It was snowing heavily and near freezing yesterday on the access road to the Sparks Lake parking lot at the trail head leading down to the Ray Atkeson overview. As I readied my gear I heard voices which surprised me as it was 0545 and even though there were a number of vehicles in the parking lot I was not expecting company. Turned out it was a bunch of photographers from the Seattle area on a workshop lead by Randall J. Hodges who has a number of nice photographic galleries in the PNW. They had arrived at the overview before me and their advice was not to go down there. Oh well never been real good at taking that sort of advice and I figured it was worth a go.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky.

Went down the trail about 10 steps and the snow stopped until I got near the overview and then it started up in earnest. The lake was shrouded in mist and clouds and while there were periodic glimpses of the base of the South Sister the grand view was not to be had. The image below was one of the few I got that seemed to work.

After a couple of hours I decided to move on to the meadows down by the lake and highway. The meadows had big spots of yellow flowers that seemed to offer some hope so I spent a bit of time trying to find a composition that highlighted the meadows against Bachelor Butte but none came around. However, to my delight I turned around and the South Sister had unveiled. Fresh snow and blue sky but the scene said Black and White to me.

I went back to the access road and while the spur leading to the campground is gated I parked and walked in to the banks of Soda Creek. Made this image with a 10 stop ND filter which smoothed out the stream and fluffed up the clouds – about a 25 second exposure at f14, ISO 100. Within an hour the clouds rolled back in and the mountain view was lost.

I love this overview and I am hoping to get back up there later in the year. As always I love to have your comments.