Oceanside, Oregon

[/caption] A very stormy and cold winter sunset along the Oregon Coast. One of my first expeditions to the Oregon Coast, to capture the sunset, during Winter turned out to be one of my most memorable experiences. It didn’t help that the roads were icy and I had to drive over 4 hours round trip even though there was no more than 11 hours of light during the entire day. However, I had decided that I wanted to try and capture the perfect winter sunset with everything that an Oregon winter can offer. I made sure to bring along most of my snow-shoe gear so I wouldn’t have to suffer from the 34 degree temperatures and howling winds that made the temperatures drop into the teens. Even though my time allowed to photograph the scenery was limited, due to the shortened season, I was able to get this photo. The sun was actually dancing around some very fast moving and very aggressive clouds and it almost seemed that they were having a power struggle with each other. I was looking to get this exact shot of the sun just peeking from the cliffs with the clouds painted in an orange glow with the waves crashing against the rocks. The surf is also glowing in the turbulent and frothy salt water and the suns rays are spreading out along the entire sky. To get this shot, I made sure to set up my tripod, remote switch and bubble level in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. I also attached my ND4, CIR-PL and warming filter. I kept the camera mode in Program in order to avoid any blur from the water or clouds since I didn’t want to lose the personality of the swells. The shutter speed ended up at 1/6 second and the aperture was at F-4.5. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at 0 since the light was pretty dark due to the low light and time of day. This photo was taken just a few miles from Oceanside, Oregon, along a very secluded but easily found beach.

Portland, Oregon

[/caption] Even an overcast day can offer some great photo opportunities. This is especially true when you have calm waters and the foliage is starting to turn there golden fall colors. Even though the morning was completely overcast and the winds were starting to pick up, I was fortunate to take advantage of the many other things that help make taking pictures priceless. It helps when you have a fast moving river that’s completely calm which helped create a nice reflection from the buildings and it’s also helpful when the trees along the waterfront are starting to show their fall colors. Even though the scene could have been better, I was actually pretty happy with how some of my photos turned out. Especially since I was able to get some great shots that have eluded me before. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 38mm in order to frame this particular shot. I set the ISO at 100 and kept the white balance at 0. I had the camera made at Program so the aperture was at F-4 and the shutter speed at 1/60 seconds since I did attach my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to saturate the sky. I also made sure to use my tripod, remote switch and bubble level to ensure that I wouldn’t have any blur or camera shake due to the low light.

Portland, Oregon

[/caption] The many parks surrounding downtown Portland allows hundreds of tress the opportunity to show their colors during Fall. This is a way for the foliage to pay back the city for allowing so much green space within its borders. This photo was taken on 11/2/12, which is obviously the peak time to capture the foliage in Portland turning on their wicked colors. However, normally the trees start to hit their peak during the month of October but I’m sure that the lack of rain over the previous 82 days and the above normal temperatures had something to do with it. On this day it was pretty overcast and the sun was pretty much hidden behind a large band of clouds. However, the sky in the foothills of the mountains were somewhat sunny and overexposed which caused this photo to be somewhat challenging. You can see how overexposed and bright the sky is in the background and how dark the buildings are. I ended up keeping the ISO at 100 and kept the white balance at 0 and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to ensure the correct amount of light. The camera was in Program mode so the aperture was at F-5.6 and the shutter speed was at 1/60 second due to the low light and filters. Fall is my favorite time to photograph Portland and this picture shows just why.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

[/caption] Crater Lake National Park offers some of the most amazing photography opportunities. This photo pretty much says it all! Mt. Thielsen is in the background, along with some amazing clouds hovering high above the park. The lake is where blue got its name and the rim on the other side stands out like a monolith like no other. There are hundreds of old trees like the one shown here that creates a fantastic scene, with the rocks in the foreground also creating an awesome personality. Because I was standing fairly close to the edge of the rim, I made sure to open the lens to 17mm in order to avoid any camera blur. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to saturate the water. I wasn’t using a tripod so I made sure to set the camera lens at IS so I wouldn’t have too much camera shake or blur. This photo goes from 10 feet, in the foreground to over 3 miles in the distance. It’s pretty difficult to ensure that the entire scene won’t have any blur but the best way is to set the camera mode at Program and set the AF point to Automatic Selection. This will allow the camera to auto focus on each subject that you have included in the shot. You may have to move around the camera until the automatic selection captures everything but it’s well worth the effort.

Mt. Bailey and Diamond Lake, Oregon

[/caption] Evening photo of Mt. Bailey and Diamond Lake on the last day of May. If you plan on visiting the Southern Oregon Cascades, during the month of May, plan on bringing a pair of snow-shoes or cross country skis if you want to get out and explore the wilderness. In fact, I’ve visited the area in late June and still had to put on my snow-shoes in order to explore the area. I took this shot at about 6:00pm and the sun was just starting to lower behind the mountains. The sun was too bright for me to set the camera in the shutter priority, even with my ND filter. I decided to take advantage of the bright sky and the saturation of the water.

Joseph, Oregon

[/caption] Wagon train mural painted on a historic building in downtown Joseph, Oregon. One of the coolest things to do when visiting the Wallowa mountains and Wallowa lake is to take some time to walk the streets of historic Joseph, Oregon. You are literally transformed back into the 1800’s and you will find yourself immersed in the old west whether you like it or not. There is a large number of historic old buildings in this tiny town but you won’t run out of photography opportunities as you wind your way through the streets. This mural was painted on the side of a historic building right in the middle of downtown. There is a small restaurant that has outside seating just below the mural and there are several relics and old antics littering the courtyard. Joesph is truly a magical place that belongs in the history books as one of the most photogenic small towns in America. It also doesn’t hurt that the Wallow mountains tower over the town and you can get some great shots of the mountains standing behind some of the old buildings.

Wallowa Lake, Oregon

[/caption] Wallowa Lake casts a perfect reflection of Chief Joseph mountain. This photo was taken from the road on the east side of the lake and as you can see it was overcast. I was concerned about the overcast skies but it actually turned out pretty good since the reflection is almost perfect and without any glare. I took the shot at about 7:00am and the lake was calm and there wasn’t any wind. Early morning and late evening is the best time to catch the lake at its sleepiest since the winds aren’t around and there are hardly any boats during those times. Just to the right and left of this photo was a bald eagle and an Osprey chilling out in the trees. Plan on taking hundreds if not thousands of photos if you plan on visiting the Wallowa mountains.

Mt. Rainier, Washington

[/caption] Beautiful July afternoon on the south side of Mt. Rainier National Park, WA. This photo was taken just above from the Paradise upper parking lot. You will be amazed at the photographic opportunities that are just feet away from some of the parks busiest parking lots. If you have a descent telephoto lens and if you stand on the other side from the parking lots, you have some great opportunities to photograph the mountains and the ancient forest in the foreground. This particular photo shows a wicked cloud hovering just at the summit and the mountain acted like a vacuum as it sucked in the cloud from miles away. Earlier, the clouds forming around the mountain stretched all the way to the Tatoosh range but eventually the clouds evaporated once they reached the summit of Mt. Rainier. It’s a pretty amazing sight to watch a mountain chew and then swallow an entire cloud formation.

Pacific Northwest Winter

[/caption] Beautiful sunny afternoon after a huge snow storm blanketed the Cascades with fresh powder. A great time to head out into the Cascades is just after a huge snow storm covers the forest with fresh powder. You will want to make sure that you bring some snow-shoes or cross country skis if you want to take advantage of the solitude that the forest offers. I usually don’t bring a tripod with me since it can really weigh me down and cause me to lose valuable time while photographing the area. However, sometimes I will bring it along just in case I need it or if I don’t have too much gear with me. I’ve learned that you don’t have to bring along a tripod if the skies are completely clear and the sun is at it’s highest point. However, once the clouds come over and the light starts to decrease, you are pretty much done for the day unless you plan on increasing your ISO, turn on your IS and increase the white balance. I can especially get more creative whenever I’m not attached to my tripod while snow-shoeing since I can get into some really precarious positions in order to get the best photo. Attaching your CIR-PL also allows you to saturate the sky no matter if it’s blue or overcast. You just want to make sure that you always check your histogram after every shot to ensure that it’s not too over saturated or over exposed. The snow can cause your shot to be either over exposed or under exposed so you want to make sure that you review each shot that you take and then adjust your settings accordingly. This will allow you to delete the bad ones and ensure that you only keep the very best. I’ve also learned that you will want to invest in a front camera harness so you can protect your camera from the elements as well as give you quick access to your camera without having to take off your camera bag every time you want to take a shot. Sometimes I don’t even bring my poles, which can slow me down when I’m grabbing for my camera.