Stock landscape and outdoor adventure photos from Oregon, Washington, and the Pacific Northwest

Posts Tagged ‘bend oregon photos’

Photos of Tumalo Falls and the Waterfalls of the Tumalo Creek Basin

We at Pacific Crest Stock have always considered ourselves fortunate to live in Central Oregon where it is beautiful and where there is immense environmental diversity.  From the badlands east of Bend to the rainforests west of Bend with old growth Ponderosa forests and snow capped volcanoes in between.   Bend, Oregon is on the edge of the high desert which is considered to extend from the Cascade Mountain Range to the Rocky Mountain Range.  Perhaps, the important thing to remember is that we are on the edge of the high desert and not in the middle of it.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t have huge trees and many waterfalls near our fair city.  We had lots of hits on our website looking for waterfalls and specifically waterfalls of Central Oregon, so finally we’re going to give a little information and several photos of some of those waterfalls.  We have great photographs of some of these waterfalls and others, well, we know we need to go back to at some point! Arguably, the foremost waterfall in the minds of most Central Oregonians is the majestic Tumalo Falls.   Tumalo Falls is no stranger to visitors and it shouldn’t be as it is quite awe inspiring and very visitor friendly.  Located only 10 miles west of Bend, on Skyliners road which is a westward extension of Galveston Road.
View Larger Map
In the winter, the road to Tumalo Falls is closed for the last 2.5 miles and a snow park is located at the closure.  In Summer, the road is open all the way to the falls where there is parking, a restroom, and some informational kiosks about the 1979 Bridge Creek Fire which raged through the area. Additionally, Bend’s famed water source Bridge Creek, is nearby.

Photo/picture of Central Oregon's Tumalo Falls in autumn

Photo/picture of Central Oregon's Tumalo Falls in autumn

This photo of Tumalo Falls was taken in autumn several years ago during a driving rain at the height of fall color.  In other words, don’t expect the Tumalo Falls area to be this colorful when you visit, because in the hundreds of times I’ve visited it’s only looked this good once!  Below is another photo of Tumalo Falls that I captured in summer requiring a long exposure and a total absence of wind in order to keep the purple lupines in the foreground from fluttering about.

Picture of Tumalo Falls and Purple Lupine in Central Oregon

Picture of Tumalo Falls and Purple Lupine in Central Oregon

I re-visited this site this summer and noticed that most of the purple lupine in this photo have been replaced by native grasses which is too bad for photography purposes.  Tumalo has several possible name derivations, one of which is from the Klamath Indian word “Tumallowa”  meaning icy water.  This is appropriate as Tumalo Creek is largely composed of glacial melt from high off of the Central Oregon Cascade Range.  This waterfall has one 97 foot  drop and two great viewing points.  The lower view point is obvious but the upper viewpoint is a real gem as it gives a real sense of the flow and power of this particular waterfall, making it worth the short 1/4 mile climb to the top of the falls.

Below is an image of Bridge Creek Falls which is located near to Tumalo Falls and is along the aptly named Bridge Creek Trail.

Photo of Bridge Creek falls in Central Oregon.

Photo of Bridge Creek falls in Central Oregon.

The exact location where I shot this image of Bridge creek Falls was quite scary to get to and , frankly, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.  I had to carefully balance on a slick, wet log while Bridge Creek raged below.  This waterfall  is located about one mile from the Tumalo Falls trail head.  To get there, start climbing the trail to the top of Tumalo Falls and take a left onto the Bridge Creek Trail and proceed about one mile where Bridge Creek will be raging on the left side of the trail.

The following waterfall, “Double Falls” is located above Tumalo Falls on Tumalo Creek.  It is one of many attractive waterfalls that are upstream of the the more well known Tumalo Falls.  Double Falls is located about 1.25 miles up stream  along the North Fork Trail which for Mt. Biking purposes is up hill only.  It is a relatively easy hike but beware of mosquitoes in summer.

Photo of Double Falls located above Tumalo Falls on Tumalo Creek.

Photo of Double Falls located above Tumalo Falls on Tumalo Creek.

If you continue hiking or biking uphill on the North Fork Trail for 3.5 miles, you will pass several other impressive waterfalls.   The next waterfall is about a mile above Double Falls.  You will then cross a bridge about half-mile later, at which point you almost get bombarded with waterfalls.  There are least 5 more waterfalls within a half-mile of the bridge.  Keep hiking because the last waterfall is probably the best.

 The grand finale waterfall on the North Fork Trail above Tumalo Falls.

The grand finale waterfall on the North Fork Trail above Tumalo Falls.

We plan on some more waterfall blog entries in the near future so stay tuned!  If you have an interest in licensing these or any of our other Central Oregon waterfall images, please visit our stock photography website at Pacific Crest Stock.

by Mike Putnam


Central Oregon Landscape Photography and The Amazing Snake Handling Nymph of Tumalo Reservoir

Earlier this spring(2009) My daughter, Emma and I had one of our many Daddy/Daughter days when My wife, Debbie was working .  As is often the case, we decided that a hike would be a pleasant way to pass the day.  I noticed some interesting clouds in the area slightly northwest of Bend, so I decided that a drive to Tumalo Reservoir would be a worthwhile journey for both Emma and I.  The views of  Central Oregon’s Three Sisters Mountains are great from Tumalo Reservoir and from some areas of the reservoir, the Sisters are nicely reflected in the water.

Photo/Picture of the Three Sisters reflected in Central Oregon's Tumalo Reservoir

Photo/Picture of the Three Sisters reflected in Central Oregon's Tumalo Reservoir

The above photo of Tumalo Reservoir taken on a different morning shows the Three Sisters nicely reflected.

Part of the reason that I felt Tumalo Reservoir would be a good destination was because Emma enjoys playing around water and the last time she and I had been there, we had seen several snakes which frightened but intrigued her.  She’d been pining to see the snakes again but from a distance.

As we drove into the  area, we crossed over a bridge at the east end of the reservoir where I stopped and captured the following image.

Photo/Picture of Central Oregon's Three Sisters seen above Tumalo Reservoir

Photo/Picture of Central Oregon's Three Sisters seen above Tumalo Reservoir

Pleasant clouds and an interesting shoreline had already made this a worthy day-trip.  Only one thing troubled me.  There was a mother and two children playing along the shores of the lake, occasionally interfering with my landscape photography.  They seemed to be pleasantly playing but they weren’t helping my cause.  Emma and I hiked along the southern edge of the reservoir until the mother and children were out of the way.  The photos from that part of the hike were not inspirational but we did have a bit of excitement.  First, I’ll give you a bit more background.  My daughter, Emma is definitely a Girly-Girl.  I mean this in the sweetest way possible.  She loves clothes, she loves dolls, she fusses with hairstyles constantly.  To sum up, she is no Tom-boy.  Despite her girly ways, she does enjoy controlled adventures.  Well on this day, the banks of the Reservoir were especially muddy.  While I was taking pictures of the Three Sisters, Emma got bogged down in mud and lost a shoe.  We were both entertained and decided it was best to not get too close to the water’s edge.  After I’d gotten the photos I wanted, we worked our way back to where we’d parked.  Along the way, I scouted some more photos.  While taking one last shot, I heard a feminine screech, which could only come from one person and it could only mean one thing.  Emma had seen a snake!  She was simultaneously terrified and thrilled.  Unfortunately, I was too slow with my camera and I missed this hilarious photo opportunity.  With my moral support, she wanted to find another snake.   She soon got her wish!  As this snake wasn’t a surprise, there were no shrill screeches to fill the air!

As we approached the canal at the east end of the reservoir, we  once again saw the Mother and her two children, the oldest of which was a little girl about Emma’s age.  They were on the opposite side of the muddy canal when the older child said what I thought was “should I catch them a snake, Mommy?”  Knowing that my ears had deceived me, we continued on towards the car.  The little girl began scurrying along the the shore and in the water with a flurry of activity.  Emma and I were intrigued.  The little girl then proceeded to wade waste deep across the mud bottomed canal.  The same canal that held shoe-sucking quick sand and flesh eating snakes!  She was absolutely intrepid and totally indifferent to any aquatic obstacles in her way.  As she neared us, Emma’s eyes widened to unprecedented widths!  The little girls hands were full of sticks, No……They were full of snakes!

Photo of the amazing snake charmer of Tumalo Reservoir!

Photo of the amazing snake charmer of Tumalo Reservoir!

Keep in mind that I don’t have any kind of snake phobia, but I don’t like them surprising me either.  Well this enchanting and fearless little girl was completely unfazed about the snakes writhing around her arms.  As she shared her find, the snakes became completely calm in her hands.  She explained that they were very friendly and that we should hold them.  Emma almost had a heart attack!  Eventually I worked up the courage to hold one snake and indeed it eventually calmed in my hand.  Emma took a little more cajoling.  Below is a photo of Emma building the courage to touch one of the snake charmers’ pets.

The snake charmer and Emma building courage to do the impossible!

The snake charmer and Emma building courage to do the impossible!

Obviously, Emma is excited and hesitant while the snake-handling nymph is completely at ease with the snakes.  I was astounded!  After many minutes of confidence building exercises, Emma eventually summoned the courage to hold a solitary snake.

My daughter Emma bravely holds what was once a flesh-eating garter snake!

My daughter Emma bravely holds what was once a flesh-eating garter snake!

I was very proud of her and I was simply amazed by the unknown little girl who was fearless and charming at the same time.  For entertainment purposes, scroll up to the snake charmer and back down to Emma to assess their different comfort levels.

If anybody who reads this blog entry happens to know who the snake charming nymph of Tumalo Reservoir is, please contact me as I’d like to thank her and her mother for sharing with us.  She was enchanting, charming, polite, personable, fearless, and entertaining.  She truly brightened our day and the whole event was something that Emma and I will remember forever.  Thanks!

To view more Central Oregon landscape photography of the Three Sisters and Tumalo Reservoir, please visit our stock photography site, Pacific Crest Stock Photography

by: Mike Putnam


Central Oregon Sunrise Photos and the Three Sisters Mountains

I’ve often struggled with photos of our very own Three Sisters Mountains.  Although they form the dominant and very scenic backdrop for the city of Bend and the Central Oregon area, I’ve found it difficult to make more of a thin panoramic out of this iconic Central Oregon Photo subject.  A friend, Veronica, recently tipped me off that there were some nice lupines blooming along the shores of Tumalo Reservoir.  I immediately took a drive there and she was certainly correct.  I would like to thank her for the tip and if any of you readers have any other given locations that are particularly stunning, please let us know so we can quickly take a visit.

Photo of Central Oregon's Three Sisters Mountains with a foreground of desert lupine as seen at sunrise

Photo of Central Oregon's Three Sisters Mountains with a foreground of desert lupine as seen at sunrise

As you can see, the view of the Three Sisters is pretty stunning from this area of Central Oregon and the flowers aren’t bad either.  As these are desert lupines, they are a bit small, but very attractive.  There is some great hiking and horse back riding in this area and there’s no better time than now, before the trails get too dry and dusty, as they will later in the summer.  Next up is an image from the bridge at the east end of Tumalo reservoir.  My timing was good on this shot, in that there was some very attractive pre-dawn light filling the scene, and the shrubs in the foreground add some form and texture to the scene.

Picture of Central Oregon's Three Sisters Mountains as seen just before sunrise at Tumalo Reservoir

Picture of Central Oregon's Three Sisters Mountains as seen just before sunrise at Tumalo Reservoir

I’ve been to Tumalo Reservoir countless times but I’ve not seen a pre-dawn sky so pink and pleasant before.  In the following image, you’ll seen a solitary grouping of yellow flowers which have a short but vibrant life along the banks of Tumalo Reservoir.  After a bit of research, I’ve concluded that they are probably tansy leaved evening primrose.  They are a small beautiful flower that will only be around for a short time before the harsh desert heat cooks the life out of them, so go visit them soon.

Photo of tansy leaved evening primrose

Photo of tansy leaved evening primrose

Finally is one last photo of our beloved Central Oregon volcanoes, the Three Sisters as seen with what I think are Tansy leaved evening primrose in the foreground.  If any botanists are reading this blog entry and happen to know that I’ve mis-identified this flower, please contact me and let me know.

Photo of Central Oregon's Three Sisters Mountains with evening primrose

Photo of Central Oregon's Three Sisters Mountains with evening primrose

The above photo, another of the Three Sisters Mountains of Central Oregon, has nice balance between the floral foreground and the alpine background.  All of the images in this blog entry and many others are available on our primary Stock Photography site, Pacific Crest Stock .


Visit Bend Tourism Guide now available, Go see our Photo!

I just made a trip down to the Visit Bend Office in downtown Bend, Oregon to pick up a copy of their new Bend, Oregon visitor’s guide.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, one of our photographs graces the cover of this year’s guide and the whole thing looks great!  To visit the previous blog entry regarding the cover shot which is of Mt. Jefferson and a gorgeous meadow of alpine wildflowers high up in the Mt. Jefferson wilderness area please click here.  Mt. Jefferson cover shot .  A sincere thanks goes out to Doug, Lynnette, Laurel, and the rest of the team at Visit Bend for selecting our image for their cover shot and for being great people to work with during this project.  They have all proven to be personable, efficient, and talented people to work with and to know.  I also mentioned in a previous blog entry that this cover is a special honor because both Troy and myself are both such big boosters of Bend and the entire Central Oregon area.  For people like us who love the outdoors, there is no finer place to live and to represent the area we love in some small way is a huge honor.  

Visit Bend Mt. Jefferson Cover Shot, now in visitor centers near you!

Visit Bend Mt. Jefferson Cover Shot, now in visitor centers near you!

The Visit Bend offices are located at 917 NW Harriman St. in Downtown Bend Oregon.  They are a great resource for information about the whole Central Oregon Area so stop by say hello to their friendly staff, view some of their beautiful art work (My Fine art prints are displayed there!) and grab a copy of their new bend area tourism guide with one of our Pacific Crest Stock images on the cover.  We hope they are as excited about the cover as we are.  Also you can visit their very attractive website at Visit Bend.  to see more of our grat landscape images, please also visit our main stock photography site at Pacific Crest Stock.   Thanks for visiting!

Posted by 

Mike Putnam


Time Traveling Through Oregon: How to Move from Winter to Summer in Just a Couple of Hours

It’s amazing how much difference a few thousand feet of elevation can make.  Right now, we have warm weather and dry hiking trails in Bend (3,600 feet), while the mountains (10,000 feet) a few miles away are still covered with more than 10 feet of snow.  We can downhill or Nordic ski in the mornings and mountain bike or kayak in the afternoons. 

Driving from Bend to the coast right now provides even more seasonal diversity. After cresting the snow-covered Santiam Pass (4,800 feet), the highway quickly starts losing elevation as it drops down to Detroit Lake (1,400 feet) and then eventually makes its way to sea level.  While the higher elevation eastern side of the pass is still stuck somewhere in the late winter doldrums, the western side is in full-blown Spring and Summer.  The trees along the Santiam River and all of the way to the coast are currently budding in all sorts of beautiful colors.  In a way, traveling from the Cascade Mountains to the coast right now is sort of like time traveling several months ahead because these areas are in two completely different seasons.

My family and I recently had the chance to do a little time traveling during a weekend excursion to the Central Oregon Coast.  Julie (my wife) had just finished working another long tax season and we all felt like we needed a little escape, so we took the kids over to the coast for a mini-vacation.  It was an amazing drive, and hard to believe just how far ahead the seasons had progressed in the lower elevation towns compared to Bend.  Everything looked completely different in the future (Spring/Summer).

We arrived at Pacific City about an hour before sunset, and while the kids tried roller skating on the beach (which I knew wouldn’t work, but sometimes you just got to let them try anyway), I strapped on my camera pack and climbed up onto the cliffs above Cape Kiwanda.  I could tell the sunset wasn’t going to be overly dramatic, but I found a nice spot overlooking the big headwall, snapped a few photos, and then headed back toward my family to help clean sand from the kids’ roller skates.

 

 Sunset photo from the Cliffs at Cape Kiwanda.

Sunset photo from the Cliffs at Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon Coast

 

The next day was an absolutely wonderful day.  It was warm and sunny, and there was no wind blowing on the beach.  In other words, it was basically like a mid-summer day by coastal standards.  The kids played in the ocean for a while, and then we took a day trip down to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Rogue Brewery, both of which are located in Newport, Oregon.  After leaving Newport, we went a few miles farther south to Seal Rock State Park.  I’ve seen several great photos from Seal Rock, and since I knew that low tide was occurring around sunset, I figured that we might as well go explore around on the beach for awhile.  We stopped and picked up some firewood and marshmallows and then set out for the beach to do a little photo scouting. 

Unfortunately, the low tide wasn’t really all that low on this particular day (about 4 feet above sea level), and therefore, some of the beach’s most interesting rock formations and tide pools didn’t get exposed. I set up my camera and tripod several different times hoping for something magical, but after looking at the scenes again in my viewfinder, I just wasn’t all that moved by them so I packed up my gear and never even clicked the shutter.  All-in-all, it looked like Julie and the kids were having much more fun than me, so I decided to put away the camera and go play with them until the sun got a little lower on the horizon. 

 

 My wife, Julie, and our 18-month-old daughter, Anna.  This picture was taken just before Anna’s face became covered with gooey marshmallows.

My wife, Julie, and our 18-month-old daughter, Anna. This picture was taken just before Anna’s face became covered with gooey marshmallows.

 

After running around on the beach for a while longer, Julie and I built a campfire and sat back sipping on a couple of “Mommy and Daddy drinks” while the kids roasted marshmallows.  As usual, Jacob was drawn to the campfire.  I kept waiting for him to pull his shirt over his head and start screaming “Fire! Fire!” like some old Beavis and Butthead episode.  The next two pictures illustrate the dramatic difference in marshmallow roasting techniques that are used by my two older kids.  Notice how Ella (6 years old) stays so far back from the fire that her marshmallows stay about the same temperature that they were in the grocery store, while Jacob (4 years old) is not bashful at all about sticking his deep into the fire and watching them burn to a crisp.  Julie and I eventually had to draw a circle in the sand several feet away from the fire just to keep Jacob from pulling a truly Beavis-like move.

 

 My 6-year-old daughter, Ella, holding some lukewarm marshmallows somewhat close to a campfire at Seal Rock State Park.

My 6-year-old daughter, Ella, holding some lukewarm marshmallows somewhat close to a campfire at Seal Rock State Park.

 

 

 My 4-year-old son, Jacob (aka “Beavis”) with some overly roasted marshmallows at Seal Rock State Park.

My 4-year-old son, Jacob (aka “Beavis”) with some overly roasted marshmallows at Seal Rock State Park.

 

The later it got, the less and less likely it seemed that the sunset was going to turn toward the dramatic side, so I walked down to the water’s edge and snapped the following photo, and then we headed back up the Pacific Coast Highway to Pacific City.

 

Sunset photo at Oregon’s Seal Rock State Park.

Sunset photo at Oregon’s Seal Rock State Park.

 

The next day was an equally beautiful day on the coast.  We spent most of the morning sitting out on the deck, eating ice cream and enjoying the summer temperatures and then we headed back home . . . and back in time . . . to the winterscape of the Cascade Mountain Range.

Posted by Troy McMullin

NOTE: To see more of our coastal images, please click the following link:  Pacific Coast Images


Eastern Oregon Gems: Painted Hills, Blue Basin, and Strawberry Lake Photos

Bend, Oregon is perfectly situated in the middle of the state where the Cascade Mountains transition into the High Desert.  In addition to having great mountains, streams, alpine lakes, and desert rock formations right here in our own backyard, we are also amazingly close to some of the country’s most scenic waterfalls, old growth rain forests, and coastline.  A short drive to the west over Santiam Pass, McKenzie Pass, or Willamette Pass offers a mind-boggling range of outdoor activities, including hundreds of miles of rugged alpine and ocean-front parks.  With so many gorgeous opportunities for exploration to the west, it is often easy to forget about all of the wonderful and unique geography that lies out in the valleys to our east.

If you want to see Eastern Oregon at its best, I would suggest planning a trip in early spring when the deserts and hills come alive with fresh color.  I was fortunate enough to make such a trip last year during a short period of unexpected bachelorhood.  My wife and I were planning to go see family in St. Louis, but the flights worked out in such a way that she and the kids ended up flying out a few days before me.  Armed with a guilt-free hall pass, I knew there was no time to waste.  I kissed her and the kids good-bye at the airport, and then I raced home, launched Google Earth, and began taking a virtual tour around the state in hopes of planning the perfect get away.  I knew it was too early in the year for most of my favorite Central Oregon locations because snow drifts were still blocking access to most of our backcountry regions, and after checking the forecast, it looked like the weather was going to be too unpredictable to plan anything off to the west.  Then it dawned on me that it had been awhile since I ventured out into Eastern Oregon, so I loaded up my gear and started driving out into the deserts and rolling farmland near the John Day River and Strawberry Lake.

Just past the historic town of Prineville, Oregon, I started climbing up through the Ochoco National Forest on highway 26.  This is one of my favorite stretches of road in the state.  The narrow two-lane highway winds along a small meandering stream that is surrounded by nice groves of aspen trees and huge, perfectly spaced ponderosa pines.  It is an idyllic drive up to the 5,000 foot pass, at which point, the geography immediately transforms from lush open meadows and alpine forests to arid deserted hills.  I was fortunate enough to be there on a blue bird day, which means that I was greeted with stunning southerly views of the Ochoco Mountains as I made my way over the summit and dropped down toward the tiny town of Mitchell, Oregon and the Painted Hills.  The Painted Hills are part of the John Day Fossil Beds, and without a doubt, they are some of the most unique and colorful formations in the country. As a photographer, it is practically impossible to drive past the Painted Hills without stopping, and my trip was no exception. 

Fortunately, I had visited the Painted Hills several times in the past and I knew that Mike Putnam and I already had a fairly large collection of photos from this area available on our Pacific Crest Stock photography site.  While the Hills are always spectacular to visit, they are best photographed at sunset or when there are interesting cloud formations off to the east.  I didn’t really have either of those conditions to work with at the time, and since I knew I couldn’t add anything meaningful to our existing collection, I just got out and walked around for awhile and then drove back out to the highway.  If you’d like to purchase a beautiful fine art photograph of the Painted Hills, visit, Bend Oregon photographer.

 

Sunset photo of the Painted Hills in the John Day Fossil Beds.  One of several pictures of the Painted Hills that is available on our Pacific Crest Stock photography site.

Sunset photo of the Painted Hills in the John Day Fossil Beds. One of several pictures of the Painted Hills that is available on our Pacific Crest Stock photography site.

 

 

 

Just a few miles down the highway, there is another interesting collection of fossils and strange geologic formations called the Blue Basin.  I had only visited the Blue Basin once before, so I was fairly excited to explore this area in a little more detail.  I decided to hike around the 3-mile Overlook Trail, which climbs up and around the rim of Blue Basin and provides nice views into the canyon and its surrounding valley.  After circling around the higher cliffs, the trail drops down into a valley where it joins the “Island in Time” interpretive trail for awhile before dead-ending at the base of the blue-green canyon.  Standing at the end of the trail, staring at these strange hoodoo-like formations, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been transported to a different place in time—if not to a completely different planet.

 

Photo of the Blue Basin in the John Day Fossil Beds.  Several additional pictures of Blue Basin are available on our Pacific Crest Stock photography site.

Photo of the Blue Basin in the John Day Fossil Beds. Several additional pictures of Blue Basin are available on our Pacific Crest Stock photography site.

  

 

 

I had a lot of fun exploring the Painted Hills and the Blue Basin, but as I turned back onto the highway, I recognized that it was getting late and that I wasn’t going to be able to stop at any more trails if I wanted to make it to the Strawberry Mountains before dark.  I cranked up the music, and hustled down the highway, through Picture Gorge and past the farmland towns of Dayville, Mount Vernon, and John Day until I finally made it to the charming little town of Prairie City, Oregon.  Prairie City is one of my favorite towns in Eastern Oregon–not only because it is close to the Strawberry Mountains, but also because it has one of the neatest little Mom-and-Pop restaurants I’ve ever seen.  The Oxbow Coffee House and Restaurant is almost a destination of its own.  In addition to the bar and restaurant, the old stone building also happens to be home to the North West Big Game Museum.  They have a ton of trophy-sized deer, elk, ram, and other big-game heads hanging on their walls and a beautiful 130-year-old mahogany and rosewood bar.  Knowing that the bar usually has at least one beer on tap from Deschutes Brewery, I couldn’t help but stop in for a quick drink. 

I ordered a Mirror Pond Pale Ale and then sat down at the bar next to a big, burly, and long-bearded gentleman. Within a few seconds, I pretty much figured out that he was a “local” and he quickly surmised that I was not.  I told him that I was planning on hiking into Strawberry Lake that night and asked him if the road to the trailhead was open yet. He quickly scanned me over from cap-to-boot with his eyes as if he was trying to figure out whether or not I was capable of making the trip, and then in a rugged smoker’s voice he said “Well, that depends. . . What are you driving?”  I explained that I had a four-wheel drive Jeep and that I had brought snowshoes in case the road was still blocked with snow.  He told me that I could probably make it to the lake, but that I had better finish my beer quickly because the sun was going to be setting soon and there was a good chance that I was going to need my snowshoes. I took his advice, bought his next round, and then hopped back in my Jeep.

The road from Prairie City to Strawberry Lake winds along open farmland for about 5 or 6 miles, and then it climbs more than 1,500 vertical feet up through a dense forest of pine, spruce, and fir trees for another 5 or 6 miles until it eventually dead-ends at the trailhead.  As I started driving toward the lake, I noticed a nice collection of cumulus clouds starting to form over the Strawberry Mountain range, and even though I knew I was running short on time, I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a few shots.

 

 Photo of Cumulus clouds over the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness Area in Eastern Oregon.

Photo of Cumulus clouds over the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness Area in Eastern Oregon.

 

 

 

Given the great collection of clouds that was forming, it was tough not to stay down low and explore the farm roads for longer, but I still wasn’t exactly sure what kind of adventure was waiting for me ahead, so I hopped back in the Jeep and continued up the gravel road.  Within a mile or so of entering the thick forested section, I noticed that there was much more snow starting to accumulate along the sides of the road and before long I got to the point where the road was completely blocked by snow.  I parked the Jeep, loaded my gear onto my back, and started snowshoeing in the general direction of the trailhead.  Although the road winds around quite a bit as it climbs up to its end, I was able to follow the general direction of the road fairly easily and before long I reached the sign marking the beginning of the trail. 

By this time, the sun had started its final descent and the cumulus clouds that I had taken pictures of earlier were just beginning to catch their color for the night.  I knew that I was only about a mile or so from Strawberry Lake, but I also knew that I was going to need to find my own way into the lake because the trail was still under several feet of hard-packed snow and ice.  I raced past the trailhead sign and forced my way up the steep, slippery hillside following my best guess for where the lake might be located.  As I struggled to navigate through the thick and cold forest with a 40-pound backpack, two things dawned on me.  First, I was quickly running out of daylight which meant that I might not be able to make it to the lake before the sunlight faded off of the clouds, and second, there was a very good chance that the lake was still going to be frozen from the winter.  The latter thought had not occurred to me when I was planning my trip, and since my primary mission was to photograph the mountainous headwall reflecting in Strawberry Lake, an ice-covered lake would be completely devastating.

With these two competing realizations, my mind started fighting with my legs and lungs about whether or not it was really worth it for me to hurry.  My mind was basically saying “Look, it’s a really tough climb up to the lake, and you’re going to need to work very hard if you expect to have any chance at all of making it there before dark” . . .  and my legs and lungs were countering by saying “But if the lake is frozen, there’s really no reason to push that hard because it will all be for naught anyway.”  In the end, I took the optimistic approach and pushed up the steep climb as quickly as I could.  I made it to the top of the ridge just as the clouds had started to brighten with shades of red and orange and I found a fully-thawed . . . but ripple-filled . . . lake. My legs and lungs were not at all happy that my mind had not anticipated the chance for a windy, reflection-killing night.  But, there was nothing they could do about it now.  Since the wind was not cooperating with my plans for a reflection, I dropped my backpack, watched the sun set behind Strawberry Mountain, and then set up camp for the night. 

After a cold night of snow camping and listening to the wind howl through the walls of my tent, I awoke the next morning and looked outside to find a perfectly calm lake.  I laced up my frozen boots and hiked to the lake shore where I took the following photo.

 

Picture of Spring sunrise on the Headwall at Strawberry Lake near Prairie City, Oregon.

Picture of Spring sunrise on the Headwall at Strawberry Lake near Prairie City, Oregon.

 

 

 

Knowing that I had completely lucked out and accomplished my goal of capturing the Strawberry Lake reflection, I took it easy the rest of the morning and then I leisurely hiked back down the canyon to my Jeep.  I stopped back by the Oxbow Coffee House and Restaurant for brunch and a celebratory beer and then drove back into Bend with a rejuvenated appreciation for all that Eastern Oregon has to offer.

Posted by Troy McMullin

NOTE: Special thanks go out to PremierWest Bancorp, which recently licensed one of my photos from this trip to use on the cover of their annual report.


A Few Photos for Jewel: Paulina Creek Falls, Paulina Lake and the Newberry Crater Area

The Pacific Crest Stock photography team recently received a very special request from one of our biggest fans, Mrs. Jewel Carmody. Jewel is a wonderfully nice 85-year-old lady who used to live in Bend, Oregon many years ago. Although she now lives in Arkansas, she still has a great love and admiration for all of the wilderness areas in Central Oregon and she frequently visits our blog site and main gallery pages in an effort to stay connected to the area. Jewel has sent us several complimentary messages over the last few months, and in a recent correspondence, she mentioned that she would like to see some photos from Paulina Lake and the Newberry Crater area, which was one of her favorite places to visit when she and her husband, Dewey, lived here in the late 1950’s.

For those of you who are not familiar with Central Oregon, Paulina Lake and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument are located just a few miles south of Bend and Sunriver. Although lesser known than nearby Crater Lake National Park, the Newberry Crater area actually shares many similar features with Crater Lake and was also once considered a leading candidate for National Park status. This geological wonderland was formed thousands of years ago when the 500-square-mile Newberry Volcano erupted and collapsed on itself, creating a huge caldera. Today, the caldera contains two incredibly deep and beautiful snow-fed lakes, a scenic creek with dozens of drops and waterfalls, and one of the largest obsidian flows in the North America. Despite its unique characteristics and the fact that I have hiked, biked and camped in the Newberry Crater area many times in the past, I have rarely gone there specifically for photography purposes, and unfortunately, I have a surprisingly small collection of pictures from this area to share with Jewel.

One of the lower waterfalls along Paulina Creek and the Peter Skene Ogden Trail in Central Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

One of the lower waterfalls along Paulina Creek and the Peter Skene Ogden Trail in Central Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

One of my favorite destinations in the Newberry Crater Area is the Peter Skene Ogden Trail. This wonderfully scenic trail is open to hiking, mountain biking (uphill only), and cross-country skiing. It climbs rather steeply for about 8 or 9 miles along the north side of Paulina Creek, passing many small waterfalls and natural rock waterslides (including the famous “Paulina Plunge” slide and swimming hole). The photo above was taken last year on one of the rare occasions that I happened to have my camera with me. In order to capture this photo, I had to take off my boots and wade out across the slippery rocks with bare feet through a thigh-deep, ice-cold creek. I’m not really sure what compelled me to carry my non-waterproof camera out into the middle of the creek, but I can tell you that I definitely second guessed myself—and the general soundness of my decision-making skills—several times as I was standing in the middle of the frigid water, fighting to prevent the current from sweeping me, my tripod, and camera downstream with it. After a handful of awkward and wobbly shots, I quickly decided that it would be wisest for me to take my camera back to the safety of dry land.

The Peter Skene Ogden Trail passes many impressive waterfalls along its path, but none of the others quite compare to Paulina Creek Falls, which is the final waterfall at the top of the trail. Paulina Creek Falls has an impressive 100-foot drop that comes off the ledge in two different spots creating a “double falls.” The photo of Paulina Creek Falls that is posted below was taken the same evening as the lower falls photo above. When photographing, I always like to find new and unique compositions that no one else has shot before. In this case, I happened to arrive while the fireweed was blooming and so I fought my way across the stream and up along the far edge of the waterfall to create this Pacific Crest Stock “original.” I like the composition of this photo a lot, but I’m not entirely happy with the lighting in the scene. Since we always strive to capture the “best possible” images for our Pacific Crest Stock galleries, I’ll probably go back later this year and try to re-capture this scene when the lighting is a little softer.

Fireweed blooming near Paulina Creek Falls in Central Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Fireweed blooming near Paulina Creek Falls in Central Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Just past Paulina Creek Falls, the Peter Skene Ogden Trail reaches the outlet from Paulina Lake. From here, hikers can enjoy a nice breakfast or lunch at the rustic Paulina Lake Lodge or continue hiking along the 7.5-mile trail that circles Paulina Lake. The mostly-level Paulina Lake Trail is a popular place for trail running and/or hiking. Despite its popularity, the trail can provide some well-earned solitude in the more remote areas of the lake and it frequently offers great shore-side views of Paulina Peak toward the south. There is also a natural hot springs located half way around the lake, which is the perfect place for a short break or a relaxing soak.

The Paulina Lake Trail is also a great place to take the kids for an easy out-and-back family hike. My wife, Julie, and I took our oldest daughter here for a hike when she was a toddler. Ella fell asleep while she was riding on my back in a Kelty Kid Carrier and when she woke up, we realized that Ella’s pacifier had fallen out of her mouth while she was napping. Ella was very distraught at losing her favorite thing in the entire world, and so we quickly diffused the situation my telling her this long convoluted story about how we saw a mother squirrel pick up something from the trail and climb up to her baby, which was sitting on a high branch in one of the trees overhanging the lake. We thought the mother squirrel had a nut in her mouth, but as she got closer to her baby, we could see that the mother squirrel had actually picked up Ella’s pacifier and was trying to give it to her baby. During the transfer, the baby squirrel dropped the pacifier, which landed in the lake and was then immediately swept up by a huge rainbow trout. The trout sucked the pacifier into his mouth . . . smiled . . . and then swam away with it. To this day, Ella makes us tell her that story every time that we hike at Paulina Lake and she asks every fisherman she sees whether they have caught any fish with a pacifier in its mouth. So far, no one has caught that magical fish, but one day we’ll get Ella’s grandpa to bring his fishing gear out here with him. Ella is absolutely convinced that her Poppa can catch that fish because he is the best fisherman in the whole world.

Photo of a Central Oregon sunset on Paulina Peak and Paulina Lake.

Photo of a Central Oregon sunset on Paulina Peak and Paulina Lake.

Mountain biking is not allowed on the Paulina Lake Trail, but there are also plenty of biking opportunities in the Newberry Crater area. For the more adventurous types, I would recommend biking from the lake up to the top of 8,000-foot Paulina Peak. The views into the 250-foot deep, azure-colored Paulina Lake below and out toward the Three Sisters Mountains can’t be beat. On a clear day, you can see all the way across Oregon and into California to the south and Washington to the north. If you still have lots of energy in your tank after climbing to the top of Paulina Peak, drop back down a few hundred feet and turn left onto the Crater Rim Loop Trail. This 25-mile single-track trail circumnavigates the entire caldera, including Paulina Lake, East Lake, and the Big Obsidian Flow. The Crater Rim Loop Trail can be fairly exhausting (especially if you started at the Peter Skene Ogden trailhead more than 10 miles below), but this trail provides an absolutely epic day of Central Oregon mountain biking and the final descent back to Paulina Lake is one of the best down-hilling experiences in the entire area.

Sunset photo from the top of Paulina Peak, overlooking Paulina Lake, Newberry Caldera, and the Crater Rim Loop Trail.

Sunset photo from the top of Paulina Peak, overlooking Paulina Lake, Newberry Caldera, and the Crater Rim Loop Trail.

Well, that’s just about the extent of my photo collection from Paulina Lake and the Newberry Crater Area. I’m not really sure why I haven’t taken more photos from this area in the past, but thanks to Jewel’s request, I think I will try to focus more on this part of the region in the coming year. I guess that illustrates one of the reasons why Jewel loved living in Central Oregon so much. There’s just so much to do here, it seems like you couldn’t possibly cover everything this area has to offer, even if you had two lifetimes to do it.

Posted by Troy McMullin

NOTE: To really experience Paulina Lake at its best or to learn more about the history and geology of this area, I would highly recommend scheduling a day trip through Wanderlust Tours. Their excellent tour guides provide a wealth of fun information and a unique perspective that will leave you with a much greater appreciation for the area than what you would have been able to otherwise experience on your own. I have heard many families say that the day they spent here with Wanderlust Tours was the best day of their entire vacation.


Early Success in the Central Oregon Photo Market!

     I have genuinely loved Bend and the Central Oregon area ever since moving here more than 10 years ago.  I enjoy our Central Oregon mountains, the Deschutes River, the high desert, old growth ponderosas, Drake Park, the local trail systems, Downtown Bend, the restaurants,  and the breweries (not necessarily in that order).   The natural beauty of Central Oregon is what inspired me to take up photography on a professional level.  To have so much geographical diversity in the same region is truly wondrous.  My partner in Pacific Crest Stock, Troy, is also a big fan of Bend.  Many friends have suggested that we should be on the payroll for the Bend Chamber of Commerce or one of the tourism boards because we are both such big boosters of Bend and the whole Central Oregon area.

     When we first conceived of Pacific Crest Stock, we both thought it would be a tremendous honor to have one of our stock photos appear in one of the Central Oregon tourism publications because it would be an honor to represent the area in print.  Well, with that thought in mind, we have a big announcement to make.  It has recently been formalized and one of our landscape images will grace the cover of the Visit Bend‘s tourism  publication, which is due to be released this spring.  The exposure of having the cover shot will be great, the link on Visit Bend’s very attractive website which has been promised will certainly be helpful, but most of all, it is an honor to represent Bend and Central Oregon in a more formal way.  Having met with Lynnette and Laurel at Visit Bend several times, I can confidently say that it is a well run, personable and efficient organization.  Lynnette is clearly a skilled Web master, and graphic designer.  She was courteous enough to provide me with the following image file, which will be the cover of their glossy magazine style publication.

Our Mt Jefferson Photo on the cover of the soon to be released Visit Bend Publication.

Our Mt Jefferson Photo on the cover of the soon to be released Visit Bend Publication.

Yeah that’s my Mt. Jefferson Photo and yeah I’m pretty excited!  

Mt Jefferson is one of the most photogenic mountains anywhere and because it is visible from much of the city of Bend, it has long been one of my favorite photography destinations.  This image, like most great images, required lots of work.  I’ve been to Jefferson Park and the Mt Jefferson Wilderness many times before and have always been moved by its beauty, but. I had often been frustrated in that I always thought there was a shot I was missing in this beautiful area.  The year I shot this photo, Troy and I went backpacking in the Jefferson Park area and we captured lots of good Stock photos including the following shot of Troy’s ,which is a fan favorite on Panoramio and Google Earth.

Troy's photo of Mt Jefferson from Jefferson Park with red Indian Paintbrush in the foreground.

Troy's photo of Mt Jefferson from Jefferson Park with red Indian Paintbrush in the foreground.

It is clearly a great shot. Mt Jefferson towering high above the mid-ground clouds with a stunning foreground of Troy’s favorite flower and the only one he knows the name of, the Red Indian Paintbrush.  During our trip, we scouted and shot on and off trail from many different locations including the one that will serve as Visit Bend’s Cover shot.  When we arrived at the “cover location”  the light was harsh and the alpine wildflowers hadn’t quite peaked for the year but the location was clearly special and I knew I had to return in a few days so I did.  To see more great Mount Jefferson images, please visit our stock site’s Mountain Gallery.

     On my return trip, I made a day trip of the outing carrying my heavy pack nearly 10 miles and several thousand feet of vertical gain to the same location as a few days before.  I quickly set up my tripod and my 4×5 camera and composed a beautiful scene at a stunning location when something unexpected happened.  A small wisp of clouds appeared over Mount Jefferson’s summit and it gradually evolved into the awesome lenticular cloud cap that you see in my cover shot from that second day. The scene went from a great one to one of the best fine art landscape shots I’ve ever taken.  It is one of my favorite images because Mount Jefferson’s amazing presence, the outstanding wildflower combinations (the equal of which I’ve yet to find in Oregon) and the mystical cloud cap which really brings the whole image together. I hiked out the last six miles with my headlamp beaming and my mind reeling with excitement about the great shots I’d just captured.   Without the cloud cap it’s a great stock photo, but with the cloud cap,  it becomes a great fine art print.  So I worked hard and I got Lucky.  I’ll take that combination any time!

    My thanks go out to Lynette at Visit Bend for the image file and to my loving wife for letting me go out and take photos in places I love.

To view my fine art prints, including the soon to be cover shot, please visit my fine art site at Mike Putnam Photography where you’ll see this lucky Mt. Jefferson Photograph and many others. 

Mike Putnam


Mt. Bachelor snow photos and summer photos

 

    As part of our launch of Pacific Crest Stock, I thought that a small photo review of Central Oregon’s favorite alpine ski mountain might make an appropriate blog entry.  The images in this entry were obviously not captured on the same outing.  In fact, they required many separate outings for their capture.  All of you who are photo editors or image buyers have seen countless wintery images of Mt. Bachelor clad in snow but you may not know what goes into capturing those images.  Start with about 40 lbs of camera equipment, a 4AM wake up call, and sub zero temperatures (coffee is a vital element in this equation!).  Then proceed with 28 inches of fresh powder at Tumalo Mountain and a grueling and sweaty hour long snowshoe climb to get yourself into position.  Then you cross your fingers and hope that you can find an acceptable foreground.  After you stop climbing, your sweat quickly freezes on any exposed skin so an extra layer of clothing is a necessity.  Once you are in position for nature’s grand light show, you hope that there are no low clouds on the eastern horizon that will block the pink alpenglow from illuminating Mt. Bachelor’s eastern flanks.  You will struggle to keep your tripods legs from shifting because the powder snow is so deep that you can’t find a solid base to stabilize your camera during the long exposures required by a low light capture.  If you are lucky, you get to enjoy the warm pink glow of morning’s first light bathing you and everything around you.  If you’re really lucky, you skillfully expose the scene, you don’t get any snow on your film plates, you get to enjoy a beautiful Central Oregon Cascades sunrise and you get to share an image like the one below with your friends.

Mt. Bachelor in winter bathed by the pink alpenglow of sunrise

Mt. Bachelor in winter bathed by the pink alpenglow of sunrise

I shot this image with my trusty but heavy (explaining my 40 lb pack weight) 4×5 camera.  The finished prints of this image are so detailed that one can actually see several snow cats grooming Mt. bachelor’s ski runs.  It gives me a greater appreciation of the hard working people who do the grooming every winter morning so that we can have a better down hill experience.  Cheers to the groomers and may they always have warm fresh coffee!

     The next two images are taken from the Three Sisters Wilderness area.  Summer photos of Mt. Bachelor have their own set of challenges.  Everyone has seen summer scenes of Mt Bachelor shot from the sides of Tumalo Mountain but you rarely see any of those images with an attractive foreground.  Finding those attractive foregrounds takes lots of exploration, which I love, but frankly it is physical work as it always involves a heavy pack.  The following image was captured with my intrepid daughter, Emma.  I’d been to this same area several times in the preceding few days and realized that sunset would provide the best light quality, so I loaded up Emma, lots of bug dope, camera gear and enough snacks to keep up with Emma’s speedy metabolism.  I love the fullness of the foreground, flowing with red Indian Paintbrush.  I also enjoy the lines of the small streams threading through the scene and the one large boulder in the mid-ground.  Perhaps the most rare and un-repeatable part of this scene is the cloud caps over Mt. Bachelor.  Plain blue skies tend to be a bit boring while a pleasant cloud formation tends to add to an image and make it a bit more unique.

Central Oregon's Mt. Bachelor with a foreground of Red Indian Paintbrush as seen from the Three Sisters Wilderness Area

Central Oregon's Mt. Bachelor with a foreground of Red Indian Paintbrush as seen from the Three Sisters Wilderness Area

The next image was also taken from the mountainous area adjacent to Mt. Bachelor.  This photo required a long off-trail hike with some accurate GPS coordinates to find and capture.  The hike was a little too far and rugged for Emma, so I went solo on this particular shoot.  Once again, I was fortunate to have some interesting clouds that added interest to the scene.

 

Mt Bachelor and wildflower meadow in the Central Oregon Cascades

Mt Bachelor and wildflower meadow in the Central Oregon Cascades

 The following image was taken at Central Oregon’s beloved Sparks Lake near the Cascade Lakes Highway.  It is an exceptional location for both spectacular views and mosquitos the size of small aircraft.  If you visit in the early spring, take lots of bug dope and your camera.  This corner of the lake has lots of small islands covered in mountain heather, and at sunset, it can offer some stunning color on Mt. bachelor.  

Mt. Bachelor sunset reflection as seen from Sparks Lake near the Cascade Lakes Highway

Mt. Bachelor sunset reflection as seen from Sparks Lake near the Cascade Lakes Highway

If you have any interest in licensing these or any of our other Cascades  Mountain images, please visit the  Mountain Gallery of our new stock photography website, Pacific Crest Stock.  If you have any comments or questions about these images, you can contact us through the contact information at the top of this blog or through the comments area at the end of this blog entry.  

Posted by Mike Putnam