[/caption] The sky is turned into an amber colored glow as smoke fills the sky and suffocates the forest. Cultus Lake was almost spooky quiet as a controlled fire was burning only miles from the lake. This seen almost looks like a foggy morning but as you can see the amber colors truly shows that something just isn’t right with this picture. I made very little changes with the color in photo-shop and almost no cropping since I was able to frame the photo with my telephoto lens. I was actually standing on the north side of the lake and the scene was taken from the south side. The forest service was conducting a controlled burn about 3 miles away and the wind was blowing the smoke directly into our path. The glow emitting from the lake and sky really adds to the interesting contrast of the trees and water. The day was actually cloudless and rather warm and it was right in the middle of the afternoon hour. However, the sun was cut off from the intense smoke but was able to help create the amber colored reflection in the water. If you look closely you can see several tall trees hiding in the background of the lake front trees. My trip to the lake was pretty much ruined since I was limited on my photo opportunities and I could hardly breathe since the smoke was so thick. However, I found that there are some great mt. bike trails at Cultus lake as well as Little Cultus lake. They are only a few hundred yards apart and they are joined by a trail that offers great mt. biking and hiking trails.
[/caption] Fall Creek is located just off the Cascades lakes highway and offers one of the most scenic hiking trails in Central Oregon. The trail starts just feet from where I took this photo and I was actually standing just a few yards from the picnic area. I was pretty lucky to get this shot since I had the shutter speed at 3.2 seconds in order to get the effect of the moving water and without having too much glare and overexposure. I had to make sure to eliminate the sky since it was the middle of July and several hours before sunset. I made sure to attach my ND4 along with my CIR-PL and warming filter. I was fortunate to have the aperture at F-25 in order to avoid complete overexposure.
[/caption] Mt. Bachelor is a perfect lava dome mountain rising 9,060 ft in the Central Oregon Cascades. Its isolation from the the Three Sisters and Broken Top make it somewhat of a mystery to me. You would expect to see this much snow on the mountain in late May or early June. However, I took this photo of its western side in late June. Earlier in the morning I had climbed to the Pine Martin Express from the bottom of the chair lift and was met with more snow that I had anticipated. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of snow so I had to climb with nothing more than shorts and my hiking shoes. It made for a great workout but my legs got pretty sunburned due to the glare of the snow and sunny skies. As I sat at one of the lava fields just below the top of the chairlift, I thought about trying to summit but the snow was getting pretty soft and I wasn’t anywhere prepared for a summit trip. I got this shot while driving west on the Cascades Lakes Highway. There are several creeks that feed in to Sparks lake and I decided to hike along the creek and small meadows in order to get the perfect shot with the glare of the creek reflecting parts of Mt. Bachelor. The creek was so still at this point that I was able to take the shot without hardly any movement of the water. Goose creek is fed by one of South Sister’s glaciers and the water was ice cold. There were several wildflowers along its banks and all along the meadows surrounding Sparks Lake. Too get this shot I didn’t use my tripod since the sun was near its highest point and there were no shadows. I was using my ultra wide-angle lens and had the focal length at its maximum depth at 24mm. I was using my uv filter, warming filter and CIR-PL in order to keep the glare of the sun from washing out the color of the sky as well as the contour of the rocks in the creek. The warming filter helped bring out the rocks and and CIR-PL helped me capture the blueness of the sky without distorting the mountain. I had the white balance at -1 and the ISO at 100. I had the setting at auto so the shutter speed was 1/160 of a second. The F stop was at F8. Since the sun was directly above me I had to make sure and under expose as much as possible without losing the personality of the scene. Without my filters and the low settings, the picture would always come out over exposed. I was amazed with how much snow there was in the Central Cascades, even though it was near the 80 degree mark. Along my journey I met some skiers hiking down from the South Sister. I wasn’t surprised since all of the trails were covered within only yards from the start of each trail mark. I can only hope that this means the Cascades will have plenty of snow well into August.