[/caption] Having the opportunity to find water around Oregon’s desert landscapes gives a photographer several opportunities to take a dynamic photo. There always seems to be plenty of water surrounding the entire state of Oregon. I’ve driven and hiked through a good portion of Oregon and the one thing that I always seem to notice is that there is always a river or creek running through its valleys, mountains or even its deserts. Smith Rock state park is no exception to this. The Crooked River winds its way through the park and gives the hiker or rock climber plenty of opportunities to cool down during the sunny and hot summer days. Having a river in a photo with the desert rocks in the background allows for a terrific photo opportunity. I took this photo last June and I have a more detailed article from my 7/15/10 blog post. To get this shot I was using my Canon EOS T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. The focal length was at 14mm in order to get as much of the rocks in this panoramic view. The time was 9:22am and the sun was directly behind me so the glare from the rocks and the river was pretty intense. However, my CIR-PL and warming filter was no match for this shot. The blueness of the sky and the warming tones of the rocks and vegetation would have been impossible without using these filters. Since I had the camera in Program/Normal mode the aperture was automatically set at F-6 and the shutter speed was at 1/83 second. I wasn’t using a tripod or remote switch so I had to be extra careful to avoid any camera shake. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -0.7 due to the sun intense sun glare.
[/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.