[/caption] I have a previous photo that I posted right after I took this picture last July in 2010. I wrote quite a bit about its history, geology and location. If interested, you can look up that photo and read more detail. This photo was one of my last shots of the day. We were starting to leave the park when I decided to get a few more shots before making the very long journey back home. I walked as far as I could but then had to settle at the edge of a barb wire fence. As I was taking several zoomed in shots of the hills I noticed that these crazy looking clouds were moving right across and over the hills. I quickly changed out my telephoto lens and attached my 12-24mm wide angle lens. I set the focal length to 24mm so I could zoom in as much as possible. I was using my Canon EOS T1i and I was using my warming and CIR-PL filter. This photo is another great example of why you should have these two filters. The warming filter brings out the mauve colors of the hills and the CIR-PL tames the bright sky and the glaring white clouds. This photo would have looked a lot different If I wasn’t using both of these lenses. The camera mode was at Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F9 and 1/160 second. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -0.7 due to the harsh light. The sun was behind the hills but since it was late June and the time was 2:40pm, you can imagine how intense the glare can be in Central Oregon during peak summer.
[/caption] I would have to say that one of the most popular places in the entire state of Oregon to see the mountains of the Three Sisters has got to be along the Santiam Highway, just past the town of Sisters, when heading east towards Bend. There is a small parking area just off the highway where you can get an opportunity to photograph or just take in the view of the Central Oregon mountains. However, I’ve rarely seen more than one car at a time here. I wonder if drivers are content with the view from their car or maybe they don’t even realize that there is a place to stop. I almost feel like I’m cheating whenever I stop here to take photos since you don’t have to hike or snow-shoe several miles to get a photo like this. The lighting always seems to be either perfect or bland. Since you are looking southwest, the sun and time of day really play a role in your opportunity to get a great shot from this distance. The sagebrush in the foreground and the trees in the distance really add to the personality of the setting. I was a little disappointed that the middle sister was shrouded in the clouds but after a little patience it did start to creep out of the clouds but only enough time to get this shot before the clouds enveloped it again. The great thing about this photo is that there are so many things that your eyes notice as you pan around the picture. You have the clouds dancing around the mountains, the snow along the sagebrush in the foreground, the personality of the mountains and the rolling hills shrouded by trees as it winds up to the base of the higher elevations. To get this shot I was using my Canon Rebel T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm lens and my UV, warming and CIR-PL filters. However, I wasn’t using a tripod when I took this photo. I had the camera in Normal/Program mode so the aperture was set at F7 and the shutter speed was at 1/100 second. I set the white balance to -1, the ISO at 100 and the focal length was at 50mm.
[/caption] Over the years I have tried to find the best spot to take a photo of the Three Sisters and Mt. Bachelor in winter. However, I have never been able to get both of them in the same photo. I eventually found one of the best spots to attain these photos with little more than a 2 hour snow-shoe adventure that ends at the summit of Bates Butte. The butte is just a few miles southwest of Sunriver. The butte is right off the road, the elevation gain is only about 600 feet and you have a 360 degree view of the land. I had no idea that any of these buttes offered views like this. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. In fact, you can see Paulina Peak to the east and Mt. Scott, the tip of Mt. Thielsen and Diamond Peak to the south. Once I got home, I starting looking through my Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer and found that there are several buttes in the area that are easy to get to and may offer even better views. To get this shot I was using my Canon Rebel T1i along with my Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens. I also had my UV, warming filter and CIR-PL filter attached. The camera was set in Program/Normal mode and the aperture was at F-7. The ISO was at 100 and the white balance was set at -1.3 due to the bad lighting. The focal length was at 100mm and the shutter was opened for 1/250 second. Since the photo was taken at 12:52pm the lighting was pretty dull. However, I had to wait for the sun to creep around the mountains before I could get a descent shot that included some light against Mt. Bachelor.
[/caption] Newberry Crater is one of the best places to visit in Oregon if you want to get the most of everything in one park. Paulina Creek spills from one of the the Caldera lakes and eventually spills over an impressive waterfall. There are two huge Caldera lakes that were formed when the volcano erupted and then several other eruption’s also created the Big Obsidian Flow and other historical features throughout the park. There is also a lakeshore hot springs, the gigantic flow of obsidian glass and a miniature cinder cone crater. There are several hiking and mt. biking trails throughout the park as well as the steep trail that takes you to the summit of 7,984 Paulina Peak. Paulina Peak is the dominant peak that’s left of the Caldera when it exploded. Most of the crater’s edges around the volcano were mostly leveled by the force of the explosion. There are two Caldera Lakes which are Paulina Lake and East Lake. Each lake is teaming with trout and salmon. As you drive towards the summit area you are within a 17 square mile caldera at the summit of a 500 square mile volcano, a volcano that remains very active to this day. Newberry is both seismically and geothermally active. Geologists believe the caldera sits over a shallow magma body only 2 to 5 kilometers deep. Newberry Crater is considered an active volcano that is expected to erupt again. It’s made up of ash, pumice, lava, cinders and mudflows and contains about 100 cubic miles of volcanic material. There are several campsites and several small cabins that you can rent. The great thing about this place is that you will eventually learn a lot about geology without even realizing it. This shot was taken from the summit of Newberry Crater. There are several short hiking trails at the summit and there is a fairly short but very rough gravel road that takes you to the summit. On a clear day you can see several cinder cones dotting the Central Oregon landscape as well as several of the Cascade Mountains. However, there was a large forest fire that caused the forest below to be covered in haze as well as the sky. I decided to use this photo since it shows both lakes and the Big Obsidian Flow below. You can also see the giant cinder cone separating the two lakes. To get this shot I used my 12-24mm wide-angle lens and had the focal length at 13mm. I wasn’t using my tripod since there was limited shadows and full light. I had the camera in Program mode and I was using my CIR-PL, warming filter and my UV filter to cut down on the brightness of the sky and field of view. The F stop was at 7 and the ISO was at 100. I set the white balance to 0 since I was facing directly away from the sun but there was a strong haze that created too much darkness when I trial to reduce the white balance. The exposure time was 1/100 of a second. Having some clouds helped give it some personality but the hazy sky really made this shot difficult and there really isn’t much you can do when there is a forest fire nearby and lots of haze to contend with.
[/caption] Smith Rock State Park is one of the most majestic and scenic places outside of Redmond and conveniently located off HWY 97. Whenever I’m visiting Central Oregon I always find time to hike the trails around the park in order to photograph these rocks. The entire hike around the park is over 7 miles but if you are limited on time and energy, the hike up misery ridge offers several panoramic views of the area as well as the Cascades. The Crooked River meanders around the entire park so there is no concern about overheating. I’ve hiked both in one day but that makes for a very long and grueling day. I also ran out of memory cards, which really ruined my day. There is a $5.00 park entrance fee but I believe you can still camp for free at the climbers campground. The park is well worth the money. You could spend all day photographing, hiking, climbing, mt. biking, fly fishing or rock climbing near or on its rocks. There are also several picnic tables and shade available. The air is dry so it never feels as hot as it really can get. Especially from the suns radiation baking the rocks. My favorite spots to photograph the rocks is on the south west side of the park. The sun is always at your back, which allows you to capture the deep blue color of the sky without any glare. The rocks are also looking down at you with there awesome crags and natural bridges eroded from wind and water. Its also the best spot to use your wide-angle lens since there is one solid area of the rock with little to no separation of rocks. The slopes also gently slope up towards the rocks with several scrub vegetation and wildflowers. It looks more like a gigantic city with numerous spires dominating the landscape. To get this shot I was using my 12-24mm wide-angle lens and wasn’t using a tripod. The focal length was taken at 14mm. Since the filed of view is so broad and there was no shade a tripod isn’t necessary. I had the camera set at auto and the ISO was at 100. I had the white balance at -1 due to the intensity of the sun. The F stop was at 7.1 and the shudder was taken at 1/100 of a second. Smith Rock State Park is a must visit for anyone visiting Central Oregon. It’s one of the best spots to really enjoy and marvel at the landscape domination the Central Oregon region.