large trees to block the sun even more. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to ensure there was no blur. With all of the noise created when taking pictures at the Park it can be easy to confuse your lens and end up with some photos that are either out of focus or blurry. Since I do take mostly panoramic photos at least the field of view is fairly large. I had set the focal length at 14mm in order to get the most panoramic photo since I also wanted to include the sky above and the snow and trees along the bottom of the lake. This is very difficult considering the lake is enormous. Fortunately I didn’t need to dawn my snow-shoes even though the entire east part of the road was still closed due to 10 feet of snow blocking the road. However, I would recommend bringing some hiking poles, slip on cleats and maybe even some gaiters since you will find yourself hiking through snow until late July.
[/caption] If you haven’t been watching the snow report, along the Pacific Northwest recently, you probably aren’t aware that Mt. Bachelor received 35 inches of snow yesterday and Mt. Hood received over 4 feet of snow over the last two days. And that’s just in Oregon. Washington state has been reporting historic epic snow falls since they’ve been keeping records. The next 2 weeks is looking like more historical amounts of snow in the Cascade mountains. Now is the time to dust of your snow-shoes or cross-country skis and head up to the snow parks that line the Cascade mountain range. Make sure to bring your snow shovel and don’t forget you GPS and survival gear. This is shaping up to be one of the most amazing winters yet in the Pacific Northwest.
[/caption] If there ever was a place that you would think you would catch a glimpse of Bigfoot it would be anywhere along the Pacific Northwest. This is especially true on the western flanks of the Cascade mountain range that stretches from Canada to the northern parts of California. The Douglas Fir trees that line the western slopes are some of the biggest trees on the planet and are draped with flora that allows it to take on a jungle look. However, taking a panoramic photo of the forest can be very tricky and always frustrating. The camera sensor seems to struggle when trying to focus on the scene which is primarily due to the fact the the trees are so dense and close together that it can cause the photo to look blurry. I normally try to take as many photos as I can and ensure that I set my camera on a tripod and use my bubble level and remote switch. This photo was taken on 9/5 and it was about 1:00pm. The clouds were starting to roll in and the sun was barely above the foothills. I wanted to include some of the low clouds but also get as many trees in the photo without too much glare. It looks like the photo is blurry but there wasn’t any wind and I steadied my camera on my tripod. The exposure time was only 1/25 second and the ISO was kept at 100 in order to avoid any overexposure. Since the sky was completely overcast I wanted to ensure that I kept only the forest in the scene so I set the focal length at 250mm. There were several hawks flying nearby so I had to make sure none of them ended up in the photo. You can also plan on coming across a flurry of rivers or streams whenever you hike in the Cascades.
[/caption] Punchbowl Falls may be one of the most photographed waterfalls in Oregon but when you have a view like this it’s not hard to see why. Whenever I find myself hiking to Punchbowl Falls I know that if the weather is right I can spend hours there as well as take hundreds of photos within a 25 foot area. I normally wade out into the frigid waters and position myself in the most precarious ways in order to get the most dynamic photo possible as well as get a photo that hasn’t already been duplicated 500 times. Late Spring or early Summer is the best time to visit since the vegetation isn’t in full bloom until later and the water level is at it’s highest when it’s warming up in the mountains. You also want to make sure that you visit on a cloudy and rainy day in order to eliminate any glare from the water. I normally try to set my shutter priority between 4-6 seconds in order to get the flowing movement of the waterfall without getting too much movement of the vegetation. This photo was taken on 6/29/11 and it was about 11:30am. I was fortunate to be here when it was completely overcast and it started to rain as I waded out in the creek with my tripod in hand. The water was about 39 degrees so I lost all feeling in my feet and legs since I spent about 30 minutes shooting the waterfall. I set the shutter speed at 4 seconds and had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.7. The aperture was at F-10 since I had attached my ND4, warming filter and CIR-PL. I wanted to get more of the rocks laying on the bottom of the creek so I lowered my tripod and tilted my camera towards the ground at about a 60 degree angle. This allowed me to get a great shot of the small rocks without losing my field of view of the background. I set the focal length at 23mm, which was just enough to ensure the view of the waterfall and vegetation were in focus but parts of the foreground were somewhat distorted and out of focus. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t leave anything out in this photo.
[/caption] There is no better place to be on a warm and late summer evening than along the Oregon Coast. One of the best places to take advantage of the nice weather is at Cannon Beach, OR. You can expect great sunset views and some of the best walking beaches in the state. Since many of the sunsets along the North Oregon Coast can be hit or miss, when the weather is showing a great sunset with no coastal fog, you want to head to the beach. This photo was taken on 9/30 and it was about 6:00pm so the sun was pretty intense and the glare was even more intense. Even with attaching my ND4 and my CIR-PL I wasn’t able to set the shutter priority due to the overexposure from the glare. I set the camera to Normal/Program mode and put the ISO at 200 and the white balance at -1.7. The shutter speed was at 1/125 second and the aperture was at F-7.1. The tide was pretty high so I wasn’t able to get as close to the rocks as I wanted to and I ended up setting the focal length at 23mm in order to get the rocks in the background while the sun was peaking around Haystack Rock. I lowered my tripod in order to get a good shot of the water coming in towards the camera. However, the halo from the sun made many of my photographs grainy around the rocks and sky. There were so many birds flying around the rocks that I wasn’t able to avoid a few of them from getting in the photo.
[/caption] Fall weather may provide you with some of the most dramatic sunsets possible but unfortunately the snow levels along the mountains are less than fantastic. However, you can sometimes get lucky and I was pretty satisfied with this photo of South Sister and its reflection coming from a small pond just a few yards from Sparks Lake. The very dry and yellow/orange colors of the vegetation as well as the tall trees created a great scene. The rolling lava domes as well as the lava flows help you forget about the low snow amounts on the mountain. The sun had just set behind the hills so the light was very low and I was able to get a strong reflection.
[/caption] When visiting the Oregon Coast you want to make sure that you stay for the sunset. You will surely be in for a surprise and you won’t be disappointed. However, you never know what type of sunset you may experience. This photo was taken at 9:27pm and the sun had just set below the horizon. The marine clouds were coming in and they were moving at a pretty fast clip. The light was low enough that I was able to set the shutter speed to 8 seconds and capture the surf moving along the rocks with most of the seagull’s staying still. The clouds in the background are blurred as well as the fast moving swells. I must have taken over 200 photos in just a half hour time and was able to get several different types of shots from many different angles and spots along the rocks.