[/caption] Wizard Island looks as though it’s floating above the teal blue lake known as Crater Lake National Park. I’ve added several photos of Crater Lake to my blog but I what I really liked about this photo is that 80% of this shot has the lake in it and it really shows just how magical and beautiful the lake truly is. I wanted to keep any vegetation out of the foreground so I could keep the field of view limited to lake in the foreground. It’s hard to believe that the sky is actually less blue than the lake. I visited Crater Lake on 6/30/10 and wrote an extensive article about the National Park on 7/6/10. In this photo you can see Wizard Island, Llao Rock which stands at 8,049 feet and 9,182 foot Mt. Thielsen. I took this photo while visiting the south eastern part of the Park and was hiking towards 8,054 foot Garfield Peak. It was about 4:15pm and the sun was just to my left. The sun was still pretty high since it was late June. I was using my Canon EOS T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. I wasn’t using a tripod or remote switch since I was hiking at such a fast pace. I attached my warming filter and my CIR-PL since the lake and sky were so blue and the warming filter helped bring out the contrasts in the cliffs along the volcano. I had the camera setting at Program/Normal mode so the aperture was set at F-5.6 and the exposure speed at 1/60 second. I also set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -0.7 since the glare from the sun as well as from the lake was pretty intense. In order to maximize the field of view I made sure to focus on Llao Rock in order to avoid any blur due to the huge field of view in this photo.
[/caption] Here is a photo of Mt. Thielsen and Diamond Lake in the foreground. I took this shot the same day that I had visited Crater Lake National Park back on 6/30/10. The one thing that I will always remember is the thousands of mosquito’s that thrive along the lake during the summer months. It was like being attacked by a barrage of pesky flying pests that were determined to suck the blood right out of you. However, luckily I brought plenty of bug repellent and I had only spent about an hour at the lake. It was about 6:00pm so the sun was fairly low and I was facing due est so there was little to no sun glare. The mountains behind me were also shadowing the sun which helped eliminate most of the glare from the lake or clouds. I was trying to get several shots without having any of the dozens of fishing boats that dotted the lake but this was one of only a few with no boats in the photo. Since the water was creating some glare I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and my remote switch so I could eliminate any blur. I was using my Canon EOS T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. I attached my warming and CIR-Pl filter and set the focal length to 14mm. Since the camera was in Program/Normal mode the aperture was at F-7 and the shutter speed was at 1/100 second. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -0.3 in order eliminate some of the harsh light in the clouds. Diamond Lake is an amazing place to camp, fish, hike and there are also several miles of single-track mt. biking trails along the wilderness. This part of Oregon is one of my favorite places to visit during late spring or early summer. If you can handle the mosquito’s, it’s one of the best places to truly enjoy the outdoors with all of the trimmings. You have a National Park, huge pristine lake, Several volcanoes to explore, alpine lakes, meadows, massive forest, creeks, rivers, waterfalls, no cities and hundreds of miles of hiking trails. The air is absolutely amazing and the atmosphere is very peaceful. You can see Diamond Peak, Mt. Thielsen, Mt. Baily and Mt. Scott. I’ve seen bald eagles and dozens of species of wildflowers. If you increase in some elevation you can see all of these mountains, including Mt. Shasta to the south and the Three Sisters to the north. Truly, this is a place to explore when the weather is nice.
[/caption] Crater Lake National Park is one of the best wilderness areas to visit if you are interested in finding clean air and lots of views. With the park sitting just above 6000 feet, you are high enough to see several of the Cascade peaks as well as two states. The snow is usually so deep that it lasts well into July. In fact, when I took this photo it was 6/30/10 and only half of the road was open due to the high snow pack. The air is so clean that it’s like breathing pure oxygen for the first time. The views are absolutely breathtaking and there is no shortage of photo opportunities. Many visitors may find themselves spending only a few hours at the Park but a true landscape photographer could spend several days here. Due to the nature of the lake, the blue color of the lake seems to change its appearance depending on where you are standing along its rim or depending on the time of the day or season. There are miles of hiking and biking trails as well as other wilderness areas just outside the Park. This photo was taken at 3:25 pm and was taken from the south eastern side of the lake. You can see Mt. Scott in the distance. The color of the lake changed as the day progressed. However, I’m not sure if this is due to the time of day or because I had been moving to different parts of the lake throughout the day. I was using my Canon Rebel T1i along with my Tokina 12-24 mm wide angle lens with the camera in Program mode. I was using my UV, warming and CIR-PL filter which put the F stop at F-8 due to having the camera in Program mode. I would never have gotten this photo without using my filters. This is a perfect example of why you should always have plenty of filters when shooting landscape photos. I believe I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch when I took this photo. I had the focal length at 17mm and the ISO was at 100. I also set the white balance to -1 due to the intense glare and the reflection of the sun coming off the lake. I would highly recommend visiting Crater Lake National Park to anyone that wants to enjoy a truly spectacular place that is sparsely populated and teaming with outdoor activities.
[/caption] Spending only one day at Crater Lake National Park creates a very sad situation since I could spend over a week hiking, photographing and most importantly seeking out all of it’s treasures. I haven’t been to Crater Lake since 1993 but this time was especially awesome. There was plenty of snow surrounding it’s north facing banks and the entire Southern Oregon Cascades had well above 75% of their average. However, this did mean that only half of the Rim drive was open. As soon as I got out of my car at Merriam Point, I was quickly photographing the lake. I couldn’t believe how blue the lake was and how clear the skies were. I could see Mt. Shasta and Mt. McLoughlin to the south and Mt. Thielsen, Baily, Diamond Peak and two of the Sisters in the north. Mt. Scott, which is the tallest mountain in the Park, standing at 8929 ft, had a lot of snow on it’s north side but hardly any on its south side. There were also several other smaller mountains still covered in the snowy white stuff. This truly showed just how much colder and shadier the northern flanks of the Cascades can hold their snow but how soon their south flanks lose their snow pack. Crater Lake had also fallen victim to this vicious cycle since the northern rim, which was facing south was bare but the southern rim, facing north had snow reaching all the way to the lakes edge. The rim drive road was open north from the Cleetwood Trail and eventually ended south at the Crater Lake Lodge. We took the hike down the Cleetwood Trail and I was tempted to go for a swim but eventually I decided that my shorts wouldn’t dry fast enough. Going up to my knees was good enough at the time. We also hiked up towards 8,054 ft Garfield Peak but eventually had to turn back due to the snow on the trail. Maybe it was better that this was only a day trip since most of the trails were closed as well as half the drive around the lake. However, if I had brought my snow-shoes I could have again spent over a week here. I took this shot while hiking on the Garfield Trail. I made sure and lowered my camera enough so I could get the snow in the foreground. This picture truly shows how much snow was on the north side and how much less was on the side facing south. You can clearly see Wizard Island and Llao Rock standing behind it at 8,049 ft. You can just barely see Mt. Thielsen just to the right of Llao Rock. To get this shot I had the exposure at auto and set the ISO to 100. I never had to use my tripod all day since I was there during daylight and there were limited shady areas. However, I did set my white balance to around -1 for most of the day. The F stop was at 6.4 and the shutter speed was at 1/83 second. I was using my ultra wide-angle lens and had the focal length at 21mm. It was impossible for me to get the entire lake in view even when using my 12mm wide-angle lens. This place clearly shows just how limiting any type of lens is when trying to capture the entire lake in its view. Crater Lake NP is a must see for any photographer as well as any hiker or nature lover. I am all three so I won’t wait another 17 years before returning again.