August 27th, 2013
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses 292,500 acres, running from the mouth of the Sandy River to the mouth of the Deschutes and spanning southern Washington and northern Oregon. The Gorge is unique in its natural and cultural history, as well as its designation as a National Scenic Area.
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July 2nd, 2013
Left the mountains for a change of pace and cruised down the Oregon coastline for a couple days. Only explored a small portion of the coast during the few days but the drive was extraordinary. The weather was mostly cloudy the whole time so I didn’t land a good sunset or sunrise photo. This didn’t deter me from exploring the mostly empty beaches. Think I’ve been lucky to have most of these wonderful places to myself! Hope you enjoy the snapshots of the area.
Started the trip a few miles north of Lincoln City. As I drove into Pacific City I stopped to have some food at the Pelican Pub & Brewery. This pitstop turned out to be a great choice. Not only was the beer excellent, but the staff was extremely helpful when it came to finding a place to Camp. They also told me about this beach where it’s possible to drive anything that can make it down the narrow bumpy road.
Thought for sure the clouds were going to break open and That I would end up capturing some rays of light streaking out from behind the clouds.
Well things didn’t go as I expected so I focused attention on the fozzie.
Someone had already been down on the beach earlier in the day doing donuts. I think the lines help make the foreground more interesting.
Last wide shot of the Fozzie before I shifted to doing some self portraits.
Did a few self portraits. I’m not used to being in the photos I take so that came to a quick end.
The next morning I drove a little further up the coast and visited the Oceanside Beach State Park.
Would say that only 15 people were out walking the beach. Still had very nice weather most of the morning which made for some nice even light.
Seems like every beach in Oregon has some rocks or islands just off the coast.
The reflections off the beach made everything seem like it was floating in the clouds.
I managed to walk around the whole state park in a half hour. every cove had its own uniqueness.
some of the same shots from a distance. Everything was extremely green.
As I made my way around I noticed that this huge rock had a tunnel through it.
More of the coastline from the other side of the tunnel rock.
these rocks look really nice sticking out of the grey.
then I slowly made my way back once I reached a dead end.
here is a blurry pic of the tunnel I mentioned earlier.
As I climbed up a family was making their way through and told me that it goes clear through the other side.
this is the view from the other end. Guess it was built for visiting the other side during high tide. Not completely certain about the real reason though.
wide shot of the same entrance of the tunnel.
After the beach I grabbed some food in Oceanside where the barrista at the cafe I ate at told me not to miss the Octopus Tree further up the coast. She said it was her favorite tree ever. Peeked my Interest and I was headed to the lighthouse in the same area.
Outside the lighthouse door was a no climbing sign that I found funny.
One of the park rangers said this was the smallest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast.
along the path is a row of flowers that were collecting water droplets from the misty afternoon.
This is the view from the path. People are inside the lighthouse taking a tour.
The trees look so creepy.
The Octopus tree was insane. I’ve never seen anything like that. The sign below also confirms my amazement because no one knows how it happened. Just a freak of nature.
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July 1st, 2013
This byway cuts a path through the mountains, lakes, and forests of central Oregon. Volcanism and glaciation formed more than 150 lakes for which the region is well known. See outstanding examples of lava flows, alpine lakes, and meadows. Cross paths taken by such historic figures as Kit Carson (byway website). I didn’t even know this place existed until I stopped at a local cycling shop. They told me about the good riding and cheap campsites. Not knowing what exactly what I was driving myself into I packed everything into the car and headed west on 46 from Bend, OR.
30 minutes from the edge of town you find the Mt Bachelor Ski Resort and I’m not sure how I even missed this peak when I was driving up to Bend.
Someday I’ll drive the whole byway. Once I arrived at sparks lake I knew that I had found my spot for the night. Soda Creek Campground is on the opposite side of the lake which makes for easy access to the site I had marked for photos.
This is the view from the campsite. Photo of the South Sister Peak.
Another view of South Sister.
Here is the actual campsite from that night. It’s right in the middle of everything.
After setting up camp I drove around to get ready for sunset. Since there were no clouds in the sky it was kinda uneventful for shooting sunset. The clear skies did help us in the night though.
I was going to pack things up and head out because I wasn’t even thinking about night shots, but I meet two ladies as I was putting up my tripod. They happend to be in town for a night photography workshop. Linda and Meggi put the idea in my head and I decided to stay and hangout with the two of them.
These photos are a progression of of the night sky.
Once all the people watching the sunset left the area we were ready to get down to business. Before that we had photos like this with headlights in the distance.
Took a few photos where I had originally setup, but then I thought about getting some reflection from the water.
I tried multiple times and after many adjustments I finally got something that I liked. So I just kept playing around till I thought I had gotten a keeper.
The reason for the shift in color is a white balance adjustment. I switched over to kelvins and manually adjusted the temperature which made it more blue.
The clouds continued to roll in.
Then they completely blocked the Milky Way so I called it a night.
Think I got 20 yards down the road and stopped for one last photo.
After some Photoshop where I lightened the image and reduced the noise here is the final image from that night.
For anyyone that would ask about the settings on this shot here they are
Camera: Nikon D4
Lens: Nikon 24-70mm
Focal Length: 24mm
Exposure: 25 sec
Focus: Locked on manual and set to infinity
If i wasn’t for these to ladies I would have walked away from a wonderful night of photography. And if your curious Linda is on the left and Meggi on the right. Meggi has a webpage that can be viewed at here
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June 29th, 2013
Crater Lake has inspired people for thousands of years. No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past. It is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom (NP website).
Only spent one day at Crater Lake which meant I had to explore everything in prep for that one perfect shot.
The national park made it easy for me because only the west rim drive was open. The first stop was Rim village where I got the first view of the magical blue lake.
As I walked past the lodge I found this guy playing around an open field 10 yards from the walking path.
Even though he has a grey coat I was told this is a type of “Red Fox.” The reason the rangers know this is because the tip of the tail is white like all red foxes. Probably a lot more to it then that, but thats what I was told.
Another snap shot with my Olympus TG-2 as I did some more location scouting.
The next major stop on the western drive is the Watchman Overlook. Normally you can hike to the top of Watchman peak but the base of the peak was covered with 10-12 foot of snow.
Once I narrowed it down to my top two sites I settled in for sunset.
Realizing that I wasn’t going to get a great sunset shot from this angle I quickly shifted gears to night long exposures.
Here is a view towards the Rim Village as the sun started to set.
Since I didn’t get the photo I wanted I turned toward the other peaks outside the park.
Everything was to far away, but I got some nice silhouettes of the trees.
Then it was a waiting game until Nautical.
Testing the amount of available light.
Getting closer to what I needed.
Right around this time I knew it was dark enough to start trying for the stars.
Here is the first real shot of the night after adjusting the cameras settings.
After a white balance adjustment I knew that I wouldn’t get the best shot from this angle.
Moved to the Watchman Overlook for a few more shots because I turned on my head lamp and saw multiple eyes shining in the trees and didn’t know what it was. Thought it would be safer at the lookout.
Then I did a few more adjustments and came out with this beauty.
As I walked to the car I took this last shot and called it a night.
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June 28th, 2013
Most people know Redwood as home to the tallest trees on Earth. But the parks also protect vast prairies, oak woodlands, wild riverways, and nearly 40 miles of pristine coastline, all supporting a rich mosaic of wildlife diversity and cultural traditions. Together, the National Park Service and California State Parks manage these lands for the inspiration, enjoyment, and education of all people(np website).
Before i headed out for a hike a park ranger told me the parking lot I planned to leave my car in was known for break-ins. That seemed sketch so I blew off the permit and head for some day hikes.
hit up the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail to see a few of the redwoods.
A self guided tour was through this brochure.
The trail was very easy to follow and very easy to hike. Believe it was only a mile or maybe a mile and a half.
Cross section of a downed Redwood tree. Wish I would have stood in front as a reference because it was taller than me.
Here is a good reference of how tall the trees really are.
Forest fires left this tree hollowed out.
The sun was shining right behind this flower but I still managed to get this shot.
Interesting looking flower that caught my eye.
Two centipedes making babies.
Another view of the trail at LBJ Grove
If you ever wonder what it was like to look up from under a redwood here you go.
Another hollowed out tree from a forest fire.
Closer look of the burnt, but still living tree.
A fallen redwood.
Richard Nixon’s plaque in honor of Lady Bird Johnson’s efforts in helping preserve the redwood forest.
After exploring the grove I had some lunch in one of the local towns inside the National Park where a was told about Gold Bluffs campsite. I made my way over to the site and setup camp.
The campsite was along the beach and you had to do some off-road driving to reach the site. Nothing to crazy because the road was graded most of the way.
Once I pitched my tent I ended up walking out to the beach and just watched the sunset.
The sand dropped down two feet wich made a perfect seat.
feet in the sand as the waves crashed on the shore.
Walked back to the campsite before it got to dark on me since I forgot a flashlight. This is the view from the tent.
The next morning I unmounted the bike from the Forester and took a short ride to Fern Canyon. The canyon was located 3 miles down the coastline from my campsite.
I was told parts of Jurassic Park 3 were filmed in this very Canyon. Need to re-watch the movie to see if this is true.
Was a very awesome foggy morning to have the canyon all to myself.
I proceded to walk as far down the canyon as I could.
Since I had a Gorilla Pod with me I ended up doing some selfies.
In the middle of the canyon the walls were at their tallest and the ferns were everywhere.
a different perspective of how many ferns were along the walls.
Maybe this will help you to see how narrow the canyon was.
All along the walk through the canyon they had some wooden platforms to help tourist navigate across the creek.
I wanted to bike the entire coast trail but I was immediately stopped a quater mile from the canyon because of the protective mother.
Lucky for me I was blessed with this lovely show of light shinning through the trees on my drive out of the Gold Bluffs area.
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June 28th, 2013
From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges, Point Reyes offers visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. Home to several cultures over thousands of years, the Seashore preserves a tapestry of stories and interactions of people (NP website). Went out to Point Reyes hoping for a great sunset picture, but the weather did not cooperate with me the 3 days I was out there. It’s such a great park to visit even without a nice clear sky. unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see everything since it’s huge like most National Parks. Below is a few of the snapshots from the trip. Enjoy!
First photo of the day as I drove around to the Point Reyes Lighthouse.
Once I arrived to the Lighthouse parking lot I found out that it was closed for the weekend. But you could still hike out from the lot and see it from a distance.
This is from an overview where the fence is locked and no one is allowed beyond this point unless it’s normal business hours.
Took a shot of the sign even thought the shop was closed.
You can see what the elements have do to a light switch outside the lighthouse visitor centor.
After wondering around the lighthouse I drove to the hiking trails that lead to Chimney Rock. From the trail you can Sean Lion lounging on the beach.
Here is a different view of the same beach above.
I believed this rocks at the end of the trail to be Chimney Rock.
This Geo Survey Marker was at the end of the Trail.
This was funny to me because the guy falling looks really awkward.
As I made my way back from the Chimney Rock I was treated with the iconic view of Point Reyes. Just wished the sunset was lighting this section up.
if you know what this flower is called leave a comment.
A shot toward the Chimney Rock from a distance.
The rest of the coastline looks a lot like this image.
Millions of birds over the years have pooped on the rock making it turn white.
old abandoned boat launch.
The next morning I woke to find myself in the fog.
Tried to get some good shots of the green moss covered trees.
This deer was munching on some vegetation when I surprised him.
The Point Reyes beached at Inverness.
Once I arrived at my car I took the drive to Tomales Point. As you can see the flowers in the fields surrounding the trail were in full bloom.
The smell was a little over powering like a relative that dowsed herself with dollar store perfume.
Another shot of the trail.
Macro shots of the flowers along the trail.
So many lady bugs were in the plants.
Then the elk appeared
Most of them were no more that 30 yards from the trail.
This group kept a good eye on me as they continued to graze.
Another shot of a lady bug.
I tried really hard to get a good shot of this little guy, but he was to fast for me.
One more shot of a ladybug
Super Macro from the Olympus TG-2
The only trees in the area were at the Pierce Point Ranch.
Closer view of the trees towering over the flowers.
after walking up and down Tomales Point I headed over to McClures Beach.
Here is the end of the trail into McClures Beach.
Would never have noticed these tiny bugs if it weren’t for the macro shot.
looking up at the trail to Tomales Point.
Kelp that had been washed up on shore.
Walked towards the opening between the two rocks for a peek of the other beach.
It had a strong odor of rotting Kelp so i didn’t stay around very long.
Little more of the where the smell was coming from.
walking away I climbed some rocks that extended out into the ocean.
had to be a million clams attached to the back side of the rocks I climbed.
A giant sea anemone.
As I left the beach I happened to finds some ancient Coast Miwok Petroglyphs.
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June 25th, 2013
San Francisco is ranked 44th of the top tourist destinations in the world, and was the sixth most visited one in the United States. The city is renowned for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former prison on Alcatraz Island, and its Chinatown district. Such a wonderful city! I really enjoyed visiting San Francisco. Just wish I could have stayed longer, because there is so much to see in the city and I only scratched the surface. Upon first arriving to San Francisco I drove directly to the golden gate bridge because the weather was wonderful and I didn’t want to waste this opportunity.
I’ve been looking forward to getting a long exposure night shot of the bridge for some time so I jumped on the bike and started to pedal around the Chrissy Field area making my way toward the bridge
Nice view of the underbelly of the golden gate.
Fort Point at the base of the bridge.
decided to bike across the bridge for the shot I was looking for.
Had to park the bike several times to take pictures of the supports.
Perfect light for the iPhone shot.
I was very close to missing the sunset because I ended up in the Marin Headlands on my bike and had to walk the bike most of the way because the hills tired me out.
Since I came up through the headlands I decide to stop and photograph the sunset from the golden gate overlook.
First attempt as I waited for nautical dark.
Still had a little blue in the sky, but it was starting to look like what I wanted.
I forgot my jacket and the overlook was getting crowded with photographers so I biked across the bridge to help me warm up. This shot came only after I watched my camera and tripod fall into the dark rocks below. I had no flashlight or headlamp so I jumped into the rocks hoping that the waves hadn’t hit far enough up the rocks to ruin my camera.
After an adventurous first day I hung out with my Hawaiian friend Matthew Bocaya who is attending the Academy of Art University. We drove around looking for things to do and ended up back at Chrissy Field area where the Palace of fine arts is located.
Here is a little history of the The Palace of Fine Arts. Its in the Marina District of San Francisco and is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art presented there. One of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition, it is the only one still situated on its original site. It was rebuilt in 1965, and renovation of the lagoon, walkways, and a seismic retrofit were completed in early 2009.
I’m not sure whats original or part of the reconstruction, but the details are amazing.
wrong time of day to photography it, but here is a view from across the pond.
and last but not least here is a quick iPhone snapshot from the grandviews restaurant in the Hyatt hotel located in the Union Square area.
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June 25th, 2013
The Pacific Coast highway or California State Route 1 is a gem to behold. I’ve driven in some lovely places, but this highway seems to continue on forever. The wonderful views never stop either. The highway is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA, leading to its designation as an All-American Road. In addition to providing a scenic route to numerous attractions along the coast, the route also serves as a major thoroughfare in the Greater Los Angeles Area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and several other coastal urban areas (Wiki).
spring time is very lovely with all the flowers in bloom.
Elephant seals lounging around the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery.
Close up of the elephant seals.
views up and down the PCH.
tried to get a little of everything in this shot.
Not sure where this comes from, but I thought it was a good quote.
More of the coastline
This was the spot in Pacific valley area where I settled in for sunset photos.
Trying different looks in preparation for sunset.
Then I thought about including myself into the photo.
The following day I continued my drive north and found the Point Sur Light House. They only do guided tours on select days. I just happened to pass it at the right time so I took the tour.
Old Signage from the lighthouse museum.
Your only allowed to drive up to the base of the moro rock. Then the rest is on foot. here is a view from the walk up to the lighthouse.
another shot of the lighthouse grounds from the walk.
from this angle the lighthouse almost looks like the Makapu’u lighthouse in Oahu.
Unlike the East Coast lighthouses which tower above the ground the Point Sur lighthouse is only 3 stories high and reinforced with an square structure for the first 2 stories.
The interior still has the same spiral staircase that is not attached to the wall just incase some shift from earthquakes occurs.
Clever way to light the interior of the lighthouse.
Out with the old and in with the modern.
Walking outside on the top platform outside the lighthouse. Winds were 35-40 mph.
shot from the walkway
second shot from the walkway
he’s standing in the same spot I took the top 2 photos.
what goes up must come down.
View from the road heading up to the lighthouse keepers quarters.
Do to high winds and low clouds around Big Sur the light house is some 200 feet below the main complex above.
The care takers of the light house have remodeled the interior of the head lighthouse keepers home. with retro appliances and furniture.
Here is the front door to the keepers house.
Here is the view from the backyard.
A yard at the end of the world.
view of the entire cove at Pfeiffer Falls.
If it wasn’t for another photographer named Tyler Schmitt I wouldn’t have gotten this angle. We scaled the side of the crumbly rock wall and patiently waited for sunset in front of the falls. To view some of his work visit www.tyschmitt.com
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June 6th, 2013
Since Kings Canyon National Park borders Sequoia National Park on the east I had to make the 2 hour drive down into the canyon for views that are supposed to rival Yosemite according to John Muir. Since I arrived at the park very early it seemed like a ghost town. I maybe saw a couple park rangers and the road construction crew by the cedar village visitor center. I hiked to all the nearby waterfalls and walked the Zumwalt Meadows Trail all by my lonesome. Which was incredible to me! No loud children or obnoxious tourist ruining the quiet beauty of the park.
view of the King River as you enter the National park
Grizzly Falls which happens to be in The Sequoia National Forest before you enter Kings Canyon
Closer shot of Grizzly Falls
If it wasn’t such a cloudy day you would be able to see the entire canyon from this lookout.
Roaring River Falls
here is proof that I had the park to myself.
Walking over a suspension bridge to the Zumwalt Meadows Trail.
Picture of the Canyon Walls from Zumwalt Meadow
Rest area conveniently located in the Meadow.
Everything is in full bloom this time of year.
large path around the Zumwalt Meadow.
Opposite view from the suspension bridge.
Guess the wooden map was tired of holding the Meadow piece.
On the drive out I had some sunlight bouncing off the canyon walls.
More of the view from the drive out of the canyon.
liked the lone tree atop the canyon wall in this shot.
don’t forget your ice cream!
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June 5th, 2013
My second adventure in the state of California was a huge surprise and probably one of the best times I’ve ever had in the backcountry. The thing that made it more enjoyable that Yosemite was the lack of people. I visited the park a few day before Memorial Day weekend and little to no one was there. During the week the park is completely empty from 7-10am and 6-10pm. Most people show up for the Giant Sequoias, but the hiking around the park is amazing.
On the first day I arrived a bit late to the park. I was a little worried about finding a place to camp, but after talking awhile with a park ranger I learned that camping in the National Forest was completely free if sites were available.
Once I found a place to setup the tent I noticed the road next to my campsite was for off-road vehicles. So I thought it was time to test out the Fozzie. I climbed the dusty road all the way to Buck Rock right before sunset.
Elevation sign at Buck Rock. The lookout station on top of the Rock closed at 6 pm so I had to climb around for a good spot to take photos.
The Olympus TG-2 has been remarkable for a light do everything camera.
For some reason when I maxed out the zoom on the camera I got some blurry pictures, but it worked out just fine on a couple shots.
The next day I drove south to the National Park and enjoyed 2 hours of completely empty park. Here is a shot of the Parker Group of Redwoods next to the Subie. These aren’t even the biggest trees in the park, but they make the car look tiny.
From what I remember reading in the visitor center this is the only drive-thru tree remaining since the Redwood fell in the 60′s.
The stats from Tunnel Log.
Me standing next to the tree. It almost seems fake since these trees are huge.
Top of Moro Rock Lookout.
I decided to not listen to the signs about climbing over the rails and snapped a pic on the other side.
doing some levitating inside a burnt spot on the Sequoia.
This bricked diagram shows how large the base of General Sherman is.
This is the largest Tree in the world by Volume!
This tree is considered average sized for a Sequoia, but it’s right next to the Giant Forest Museum.
When I was in the Visitors Center I picked up a backcountry permit for a short 3 day hike on the lakes Trail. The permit had me staying at Pear lake for the 2 nights with a possible stay at Moose Lake. Above is the entrance to the trail from the Wolverton Parking lot.
Like all parks in bear country they have you move your food and scented items into these boxes. Since bears have been known to break into cars for food this is a good idea if no one messes with your goods.
Couple miles into the trail I ran across this sign and like usual I didn’t listen and took the watchtower trail.
I was greeted by some exceptional view of the falls and valley below from the watchtower trail.
here is the hazardous snow and ice blocking the trail. Some spots were a little sketch, but for the most part it had melted away from the trail.
The first of many lakes on the “Lakes Trail.”
Aster and Emerald lake are located next to one another but your not allowed to camp at Aster Lake.
Different angle of Aster Lake
Pear lake was a moderate 6 mile hike from the trailhead and it had some great views of the Lodgepole visitors center.
The Camping setup around Pear Lake.
Not sure what this is called. most people were yelling varmint out when they would try and steal food from around the campsite.
the view from campsite #12
The ridge line that surrounded the lake.
My second day at the pear lake area I climbed up and over the ridge in search of Moose Lake. There is no trail to the lake, but it’s super easy to find your way around with the lack of trees above 9,000 feet.
Great reflections on the Alpine lakes.
The snow melt created many creeks and streams throughout the mountain side.
Same stream as before but looking back down into the lake.
Moose Lake, it was an awesome site climbing over the ridge and finding moose lake. The back of the lake had cliffs that dropped off and you could see the High Sierra’s in the background.
from the opposite end of Moose Lake next to the cliffs.
after I made my way back to Pear lake the clouds started to roll in.
after a few hours of fog the sun broke through and lit up the mountains around the lake.
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