Tag Archives: nature photography

Crater Lake

2009.07.31 -- Crater Lake, OR

2009.07.31 -- Crater Lake, OR

2009.07.31 -- Crater Lake, OR

My other brother and a friend of the family were in Portland for the Brewfest.  They came out from South Carolina to drink beer, take photos, and explore Portland, Seattle, and Central Oregon.  We headed out to Bend last week and decided to take a trip to Crater Lake.  I’ve camped there several times before and it never gets any less amazing.

We left Bend in the morning and made it to the North end of Crater Lake by 8:30am.  We trekked down the trail to the water and watched a few people jump into the lake.  In fact, all four of us were armed with various Canon Digital SLRs and were nicknamed the “Paparazzi” by those watching us take photos of the jumpers.  Between the four of us, we probably took 50 shots per jump–except the first time, when after all of the shutters stopped clicking, we heard a beep coming from my brother’s camera.  A beep that comes from accidentally setting it to timer mode instead of multi-shot.

After making fun of him for a bit, we headed back up to the car and took a trip around Rim Drive.  We popped out along the way to take shots from different areas of the lake.  My Canon 10-22mm lens was very popular on the trip (and borrowed quite a bit), as you could fit most of the lake in the frame in a single shot.  It’s great for this kind of large area, but you have to be careful and not loose the scale of the lake–which can be very easy without any reference object in the shot: trees, buildings, people.

Guler Ice Cave

Guler Ice Cave, Trout Lake, WA

Guler Ice Cave, Trout Lake, WA

Guler Ice Cave, Trout Lake, WA

Do you like standing in a freezer, surrounded by ice, in the dark, on a floor of solid ice? If so, the Guler Ice Cave near Trout Lake Washington is for you!

It’s actually a cool place once you understand your surroundings. I don’t mind the cold and dark, but carrying $2000 worth of camera gear on a natural ice rink while trying to get over a recent broken leg took a bit of work and good luck.

But navigating the ice wasn’t the hardest part. New cameras are great at understanding their surroundings, but take it into a dark place and try to shoot translucent ice and, well, it won’t want to behave. No one said photography was easy.

Despite these minor hardships, it was definitely worth the trip. It’s part of the Gilford Pinchot National Forest and there’s information here and here.

Portland to Bend

PDX to Bend

PDX to Bend

PDX to Bend

Every few weeks, I ride out to my brother’s in Bend with my camera gear in the back of the wagon, radio blaring, caffeine in my brain, and Bend beer on my mind.

For this trip, I made sure that my camera bag was in the passenger seat so that I could grab it when the mood struck me. With this in mind, it occurred to me that this is a trip that is so easily overlooked. Since I make this trip so often, it’s easy to get bored with the long stretches of forest in the mountains. Or the burned out deserts of the reservation. Or the gorges and bridges and endless farmland.

This time, I gave myself an extra two hours to explore the “in-betweens” of my trip. The top photo is a field just outside of the forests of Mt. Hood–one of many. The middle shot is just prior to the descent into Warm Springs. After miles and miles of ruler-straight highway through sun-scorched earth, you twist and turn into a huge, cavernous valley.

The last shot (bottom), is from a bridge near Terrebonne. Just stop, pull over, wait for a lull in traffic, lay down on the highway, and shoot. Or, in reality, stop by the Dalles-California Highway–which is closed to traffic in this section–and pretend that it’s dangerous.

Elowah Falls

2008.11.19 - Elowah Falls

2008.11.19 - Elowah Falls

2008.11.19 - Elowah Falls

I decided to take a trip down to the Columbia Gorge today and shoot some obligatory waterfall shots. In under an hour from Portland, there are so many places to explore. Plus, during the week, there’s hardly anyone around.

I ended up at Elowah by looking at a map, picking a random waterfall, and heading out the door. I’ve been to the falls before, but I couldn’t find any shots in my archives, so it ended up being a good “random choice”.

Waterfalls can be tricky. Without a person or other reference point in the shot, it’s hard to understand the size of everything. Rocks and water always look like rocks and water, no matter how big they are. This can turn a 300 foot waterfall into a 10 foot waterfall.

In the center photo, I tried keep this from happening through a couple of techniques. First of all, I’m a sucker for ultra-wide angle lenses. But too wide on this shot would have reduced the size of the waterfall too much. So, I didn’t go too wide on the shot, but just wide enough to get a bit of bridge railing for size reference. I also let a some water droplets collect on the UV filter to illustrate the power of the waterfall’s spray. Hopefully, these things come together to convey that this waterfall is almost 300 feet high!