[/caption] Ramona Falls is a great 7.1 mile hike within the Mt. Hood National Forest. I have meant to hike this trail for several years but I always chose to hike in an area that gave me a grand view of Mt. Hood. I finally chose to hike to Ramona Falls on one of the busiest days of the year…Labor Day! However, it was a great time to hike to the falls since it was overcast and rather chilly. You couldn’t see the mountain so the hike made perfect sense. However, the water level was rather low and all of the summer flowers were long gone at this point. The Ramona Falls loop is about 7.1 miles and the elevation gain is about 1,000 feet. The trail starts out through a mossy forest of small alders and hemlocks and parallels the Sandy river and Ramona Creek. The most scenic of the trail loop follows the mossy bank of Ramona Creek which also passes the huge granite cliffs just east of the trail. You can jump across the creek and look up at the immense granite facade and walk along the many fallen granite rocks resting on the floor of the cliffs. Most of them are covered by moss but many seem to have just broken from the cliffs and tumbled near your feet. This is a great spot to take some photos of the granite rock wall and the trees hanging along the cliff edge. There are many spots to take of the creek’s many small water falls that parallel the trail. The forest floor is teaming with mossy areas that create a very scenic and tranquil setting. Though my main goal was to photograph the falls, most of my photos that I took were mostly from the forest, the cliff’s, the creek and the forest high above the Sandy River. However, I was able to take several photos of the falls since it’s a very photogenic waterfall. However, I could only imagine how much water passes down the waterfall in early Spring. To get this shot, I was using my 18-55mm canon lens and had the focal length at 24mm. I was using my tripod along with my bubble level and remote switch. I was using the shutter mode and had the shutter at 3.22 seconds. The glare was too intense to increase the shutter time. The ISO was at 100 and the White Balance was at -2 due to the glare from the waterfall. The lens aperture was at F-22 since I was using my CIR-PL and my warming filter. I would highly recommend this trail since it’s a great area to get several different types of photos as well as offering a very scenic and calming environment.
[/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.
[/caption] I spent a fantastic day at the gorge yesterday. This time I wanted to take some pictures of the falls while the sun was out. I was hoping to get some great shadow features in my shots and I wasn’t disappointed. I decided to post this picture since it shows just how fast the water was moving and it details how diverse the vegetation is. This isn’t my favorite shot but I thought it summed up my day pretty well. The water was moving with so much force that I had to reduce the shutter speed in order to avoid the heavy glare from the sun reflecting off of the water. The water is currently thundering down from the Cascades with unbelievable force. If you look closely, you can see that the creek has spread to every nook and cranny of the basalt, winding it’s way towards the Columbia river. Now is the best time to see this in it’s rawest form. However, some of the vegetation still hasn’t come out. Also, many of the spring flowers are starting to bloom. I would give it another week or two before all of the neon greens break through the soil. To get this shot I stood behind a tree in order to block some of the suns light. I set my shutter speed to one second and set the F-stop to 8. I used my 18-55mm lens and had to use the 55mm focal length since I was standing high above the falls. I set the ISO setting to 100 and used my tripod, as I always do when photographing moving water. I’ll be posting several more shots on my business facebook page.
[/caption] Tuesday’s weather was amazing all over the Pacific Northwest. There was only one problem though. I had to choose between snow-shoeing in the Cascades, hiking along the Columbia River Gorge, walking along the Spring Flowers or visiting the Coast. I chose to visit the coast since I knew that the weather was going to be especially amazing. And I wasn’t disappointed. I haven’t seen weather like this, on the coast, in several years. The sun was positioned perfectly and the blue sky and water made for the easiest of photos. You couldn’t have taken a bad picture even if you tried. I settled on this photo due to the amazing colors in the sky as well as the motion of short sand creek winding it’s way towards the Pacific Ocean. The setting sun really gave the ocean and the creek a really dynamic glow. I set me camera on auto/shutter priority in order to get a really good blurred effect. The F stop was at 25 and the focal length was at 32mm. I stacked several filters on my 18-55mm kit lens. I had my usual uv filter but also added my warming filter, CIR-POL and my ND8. Without my ND filter, I wouldn’t have been able to get the blurred effect like this since the sun was so intense. I had to zoom in a bit in order to keep any of the surfers or beach combers from appearing in the shot. The ISO speed was at 100 and the shutter was at 1 second. I was trying to create a very tranquil setting as to make it look as though this could be a rocky deserted island. I normally only come here to hike and take photos along some of the many rocky cliffs or heavily canopied forest but I decided to try my luck at a sunset shot. I wasn’t disappointed at all.