Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Central Cascades

On an intellectual level, I remembered the grandeur of the central Cascades area but, after 6 months of desert... I had forgotten.  I drove between 3 Fingers Jack and Mt Washington on a cloudy, rainy day.  I could see the snow at the sides of the road but I had no view at all of either nearby peak.  The next day, the clouds began to clear.  North Sister was peeking through clouds that surrounded it.  The day after, I finally had blue sky.

West of Bend, the Three Sisters dominate the skyline.  In this photo I am 15 or 20 miles away from them, with a smaller ridge between me and them.  To the south (left), the crags atop Broken Top are barely visible, while the Three Sisters show nicely.

To the north, Mt Washington looks like a Prussian Officer's helmet, with a rounded base topped by a spike.

Further to the north, a basin is formed by Black Butte to the south, Mt Washington to the southwest, 3 Finger Jack to the west and Mt Jefferson to the north.  From this basin arises the Metolius River, formed nearly complete in a meadow and flowing toward a gorge several miles to the northeast.  It reminded me of Alley Spring in Missouri (see my November 22, 2008 post for more on Alley Spring), with a rocky semicircle surrounding the emergence of the river.  What captured my eye, though, was Mt. Jefferson, clad in blindingly white snow, to the north of the river.  Wonderful!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Flowing Water

The Pacific Northwest Coast can be defined in many ways.  The hard land meets and is overcome by the soft sea.  As the sea rolls inward over the land that has been defeated, it gathers its strength and rises up for a new assault upon the battle line set forth eons ago.

Like so many conflicts, the battle along the coast is not always clearly defined.  Water surges seaward from the rocks, is torn asunder by the crags and reforms to join its brethren.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Reminiscences - Mirror Creek

I am back home in Oregon but may not be doing much photography for a while.  It is heavily overcast and raining a lot. 

Meanwhile, here is another of the reminiscences photos.  This is from an early visit to Yosemite. 

Mirror Lake is a small lake that was formed by a geologically recent rockslide that dammed Mirror Creek.  Ansel Adams had taken several photos there.  The high canyon walls to either side, and its location up a side branch from the main valley made this a location somewhat sheltered from the wind.  That sheltering often left the small lake with a mirror-smooth surface that reflected the granite walls surrounding it.

Once Yosemite opened to motor vehicle access, sand and grits were needed for the roads.  These were dredged from Mirror Lake.  Each year, the dredgings were replaced with a fresh load eroded from the surrounding peaks and washed into the lake, where they settled out, awaiting dredging anew for the winter.  This process preserved the lake, but was far from natural.  A newly-aware Park Service halted the dredging.

Since then, Mirror Lake has all but disappeared.  There is now a small pond in its place.

On my visit, I hiked as far upstream as was permitted, and spent the afternoon along Mirror Creek.  As the sun was starting to drop, I hiked down toward the shuttle bus stop, pausing often to look back.  At one point I noticed the yellow cliff face reflected in the water and the blue sky reflecting off the wet rocks.  I love the interplay of light and color, and that gave me this, one of my favorite shots.