When I saw the sunrise on this beautiful morning in camp, I really didn’t see a photo until I walked back around behind the cactus, noticing the silhouette of the rising sun. I jumped into action, although I knew I was going to miss the shot I wanted: one with the sunstar at the crack of the horizon and the light on the tips of the cactus–and without the distractions of the ugly bush and the camp shelter. In the time it took to slap on a neutral-density filter, get the tripod arranged properly, and think through my exposure settings, the sun moved a bit too high in the sky, and I couldn’t find a better cactus grouping. So I snapped this one, hoping for one more pretty, cloud-filled sunrise during our stay, and would use this morning’s photo as a test shot of sorts. There wasn’t another opportunity to get a similar shot while I was here, but I decided that I was ok with what I did get on this gorgeous morning.
Shot on a beautiful–and surprisingly calm–evening along the Columbia River in Woodland, Washington. The glow is from the Tacoma/Seattle area, the next great metropolis, after Portland, to the north.
(I posted this on Instagram, but the small format really doesn’t do it justice.)
click to see it bigger
Part of our travels this past September included our annual trip to Waldo Lake. East of Eugene and south of Bend, Waldo is one of our special places, and it is remote enough that there is no cellular coverage, which suits us fine. This year, we spent a week there with the Casita, living off the grid, hiking, chopping firewood, and enjoying the forest.
I love photographing the lake, especially at the beginning of the day, when the overnight winds have calmed, the mists are clearing, and portions of the shore become bathed in sunshine while others linger in the shadows.
Next year, I need to figure out how to get the tree on the left a bit further into the frame without reducing the left side of the image to a mush of trees (which is what it is).
Click the image to see it larger. You can find last year’s Waldo Lake photos here; the group includes one of my all-time favorites–and a rare black and white photo from me.
Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is a rather unbelievable place, 422 square miles of wilderness tucked deep in the southernmost part of Oregon, at 4,000 feet. It is primitive and magnificent, and we were fortunate to spend a week there in September, among the antelope, coyotes, birds, jackrabbits and more. It is definitely a place worth exploring — and revisiting.
I took many photos, but few of them seem to capture the raw beauty of the place.
On our recent travels, Susan and I visited hot springs both at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge and the Alvord Desert. The springs at Hart were pretty crappy — they looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in, like, ever — but the Alvord Hot Springs (good info here, on SoakOregon) were quite delightful. So wonderful, in fact, that we went a couple of times.1
I love this shot of Susan, looking out on the desert landscape, with my iPhone, once again. I have a bunch of good ones that I shot inside the springs, but this is my favorite.
The photo reminds me that part of our purpose when we set out on our travels this year was to find a few special places and new experiences. It’s been a great year, and I’m glad to have this memory (and the photo) as part of it.
An edited version this photo appeared in my Instagram feed a bit ago…
(As always, click the photo to see it larger.)Notes:
- If you look at recent comments on the Web about the Alvord Hot Springs, you’ll see plenty of people complaining about the fact that the new owners of the springs charge $8 for a soak (24 hours of access to the pools, actually, or free with camping on their site). I never visited the old springs, but there were lots of old complaints about them being dirty and disgusting. Today, these springs are hot, clean and peaceful. It was worth the $8, in my opinion.
One of my favorite places in the Portland area is Larch Mountain. I’ve been photographing there for years at all hours of the day, and one of the things I love is spending a sunset atop the mountain. Despite the small platform at the summit, Larch often has a party atmosphere at sunset, especially during the summer. That’s where my pal Duncan and I first met the wonderful Hudson Henry, and I’ve witnessed marriage proposals, champagne toasts, and what seems like a million photographers while on the mountain.
When I first went to Larch, it bugged me that this big rock got in the way of the sunset, but once I discovered the wonder of the silhouette, I was hooked on looking west at least a few times while shooting Mt. Hood off to the east. And, despite the fact that a silhouette is a silhouette is a silhouette, I keep seeing different sides to them, as with this shot.
This is a three-shot panoramic merge of an iPhone 6s photo, and it’s better than anything I shot with my Sony A7RII that evening. A lot of tines, the phone will blow out the highlights in a sunset, but I seemed to get the light at the right time, while playing with the exposure.1 I’m continually amazed at how many of my favorite shots from the past year have come from that pocket camera. (I’ll have another in a day or so.)
Click on the image above to see it bigger. See my other Larch Mountain shots.Notes:
- While framing your image, click and hold to lock focus and exposure on the brightest spot, then drag down to lower the exposure a little bit.
I have been going through photos from the first trip this past spring, and happened upon this one, from a lovely afternoon in Boulder City, Nevada. The National Park Service has built a gorgeous hiking trail that follows the railroad line that brought supplies and building materials to the construction site of the Hoover (neé Boulder) Dam back in the late 1920s. The trail follows Lake Mead and ends up at the dam 3.7 miles later.
We had a great hike1, and I got this nice shot of Susan in one of the huge railroad tunnels along the trail. (Click to see it bigger.)Notes:
- Although I couldn’t enter the dam’s damn visitor center because I refused to give up my Leatherman. Really? What am I going to do? Throw it away? Give it to someone on their way out?
Spent a beautiful afternoon hiking along the Salmon River (outside of Welches, Oregon) last week. The trail, part of the Mt. Hood Wilderness, meanders along the river through a forest full of old-growth trees, something you don’t see a lot of out here. All afternoon, I was taken with the dance of sunlight and shade above me, and spent most of my camera time shooting directly up.
This shot was taken in the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park, which is about 60 miles southeast of Moab, Utah. Susan found this location while out on an all day hike, and suggested that it might be a nice place for catching the sunset.
This was a glorious evening, spent in a little-visited part of Zion National Park, Kolob Canyons. I was up at about 7,000 feet, with snow on the ground, a brisk wind in the air and a temperature of 39°F. That said, I was prepared for both the elements and a gorgeous sunset. I wasn’t disappointed.
This is a three-image panorama, taken with the Sony A7RII and the Sony/Zeiss FE 16-35 mm f/4 lens.1 I have a couple of other sunset images to post from this evening (I posted a version of one on Facebook the other day, but I still need to go through the batch to find the right one.)
- I keep thinking that the lens isn’t all that great, when compared with my trusty old Canon 16-35 mm F/2.8L, and then I see something like this when I’m back at my Mac.