This past summer seems to have been filled with heat, smoke, closed roads and horrible fire news headlines.  I have to admit to being a bit down due to those conditions and wishing for rain that finally showed up in small quantities but we need more. All of this seemed to push me into a rather lethargic state.

I recently read an article by Erin Babnik a PhotoCascadia member, in which she talked about finding oneself in a creative cul-de-sac and I could really relate.  I know that cul-se-sacs are not totally closed – there is a way out and I realized that photographing my way out was the equivalent of pointing a car in the right direction and going forward.  Early escape schemes involved some local trips and a still life shoot or two but it was not until I started planning my yearly autumn outing to Steens Mountain that I really started to feel creative again.  Thinking of shots I wanted and where to get them.  Last year at the time of the Equinox the aspen leaf colors were amazing and while I know that one cannot expect the same conditions from year to year I still had hope.  I sent out an itinerary I had drafted to a number of folks and finally got a commitment.

We left last Sunday morning, checked into a motel in Burns, got a SUBWAY for dinner and head up the mountain.  The top of the mountain had 4-6 inches of fresh snow above the 9,000 foot level.  Sally Hill had told me a week or so ago that the color at Jackman Park was minimal but I hoped that some cold weather and snow mite bring out the color.  T’was not to be.

We headed up a very wash-board road to near the head of Little Blitzen Gorge, parked and headed down thru the sage looking for a location for a sunset shot (below).  It is a beautiful place and despite the cold and wind I found myself getting lost in the composition. Click on the image for a larger view on your screen.

Ended the night with relatively long drive back to Burns and what for me was a rather sleepless night.

We started early next morning aiming for a sunrise from Buena  Vista  overlook.  I will write more tomorrow about the 2nd day.