[/caption] Late afternoon shot of the west side of Mt. Washington with the sun glaring down. This photo was taken at the edge of Big Lake looking east and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle on the upper right of the frame. The huge shadow in the center of the mountain was created by the upper part of the summit shadowing the bottom part of the volcano. Trying to get the perfect shot was difficult during this time due to the intense glare being created by the high sun. However, there were several great photo opportunities while using my 50-250 telephoto lens. The shadows on the mountain, from the leeward side, created a great personality and really gives the mountain a distinct look. I made sure to attach my CIR-PL and kept the ISO at 100 and even reduced the white balance to -0.3 in order to avoid too much glare. I pretty much had to stand behind a tree and block out the sun most of the time since there wasn’t a cloud all day. The photo was taken with my Canon 50-250mm kit lens and I had the focal length at 250mm. I had the camera in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed at 1/400 second. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to a avoid any camera shake or blur. If you visit during winter, I would make sure to pack all of your lenses since there are too many opportunities to get great panoramic and telephoto shots. Big Lake is an easy 30 minute snow-shoe trek from the Hoodoo parking lot and if you’re x-country skiing it will be even quicker. However, you may want to make the trip around the lake and it’s much easier on snow-shoes.
[/caption] Beautiful view of Broken Top from crater meadow in the Three Sisters Wilderness area. If you’re looking for a great area to get in some great hiking and have an opportunity to get some great photos and take in some great views, you won’t want to pass up the chance to hike near Broken Top mountain. However, if you’re going for only a day hike and you want to avoid the killer up hill elevation gain that you must endure via the Green Lakes trailhead, you may want to cheat a little by driving to the Broken Top trailhead. However, you will need to endure over 4 miles of a rugged dirt road that calls for a high clearance vehicle and lots of patience. Once you get to the parking lot you will find yourself with having to deal with only about 500 to 1,000 feet of elevation gain, depending on what you want to do. You are pretty much smack dab in the middle of Broken Top and you can continue along the trailhead or span out in several different directions once you get to a well marked intersection of trails. This photo was taken along the crater meadow with two lava cones in the foreground and on both the right and left of Broken Top. There are plenty of wildlife in the area as well as dozens of alpine flowers dotting the landscape. You will also walk across several small to medium sized creeks as well as see several waterfalls. Even during mid Fall, you will find yourself hiking through snow as well as several snow bridges.
[/caption] Only 12 more weeks until waterfall season starts in the Pacific Northwest. It’s almost time to dust off your ND filters, clean your camera sensor from any dust or water droplets, locate your bubble level, remote switch and tripod. Even though the season can begin in late June or even sometimes early July, May can offer some great opportunities if the foliage starts to bloom early. The water volume is also way more amazing, which can sometimes help you overlook the still dormant vegetation. The Pacific Northwest offers several weeks of abundant overcast days with lots of partly sunny skies that help you create the perfect setting. You just want to make sure and pack your best waterfall lens and try to keep it as dry as possible. I use my Sigma 17-70mm lens and attach my UV, warming, ND4 and sometimes my CIR-PL filter. Depending on the lightness of the scene, I will usually remove the CIR-PL and attach my ND4 filter but if there is enough light and I want to increase the shutter priority above 10 seconds, I will attach both since I don’t have an ND6 or greater. However, I will sometimes adjust the ISO and white balance in order to get the best shot.
[/caption] Beautiful Dahlia flower that looks more like a golf ball sprouting pedals! This type of Dahlia is pretty cool to photograph but you have to look for a specific focal point in order to bring out its personality. I took this shot with my Sigma 50mm prime/macro lens and had the camera only a few inches from the flower. The entire background is out of focus due to the low field of view but I did want to have as much color in the blurry background so I made sure to locate a flower that had several other flowers directly in the background. I made sure to remove my CIR-PL but made sure that I had my warming and UV filter attached in order to bring out the natural tones and awesome colors of the flower. The shutter speed was fast at 1/320 second and I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at 0. The aperture ended up at F-7 and I had the camera mode at Normal/Program. I wasn’t using a tripod and I almost never us a tripod when taking macro photos so you want to make sure and keep a steady hand as well as utilize light and avoid too many shadows. You also want to always utilize your histogram and review every shot that you take so you don’t miss an opportunity to adjust your camera settings.
[/caption] Beautiful view of Black Butte and Mt. Jefferson from Central Oregon. This photo was taken while looking west and between Sisters and Bend, Oregon. I took the shot at about 5:20pm, which just just before sunset so the sun was pretty much on the other side of the Cascade mountains and the light was pretty soft. However, I did still have my CIR-PL and warming filter on due to some of the harsher light reflecting from the snowy mountains. The focal length was at 85mm and I was about 35 miles from Mt. Jefferson so I had a hard time keeping a strong field of view. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3. The camera was in normal mode so the aperture was at F-6.4 and the shutter speed at 1/128 second. I also used my tripod and remote switch to avoid any camera shake and took several shots in order to eliminate too much camera blur due to the distance from the mountains and the field of view.
[/caption] Western storm clouds hovering over Mt. Washington as Central Oregon basks in sunny skies! This photo pretty much sums up why Central Oregon gets over 250 days of sunny weather while the Willamette Valley and the rest of Western Oregon gets so much rainy and cloudy days. Mt. Washington was holding the storm clouds at bay as the rest of Central Oregon was sunny. The storm clouds were literally being turned away by the Cascade mountains like a giant upside down u-turn. The clouds were lucky to make it a few hundred yards from the mountains and then only to be turned around and stuck behind the mountains. There are several areas to get this shot but you can just pull off highway 22 and get some great shots from the pull off area. You can see the North and Middle Sister on a sunny day, which offers some great shots. The bare looking stands of timber in the foreground were caused by a massive forest fire that devastated the area about 10 years ago.
[/caption] A great place to stop and check out the great views of the Oregon Cascades is none other than the rest stop between Bend and Sisters. It may be the laziest way to take advantage of the mountain views but it’s a no brainer. You can see Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, all three of the Sisters and Broken Top. You also have a great view of lesser known Black Butte and Belknap Crater as well as the several other snow capped smaller mountains. You want to make sure and include your telephoto lens since you’re pretty far away from the mountains and unfortunately you can’t get all of them in the same frame. There are several power cables that block parts of Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Washington but if you move around and use your telephoto, you can get a pretty good shot. It’s better to visit during the early to late morning since you will be looking west and the sun will be south east rather than directly east. Make sure to bring your tripod and filters since the glare can get pretty intense off the snow capped mountains and the distance requires a sturdy tripod.
[/caption] You can nearly get this exact view of Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sister’s from the parking lot of Timberline lodge but it’s even better if you get this view from one of Mt. Hood’s moraines that exist on the north eastern part of the mountain. Your only way to get to the moraines are by snow shoeing since your cross country skis will become too cumbersome and the slopes are too steep for skis. However, you can ski down from the northern part of Mt. Hood Meadows if you want to do some out of bounds skiing. However, it’s much more difficult to get back to your car if you parked in the parking lot of Meadows. The best bet is to park at the White River East snow park and follow along the white river. The trail starts out gradually ascending and then will become much more steep as you work your way to the moraine that casts you directly in the mouth of the volcano. The imposing ridges that you will be encountering were formed by the debris and sediment left from the White River Glacier, whose bottom end resides several hundred feet above timberline. You will find yourself at the end of the line and have the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent views available. I took this particular photo just before reaching the top of the moraine. The clouds were heavier than I was hoping for and the sun was almost directly above the mountains. To get this shot I was using my Canon 28-135 telephoto lens. I made sure to attach my CIR-PL, warming filter and UV filter due to the harshness of the glare caused by the snow and sun. I didn’t use a tripod so I set the camera on IS and kept a steady hand since I kept the ISO at 100 and adjusted the white balance to 0. The camera was in Program/Normal mode so the shutter speed was set at 1/150 second and the aperture at F-7 due to the filters and ISO setting. I maxed out the focal length at 135mm and since it was about 1:00pm I had to make sure that there wasn’t too much glare reflecting into the lens. If you decide to take this route I would plan on bringing a lot of water and snacks since it will take a few hours to get to the summit point.