Beautiful Dahlia Flower

[/caption] Beautiful Dahlia flower on a beautiful late summer afternoon in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. The color of this particular dahlia is so awesome that I spent several minutes photographing it. The orange and yellow colors are so perfectly organized that it almost looks like a painting or air brushed photo. I did saturate some of the colors but other than that, it’s fairly raw. All of you macro photographers know how intoxicating it can be when you find the perfect subjects to photograph and flowers are no exception. The Dahlia festival in the Willamette Valley, Oregon offers some of the most amazing photography opportunities I have ever seen and you won’t be disappointed. Just make sure that you bring ALL of your macro lenses and plan on going on a sunny day. Since dahlia’s like the warm weather and bloom during late summer, you are almost guaranteed a beautiful sunny day during the month of September in Oregon. To get this shot I attached my Sigma 50mm mcro/prime lens and also attached my UV and warming filter. I kept the camera in Program/Normal mode and also kept the ISO at 100. The only thing that I change when needed is the White Balance and for this shot I kept it at 0. The aperture was automatically set at F-4 and the shutter priority was at 1/100 of a second. It’s best to visit during the morning since the sun is a bit lower in the sky and the dew on the flowers offer even better photo opportunities. The crowds are also almost non existent as well.

Portland, Oregon

[/caption] Another spectacular sunny but very cold January day in Portland, Oregon. Again, not a cloud in sight and going on a record setting consecutive sunny streak in Portland, Oregon for the month of January. the views stretched well beyond Mt. Hood and into Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helen’s and even Mt. Rainier. I was again drawn to the waterfront since the calm water and low sun had created another great reflection of the city in the Willamette River. I was able to take this shot without using a tripod and even took it while walking my dog along the east esplanade. I took most of my shots while only using one hand since my dog was diving for goose poop and anything else he could sniff out. However, I was able to use both hands part of the time by standing on his leash. I was using my Canon 28-135mm lens and set the focal length at 28mm in order to get the most panoramic shot without cutting off any of the reflection of the buildings. I attached my warming filter and CIR-PL, set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance to -0.3 due to the intense glare that was being created by the sun. Since this shot was taken while looking south the sun was particularly harsh and caused me to constantly adjust the white balance. The sun was actually in the upper left of the frame and at about a 90 degree angle. The color in somewhat washed out so I had to photo shop the color back into the shot. The camera was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed was at 1/125 second.

Portland, Oregon

[/caption] Whoever said that it’s cloudy and rainy in Portland, Oregon during the month of January might want to avoid looking at this photo! This photo was taken yesterday on January 17, 2013 and as you can see it could almost pass for a beautiful July day if it weren’t for the dormant and bare trees in the foreground of the photo. The weather calls for more sunny and almost cloudless days and we’re looking at close to 15 days of sunny and cloudless days for the month of January. Therefore, we can all agree that Portland, Oregon has the most sunny days in the Country, right? Not quite! It can get pretty nasty for many days in Oregon but the best thing about the Pacific Northwest is that we get several days like this. Imagine that I could have instead driven 65 miles to the Mt. Hood wilderness and played in the record amount of snow and enjoyed a beautiful sunny day. Or I could have driven 75 miles to the Pacific Ocean and taken some epic sunset shots of a cloudless sky. Just making a point that the Pacific Northwest doesn’t just offer some of the most diverse landscapes on the planet but also offers some of the best weather as well.

Mt. Hood, Oregon

[/caption] Beautiful sunny day in the Mt. Hood Wilderness with views of Mt. Hood and a very stubborn cloud that refused to allow me to take a cloudless photo! This photo was taken at Trillium Lake last Saturday and as you can see it was a pretty nice and sunny day except for the dark grey cloud hanging around the mountain. To get this shot I attached my Canon 25-135mm telephoto lens and set the focal length at 95mm in order to get the best photo of the blue sky, mountain, cloud, forest and trees in the foreground. There were so many snow-shoers and x-country skiers on the frozen lake that I wasn’t able to take very many shots with the frozen lake in the foreground. I ended up zooming in on most of my photos and concentrated on the cloudy mountain and the snow covered trees. I know that weekends can get pretty busy anywhere near Mt. Hood but Trillium Lake was more like Disney Land during peak season.

Trillium Lake, Oregon

[/caption] Trillium Lake normally freezes over during the winter months and allows snow-shoers, x-country skiers and the occasional ice fisherman to take advantage of the winter paradise! This photo was taken from the north side of the lake with Mt. Hood behind me. I took this shot at about 2:25pm and as you can see the sun was included in this photo in order to brighten the photo as much as possible without allowing too much glare to ruin the shot. In order to avoid this I made sure to attach my CIR-PL and set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance to -0.7. I was hoping to increase the brightness and reduce the saturation surrounding the trees but due to the snow, I was limited in my attempt to have each tree stand out more. I had the camera in Normal/Program mode so the aperture was at F-10 and the shutter speed at 1/400 second. I ended up increasing the brightness on my Adobe Photoshop to 25 since the color of the sky was over saturated and the trees were barely noticeable. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and kept the focal length at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic photo as possible.

Tom McCall State Park, Oregon

[/caption] Is it true that the grass is always greener on the other side or is it possible that you might find a 300 foot cliff waiting for you on the other side? This photo was taken at Tom McCall State Park in Oregon. It’s located between Hood River and The Dalles. There actually is about a 300 foot cliff on the other side of this photo, which happens to be the Columbia River.

Portland, Oregon and the Willamette River

[/caption] A great place to get some great photos of the city is along the east side of the willamette river. And an even better time to visit is during Fall, when the foliage is starting to change colors and the skies are hinting at developing into a storm. I took this photo while standing between two of Portland’s most prominent bridges. The skies were a little bit gray but there was just enough blue sky and color to create a really nice scene. The river was calm so I was able to take advantage of a somewhat descent reflection of the buildings. The vegetation wasn’t quite peaking but the foliage was emitting a burning red glow from the tops of the trees. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod, remote switch and bubble level in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic shot as possible. I didn’t want to have any vignetting, so I wasn’t able to attach my ND4 but I was able to attach my CIR-PL and warming filter. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode and the shutter speed was at 1/100 second. The aperture was at F-5 and I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.7.

Tanner Creek in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

[/caption] Tanner creek cuts through the deep chasms of the gorge until it reaches the Columbia River. An easy but very photogenic trail takes you to one of the most spectacular waterfalls and creeks in the gorge region. Tanner creek is only about a 1 mile hike but takes you on a journey that you will never forget. There is an amazing waterfall that spills through an incredible canyon-end grotto. This photo was taken at about the 1/4 mile mark and just a few feet from the trail. There are hundreds of places to photograph along the creek so be sure to have plenty of time and patients. Don’t forget your tripod and bring as many ND filters that you have. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens when I took this shot and I set the focal length at 28mm. I was using my tripod and made sure to attach my ND4, CIR-PL and warming filter as well as utilize my remote switch and bubble level. I set the shutter priority at 4 seconds and the aperture was set at F-22 and I reduced the white balance to -2 due to the strong reflection. I also made sure to keep the ISO at 100 in order to eliminate too much glare and over exposure.

Portland, Oregon

[/caption] One of the best views of downtown Portland is from Mt. Tabor Park. However, you will have a difficult time capturing the entire city in just one frame due to the fact that the city spans a pretty long distance from north to south. The photo includes the northern part of the city with only a few of the high rises showing and most of the old part of the city in the scene. The West Hills are in the background and the brewery blocks starts just to the right of the tall pink building.