[/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] One of the best and easiest places to get some great shots of the Central Oregon Cascades is right in the middle of the small town of Sisters. You don’t need to even get your shoes dirty of break a sweat. However, you do want to make sure and pick the right time of day to take advantage of the lighting. Normally, early morning or early evening is the best time since the sun passes towards the south of Broken Top and the Three Sisters and if it’s during mid afternoon it can look washed out. I took this photo at about 11:41am and you can see that the photo is fairly washed out and there is very little personality in the shot. The trees look pretty cool but unfortunately the mountains seem a little lifeless. However, I could have picked a worse time to get this shot. I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Canon 23-135mm lens and made sure to attach my CIR-PL, warming and UV filter. I set the ISO at 100 and kept the white balance at 0. The aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed was at 1/250 seconds since I had the camera mode in Program/Normal.
[/caption] The views from Mt. Rainier National Park are pretty awesome but having a view like this with the moon high above makes it even more spectacular. The photo was taken from just above Paradise Ridge and only a few hundred feet from were the bare trail meets snow. The Tatoosh Range is in the foreground with the rest of the Washington Cascades far in the background. You also have great views of Mt. St. Helen’s and Mt. Adams as well. To get this shot I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 50mm in order to eliminate too much of the trees from appearing in the photo. The aperture is at F7.1 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at +0.3 since the sun was directly in front of me but at least high above. I took this shot on 7/26/12 at about 5:00 pm and the wildflowers were awesome.
[/caption] Even early March offers some epic snow conditions in the Cascade mountains. You will find more bare spots along parts of the spiny and craggy mountain tops but there is still plenty of snow to go around even the most experienced mountains climber. During the winter months, the entire mountain of Mt. Hood is completely covered in snow with no bare rock visible but around early March the warmer temperatures and gravity begins to loosen the grips of old man winter clinging to the volcanic rock. This shot was taken around 11:30am and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle just to the right of the photo. The higher rocks were still creating a shadow but the sun was quickly creeping higher in the sky and the shade was disappearing fast. The elevation of the trees in the foreground are at about 3600 feet but there was plenty of fresh powder on the floor of the forest. I took this shot with my Sigma 70-300mm telephoto lens and set the focal length at 160 in order to include most of the mountains as well as plenty of the blue sky and parts of the lush green forest in order to create a really nice photo. I wasn’t using a tripod so I had a hard time increasing the focal length past 250mm without showing camera shake or blur. I also attached my CIR-PL, which didn’t help with the blur problem when zooming in too close. I did make sure to turn on the IS in order to help eliminate any camera shake.
[/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 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] 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] 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.
[/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.
[/caption] Mt. Rainier offers some of the most spectacular views along with hundreds of miles of hiking trails throughout the National Park. August and September provide some of the best opportunities to capture the alpine flowers and wildlife that encompass the park. There are hundreds of waterfalls, lakes, towering trees within the forest, wildlife galore and the views will amaze even the most experienced landscape photographer.