[/caption] A great way to view the Western Cascade foothills is by hiking in the higher elevations of any the many Cascade mountains and look west. This particular photo was taken from the western flanks of Mt. Hood and I was facing south west when I took the photo. The sun was almost directly overhead so the sky is somewhat hazy but it does give a cool glow to the foothills in the distance. I was at about 5,000 feet and since I wasn’t using a tripod I had to make sure and keep a steady hand and hope that the shot was level. I attached my Sigma 17-70m lens and set the focal length at 70mm in order to frame only the foothills in the shot. I set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance to -1 due to the glare from the sun. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to tame some of the glare. The shutter speed was at 1/166 second and the aperture was at F-5 due to the ISO and white balance settings. I would always recommend using a tripod but since I was covering a lot of ground on this day and because I was carrying a lot of weight I chose to leave my tripod in my car. Luckily there was plenty of sun and no shadow’s anywhere in sight to cause any blur or camera shake. It’s always important to look for great photos of mountain ranges or foothills whenever you’re hiking in the higher elevations since you can forget to look beyond your main subject and miss some great opportunities.
[/caption] You know that you picked a good day to visit Seattle, Washington when there isn’t a cloud in sight, the temperature is 81 degrees and the moon is directly over the city. I took this photo from the top level of Bell Street pier 66. It is by far the best place to get epic photos of the sky scrapers, adjoining piers, and of Elliot Bay and the Olympic mountains. I could pretty much set up my tripod and spend an entire 24 hours shooting from this pier. You can also get some great shots of Mt. Rainier with the massive cranes in the foreground. However, if you have a descent telephoto, you can zoom in and almost see the mountain climbers heading towards the summit.
[/caption] Beautiful hiking trails are abundant along Mt. Hood but one that really stands out is the Top Spur Trail! Even though some of the hiking trails that traverse along the Mt. Hood Wilderness can get pretty busy, the Top Spur Trail is a great trail route that takes you away from most of the congestion. The weekends can get pretty busy, like ALL of the trails but at least you will have less crowds to deal with and the views are second to none. You can pretty much choose your route and either head towards the summit, follow along the Pacific Crest Trail, hike to one of the shelter’s or hike to one of the many creeks that are born near the head waters of the many glaciers in the area. This photo was taken from the southern flank of Bald Mountain and since I wasn’t using a tripod I decided to get some of the wildflowers in the foreground. I knelt down as much as possible and made sure to get the mountain and as much of the flowers as I could but making sure that both the mountain and the wildflowers were in focus. There are dozens of waterfalls tumbling down from the cliffs as well as several species of butterflies and numerous wildflowers growing along the wilderness.
[/caption] The Great Wheel is located in Seattle, Washington and is located on pier 57 and reaches a height of 175 feet.
[/caption] The perfect end to a perfect day in Seattle, Washington with the silhouettes of the Olympic mountains standing in the distance of Elliot Bay and a ferry boat. If anyone is wondering what the weather is mostly like during the summer months might want to study this photo since as you can see it’s picture perfect and absolutely not a single flaw on this day. I took this photo while standing along pier 54 and Elliot Bay.
[/caption] A picture perfect view of Seattle, Washington with all of the necessary subjects that make Seattle one of the most photogenic cities in the world….Mt. Rainier, Elliot Bay, Space Needle, towering sky scrapers and the industrial cranes that keep Seattle one of the top industrialized cities on the planet. This photo was obviously taken from Kerry Park and I made sure to set up during the later part of the afternoon in order to take advantage of the flawless blue skies. I made sure to use my tripod and bubble level and attach my CIR-PL and warming filter on my 17-77mm lens. I set the camera at normal and had the aperture set at F-5.7 and the shutter speed at 1/100 second. I set the ISO at 100 and increased the white balance to +0.3 in order to avoid too much glare from the sun but also wanted to be sure and avoid any under exposed photos due to the filters and setting that I was using.
[/caption] One of the best places to get some spectacular views of the Three Sister’s and Broken Top are from the patio of Faith, Hope and Charity winery. Not only are you given great views of the Central Oregon mountain range but you also have some spectacular views of Smith Rock State Park. And not to mention the grounds of the winery are perfectly manicured and host several events like a blues concert that we attended as well as some opportunities to play several lawn games. There is even a large pond that the owners stock with Rainbow Trout and if you’re lucky, you may witness an osprey, hawk or even a bald eagle hovering high above. The tasting room is a renovated barn that houses several events and offers even better views of the landscape from the upstairs patio. The winery is nestled in a 315 acre private valley and they specialize in growing hybrid varieties in their 15 acre vineyard. Since there are so many variety of wildflowers dotting the vineyard, there are several opportunities to get some really cool shots of the high desert landscape and you may even be able to get the mountains in the background. The winery is located in Terrebonne, Oregon and is located amongst rolling farm grounds, canyons and ridges that will surely provide ample photo opportunities. If your visiting Central Oregon and you’re looking for some great wine, mountain views and great atmosphere, I would recommend Faith, Hope and Charity Winery.
[/caption] The Central Oregon Cascade mountain range offers an amazing array of volcanic cinder cones and ancient lava flows. This photo was taken near Yapoah Crater and is looking north with views of Mt. Hood, Jefferson and 3 Fingered Jack. The silver color near 3 fingered Jack is the burn zone left by the B&B fire that destroyed much of the forest. The McKenzie Pass offers several hiking trails that will take you within this area with several opportunities to hike the summits of several volcanic cinder cones or alpine mountains.
[/caption] A view of the North Sister mountain as you hike down one of the many cinder cones dotting the north side of the Three Sisters Wilderness. If you’re looking for a long day hike that will provide you with a taste of what the moon may look like, I would recommend that you hike some of the many trails on the north side of the Three Sisters wilderness. To get to one of these hiking trail’s, you will want to drive along the McKenzie highway (hwy242) and just look for a sign that shows the start of a hiking trail. One of my favorite hiking trails is the Scott Trail that starts near Scott Lake and is about 5 miles west of the Dee Observatory. You will want to make sure and bring plenty of mosquito repellent since the best time to hike the trail is July and the mosquito’s will eat you alive if you don’t come prepared. However, once you leave the meadows and forest floor and start to climb higher in elevation, the mosquito’s disappear. The official name of the Scott Trail is Four-In-Once Cone and it’s about a 9 mile round trip hike. However, you may want to continue hiking past 4 in 1 cone and continue until you get to the intersection of the PCT. You then have two options of either heading south towards the North Sister glacier/collier cone or heading north towards Yapoah Crater. If you’re doing a day hike, you will only have about an additional 1 or 2 miles of energy left so you’re pretty limited in your distance. Trust me, you will be pretty well spent and you have to make the journey back the same way you came. However, it’s mostly downhill but you will be pretty tired. You will also spend at least an hour taking photos of the ghostly and amazing landscape. You can see as far north as Mt. Adams if the sky’s are clear.