Tag Archives: Pacific Northwest Cascades

Mt. Thielsen, OR

[/caption] Mt. Thielsen with its incredible snow pack during late June. 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.

Mt. Hood, OR

[/caption] There is nothing more beautiful than looking at a blue sky looming over a mountain covered in snow. The spring flowers are blooming in the lower foothills so it’s feeling a lot like spring in the Willamette Valley with the rainy and warmer temperature’s but not so much in the Cascades. This is the best time to enjoy some serious snow storms along the Cascade mountains. March is usually the snowiest month of the year which allows the mountain chain to collect its largest amount of snow. Spring also brings the warmer temperatures in the mountains so you don’t have to bundle up as much, the days are longer and you’re more likely to see some sunny skies after a big snow storm. I was using my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens to get this shot. I wanted to have as much of the mountain in the field of view so I set the focal length at 24mm. The field of view was still pretty high so the entire landscape is in focus. The camera mode was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was set at F-10 and the shutter speed was at 1/200 second. This photo was taken at 11:40am and the sun was very bright and intense. I stood in the shadow’s of the tall trees in order to avoid any glare in the foreground. The shadows in the foreground helps draw the viewer to the mountain as well as the snowy landscape in the distance. I also set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -0.3 so the mountain wouldn’t be overexposed. I also attached my warming filter and my CIR-PL.

Washington State Cascades

[/caption] One a sunny day you are able to see as far north as Mt. Rainier and as far south as The Three Sisters. There is a secret vantage point where you can get one of the most spectacular views of the Washington and Oregon Cascade mountains. You can read about this place on my article that I wrote on 6/14/10. Late Spring is my favorite times to hike along the foothills of the Cascades since the mountains still have an abundant of snow as well as in parts of the lower elevations. The creeks, alpine lakes and smaller rivers are also swelled to the brim with runoff. You can also still witness many of the spring wildflowers basking in the warm sun. The air is also more pure and less polluted. The views seem to be never ending during the months of May and June. I took this shot on 6/12/10 and I was using my Canon EOS T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm kit lens. I attached my warming filter as well as my CIR-PL. I also used my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake since it was a bit windy and my footing was a bit sketchy. The sun was a bit low since it was about 5:30pm and the sun was directly behind me. You can clearly see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams in the distance. The field of view is large as well as the depth of field which makes this shot especially appealing since there isn’t any blur in the foreground or background. I set the focal length to 35mm in order to include each of the mountains without reducing the focal length anymore than I needed to. I would have tilted the camera lower in order to include less of the sky but the forest trees were so low that it would have caused the depth of view to be too soft. The camera mode was in Program/Normal so the aperture was set at F-6.3 and the exposure speed at 1/80 second. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -1 in order to keep the shot as sharp as possible.

Pacific Northwest Cascades

[/caption] Finally, the first sunny day after 7 days of winter storms hammered the Cascades with fresh powder. I was expecting to be visiting the Cascades during white out conditions. However, the morning of my snow-shoe trip, I noticed that they had changed their report to sunny skies. The early morning saw some of the best weather since the sun was shining and there were only a limited number of clouds. However, just like clock work, the clouds began to white out parts of the sky by around 1:00 pm. I always find this frustrating since you only have a few hours of sunny weather during winter. I guess this proves that you really need to get lucky in order to find that epic shot that no one else will get. I started my day by photographing Mt. Hood from the west and then eventually moving to the east part of the mountain. I started my 8 mile snow-shoe adventure on the east part of Mt. Hood, which included traversing some very steep and tricky terrain. I’ve done this same snow-shoe trip before but this time the snow was particularly deep. There were several additional feet of snow that had drifted into the steep parts that I was climbing. I eventually ended up with cramps in my hamstrings but luckily I had plenty of water with me. Once I got to the top I found that the sun was getting lower and the clouds were moving in. The snow was absolutely epic and the scenery was even better. There is nothing more invigorating than fresh powder that is untouched and no sounds other than the wind and your snow shoes blazing through the snow. This is exactly why snow-shoeing is so awesome. I took this photo at 12:24 pm and that’s mostly why I chose this photo. The sky is still pretty clear and you can see the blue in the background. The sun is just to the left, which creates some really cool shadows from the trees in the left of the frame. I also wanted to show just how much powder was still resting in the trees as well as the untouched powder in the foreground. This day was unusually busy for a Thursday but I still found myself alone for 95% of the day. I didn’t bring my tripod since I didn’t want to carry the extra weight and I also wanted to cover as much terrain as I could without having to set my tripod. I normally use only one lens so I don’t have to take the risk of getting my sensor dirty. I also use a holster, which I attach to the front of my backpack. This way I can quickly take out my camera to take a photo and then quickly put it back in its holster. I find that this is the best and most effective way to take photos when snow-shoeing. I was using my Canon Rebel T1i and my Canon 18-55mm lens. I attached my UV, warming and CIR-PL filters and also used them throughout my entire trip. I had the setting at Program mode so the F stop was at F-9 and I had set the ISO to 100. The white balance was at -1.7 and the exposure speed was at 1/160 second.