Oregon Desert Photography

Oregon Desert Photography 

Warner Lakes Wetlands, Oregon Oregon Desert PhotographyWarner Lakes Wetlands, Oregon #60942  Purchase

Oregon Natural Desert Association is a grassroots organization that promotes awareness and protection of unique environments of the Oregon Desert. Several years ago I was approached by Jim Davis, one of the founders of ONDA, to contribute photos for their yearly promotional calendar. Until then I wasn’t even aware of ONDA, but I quickly jumped at the chance to have my photography help with their conservation efforts. Being a lifelong landscape and nature photographer I always look for opportunities to give something back to the environment, and also help others appreciate the natural world we live in.

So when ONDA asked if I was interested in sharing some desert photography tips for their blog I didn’t hesitate to join in. The post has numerous tips from a variety of photographers that have contribute to the ONDA calendar. Many tips can apply to all landscape and nature photography subjects, but some are specific to desert environments.

You can check out the article here: How to Take Better Images of Oregon’s High Desert 

Below are a few more tips I’d like to share.

Oregon Desert Photography Tip: Lighting

Warner Lakes Wetlands with full moon, Oregon Oregon Desert PhotographyFull moon over Warner Lakes Wetlands, Oregon #60939   Purchase

The two photos above illustrate two important tips for all landscape photography. The first being, make sure to scout out locations with potential for good compositions in advance. That way you’ll know just where to go when the light gets good later on. Here at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge I wanted to find a good spot to make some photographs of Warner Lakes. While spending the afternoon hiking the slopes of hart Mountain, I looked an elevated view along with a foreground that included some features native to the area. Here I included ubiquitous sagebrush and basalt boulders.

Secondly, photograph in the best light. There are many types of lighting conditions to work with and not all are suitable for every subject. I already photographed both of the above images the previous evening. However clouds had diminished the quality of light. The next morning I awoke early, ready to work in the soft saturated light present during the Blue Hour. Many photographers pack it in as soon as the sun goes down, but it’s worthwhile to keep working. The hour following sunset can offer a soft colorful glow with low contrast. Not all Blue Hour light is equal though. Wispy high clouds directly above can reflect warm light down on your subject. However, those same clouds can cancel out any color if they are situated on and below the horizon where the sun set or rises.

Oregon Desert Photography Tip: Be Patient

Owyhee River Canyon Sunset Oregon Oregon Desert PhotographySunset over Owyhee Canton, Oregon  #56352   Purchase

The photos above and below illustrate another important tip, be patient. Watch the weather, and wait it out until the light is gone. In both photos I experienced good light at the last minute. The weather had been dismal and grey for the entire day, and it didn’t look good for evening light. Both locations were very remote, especially Owyhee Canyon. Meaning there was no cell signal, so I couldn’t check weather forecasts. With nowhere else to go it just made sense to wait and see what happened, in these instances I was lucky.

When photographing the immensely popular Painted Hills, I was the only photographer that stayed. Everyone else gave up on the light and left. I also had my doubts until a tiny clearing in the clouds opened up on the horizon. Fortunately this clearing was were the sun would be setting. When the sun poked through this clearing I had less five minutes of good light to work with, but it was enough.

Painted Hills Oregon Oregon Desert PhotographyPainted Hills, Oregon #44747   Purchase

Oregon Desert Photography Tip: Midday Light Creativity

Another tip, and one that many photographers scoff at, is don’t neglect midday light. While not as common, making good photos during the middle part of the day is possible. Interesting cloud formations or approaching storms can add an often overlooked dimension to a landscape. Also, this is a good time to get a bit creative. Experiment with minimalism, low saturation or black and white. The image below of Alvord Lake may not have the dramatic qualities to make it on the cover of Landscape or Outdoor photographer, or garner thousands of likes on Instagram or 500PX. However, it does illustrate the barren aspect of the Alvord Desert.

Painted Hills Oregon Oregon Desert PhotographyPainted Hills Oregon  #44704   Purchase

Alvord Lake Oregon Oregon Desert PhotographyClouds over Alvord Lake, Oregon  #60973  Purchase

Oregon Desert Photography Tip: Enjoy Your Surroundings!

If you’re photographing in the Oregon Desert, and especially the southeast corner, check out the many hot springs. After a job well done there’s nothing like a soak in a natural hot spring. Just sit back and enjoy the view!

Willow Creek Hot Springs Oregon Desert PhotographyWillow Creek Hot Spring, Oregon  #61026

Oregon Desert Photography

 

 

 

 

 

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New Idaho Images

Little Redfish Lake, Sawtooth National Recreation Area Idaho New Idaho ImagesSunrise at Little Redfish Lake, Sawtooth Mountains Idaho #56183

I’m very excited to announce all the images from my recent Idaho trip have been edited and processed! This was a very successful trip despite having planned it at the last minute. The main focus were the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains in central Idaho near the town of Stanley. Here I was fortunate enough to arrive in time for the annual blooming of camas and other wildflowers and enjoy photographing them in several mornings and evenings of fabulous light. Also included on this trip was Shoshone Falls on the Snake River Plain, Bruneau Canyon and Owyhee River Canyon, the later being just over the border in Oregon.

Please take a few minutes to browse through the new images portfolio, there is lots to see! If you’d like to view even more check out the Idaho Gallery, here there are over 500 images, all of which can be purchased as fine art prints or licensed for commercial use.

Stay tuned to this blog as I will be posting images and stories from this trip soon, and don’t forget to use the share buttons to forward to your friends and colleagues! Thanks for looking!

Click here to view the new Idaho images

Camas meadows Sawtooth Mountains Idaho, New Idaho ImagesMeadows of Camas, Sawtooth Mountains Idaho #56057

Owyhee River Canyon Sunset Oregon, New Idaho ImagesOwyhee Canyon sunset Oregon  #56352

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Idaho Trip Newfoundland Cancellation

Idaho Trip Newfoundland Cancellation

Sawtooth Mountains Idaho_55860
Well I’m finally back from being on the road for several weeks. No, this image is not from Newfoundland as I had originally planned, it was made in the Owyhee Desert just across the border from Idaho. The Sawtooth Mountains and Snake River Plain of Idaho were my main destinations on this trip.

My much planned and long anticipated trip to Newfoundland was cancelled at literally the last minute. As I attempted to check in at Sea-Tac airport for my flight I suddenly realized that my passport had expired in March, to enter Canada you either need an enhanced drivers license or a passport, I had no choice at that point but to board the shuttle back home to Bellingham. Although I was tremendously disappointed and felt very foolish and humiliated ( I had previously announced my plans to all my clients) I’m sure it was for the best in the end. I always feel that if something like this happens it happens for a good reason and in the end I probably wasn’t meant to go.

Two days later I shrugged off my disappointment and was packing my truck for Idaho. For all the years I’ve been photographing Idaho has been a state I mostly passed through on the way to Montana, Utah or Wyoming. This seemed like a great opportunity to make amends and photograph some long neglected areas. Maybe this was the place I was really meant to visit since I arrived at the height of wildflower season in the mountain valleys. My trip also coincided with a series of rain and thunderstorms which provided some excellent light from time to time. Here are a few samples of what I came back with. I’ll be posting more soon!

Owyhee River Canyon Idaho Trip Newfoundland Disappointment

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