It was foggy and below freezing in the Valley this morning as I made my way out of town – destination Hult Lake in the Coast Range with a secondary goal of testing out a new lens. I was hoping the fog would last up into the hills but alas it started to clear as I got near the turnoff for Horton. Still the lake had nice strands of fog coming off the still surface and it was surrounded by bits of remaining autumn color.
After about an hour or so of shooting I drove out of the park and passed a small camping area that had two frigid looking campers huddled around a rather sickly fire – chilly morning. A few feet down the road I came across a lovely old maple with her autumn leaves piled around her base – preparing for winter.
BTW: The lens worked just fine – the leaf image was taken with it.
Comments are more than welcome
I have that sticker on the rear window of my Subaru and it really does express a time to time need I have. I told a friend yesterday that given the choice between the beach or the mountains I would go to the mountains. Tough choice and I am glad that Eugene is situated mid-way between my local mountains and the ocean beaches. Today the mountains were calling and I headed out early. Clouds were still hanging in the trees wet from recent rain but the remaining color of the hardwoods stood out in the morning darkness.
I drove up the McKenzie Scenic Highway and out of the corner of my eye I caught site of a small stream I had never noticed on that drive. Loaded up and went down the hill. Morning light just coming over the hill.
I welcome your comments and of course you can get a larger view by clicking on an image.
The next stop was at Wizard Falls on the Metolius River near Camp Sherman. What a beautiful river.
Finally the Subaru packed with gear for a mountain trip.
My friend Tim reminded me yesterday that I had to be “out there” in order to get images – and sometimes you even got one or two that really worked. Went back out to familiar ground, the West Eugene wetlands, yesterday evening. Saw clouds filling the sky with interesting patterns – thinking about a Joni Mitchell song. The B&W image was early in the evening and the color image was just before heading home near sunset.
So nice to be out in cool autumn air with colorful sky.
“Solitude is the human condition in which I keep myself company.”
Went back and did some mining in a folder containing images from a trip last Winter thru the Warner and Pueblo mountains of southeastern Oregon. I did this trip alone save for a few stops to visit some acquaintances along the way. Ellen, John and Rose – thank you for the welcoming visits.
The image below is of a small stream along Highway 140 on the way from Lakeview to Adel, OR. It was a lovely drive – little traffic, no radio or CD, and just the quiet of the morning filled the air. It was very cold and had been for a few days and the stream was freezing over in places. Morning light was just touching the streamside vegetation and was probably what drew my attention to the scene. I have shot the grand landscapes such as the Tetons many times and will probably do so again but am more and more drawn to what I and others call Intimate Landscapes, this image is one such example.
I find that solitary shooting on such a morning is for me a big part of the essence of landscape photography.
I so look forward to another trip through these mountains – perhaps in the autumn (the color season) or again in the winter. Comments are more than welcome.
Word hit the street on Friday that the Cascade Lakes Highway was completely open so in order to get back into the mountains; take advantage of the weather forecast that predicted increasing clouds over the Cascades; and to get out the horrible grass pollen that is filling up the Valley I headed East. Great drive in beautiful country. I made a couple of stops along the way but the main goal was the Ray Atkeson Viewpoint over looking Sparks Lake. I have shot from this location many times – posted an image on FB the other day from a couple of years ago and while the scene before me that developed yesterday was not nearly as dramatic it still was a wonderful view. The increasing clouds streaking across the mountain and the lenticular clouds forming over the tops of the adjacent hills all confirmed that the weather was coming in.
I shot this image with a black and white conversion in mind and I think it worked out. Be sure to click on the image to get a full scale view. It is a large panoramic image.
Took the new Subaru out for its first long drive yesterday. I love it. Quiet – road noise is at a minimum – and comfortable. Have to admit that there are a number of buttons and items on the various screens that I have yet to comprehend and that I am not sure I need.
Heading over Willamette Pass I took the Crescent cut-off to Highway 97 then north to LaPine where I hooked into the Fremont Highway, OR 31. Out into the High Desert Outback of Central Oregon.
My first planned stop was at the Cowboy Dinner Tree. I have heard about this restaurant for a number of years but never stopped. It is located about 3 miles south of Silver Lake – got some good directions at the local store and thus it was easy to find. Advice if you are going: You need reservations. When you call they ask you if you want a 32 ounce steak or whole chicken – those are your choices (not a Vegan in sight), comes with the full meal of bread and salad and dessert etc. and you cannot split one between guests – each person gets their own. Be prepared to take home the leftovers. I have heard of people eating for a couple of days on the leftovers. http://cowboydinnertree.homestead.com/main.html
I have a couple more images of this charming place yet to work up and I will share them if they have any merit.
Next planned stop was Picture Rock Pass about 10 miles south of Silver Lake. I stopped here last winter and wandered about looking for the promised petroglyphs with no success. Got some local guidance and found at least one set of them but am lead to believe that are others in the rocks above the highway.
Once over the top of the pass you enter the Great Basin and my initial idea was to shoot all the way along with my most southern stop being Playa at Summer Lake. The desert is still in bloom resulting in my stopping many times in the numerous pullouts along the highway. Not much traffic and so quiet that tripping the shutter almost seemed like an invasion of that peace.
Following a quick nip into the Main Office at Playa and to once again take in a bit of the solitude and grace that pervade that location I headed back north. It is so interesting to see compositions that you missed because you were looking the other way.
It has been repeatedly confirmed that I cannot draw even a dot and thus am so impressed with artist friends and their skill. I have looked at a number of watercolor paintings this Spring – especially those of Sotoko Motouji who created the backdrops for the EBT presentation of Peer Gynt and those of Demetra Kalams. Anyway I had the colors, textures and patterns from their work in mind and so with camera in hand I started looking for images that combined the playa, open lake water and reflections of the surrounding hills. I think the one below is as close to what I was looking for – a natural abstract. There are many more to work up.
Click on an image for a larger view and as always comments are more than welcome.
Driving up the McKenzie River Highway yesterday morning is driving thru a corridor lined with white dogwood blooms. The display starts just east of the mapdot of Blue River and continues to the junction with Highway 20. I have shot dogwood up here many times over the years – some year’s sparse and some full. This year can best be described as ABUNDANT – simply beautiful.
My first stop was at Delta CG and I spent some time just wandering the Nature trail. There was a dogwood in bloom along the edge of S. Fork McKenzie in a place that I have photographed before but from a different angle. With some bush whacking I found a new location that lead to the image below. So green and lush right now and I hope I can come back in the fall when those deciduous trees are in color.
Moving on I drove up the Old McKenzie scenic highway and turned off on a small gravel road just beyond Limberlost CG and noticed this setting of blooms in the old growth. Again simple forms.
I moved up the road which is still closed with a snowgate at the 7 mile point, and stopped for a look at one of my favorite places along that drive, Lost Creek Springs. There was a gorgeous dogwood on the bank at the edge of the flow and I spent quite a bit of time framing a shot that I think works.
Back on the main highway I found a spray of large blooms that just called me to stop. I noticed how large these individual blooms were as compared to the ones further up – timing of blooming, temperature and elevation I would think.
Olallie Creek campground was just around the corner and it was a stop that I had planned to make. I noticed the blooms just lighting up the dark under the old growth. There is a saying “You can’t have a light without a dark to put it in!!” True in this case.
As always comments are more that welcome and be sure to click on the images to get a larger view.
I just read an interview with Art Wolfe in on-Landscape emagazine in which he was asked about return visits to places he had shot in the past. Mostly they were referring to his almost yearly trips to South Georgia Island. He said that for him the challenge was to find ways to shoot familiar scenes in different ways. I sort of agree with that statement but not entirely. Return visits for me can be like going back to sit with an old friend who changes from year to year but basically presents the same level of self to the world. Such has been my yearly visits to the West Eugene wetlands when the Camas Lily is in full bloom and painting the fields with purple.
The best time, in my humble opinion, to photograph those fields are with sunset light and a colorful sky. Those conditions happen some evenings but one must keep a close eye on the weather report and the timing of sunset. Last night was a good evening – not the best I have had out there but one of the top 10 for sure.
Had the place to myself – love that quiet introspection that can happen at times like that when you are focused on the images you are trying to capture and the noise of the world does not intrude.
The two images below are a bit of time sequence – the first being as the sun began to touch the horizon and the second a wider view of the wetlands when the last light filled the scene.
T’was a lovely evening and I came away refreshed. Be sure to click on the images to get a larger view and I welcome your comments.