Desert treats

As you travel south on Highway 31, The Fremont Highway, from the town of Silver Lake, home of the Cowboy Dinner Tree which serves an excellent albeit large dinner, you start a steep climb that takes you out of one watershed and drops you in the Great Sandy Desert.  At the top you can find some petroglyphs left from when the Paiute tribe roamed this country in past years.  I like this one – mother and child – I think I can see antlers so  maybe a deer or and antelope.

After hearing of rain on the desert the week before I went over looking for wildflowers.  The first day I found some Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) – the intense yellow against the gray and brown of the desert makes this plant stand out.

Traveling along I kept my eyes open for flowers and came upon a flat at the base of the hills just north of Alvord Desert covered with blooms.

One more stop on a long day that still had a trip to the Malheur NWR to come.  Love the way a gully like this concentrates enough water to initiate a little garden.

Be sure to click on the images for a larger screen view – especially the last two.  I still have a few more images to work with but as you can hopefully see this was a really good outing.


Further into the Desert

Following a quick stop along the road east of Adel – due to about 100 head of cattle being herded down the road – I drove into the beginnings of the Basin and Range country.  As the name describes you travel over some steep ridges with names like Buzzard Gap @ 6,122 ft and Dorothy Rim at 6, 240 ft. and then drop down into almost flat basins.  The image below is from one of the basins.  You know you are in big country when a 14mm prime wide angle lens just seems to be not wide enough.  The road joins Hwy 205 at Denio Junction, Nevada and it was there that I turned north and headed toward the Alvord Desert.  It is always a treat for me to stop and visit with John Simpkins at Andrews.  We were both careful to do our social distancing and to keep the visit short.

I think the Alvord Desert is one of the most interesting places in Oregon if not the whole interior west.  The Playa in late Spring and throughout summer is bone white and very hard.  Going mid-week was a good idea as those I chatted with said that the Memorial Day weekend was very crowded and noisy.  Not something that appeals to me.  I wandered for a couple of hours on the Playa – the reflection of the sun made what was a relatively hot day even hotter.  I love the vastness of this place.   The photographic gurus tell me that one should never split an image down the middle but this just seems to work for me.  Again please click on the image for a larger view.

I have more to post – intimate views of the tiles on the Playa and fields of wildflowers in bloom but will wait a day or two.  Comments always welcome.

Oregon Outback

Following an overnight stay in Lakeview after a wonderful image filled first day along the Oregon Outback Scenic Drive I headed out the next morning with the idea of photographing in the Warner Mountains and then over to the Alvord Desert for a quick visit with my friend John Simpkins who lives and paints in the old ghost town of Andrews.

About 6 miles north of Lakeview is the junction of Hwy 395 and Hwy 140 which turns and heads east into the Warner Mountains.  I had read in Greg Vaughn’s book Photographing Oregon about aspen being along that route.  That was sure the case and there were lovely pockets of beautiful trees all along the first 10 miles or so of the route. The yellow/green of spring leaves will morph into golden glory in the autumn.  On this trip I was looking for detail and intimate images.   Here are two.  I think I have my new autumn aspen shooting location but would still love to get to Utah and Colorado as well as those big hillside filling swaths seem to be just magical.

It is about 26 miles from the Hwy 140 junction to the map dot of Adel but it took me over 2 hours to travel.  Many stops and lots of unloading and setting up camera gear.  Just west of Adel is Deep Creek Falls.  To me a beautiful and somewhat surprising waterfall (Spring flow volume) in the midst of the high desert.  Please be sure to click on the image below for a larger view – I think it is worth it.

I will stop here and post again the story and images from the Alvord Desert portion of my outing.   Thanks for looking and your comments are always welcome.

Monday Mountain #9

This is a winter view of the Pueblo Mountains from Hwy 205, the Catlow Valley Road, on the drive to Fields (Population: Not Many).  Nevada in the distance.  Love this country and am headed that direction for the next few days hoping to find desert wildflowers.

Hope you are all healthy and happy.

Upper Lost Creek Springs

After a fun trip to the Lost Creek Springs area last Sunday I came home to find that the images I collected were collectively junk. This morning my OCD kicked in and I went back for another go at gathering an image or two that really conveyed what I found at Upper Lost Creek Springs. The dogwood are spectacular this year a condition that does not come around all that often – so I went back and got what I wanted.

Also found a bit of detail with some ferns that are poised to unfold.  This image will look better if you click on it to get a larger view. Health and happiness to you all.


Monday Mountain #5

The east facing escarpment on the south end of Steens Mountain.  Just north of Andrews.  Shot this in mid-winter.  Clear and very cold.

I worked for almost 2 hours on this image yesterday to get it where I want it (mostly that was due to my clumsiness in Lightroom)  and will go back again today for another look.  Click for a larger view.