This is a photo of sparsely snow capped Broken Top with Sparks Lake in the foreground. Things again are looking pretty grim for parts of North America as far as snow pack goes. You know it’s bad when it’s December and it’s warmer in Utah than in parts of Florida and it’s even more dire when Washington’s Northern Cascade mountains get over 10 inches of rain in December. If this pattern continues, 2015 may be even warmer and worse than 2014. That’s pretty hard to imagine but by looking at statistics and witnessing the current climate, it’s looking more like reality. I personally wouldn’t want to be an owner or an investor in a ski resort or even have any type of business that relies on tourist traffic in the mountains. Currently, the entire Pacific Northwest is experiencing a pineapple express and it’s bringing over a foot of rain, which is very scary since it’s melting all of the snow that we did receive earlier and it should be coming down in the form of snow rather than rain in the higher elevations. Last years winter was so bad that I didn’t even put my snow tires on until almost February and I can’t imagine having a winter that bad again but unfortunately, we already are having an even crappier start than last year. I’m still pretty hopeful that I will be able to make some new snow shoe tracks but I am getting very anxious and pretty depressed about another crummy start to winter.
[/caption] Reflection of Mt. Bachelor at Sparks Lake, Oregon. This photo was taken from the southern most part of the lake with the contrails and smoke from a controlled wildfire in the right hand corner of the photo. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic photo as possible. I was visiting the lake during a weekday and it was past 5:00pm so there were no crowds of people other than a few people fishing near the lake. The lake was glassy and the winds had died down so I was able to get a really good reflection of the mountain and the contrails. If you visit during the afternoon to late afternoon you can expect quite a bit of wind so you will have a harder time getting a good reflection. Early morning and late evening is the best time to experience a glassy lake.
[/caption] Sparks lake is one of the best places to visit in Central Oregon if you’re wanting to get an amazing photo of South Sister and its reflection. If you visit the lake during the early morning or just before sunset you will most likely be able to get a perfect reflection of the mountains as well as the foothills in the lake. One of the best views from Sparks Lake is the view of the ancient lava flow spilling over the foothills in front of South Sister.
[/caption] Fall weather may provide you with some of the most dramatic sunsets possible but unfortunately the snow levels along the mountains are less than fantastic. However, you can sometimes get lucky and I was pretty satisfied with this photo of South Sister and its reflection coming from a small pond just a few yards from Sparks Lake. The very dry and yellow/orange colors of the vegetation as well as the tall trees created a great scene. The rolling lava domes as well as the lava flows help you forget about the low snow amounts on the mountain. The sun had just set behind the hills so the light was very low and I was able to get a strong reflection.
[/caption] If you stand near the southern most edge of Sparks Lake you will be able to get a fantastic photo of Broken Top and its reflection. However, you need to be be patient since it can be rather windy which will cause the reflection to disappear. You will also want to visit just prior to sunset and plan on chasing the best photographic opportunity. late Summer or earl Fall is one of the best times since the sun is lower and the lake is quiet. The lake will also be about 5 feet shallower so you will be able to walk around parts near the lake that are normally flooded and unobtainable. Make sure and bring your tripod, bubble level and remote switch since you don’t want any camera shake and you will be very impressed with the photo opportunities. I would also recommend attaching a CIR-PL and warming filter in order to maximize the color saturation.
[/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.