[/caption] With photos like this, Mt. Hood can be one of the most photogenic mountains in the Oregon Cascades. You know you’re going to have a great day when you travel to the mountains on a sunny day just after a huge snowstorm dumped a foot of fresh powder. The Fanning is a great place to look for awesome photo opportunities during the winter since the lakes freeze and become completely covered with snow. However, there are several areas where the water is traveling beneath the snow which creates several pockets of creeks. Mt. Hood is positioned perfectly above the lake with the forested area lined with ancient trees begging to be included in your photos. It’s beneficial if you visit while the trees are snow covered since they create the best shots. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 34mm. I attached my warming filter and CIR-PL and made sure to use my tripod and bubble level in order to avoid any camera shake. These photos were way too important to risk anything to go wrong and camera shake or blur can destroy your entire portfolio. However, it was about 11:45am and the light was good and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1. The camera was in Normal/Program mode and the shutter speed was at 1/200 second and the aperture at F-8.
[/caption] Sparks lake is one of the best places to visit in Central Oregon if you’re wanting to get an amazing photo of South Sister and its reflection. If you visit the lake during the early morning or just before sunset you will most likely be able to get a perfect reflection of the mountains as well as the foothills in the lake. One of the best views from Sparks Lake is the view of the ancient lava flow spilling over the foothills in front of South Sister.
[/caption] The Wallowa Mountains are located in the northeastern part of Oregon and offer over 360,000 acres of wilderness as well as over 500 miles of scenic hiking trails. You’re literally in the middle of a huge mountain range with nothing but your legs to rely on. There are 31 peaks over 9,000 feet that covers 35 by 60 miles of rugged terrain. The mountains were formed from granite from a magma upwelling in Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous time between 160 million and 120 million years ago. However, there is only one way to describe this part of Oregon and that’s absolutely magnificent! There is no other geographic region in the lower 48 states that offer such a diverse and spectacular display of geology. There are hundreds of alpine lakes, creeks, meadows, grasslands and waterfalls throughout the region and the deepest gorge in the United States (Hells Canyon) is just a stone throws away. In fact, many of the mountains are made up of marble and you can see this near their summit and also in the meadows. You will get a feeling of Oregon’s old west with only a few small towns that are still living in the 1890’s and with good reason. The cattle industry and dude ranches fit right in with the high mountain air along with the towering mountains in the background. You also may find yourself attending one of the many rodeos that take hold during the summer months. And since it’s so isolated, you won’t have to worry about a million tourists destroying your visit. Unlike most National Parks or crowded State Parks, you will only have to deal with a small amount of tourists and wilderness seekers. Wildlife is abound throughout the area and the wildflowers are amazing along the high alpine slopes.
[/caption] Oregon’s Willamette Valley is just one area in Oregon that offers some of the best places in America to taste some of North Americas wines. However, the Hood River Valley and Southern Oregon rivals even the best wines in the Willamette Valley. There are so many wineries near the larger cities in Oregon that it’s no more than a 15 minute drive for most people. Every time I visit the wineries I end up meeting people that have traveled from out of state just to visit the vineyards and taste the vino. Photographing the many vineyards that dot the rolling hills offers some really spectacular photo opportunities.
[/caption] The Santiam river offers some of the best views of the foothills along the western slopes of the Oregon Cascades. There are trails that will take you up to 5,000 feet so you can look over the forest below and view the many foothills that dot the landscape or you can hike the many trails that follow along the dozens of creeks deep within the forest. During the summer months you can cool off in the creeks and in Spring and Fall you can enjoy the beautiful setting of the ancient forest.
[/caption] Falls Creek Falls is located in Washington State and you will have to plan on driving a bit if your coming from Portland, OR. However, your visit will be bittersweet but also amazing. This is because the waterfall is so huge but hard to view and you will become frustrated just as much as you will be stunned by its size. The best way to ease your frustration is to continue the hike above the falls where you can view the canyon below as well as get another view of the top portion of the falls. The waterfall is 200 feet tall but it’s broken out in several stages and you can’t even see the bottom of the falls or the creek for that matter due to the steep drop off where the trail ends. I mean you would literally fall to your death if you try to look too far over the canyon in order to catch a glimpse of the creek below. In fact, I don’t think you could see it anyways due to the canopy of trees and vegetation that dominate the area. The spray from the waterfall is so intense that you will also need to stand back a bit in order to photograph the waterfall if you want to avoid the spray from drenching your lens. The wind is especially good about pushing the water in your direction since there isn’t any other place for the wind to blow except towards the hikers standing below the falls. To get this shot I stood about 10 feet behind these two massive Douglas Fir trees and centered the waterfall so I could ensure that the field of view would be large enough to avoid any of the photo from being out of focus. You can stand much closer but unfortunately you won’t be able to get the entire waterfall in your viewfinder unless you mount an 8mm lens to your camera. The waterfall is just too massive and there are too many trees, rocks and other vegetation hindering your ability. However, the drive is worth it since the entire drive is scenic and the hiking trail is truly amazing. You can even ride mt. bikes on the same trail and there are additional biking trails near the falls. The trail to the waterfall is pretty short at 3.4 mile round trip and the distance to the upper portion of the falls is 6.3 miles round trip. You’re bound to see a few hawks, osprey and other smaller wildlife along the trail. Plan on packing a cooler full of food and drinks since this hike will take you all day.
[/caption] This is a rare photograph of downtown Seattle, WA with only blue skies in the vicinity. Seattle looks completely different when viewed on a day like this. In fact, on this particular summer day the temperatures reached well in the 90’s and the clouds were absent for almost the entire week. Lake Union and Lake Washington were teaming with swimmers and boaters and Elliot Bay and the Puget Sound were packed with boaters reveling in the sunny and hot conditions. This photo was taken near Alaskan Way as I was driving along the highway. I had my wife drive slow so I could get this photo of the skyscrapers in the foreground and the blue skies behind them.
[/caption] If you find yourself hiking along any of the hiking trails throughout the Columbia river gorge, you will find yourself in a scene just like this the photo portrayed here. Almost every hiking trail follows a creek with several small or large waterfalls emerging from the canyons and rocky creek beds. Just make sure that you bring your tripod, bubble level and remote switch or you won’t be able to take any photos that aren’t blurry. The tripod will enable you to get a pristine photo of the fast moving water barreling through the narrow, steep and rocky creek beds. If you are also wanting to include the wispy movement of the water, be sure to attach an ND filter so you can leave your shutter open for a minimum of 4 seconds so you can eliminate the glare from the water and light but end up with the blurred effect with the water cascading over the bedrocks. I actually had the shutter open for 10 seconds on this photo and attached my ND4 and CIR-PL to eliminate any glare. You will also want to open your lens to a wide angle view so the field of view is large. This will help ensure that the entire scene is in focus. I set the focal length at 17mm and was standing about 2 feet from the creek. It’s also important to take photos of moving water on only overcast or rainy days in order to reduce the strong overexposure elements the sun creates as well as the high glare emitted from the water.
[/caption] Park Butte offers a great vantage spot to view Mt. Jefferson as well as the rest of the Oregon Cascades. However, you can also get some great views looking north from Russell Lake and Park Butte is a great photo subject with the vast forest lingering below. Russell lake looks like a refreshing swimming hole with dozens of beaches lining the alpine lake. This photo was taken from the south side of Russell Lake with Mt. Jefferson directly behind me. The sun was also behind me and the glare was pretty strong so I decided to get some photos looking away from the sun where there was less glare. If you’re only doing a day hike and you decide to hike towards the summit of Park Butte, you want to make sure and bring plenty of extra water and food since it demands and additional 1000 feet of elevation gain and an additional grueling 3 miles of switchback trails. The view is absolutely amazing but you will have to pay the price to get there unless you are backpacking and camp somewhere in Jefferson Park.
[/caption] Mt. Rainier has hundreds of creeks that are formed just below the dozens of glaciers carving through the mountainside. Driving along the main roadways offers visitors the opportunity to witness the wonders of geology that Mt. Rainier National Park offers. Since there are so many massive and steep creeks rushing down the mountain you can see just how devastating and dangerous these creeks are. There are also hundreds of waterfalls free falling all along the park since the topography is do diverse and steep. This photo was taken from Hwy 706 which traverses on the south side of the park. I pulled over on the massive bridge that carries travelers over the enormous canyon and glacial eroded area below. You can see all of the boulders on both sides where the glacial runoff has eroded the valley below over the years. I was looking south and the sun was just starting to come over the Tatoosh mountains but unfortunately the canyon below was still completely obscured in the shadows and the horizon was overexposed. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch since I wanted to get some of the movement of the creek without having any blur. The ISO was set at 100 and the white balance at -1. I attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to take advantage of the morning light.