[/caption] A great way to view the Western Cascade foothills is by hiking in the higher elevations of any the many Cascade mountains and look west. This particular photo was taken from the western flanks of Mt. Hood and I was facing south west when I took the photo. The sun was almost directly overhead so the sky is somewhat hazy but it does give a cool glow to the foothills in the distance. I was at about 5,000 feet and since I wasn’t using a tripod I had to make sure and keep a steady hand and hope that the shot was level. I attached my Sigma 17-70m lens and set the focal length at 70mm in order to frame only the foothills in the shot. I set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance to -1 due to the glare from the sun. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to tame some of the glare. The shutter speed was at 1/166 second and the aperture was at F-5 due to the ISO and white balance settings. I would always recommend using a tripod but since I was covering a lot of ground on this day and because I was carrying a lot of weight I chose to leave my tripod in my car. Luckily there was plenty of sun and no shadow’s anywhere in sight to cause any blur or camera shake. It’s always important to look for great photos of mountain ranges or foothills whenever you’re hiking in the higher elevations since you can forget to look beyond your main subject and miss some great opportunities.
[/caption] A great place to stop and check out the great views of the Oregon Cascades is none other than the rest stop between Bend and Sisters. It may be the laziest way to take advantage of the mountain views but it’s a no brainer. You can see Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, all three of the Sisters and Broken Top. You also have a great view of lesser known Black Butte and Belknap Crater as well as the several other snow capped smaller mountains. You want to make sure and include your telephoto lens since you’re pretty far away from the mountains and unfortunately you can’t get all of them in the same frame. There are several power cables that block parts of Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Washington but if you move around and use your telephoto, you can get a pretty good shot. It’s better to visit during the early to late morning since you will be looking west and the sun will be south east rather than directly east. Make sure to bring your tripod and filters since the glare can get pretty intense off the snow capped mountains and the distance requires a sturdy tripod.
[/caption] Mt. Thielsen with its incredible snow pack during late June in 2011. It’s hard to imagine that you can’t take more than 5 steps while hiking any of the Mt. Thielsen trails without running in to snow. You are well advised to bring your snow shoes if you plan on hiking near the higher elevations of the mountain. Most of the campsites within the Diamond Lake area are still closed due to the high snow pack and the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park isn’t scheduled to open until later this week. I took this photo near the snow park just south of Hwy 230 and about 1/2 mile south of Diamond Lake. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. It was about 8:35am and the sun was in the upper right hand of the photo which was creating a pretty intense glare unless you took cover in some shade. I made sure to attach my CIR-PL and warming filter in order to tone down the glare in the sky and warm the mountain as well as the forest in the foreground. I set the ISO to 100 and reduced the white balance to -1.3. I had the camera mode in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was automatically set at F-8 and the shutter speed at 1/320 second. I wanted to get as much of the mountain in the photo with the trees in the foreground so I set the focal length at 70mm. I was still able to have a really good depth of field since there were no distracting subjects too close to the main subject.
[/caption] Winter is officially here and he Pacific Northwest is experiencing some of the heaviest snow fall in the Cascade mountains. That also means lots of rain in the valley’s of Puget Sound and the Willamette Valley. So, dust off your x-country skis and snow-shoes and plan on getting out there and experiencing some of the best days of your life. What’s better than burning some serious calories, getting an awesome leg burn, enjoying some peace and serenity and witnessing some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. This photo was taken just east of Mt. Hood after a recent snow storm. I was on a snow shoe adventure and noticed that all of the trees were flocked like Christmas trees. A great post card setting for sure.
[/caption] This is a view near the summit region of Mt. Jefferson when hiking up the Jefferson Park trail. You are actually looking due south but you’re northwest of the mountain so the mountain seems much narrower than when viewed from the Park area. This is because the mountain is much larger and longer when viewed from north or south but you need to be standing directly north while in the Jefferson Park area. I think that’s one of the most unique things about the Cascade mountain volcanoes. Each mountain looks completely different when viewed from different geographical areas. This is especially true since most of the volcanoes are surrounded by much smaller lava buttes or lava domes that were created by the volcano. Each mountain has its own diverse wilderness with forests, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, rock outcroppings, canyons and most importantly it’s own weather pattern due to their enormous size. The climate and vegetation on the east part of the mountains are much different than the west and even the type of snow is different.
[/caption] One of the best panoramic views of the Wallowa mountains can be found along the northern banks of Wallowa Lake. There are numerous miles of hiking trails that travel deep within the mountains but if you’re short on time or energy you can get some fantastic photos by driving just south of Joseph, OR and then stopping along the lake for some great views. I would recommend spending a few days in this part of Oregon since it’s very hard to get to and the drive from Portland is over 6 hours. However, you will be amazed at the sheer beauty and solitude of the Oregon, cowboy and very western feeling, part of the state. You can expect to see a lot of wildlife such as black bear, deer, elk, bald eagle, hawk and maybe even a wolf. You don’t have to travel to the Rocky mountains to see some of the most amazing and isolated mountains in the country.
[/caption] The glacial lake that is located on the northern flanks of Broken Top is absolutely stunning. I was disappointed that by the time we arrived at the lake the clouds had moved in and eliminated my attempt to gt a fabulous shot of the mineral laced lake with it’s beautiful turquoise color. However, I was happy to see that almost the entire lake was frozen and there was a large snow island that was tempting me to hike across. If you like hiking the Three Sisters wilderness, this place is a must see. You will also have great views of Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters and the surrounding area as far as Diamond Peak and Mt. Thielson in the Southern Oregon Cascades
[/caption] Sparks lake offers some of the best lakeside views of South Sister and Broken Top and early Fall is one of the best times to visit the lake since its usually calm and there are almost no crowds of people. Due to the low water level you can also hike farther into the lakes beaches and get a better view and photo of the mountains. I took this photo on 10/27/11 at about 5:20pm so the light was very low to the horizon and made for the glare from the lake create an exact image of the landscape. I was fortunate to find little wind and very few distractions in the water. However, parts of the lake were frozen so I had to move around the lake until I found the best place to photograph. The sun was mostly behind me and relatively low so I was able to take advantage of the color and lack of overexposure. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and attached my CIR-PL and warming filter. I also made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake. I set the FL at 17mm in order to create the most panoramic scene since this photo would be a great candidate for a ultra panoramic photo and would allow you to crop out some of the water and sky. The aperture was set at F-4 since I also had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3.
[/caption] Early Fall at Jefferson Park is sure to provide the best photography opportunities since the late Summer wildflowers are still in bloom as well as the red huckleberry leaves blanketing the alpine carpet. Since many of the trails have been closed in order to try and restore the park, you have to really look for opportunities to photograph Mt. Jefferson with the foliage in the foreground. There are still dozens of trails to suite your needs but you do want to stay focused since its easy to miss a terrific photo opportunity. It’s especially true since you will find yourself immersed in the sheer beauty of the area. I almost missed the opportunity to take this photo since I was heading towards the opposite part of the park in order to hike above the alpine lakes and I was worrying about running out of daylight. This photo was taken between Russell Lake and the mountain and I really liked the view of Mt. Jefferson with the foliage, trees and rocks in the foreground. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch but placed it low to the ground in order to get as much foliage in the photo without reducing the field of view. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 17mm in order to get a panoramic shot so I could include as much of the mountain and foliage as I could. Since I had attached my CIR-PL and warming filter as well as set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -1.3 the aperture was at F-5.7 and the shutter speed at 1/128 second since the camera mode was in Program/Normal. The photo was taken at about 1:20pm and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle above the mountain so the saturation was nice.
[/caption] Russell lake is the largest and most predominant alpine lake in Jefferson Park. If you hike up the PCT that summits near Park Butte, Russell lake stands out like a soar thumb and creates a fantastic image in the Park below. Even if you only have the energy or time to hike just above the Park you can get some awesome photos of Mt. Jefferson and Russell lake. However, you really need to make sure that you are at the lake at the right time if you’re wanting to get a good shot with Mt. Jefferson and the lake. The late afternoon or early evening seems to be the best time since the sun is lower and at about a 90 degree angle. This is especially true if you are there during Fall. You are more likely to have some shadows around the mountain and the lake will create a better reflection. I took this shot using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic photo as possible as well as ensure the largest field of view. I was standing right at the lakes edge and made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. It was about 2:45pm and the sun was at a 90 degree angle and the water was fairly calm. However, I still wasn’t able to get a reflection of the mountain in the lake. But at least the glare from the sun created a great color in the right side of the lake. Since I had the camera mode in Program/Normal the aperture was at F-5.7 and the shutter speed at 1/128 second. I also attached my CIR-PL and warming filter and set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7.