It’s official! Winter has officially avoided the entire state of Oregon! Unfortunately, it’s also possible that the state of California and Washington may be facing the same fate. I never thought that I would be regretting purchasing my annual snow park pass. However, at least I never had my snow tires installed. Nothing worse that driving around on some meaty snow tires inside the urban jungle and getting even worse gas mileage. However, I haven’t totally given up hope. We’ve had some pretty late storm surges during the months of March in the past decade or so and maybe we are heading towards it again. If not, we are doomed to face the fate of Southern California and maybe even worse. I still have faith that the great state that is known for it’s heavy rain totals and mucky reputation will once again bask us in the glory of some heavy snow with scary rainy weather along the valley’s below. I do though, will never take up snow dancing again since I’ve worn out my snow dancing shoes and must now just put my faith in mother nature to remember how beautiful the Cascade mountains looks after an abundance of snow has draped it’s peaks.
[/caption] Trillium Lake normally freezes over during the winter months and allows snow-shoers, x-country skiers and the occasional ice fisherman to take advantage of the winter paradise! This photo was taken from the north side of the lake with Mt. Hood behind me. I took this shot at about 2:25pm and as you can see the sun was included in this photo in order to brighten the photo as much as possible without allowing too much glare to ruin the shot. In order to avoid this I made sure to attach my CIR-PL and set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance to -0.7. I was hoping to increase the brightness and reduce the saturation surrounding the trees but due to the snow, I was limited in my attempt to have each tree stand out more. I had the camera in Normal/Program mode so the aperture was at F-10 and the shutter speed at 1/400 second. I ended up increasing the brightness on my Adobe Photoshop to 25 since the color of the sky was over saturated and the trees were barely noticeable. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and kept the focal length at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic photo as possible.
[/caption] Every once in a while you’re lucky enough to be photographing the landscape when you look up and notice that the moon is in the distance. However, I’m never lucky enough to witness the moon within a close proximity of my subjects that I may be photographing. Whenever I’m able to include the moon in some of my photos it’s always pretty far away and hard to notice unless I use my telephoto. I can only imagine the day that the moon is enormous and very close where I can take a picture of a snow capped mountain or the ocean at sunset standing side by side. Until then, this is the best that I can come up with. While I was returning from my snow-shoe trip in the Mt. Hood wilderness I decided to snow-shoe inside the deep forest and look for some descent photography opportunities but then I noticed that the moon was just above the trees. Luckily the sky was still a perfect shade of blue and the clouds were allowing me several photo opportunities without them in the frame.
[/caption] If you haven’t been watching the snow report, along the Pacific Northwest recently, you probably aren’t aware that Mt. Bachelor received 35 inches of snow yesterday and Mt. Hood received over 4 feet of snow over the last two days. And that’s just in Oregon. Washington state has been reporting historic epic snow falls since they’ve been keeping records. The next 2 weeks is looking like more historical amounts of snow in the Cascade mountains. Now is the time to dust of your snow-shoes or cross-country skis and head up to the snow parks that line the Cascade mountain range. Make sure to bring your snow shovel and don’t forget you GPS and survival gear. This is shaping up to be one of the most amazing winters yet in the Pacific Northwest.
[/caption] Trillium lake offers a great place to view snow-capped Mt. Hood just after a snow storm. The lake is about 2 miles from the Trillium lake snow-park and it will take you about an hour to snow-show but even less time if you’re x-country skiing. There are several areas where you can explore and you may even spot some wildlife along the way or near the lake. The best times to visit is either during mid winter, after a big snow storm, or during Spring, when there is still plenty of snow on the mountain and the skies are clear. The lake can get pretty crowded during the summer months so I would try to visit on a weekday. There is an endless amount of trails beckoning you once you’ve reached the lake. You could spend days or weeks exploring the Mt. Hood National Forest if time and weather permits.
[/caption] The easiest and shortest drive to get an amazing view of Mt. Hood is the Crosstown snow park trail. The snow park is before you even get to the west Mt. Hood ski Bowl parking lot off of Hwy 26 and the trek to Enid Lake is only about 1/4 mile from the parking lot. The only drawback from this snow park is that Enid Lake is one of the only viewpoints that you can get of Mt. Hood. Unfortunately, the rest of the snow park is buried in towering trees and you won’t have much luck getting a view of the summit unless you hike your way towards the summit. There aren’t any designated viewpoints and I’ve spent several hours trying to find a viewpoint without any luck. However, you can find them but you just have to be adventurous and make sure you have a compass so you don’t get lost. And trust me, you will probably get lost during some part of you trek. I took this photo of Mt. Hood while standing on the other side of Enid Lake. The lake was completely frozen and covered by 5 feet of snow. Even though you’re only a short distance from the Hwy and Government Camp it’s surprisingly quiet and peaceful. You probably won’t hear any traffic noise and you will be amazed by the towering trees. The Crosstown Trail is actually best for trekking through the massive forest that towers over the area. There are also several small creeks and streams with snow bridges that allow you to cross. It’s better snow-shoeing terrain than x-country skiing due to the fact that it can get pretty steep and you will be trekking around huge trees as you venture the area.
[/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] Over the years I have tried to find the best spot to take a photo of the Three Sisters and Mt. Bachelor in winter. However, I have never been able to get both of them in the same photo. I eventually found one of the best spots to attain these photos with little more than a 2 hour snow-shoe adventure that ends at the summit of Bates Butte. The butte is just a few miles southwest of Sunriver. The butte is right off the road, the elevation gain is only about 600 feet and you have a 360 degree view of the land. I had no idea that any of these buttes offered views like this. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. In fact, you can see Paulina Peak to the east and Mt. Scott, the tip of Mt. Thielsen and Diamond Peak to the south. Once I got home, I starting looking through my Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer and found that there are several buttes in the area that are easy to get to and may offer even better views. To get this shot I was using my Canon Rebel T1i along with my Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens. I also had my UV, warming filter and CIR-PL filter attached. The camera was set in Program/Normal mode and the aperture was at F-7. The ISO was at 100 and the white balance was set at -1.3 due to the bad lighting. The focal length was at 100mm and the shutter was opened for 1/250 second. Since the photo was taken at 12:52pm the lighting was pretty dull. However, I had to wait for the sun to creep around the mountains before I could get a descent shot that included some light against Mt. Bachelor.
[/caption] Who’s ready for the ski resorts in the Pacific Northwest to open already? After we received our first snow storm in late October we have been patiently waiting for the intense pounding of the fresh white stuff. However, we have been getting a mixed bag of rain and snow in the higher elevations. It’s only a matter of time before winter comes in full force but I’ve already completed my first snow-shoe journey and I’ve eagerly taken out my snow-board gear. I took this shot a few weeks ago while visiting Trillium lake. You can see Timberline lodge in the lower right side of the photo and you can see just how awesome Mt. Hood can look once it’s covered in snow. To get this shot I was standing on the far end of the lakes edge and made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any shake. I was using my Canon Rebel T1I and my Canon 55-250 telephoto lens. The focal length was set at 131mm in order to keep the mountain in the foreground without showing any of the green vegetation showing in the lower elevations. I was using my UV, warming and my CIR-PL filter since I took the photo at 11:20 am and the sun was fairly bright even though the edges of the lake were shadowed by the trees. The F-stop was at F-8 and the shutter speed was 1/400 second. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to 0. I again had the camera set in the Program mode. The best thing about this photo is that there are only a few shadow’s showing along the mountain. This allows you to see all of the crevices and little peaks near the higher elevations. You can see where the Palmer lift ends as well as the vapor vent in the upper right side of the photo.
[/caption] We are enjoying the last few days of sunny and warm weather in Oregon but I can’t wait for some snow to fall in the Cascades. The farmers almanac is predicting a snowy season in the higher elevations and colder temperatures in the lower elevations. Compared to our winter last year, I’m not going to argue with that. I’m hoping for snow during Christmas and some really good snow in the mountains by this Sunday. Snow-shoeing is by far the best way for me to travel to areas throughout the Cascades in order to get some really awesome photos. However, sometimes you can find some great photo opportunities in places that you would least expect. The photo in this article is a perfect example. I took this photo from the shoulder of Hwy 26, just before you get to Government Camp, OR. This spot offers some of the best views of Mt. Hood, looking from the west. Normally you find cars stopped at the shoulder putting on their chains or you may find the occasional tourist posing for pictures. I took this photo back in January 2009, after a huge blizzard. I was lucky enough to have the day off on the day the storm had broke just the morning before it snowed for 14 days straight. The mountain looks like a giant ice cream cone with no real visible bare spots. I ended up taking a 6 hour snow-shoe journey near one of the lakes that is surrounded by the presence of the mountain. Other than maybe x-country skiing, I can’t see anything better than snow-shoeing when trying to have an epic photography session after a massive snow storm. You may be able to go faster and cover more distance x-country skiing but you can go places on snow shoes that are impossible with x-country skis. I was using my 8 mp Panasonic DMC-FZ30 point and shoot digital camera. This was my first camera that I bought before purchasing my Canon T1i DSLR. I still have this camera and I’ve taken some great photos with it. I had the focal length set at 36mm and the ISO was at 80 and the white balance was at 0 step. I had the camera in landscape mode while in Program mode. The exposure time was 1/160 second and the F stop was at F-5. I don’t believe I was using my tripod but I was using my UV, warming and CIR-PL filters. I took several great shots on this day and I can only hope that this winter is half as good as the winter of 2009. I’m already dusting off my snow-shoes and going through my photos that I took during that winter.