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Cascade Lakes Highway

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2008 by btiguy

The Cascade Lakes highway, near Bend, Oregon, is arguably one of the prettiest drives in the United States  and is filled with outdoor adventure options.  Fishing, skiing at Mt. Bachelor, cross country skiing from Dutchman Flat, Hiking, climbing, and of course photography.  Every year I make several photographic journeys along the cascade lakes highway, so I decided to spotlight some images that emphasize this area’s impressive beauty.  Sparks Lake is a favorite location of many photographers and I am no exception.  I have to start my exploration of this area with an image of one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever witnessed.  It was the sort of scene which makes me nervous with excitement.  Part of what makes this one of the favorite images in my portfolio is that Debbie and Emma were there to share in this exquisite scene.  Emma to this day refers to this picture as “Froggy Lake”  because of all the frogs she and Debbie studied that evening.

The Following image is another taken with Emma, but it required more effort than the previous image.  I awoke long before sunrise, scooped Emma out of bed in her footy pajamas, and we drove to Sparks Lake, where I made trips wading back and forth  in waist deep water carrying gear and Emma to a small island, where this shot was taken.  For some beautiful images of Sparks Lake, Sparks Lake Photo. I was consumed with the scene and Emma was consumed with sleep.  She quickly fell asleep on my down Jacket(see Columbia River Gorge Blog entry) While I worked the scene. Soon the light became too harsh, and hummingbirds frantically worked the scene as I had moments before.

The next two images are both of Mt Bachelor, earlier this summer along the shores of Sparks Lake.  The first displays a channel of water gracefully cutting through a field of buttercups, one of the first flowers to announce the arrival of spring along the cascade lakes highway.


Next is Mt. Bachelor fronted by a foreground of Mountain Heather blooming on small islands adjacent to the shores of Sparks Lake.  This specific area of Sparks Lake is in my experience, essentially a holding basin designed by mosquitos in order to exsanguinate crazed photographers, namely myself.

From this image I move along to another of my favorite cascade lakes, Elk Lake, Cascades Lake Highway.  Elk lake has more developed areas and is famed for a small but relatively stable population of sail boats residing there.  My favorite area of the lake is the “south beach” area, cleverly named for the fact that it is on the south shore and has a beach and not because it sports art deco architecture, palm trees, or a prominent fashion district.  The following image was captured near south beach with South Sister mountain in the background.  The most difficult part of capturing this image was waiting for the dozens of hummingbirds to clear the scene before exposing my film.  Had I not waited the hummingbirds would have been represented by an unattractive blur due to the long exposure times I usually utilize with my large format camera.Next is an image taken this July showing a foreground of columbine, where I fought a similar duel against dive-bombing hummingbirds repeatedly invading my shot.Finally I’ll conclude with a Sparks Lake shot taken three days ago at sunrise.  Another stunning light show at a truly beautiful location.South Sister on the left and Broken Top on the right share the scene with clouds drenched in the warm glow of morning’s first light.  It may not look like this every morning along the Cascade Lakes highway, but I am never disappointed by this beautiful area of Central Oregon.

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Three Finger Jack and Canyon Creek Meadow

Posted in Bend Oregon, cascade mountains, Large Format Photography, oregon cascades, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2008 by btiguy

Debbie Emma and I recently enjoyed an overnight backpacking trip in the Mt Jefferson Wilderness area.  The trail is relatively short(about 5 miles round trip) and the scenery is stunning.  Emma was a trooper while Debbie and I groaned about pack weight.  Below is a shot of my girls shortly after entering the upper canyon creek meadowThe flowers in the lower meadow were a little bit ahead of their prime, but the area is beautiful nontheless.

Below is a shot of our campsite in the lower meadow with a nice view of Three Finger Jack.  

Upper Canyon Creek Meadow is much more alpine in nature and is generally considered to be more scenic, which makes it well worth the additional effort to get there.  While the upper meadow is stunning, camping there is discouraged due to heavy use, instead backpackers are encouraged to camp in the lower meadow and day hike up to the upper meadow, sparing it from extra wear and tear associated with overnight use.  Because of the heavy snow pack from last winter, the flowers in upper meadow are still a bit early, but there were individual groupings that were quite exceptional.  Below is one of my favorites.  Mountain Heather in the foreground, Indian Paintbrush in the midground, backed by the impressive Three Finger Jack photo.

Three Finger Jack and Mountain Heather

Three Finger Jack and Mountain Heather

The next couple weeks should continue to be quite beautiful  in the upper meadow with thousands of lupines preparing to bloom.  Below is one last image, a wider spread featuring Indian paintbrush, yellow buttercups and Three Finger Jack.

If you’re planning a trip to Canyon Creek this year, make it soon!