Crater Lake lodge is located at Crater Lake National Park and offers the best views of the lake. Not only is the lodge one of the most spectacular built lodges throughout the entire National Park system but it provides visitors the opportunity to view the entire lake. Most National Park lodges are tucked away and don’t really show the splendor and beauty of the park that made the lodges famous. However, Crater Lake lodge is perched on the best real estate surrounding the lake and is located in the best geographical location throughout the entire park system. There aren’t a lot of lodges that are built upon a caldera that erupted over 7,000 years ago and provide views of the nations deepest lake. The average snow fall at Crater Lake can exceed 533 inches, which made construction of the lodge very challenging. The lodge was constructed in 1915 and throughout the years, several additional building were built just below the lodge in order to provide additional amenities. This photo was taken from within the grand lodge and you can see that the views are spectacular from within the building. There are several rustic but comfortable chairs lining the very large deck that offers visitors the opportunity to lounge and take in the splendor of the views. Half of the rooms face towards the lake and you will be amazed of the views looking across the lake and into some of the mountains that sit just north and east of the park. The lodge is open year round but due to the snow pack, only the south entrance is open and plowed during the winter season. The north entrance normally doesn’t open until July and even parts of the rim road doesn’t open until July. I’ve visited the park during the first week of July and wasn’t able to drive via the north entrance near Diamond Lake. I ended up having to make that additional 50 mile drive but was able to avoid some of the traffic due to the fact that only the south entrance was open. I also brought my snow shoes and ended up being able to snow shoe through gobs of snow and even had the chance to trail blaze in areas that would normally be closed during peak summer. About 99% of the visitors only take the time to glance at the lake so you will have the opportunity to experience some great solitude as well as work on your tan since the sun in this part of the Southern Oregon Cascades is most epic. If you’re planning a visit to Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is a must.
[/caption] Crater Lake National Park offers some of the most amazing photography opportunities. This photo pretty much says it all! Mt. Thielsen is in the background, along with some amazing clouds hovering high above the park. The lake is where blue got its name and the rim on the other side stands out like a monolith like no other. There are hundreds of old trees like the one shown here that creates a fantastic scene, with the rocks in the foreground also creating an awesome personality. Because I was standing fairly close to the edge of the rim, I made sure to open the lens to 17mm in order to avoid any camera blur. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to saturate the water. I wasn’t using a tripod so I made sure to set the camera lens at IS so I wouldn’t have too much camera shake or blur. This photo goes from 10 feet, in the foreground to over 3 miles in the distance. It’s pretty difficult to ensure that the entire scene won’t have any blur but the best way is to set the camera mode at Program and set the AF point to Automatic Selection. This will allow the camera to auto focus on each subject that you have included in the shot. You may have to move around the camera until the automatic selection captures everything but it’s well worth the effort.
[/caption] This may look like an average rock standing in front of a blue sky but it’s actually Crater Lake behind this rock. That’s right! Crater Lake is so brilliantly blue, that it looks like a tropical blue sky. As you hike or scramble along the rocky rim of the Park, you have several opportunities to witness this type of phenomenon. The lake is so blue that it gives an impression of a blue sky and as you move across the rim you can see how the color of the lake will change colors, depending on the time of day or your location. To get the best opportunity, you do need to stand almost directly on the edge of the rim so you want to be careful since it’s pretty easy to lose your footing as you find yourself immersed in the out of body experience. To get this shot I climbed along the rocky rim and perched myself directly above the lake. I was able to get out of my snow shoes in order to climb on the rocks. I pointed my camera at about a 75 degree angle in order to get a good portion of the rock and as much of the lake without having any glare or reflection from the high clouds above. In fact, any clouds above will create a reflection in the lake so you need to look for a spot that’s perfect. I wasn’t using a tripod when I took this photo so I made sure to turn on my IS and keep a steady hand. I attached my CIR-PL and warming filter on my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 42mm. I was worried about camera shake or blur but I was still able to set the ISO at 100 and reduce the white balance at -1. Because I had the camera in normal/program mode the aperture was set at F-5.7 and the shutter speed at 1/128 second. Luckily, the sun was directly behind me and it was late in the morning so the overhead sky had the perfect amount of brightness.
[/caption] The weather at Crater Lake National Park last week was absolutely epic and the snow pack was perfect for hiking and snow shoeing. There was just enough snow along the rim and higher elevations to create great photos but there was enough exposed rocks that you could climb along the edge of the rocky rim in order to get some even better shots. I took this photo while standing just above the Sinnott Memorial Overlook, which is near the Crater Lake lodge. The overlook wasn’t opened since the snow was too deep. I was looking almost directly north and the sun was pretty much directly behind me so I didn’t have to worry about any sun glare. However, you need to make sure to utilize your histogram when photographing Crater Lake since the lake itself can really alter the darkness of your shots due to the intense blueness of the lake and the glare from the snow along the rim. I always check the histogram after I take a photo and see if I need to make adjustments to the white balance. This limits the amount of photos that I will have to upload when I get home and reduces the amount of photos I end up deleting. Since I spent the entire day at the Park I ended up not using my tripod in order to cover as much ground as possible and taking as many photos that I could. I made sure to turn on my IS as well as taking advantage of the almost perfect lighting. I made sure to attach my CIR-PL and warming filter to my Sigma 17-70mm lens as well as set the ISO at 100. I also adjusted the white balance to -0.7 in order to get the perfect amount of brightness and limit the darkness. Since the camera was in normal/program mode, the aperture was automatically set at F-7 and the shutter speed was at 1/200 second. The fast shutter speed helped limit the need for a tripod and that was good since I wasn’t using it.
[/caption] Visiting Crater Lake National Park during the early parts of summer offers some of the best weather and most exciting conditions available. This is especially true if the Park received a good amount of snow during the winter. This allows for the snow to hang around longer, which creates some spectacular photographic opportunities. However, you don’t want to wait too long since the park can get pretty crowded as the snow melts and the temperatures heat up. I was using my Canon T1i and my Tokina 12-24mm wild angle lens. I also attached my warming filter, UV filter and my CIR-PL. This photo was taken on June 30th and it was about 3:30pm so the sun was still pretty bright and the glare from the snow was created a strong hue. I was hiking along the south part of the rim so at least the sun was mostly behind me and wasn’t causing too much glare. I also made sure to stand in front of some large trees to block the sun even more. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to ensure there was no blur. With all of the noise created when taking pictures at the Park it can be easy to confuse your lens and end up with some photos that are either out of focus or blurry. Since I do take mostly panoramic photos at least the field of view is fairly large. I had set the focal length at 14mm in order to get the most panoramic photo since I also wanted to include the sky above and the snow and trees along the bottom of the lake. This is very difficult considering the lake is enormous. Fortunately I didn’t need to dawn my snow-shoes even though the entire east part of the road was still closed due to 10 feet of snow blocking the road. However, I would recommend bringing some hiking poles, slip on cleats and maybe even some gaiters since you will find yourself hiking through snow until late July.
[/caption] Last winter brought so much snow that the majority of Crater Lake was still covered in snow by mid June. Luckily, I brought my snow-shoes and had a great time shoeing around the south and west parts of the National Park. I entered through the south entrance and noticed that there was still 15 feet of snow on both sides of the road within the Park. I was stunned to see that most of the buildings were still almost completely buried in the snow. The heavy snow made my trip much slower than I had expected but the photo opportunities were epic. I took this photo from near the rim at Garfield Peak Trail. I decided to hike closer to the rim so I could get this particular shot with the pumice in the foreground and the trees below. Since I had my tripod with me it was more time consuming to get some of these types of shots since snow-shoeing so close to the edge of the rim was a little scary. However, it was well worth it since I got some pretty awesome shots and many of them would have turned out showing camera shake since the saturation was so intense. I took this shot with my Sigma 17-70mm lens with the focal length at 21mm and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter. Because I had the camera in Normal/Program mode the aperture was at F-7.1 and the shutter speed at 1/166 second. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7 due to the brightness from the glare of the snow and the sky. I also took this shot at 12:15pm so the sun was very high in the sky which created a lot of challenges since I was constantly looking for shade to block the sun. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to ensure there wouldn’t be any camera shake or blur.
[/caption] Crater lake offers so many different shades of blue that you can almost see the color of the lake turn to different shades of blue as you hike along the rim. The time of day, season and direction that you are facing is the major factor in the changing of the blueness of the lake. I took this shot back on 6/30/10 and the time of day was 4:00pm. I was facing towards the west so the sun was at about a 90 degree angle on my left. My position helped bring out the amazing blue color of the lake. I made sure to include some of the snow in the foreground in order to highlight the trees. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. I had the focal length at 13mm in order to get the most panoramic photo that I could. The camera mode was in Program/Normal so the aperture was at F-5.6 and the shutter as 1/60 second. I set the ISO to 100 in order to ensure that the sensor captured the best light and set the white balance to -0.3 due to the intense glare from the lake, sky and snow. I made sure to attach my CIR-PL and my warming filter.
[/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] 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.