logo

Tag : snow

09 May 2017

A quick visit to my sister and Crater Lake

Today was a driving day, I went from north east central Oregon down to Grants Pass, which is pretty close to California. My sister lives in Grants Pass and I don’t get to see her nearly enough so even a quick overnight visit is a special treat for me. It would normally be about a five hour drive but of course I took the scenic route. A great thing about being out scouting is that when I see something that is mildly interesting I stop and check it out. Sometimes it is good, others not.

I hadn’t been to Crater Lake but I’ve seen lots of photos from there, it was pretty much on the way, so I thought it would be a good place to stop. After yesterday’s gas shortage adventure, I was watching the gas gauge rather closely today. I was headed toward the Crater Lake National Park and I had about 3/4 of a tank, so no problem.

Oregon is a big place and there aren’t many towns once you get a little ways east. As I finally near the park entrance, I was now down to 1/4 tank and I hadn’t seen anything close to a gas station for hours. I figured there would be one in the park and I turned on the road my GPS said was the best way. Road signs also said it was the way to Crater Lake but 200 yards on the road and it was covered with snow. Not a little snow, about three feet. Since my rental SUV didn’t do well Sunday in the snow and there were no tracks in this snow, I knew it wasn’t the way to go. I ended up taking the long way around.

As I started climbing the mountain I could see more snow along the side of the road. I did a steep climb and suddenly the snow was four feet deep along the road. As I went further the snow was higher, soon it was way higher than the cars and it felt like I was driving in a snow tunnel. Some places it was 15 feet deep. This is the middle of May, how deep was it in winter? There was a sign sticking out of the snow saying park info was on an AM radio station. I tuned it in to find out most roads and facilities were closed due to the snow and only the visitor center at the rim was open. There were no gas stations open.

I got to the rim and the snow was amazing, I’ve never seen snow that deep. I went inside to get something to eat and find the nearest gas station. A park worker obviously had been asked that too many times because she just kind of blew me off and said it was 45 miles and to head south when leaving the park. Then she walked away. That wasn’t good, I needed to go east to my sister’s house, not south.

Since there was all of this snow, I thought I’d worry about the gas later and shoot some pictures now. I walked over to end of the parking and climbed up onto the snow to get view of the lake. Lots of people were tromping through the snow to get a view and it was a great view. There was no wind on the lake so the trees and snow make a perfect reflection. I walked around a little and shot several photos. They were renting snow shoes and I wished my wife Robin was with me, we love to snow shoe in Vermont and this would have been a great afternoon for a snow hike. I would rather spend time with my sister than hike alone so I went back to the car.

The gas gauge was now getting too close to the E and I realized that I was on top of a tall mountain and it was downhill for a long time, so for the next 35 miles I coasted. I touched the gas pedal only a couple of times and had to apply the brakes many times for the steep curves. I can’t image what my mileage was, but it had to be great, the gauge barely moved by the time I got back to the highway. I figured I had at least 60 miles of gas left so I wasn’t too worried. 20 miles later there was a small sign to a gas station, it wasn’t on the highway, so I guess I wasn’t the first person to feel relief when seeing the sign.

My sister Lynda has a beautiful house on 15 acres, “out in the country” as her husband Bill likes to say. It was great to chat with them and take a stroll up through their meadow and then down to the creek that runs through their property. The creek was running strong since they had a lot of rain this winter. In the summer it is pretty much a trickle but it was beautiful today with lots of little cascades. I made some images of it and enjoyed the sound of the running water. Being the professional photographer that I am, it wasn’t until I am writing this that I realized I didn’t make any real pictures of Lynda and Bill, just a panorama with my iPhone. Some day I’ll remember to make people pictures.

It always seems like the simple and free things in life and the most enjoyable. Spending an evening with Lynda and Bill was the most fun thing I’ve done in a long time. I have to leave in the morning but hope I see them again soon.

07 May 2017

Doing a final check on Oregon solar eclipse workshop locations

I landed in Portland, OR, this afternoon to do some final scouting for my upcoming Oregon Solar Eclipse Photography Workshop that will be in August. I’ve been to Oregon several times but not to the high desert, which is the eastern side of the side.

Most people don’t think of Oregon as being desert but most of the state gets very little rainfall, especially from now until late fall. About half of the state doesn’t even get much in the winter, although the higher elevations get some snow.

Last year when I was thinking about photographing the upcoming total solar eclipse I did a lot of research to determine where the least likely place for clouds would be along the path of the eclipse. A desert made a lot of sense and as soon as I saw the eclipse’s path would be in Oregon, I thought that would be an ideal place. I quickly discovered I wasn’t the only one, the town of Madras is ground zero for the serious eclipse watchers. Many websites said this is where the astronomers are going to be so I knew it would be a great place for a workshop. I started checking on hotels and they all were booked. I was a year ahead of when I wanted to stay but many people were a couple of years ahead of me. The hotel I’m in tonight said they have been booked for four years. Fortunately my sister lives in Oregon and last year her husband suggested I check a ski resort about an hour from Madras. They had some rooms so I grabbed them.

On my way from the airport to Madras I took the scenic route through the Columbia River gorge, which is spectacular. It is filled with water falls, which I’ve photographed before so I didn’t stop to make any pictures. I’ll back back here with the workshop, so I thought my limited time was better spent getting to the desert. I did stop for one scenic overlook and it was just starting to rain a little, so I got a cool shot of the river and clouds.

The drive to the ski resort we are staying at on Mt. Hood is only a little over an hour from Portland. I stopped to make sure it was great and it is. There is still a lot of snow up here, the lifts aren’t running but people are climbing the mountain and skiing down. The late day sun hitting the mountain was stunning.

I wanted to go to a little lake that offers a beautiful view of the mountain and I hoped I could get some reflection shots. I drove to the lake and there was snow on the road a sign that said it was closed in the winter but open after April 1. I could see tracks from other vehicles and since I rented a four-wheel-drive Nissan Rogue, I thought I’d give it a try. It wasn’t long before the snow was so deep it was hitting the bottom of the SUV. Since it was starting to get dark, I figured it wouldn’t be too smart getting stuck out where I might not get out until morning so I turned around. When I got back out to the main road I could hear a thumping under the SUV. The faster I drove the faster the thump. Great, I’m only 100 miles into my journey and I broke the rental car. I figured I’d drive until it didn’t want to go any more and about 30 minutes later the thump went away. I probably packed snow up in the engine compartment and it finally melted off.

Just after dark I made my way into Madras and checked in at a hotel. My Oregon adventure is off to a fun start.

06 Apr 2017

If you think winter is over, come to Vermont

Most of the east coast is thinking winter is over and spring is springing. But a heavy snow last week in Vermont is still looking great. I drove along a small brook today that is usually pretty small. It was raining and along with the melting snow, the brook was running strong. There is still snow on the rocks and plenty on the banks. A long exposure made the running water look nice and smooth.

05 Feb 2017

Lot’s of snow for Vermont Winter Photography Workshop

Today was the last day for this year’s Vermont Winter Photography Workshop. The weather was good, there is lots of snow on the ground and we had a great group of eight people. They came from all over, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. We were prepared for the cold, so it didn’t feel like 15 degrees during the day.

We hit many locations during the three days, farms, covered bridges, towns, rural scenes and a couple of real Vermont country stores. Several of the group hadn’t walked on a lake before, so going out on Silver Lake to see people ice fishing was a bit of an adventure.

I always know it was a good shoot when my SUV is a filthy mess. After our breakfast stop this morning, I was surprised to see a lovely note scratched on my back window. Thanks gang.

21 Dec 2016

Happy Winter Solstice

I drove 150 miles today around Vermont making pictures on a beautiful day – the first official day of winter. I didn’t hear too many people talking about it but they were pretty happy that the temperature got above freezing and it was sunny in some areas. People were out enjoying the day, I went to a couple of the big ski areas and they were pretty busy for a Wednesday in December. There is a good base of natural snow and the weather is perfect for making snow. It should be a good week for them as the new year approaches.

I stopped at Moss Glen Falls in Granville to see how it was looking. It has been very cold here and the falls was nearly completely frozen over. There were a couple of spots you could see water flowing but it didn’t make for a good photo. I put on my big snow boots and wandered into a little brook that runs along the road in front of the falls. I always love seeing how flowing water makes unique designs of ice, especially where it lightly splashes to make weird shapes and then carves into it.

I think Winter Solstice should be a holiday and many Vermonters would agree with me.

On the way home I heard a guy on satellite radio say the best thing about this being the first day of winter is that spring will soon be here. He wasn’t from Vermont.

07 Feb 2016

Fun at the Winter Photography Workshop

LT_fallsHosting a photo workshop is fun, it is hard work, but boy is it fun.

This weekend was my Vermont Winter Photography Workshop and even though conditions weren’t perfect people were excited to be there and made the best out of the situation. Earlier in the week it was pretty warm and I was worried that all the snow would melt and there would be no ice. We did lose a lot of snow but it got cold so at least there was ice in the river when we photographed covered bridges and when we went to the water falls.

One of the great things about workshops is that people are there to learn and have a good time. We all seem to leave our troubles at home and we just concentrate on making good pictures, enjoying the scenery and making new friends. This group was no exception. I had people from Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut and Florida. They bonded right away, helping each other, learning from each other, sharing ideas and trying new things.

A couple of people had never been to the ski area so that was fun to show them how that looks. We went to one of Vermont’s largest waterfalls, Moss Glen Falls, which looked great after the freezing cold overnight. Since there was a lot of melting during the week, there was plenty of water coming over the falls, which made for really nice pictures.

I’ll soon be posting photos that everyone made during the weekend, so check back.

I can’t wait for next year’s winter workshop. Let it snow.

03 Jan 2015

Cold day in Vermont

5753

I love the cold, at least the way it looks. It was 6 degrees in Vermont when I went out before  sunrise today. I have several tricks I use to keep from freezing, Number One being putting those little chemical hand warmers in mittens that have fingers. But today the best way to fight the cold was to not stay out too long. I didn’t get far from the car, when I got cold I got back in and got the seat heater going.

There isn’t much snow on the ground, so I had to look for tighter scenes. I was driving over a little creek and saw there was some cool freezing happening to the flowing water. I got a couple of shots I like using a telephoto to get close.

5786

09 Mar 2014

Screaming “Good Morning”

The sky was right, so I decided to do a star trail photo at Billings Farm, the national park in Woodstock, VT. Since the moon didn’t set until almost 1 a.m., I made the decision to get up early and shoot the starts before sunrise. Shooting star trails works best when the moon isn’t out, so I thought getting up crazy early was better than staying up crazy late.

20140308-woodstock_trails

I rolled out of bed at 4 a.m., which sure isn’t natural for me, and I was shooting by 4:15. It was 13 degrees as I traipsed through the deep snow, but it seemed refreshing.

I lined up my shot by cranking up my ISO to around 125,000 and taking a shot. The quality was terrible but I could see my composition as I chimped the photo. I tightened down my tripod and dropped my ISO back down to 1600, my 16mm lens was set to f/2.8 and the shutter speed to 15 seconds. I made sure my “motor drive” was set to continuous and I fired the first shot using a wired shutter remote. After the shot looked good, I shot another one and locked the shutter remote so it would keep firing another shot as soon as the first one was done.

After hearing that the camera had fired several shots, I went back to the Jeep to warm up and wait. After about an hour the sky started to get some light. The black sky slowly began to get dark blue and then a bit brighter. I knew my image was done after about an hour but I let it keep shooting for another 20 minutes just to see what would happen.

I ended up with 117 usable images which I combined in Photoshop to make the final image.

So there I am, it is 5:35 a.m., 14 degrees and the sun isn’t close to coming up yet, so I decided to go to one of my favorite locations and see what the sunrise would look like. It has a nice vista and there is a large open field in the foreground. There is still plenty of snow cover, so I thought would be some good shots.

I was treated to one of the best sunrises I have seen. About 20 minutes before the sun was coming up, the clouds started getting some color. Then I was treated to a colorful light show, blue, yellow, orange and red. It was special. I was shooting like crazy, trying to find the perfect shot.

I got some nice images but more importantly I was treated to a special visual show. It was good that I out not near any other people because I stood out in the snowy field feeling extremely thankful and screaming “GOOD MORNING.”

20140308-LEF_7338

24 Feb 2013

Loving a simple new layer of wet Vermont snow

It started snowing yesterday afternoon and by this morning there was five to six inches of wet snow covering the ground. Since the temperature has been hovering around 32 degrees, it is a sticky snow and stuck to everything it fell on.

So I went out looking for scenes that might look great with all the sticky snow. I went to a couple of places I thought might look good, and they did. I worked a farm scene I love trying to make sure I was thinking about composition and not just the beauty of the day. I made some pictures I liked and then I saw something and, as usual, it hit me.

Simplify.

I liked the way three fences lined up, with the one in the middle going down a little hill.

I headed to a covered bridge to see how that would look with a hill covered behind it. Not bad, I made pictures from several angles, nearly got the Jeep stuck in the snow and went to a couple of other farm scenes. I shot several things and was driving to another farm and saw a couple of trees alone on a hill.

It hit me again. Simplify.

I like the way the two trees stand out and the simplicity and balance of the photo.

23 Feb 2013

Winter wonderland on a private estate

I got a call from friend Lisa Lacasse, she was heading over to a private estate and wondered if I wanted to join her. She had told me about the place and with the snow falling, it would make some great photos. She was right.

The main house has an outdoor oven fired by wood that is used to bake bread and pizza. We shot the oven from all angles but I liked having the porch in the photo, using it for framing.

We walked around the grounds a little and went back toward a barn. I liked the way the heavy snow creating leading lines to the barn, along with Lisa’s footprints in the snow. I initially shot the barn tight, but backed off and shot it with the wide angle to get more of the full scene in the photo.

26 Jan 2013

Shooting by Vermont moonlight and staying warm

One of my thrills of digital cameras is the low-light capabilities. So when there is a full moon, I want to be out there. So even though it takes more preparation, going out in the darkness when the temperature is close to zero is lots of fun.

Tonight I went with friend Lisa Lacasse out looking for a magical night shot. I had seen this barn sitting out alone in a field a couple of days ago when I was out scouting. It is a neat old barn and I thought it would look good lit by tonight’s full moon. Lisa was born and lived in New Hampshire and Vermont her whole life but has spent the last few winters in Florida. So she was as ready as you can be for the single digit temperatures as was I. We were covered with layers of thermal clothing from top to toe but being able to keep my hands warm and control the camera is always a challenge.

I’m a big fan of those little chemical hand warmers, they really make a difference for me. When it is this cold, I wear thin liner gloves inside of mittens that flip open to expose fingerless gloves. I don’t know if there is a name for them but they are like wearing gloves and having a mitten to pull over my fingers when I need more warmth. I put the hand warmer in the mitten part so when my fingers are in the mitten they are good and warm. I can stick just my index finger out of the mitten to move camera controls and then put it right back in the mitten to stay warm. I use a cable release, which I can push through the gloves and mitten.

When carrying my tripod, I don’t grab it with my hands, even though I have pipe insulation on the legs. I tuck my arm under the tripod legs so my hands aren’t touching it, just my multi-layered arm.

26 Jan 2013

Those Vermonters know how to look for the positive

As I was walking out of the South Woodstock (VT) Country Store after chit-chatting with the woman behind the counter, she said “At least it is warmer today.” That’s what I love about the spirit of people in Vermont, it was 14 degrees at noon, and she saw the good side of it. Yes, 14 does feel pretty good compared to the 20-below the night before, but I love being around people who are thinking about the positive side.

Earlier in the day I went past an old barn I had seen the day before. I loved the old doors askew and the little icicles hanging off the roof. When I was there the previous afternoon, the sun was around the side of the barn. I knew it would look better with early morning light hitting the old wood.

26 Feb 2012

Taftsville Covered Bridge stripped down to the arches

The support arches are still standing on the Taftsville Covered Bridge in Woodstock, Vt.

Last fall when Hurricane Irene made its way to Vermont, it did an amazing amount of damage. One of the victims was the Taftsville Covered Bridge in Woodstock. The bridge is two spans and 189 feet long and the Ottauquechee River came up to the deck during the flood and damaged the bridge and supports. The bridge was scheduled for repairs next year, so they decided to get to work on it early. The entire deck and cover has been removed on half of the bridge while the abutments and deck are repaired. Work will take about two years.

25 Feb 2012

You otter see this

An otter peeks through ice in Woodstock, Vt.

 

At first light I headed out to see how Vermont looked after five inches of snow fell overnight. The short answer: beautiful. As I was heading out of the village, I looked down at a small pond that had a few holes in the ice. I noticed something dark moving in one of the holes, so I pulled over. Another something was moving and my brain registered I was seeing a couple of otters playing in the water.

I hopped out of my Jeep with my telephoto lens and tripod. Even though I was 100 yards away and up a hill, the otters weren’t thrilled with my presence. They craned their necks to get a better view of me and then dropped back into the water. One would pop up out of another hole, take a quick look at me and go back under the ice. Even though I stayed right by the Jeep, I was in their comfort zone. I thought if I hung out for a while they would realize I wasn’t a threat. After 3o minutes and no sightings, and strong winds trying to blow me over, I headed off to enjoy the beauty of the day.

Trees on a hillside in Woodstock, Vt.

Wind blows snow around ice fishermen on Silver Lake in Barnard, Vt.

24 Feb 2012

Finally, some snow in Vermont

Snow falls on the Middle Bridge in Woodstock, Vt.

 

It has snowed a few times in Vermont this winter, just not when I’ve been here. This afternoon it started and I’m excited. I went to the covered bridge in the village at dusk and shot as the darkness set in and the snow fell. I wanted to get a shot of car headlights illuminating the inside of the bridge, so I stood in the cold snow. I started by doing wide angle shots and I didn’t like the way it looked, even when a car came through. So I backed off and got out the 70-200 and waited for another car to come through.

As I was standing in the snow with my umbrella protecting my camera, I thought I felt something hit my foot. I looked down and saw something in the snow about the size of a pen. I couldn’t think of anything that I had on me like that so I kicked it around a little and tried to figure out what it was. While messing around, I looked up and car was coming out of the bridge. Damn. After 45 minutes, I was rather cold and I’d only seen one car come through and I missed it.

I usually prefer “night” shots to be done just before it is truly dark outside, so there is still some light in the sky to give some separation between my subject and the background. In my earlier shots, I couldn’t give them enough exposure to see inside the bridge since no cars came through.

So there is always tomorrow night and hopefully there will be more snow.