Taken last autumn near the Malheur Field Station south of Burns. I had some guidance on toning this image from Walt O’Brien Am still working on how to get this process right so that the image has the look of a Platinum/palladium print – very hard to duplicate the real process in Photoshop but worth a try. Click for a larger view on your monitor.
“The thin snow now driving from the north and lodging on my coat consists of those beautiful star crystals . . . Nature full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand”
Henry David Thoreau
The forecast was for another rain front moving in yesterday albeit a bit colder than the preceding one. On the lookout for snow I headed toward one of my favorite places to photograph – Clear Lake and Fish Lake. I made an intermediate stop at Olallie CG to photograph in the old growth. See yesterdays post. It was spitting snow when I left the campground and headed up river. When I got to Clear Lake the weather had morphed into a full on snow storm. I went out on the dock at the resort – seriously snowing and blowing. (I think I could hear Elvis singing Blue Christmas) Love being coated by snow.
By converting these images to Black and White I can almost get the look of an etching – the branches stark against the storm filled sky and I think it captures the cold really well. (Not nearly as good as the work I see of print artists like my friends Heather and Mika.)
Four wheel drive on the road up the hill back to the highway and more snow on the road up to Fish Lake near Santiam Junction. Another black and white winter etching below.
Time in the mountains, in the snow, with my camera is a real gift and yesterday felt like a day late Christmas present. Click on the images for larger views.
My brother in law and sister gave me a copy of Art Wolfe’s new book – Trees: Between Earth and Heaven – for Christmas – so generous. It is wonderful book full of his amazing images complemented by great writing. (https://store.artwolfe.com/product/trees-between-earth-heaven/)
This morning I headed up McKenzie Pass looking for snow – which I found near the top – but along the way I made a stop in the old growth at Olallie Campground and thanks to the book which triggered my eye to look for images — the simple forms of trees. The image below if a 3 shot panorama that measures out 48×15 inches. Please click on the image to get a larger screen view. Welcome to the forest.
During my October trip to Steens Mountain I noticed a small dirt road branching from the main loupe road and decided to test out my new Subaru Forester in some real off road conditions. BTW: It did great.
As I got near the to top of a ridge I pulled off and walked down a side canyon and came across the image below. Enough light to tint the tops of the aspen. It was almost dark when I got back to the main road but I think the area was worth exploring and when all the color is on it will be even more spectacular.
I love that country and it really does feel like a visit home when I am over there. Click for a larger view
Time spent on a beautiful river surrounded by the vibrant colors of autumn is always something I enjoy and yesterday was one of those stellar days that make autumn so special, especially for photographers but really for everyone who takes the time to get out there.
The North Fork of the Middle Fork Willamette River joins the Middle Fork just west of the small town of Westfir. I picked up my friend and fellow photographer, Tim Giraudier, a Westfir resident and we headed up river looking for photo ops. We went up the road to what is called The Canyon. It was early and the light had not come up just yet so we noted places for stops on the way back down the road. There was one stop that we both were familiar with – a small stream cascading over a what I am sure was a rock slide from a storm event a number of years ago. The boulders are now covered with moss making for very uneven walking. The shot below is from that stop – looking upstream.
We both took the time to shoot looking down the small trib. Not sure which image I like best.
Moving on we found an area that I had shot a number of years ago with Bruce McCammon and Dave Hill. The colors were so much better than what I remembered – low water and great color. Decided to call this image Aqua Oro.
Not sure how long the color will last – I think one good storm will take out most of the leaves so if you can get up there I would recommend it.
Click on the image for a larger view on your monitor and as always I welcome your comments. I do have some more images that I plan to use in another post.
I left the Steens Mountain Resort at 0530 and headed back to the Overlook Rim hoping to be able to catch a sunrise across the Alvord Desert – looking up I could see a blanket of stars so my hopes were high. However as I drove toward to the viewpoint the weather got progressively worse – clouds, wind and cold almost as bad as the night before. I am not a quick learner but I did manage to convince myself to stay in the car.
Driving back down the road accompanied by bands of hunters who were also out and about looking for a different subject to shoot I decided to stop in an aspen stand at Jackman Park and found this group of lovely graceful dancers shaped by the wind and the snow over the years. They remind me of a boojum tree but of course a different species in a different location.
Breakfast at the Frenchglen Inn was a welcome treat – coffee and french toast – humm! I drove south hoping to find color along the Blitzen River on the south end of the Steens Mountain Loupe road. It was not until I got high that I started to pick up any color and was glad the morning storm had cleared. . The image below is of Big Indian Gorge.
I came down and went south for a quick visit with John Simpkins at Andrews. Always fun to see John and Ella. John is having a show of his phenomenal paintings in early November at the High Desert Museum and it will be up for four months – well worth a visit even if you cannot make the reception. http://www.johnsimpkins.com/
“Every day a new picture is painted and framed, held up for half an hour, in such lights as the Great Artist chooses, and then withdrawn and the curtain falls.”
Henry David Thoreau
I had to laugh when I read the above – seems like Thoreau figured out The Magic Hour well before photographers of the modern bent. His observation still works today and I think applies to the seasonal changes in color as well except over a longer period of time.
As I headed out early Tuesday morning the drive up the Mckenzie Pass Highway was spectacular – the color is just blazing and seemed to get better toward the junction with Highway 20. I stopped at a location that I was sure held some great color – excited to be shooting it. As I framed an image with my wide angle lens and pushed the button I got a message on the LCD screen saying there was a contact error and I needed to clean the lens contacts. I did that (sort of) and managed to get a few images before the message showed up again. ARGGGH!! It was a portent of things to come.
Driving across the High Desert of Oregon is always a treat for me – classical music on the car stereo and almost no traffic save for another Subaru that hung with me all the way into Burns. The open views are just spirit filling for me and with the beginnings of a weather front moving in it was very interesting.
Following lunch in Burns I headed south toward Frenchglen but first there was planned stop at the Malheur Field Station for a visit with my friend Rose who is the Station manager. Alas we did not connect. However on the way out I did notice this small group of dead or semi-dead trees along the road set against what was a sky full of a gathering storm. Should have paid attention. (The High Desert can be a tough place to make a living if you are a tree)
I planned to spend the night at the Steens Mountain Resort – a rather rustic set of trailers and campsites on the hill above the Blitzen River. Nothing fancy but it met my needs.
Headed up the Steens Mountain loupe road hopefully to photograph autumn color and a sunset. Prior to what I knew would be a good sunset location I went up to the Kiger Gorge overlook. I noticed the wind picking up all afternoon and it was brutal when I got to the overlook. Fighting the wind I went down to canyon edge and did manage to get the shot below despite some further camera issues. The color in the Gorge was great and I think added some interest to the image. What a magic place but the wind….
Next I went up to the Rim Overlook – not a good plan – the wind at the top – near 9,800 feet was extreme and even tho I parked so that the car offered some protection the minute I walked around the side of the car to get the camera out of the back I got swept off my feet. Probably a combination of clumsiness and wind. Took me by surprise. Impossible to shoot – just not safe. Went back down to my planned sunset location. There was not much left for color and the storm rather blew out sunset conditions. You will notice the lack of colorful aspens in most of the Fish Creek gorge but I think there was still some interest left to photograph. Perhaps wishful thinking on my part and you may disagree.
I went back up on the mountain the next morning but conditions were even worse – still windy and very cold – so headed back to Frenchglen for breakfast. Next post will be from that day.
Please click on the images for a large screen view and as always I welcome your comments – good or bad.
I got word from Charlotte Britton at on-Landscpae e-magazine that the attached images are included in the current issue, #165
Very happy to have these shown. Not sure you can view them without a subscription so I have attached them below with a little information on Steens Mountain.
Steens Mountain is an iconic part of the Oregon High Desert landscape. … Southeastern Oregon’s basalt flows underwent severe geological stress during the Pliocene Epoch, from 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago, expanding and compressing along north-to-south fault zones to create a basin-and-range terrain. These Gorges start near the top (~9,700 feet) on the west facing slope and carry down into lower elevation.
The first three were shot last September and the last image was shot the September before and Yes I am headed back this coming autumn. If you click on an image you can get a much larger view on your screen.
Just a couple of lines to THANK YOU! all for the kind and thoughtful birthday wishes yesterday and a special thanks to my dear twin sister for accompanying me on this journey. You are the best
This image was shot at a little pond along the Willamette Pass highway on my way to SunRiver. Morning sun breaking thru the haze.
“A Repeatable Miracle”
Often referred to by landscape photographers as The Magic Hour it is roughly that half hour before and after official sunrise or sunset. Magic images can be made at those times but not always. Still a repeatable miracle just sometimes not as dramatic.
After having dinner in a new brewpub in Bend with four of my favorite people: Tanner, Jenna, Thea and Riley I headed out looking for a sunset. Initially I was going to go up to Sparks Lake and the Ray Atkeson Overlook but the haze and smoke building up against the mountains did not look promising. Instead but mostly by mistake I went up Tumalo Creek and got there just as the sunset color and light was coming on. The light at Tumalo Creek gave me hope for a sunset at Sparks but when I got on the right road and headed up into the mountains it was clear (no pun intended) that a sunset was not going to develop.
Leaving my motel early this morning (0430) I headed back to Sparks Lake with the hope of a sunrise full of color and drama. I had hope when I shot the image below that the color would develop but it just did not come around – smoke and haze filled the scene as the morning light came up. Oh Well, sure nice to be out and about in the mountains. As always click for a larger view and I look forward to your comments.