Black Pool

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Black Pool
An abstract look at the Black Pool at the West Thumb Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Of all the grand sights at Yellowstone National Park, one of my favorite photographs from there has turned out to be this close-up, abstract shot of Black Pool in the West Thumb Geyser Basin. As you can see, the pool is now blue, not black. A temperature change in 1991 killed off the bacteria that gave the pool is darker hue, and now it’s a brilliant azure. This brings out great textures in the water.

Lady Bowen Falls

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Lady Bowen Falls
Lady Bowen Falls dwarfs trees in Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park on the South Island of New Zealand.

Lady Bowen Falls drops more than 500 feet into world-famous Milford Sound on New Zealand’s South Island. It’s one of only two permanent waterfalls in the fjord, though many more falls make an appearance after a good rain.

Despite it’s immense size, as evidenced by the trees in the photo, you can’t see the waterfall without taking a boat (cruise ship or kayak) or plane into the sound.

Three Sisters Wilderness

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Three Sisters Wilderness
Broken Top is one of the many landmarks in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Central Oregon.

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act, which set aside areas “where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

Here are a few resources for learning more about the act and where you can go to explore:

Soccer slide

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OSU soccer
Arizona’s Susana Melendez slides past Oregon State’s Erin Uchacz during a soccer match in Corvallis, Oregon.

This weekend, Oregon State hosts its first sporting events of the season, as the football team and both soccer teams play in Corvallis. I don’t have many chances to shoot sports, and close access can be restricted to official media at many college events. But I’ve gone behind the goal line to take pictures at a few soccer matches, and nobody has stopped me, so I’ll probably try to do so again this year. This image is from a couple years ago, when an Arizona player with a prominent ponytail slid passed the ball and turned back to find it.

Broken Top sunrise

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Broken Top
Sunrise at the glacial lake on the east face of Broken Top in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon.

Turns out that August 2009 was a pretty great month for pictures. It started with an amazing sunset at Sparks Lake, but there was also this memorable sunrise.

The trek to Broken Top’s glacial lake is one of the best bang-for-your-buck hikes around. It’s only about four miles, and there are only a couple steep sections. In fact, you might be more exhausted by the incredibly bumpy five-mile drive to the trailhead from Todd Lake.

The mountain itself is spectacular, but the glacial lake constantly changes at sunrise, as icy surfaces crack and icebergs float around the water.

Persian shield

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Persian shield
A Persian shield at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden on the Big Island of Hawaii.

It should come as no surprise that the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden houses an incredibly diverse display of plants. More than 2,000 species, according to its website. The different shapes, sizes and colors are astonishing. The Persian shield was striking for its brilliant purple color as well as the intricate details on its leaves. The garden is less than 10 miles north of Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island and is a great alternative to sitting on another beach.

Lower Proxy Falls

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Lower Proxy Falls
Lower Proxy Falls in the Oregon Cascades.

There was a time when I was really into photographing waterfalls. More than I am now, which is saying something. But the pursuit was the equivalent of a checklist, trying to see them all and getting a shot that featured each waterfall completely in a frame. Then you go to a place like Lower Proxy Falls and realize the stupidity of that endeavor. Lower Proxy Falls is a behemoth with tons of character. It looks different from afar than up close, different from above than below, different from the left side than the right. For my money, it’s the finest waterfall that Oregon has to offer.

Sparks Lake sunset

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Sparks Lake and South Sister
Post-thunderstorm clouds light up Sparks Lake and South Sister in Central Oregon.

Sparks Lake is one of the most photographed locations in Oregon. Rightfully so. Access is easy, there’s neat little “island” of grasses and trees, and South Sister and Broken Top reflect beautifully in the water. Heck, the pathway to the lake is named after Ray Atkeson, one of Oregon’s most famous photographers. I’ve spent too many hours standing next to a tripod there.

Five years ago today, I witnessed and luckily captured this incredible sunset. At that time, I usually worked on Saturday nights but had taken the day off. In the afternoon, I had been near Sparks Lake to meet with a friend who was running a race. The day before, I had driven to the lake and taken pictures along the same trail. I wasn’t keen on a third trip up to the mountains in 24 hours. But a stormy forecast and the guilt of not normally having nights off pushed me back into my car. It’s still the finest sunset I’ve ever seen.

Lower Oneonta Falls

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Lower Oneonta Falls
Lower Oneonta Falls is tucked away at the end of a narrow slot canyon in the Columbia River Gorge.

Lower Oneonta Falls is only a couple miles down the road from Multnomah Falls but goes relatively unnoticed because of the effort necessary to see it. The 70-foot waterfall is only a half-mile from the Historic Columbia River Highway, but the “trail” is Oneonta Creek, which requires negotiating a large, slick logjam and wading through a waist- or chest-deep stretch of water. In between, the slot canyon rises 200 feet on both sides and features unique plant life. Lower Oneonta Falls is tucked behind a corner at the end of the gorge, only revealing itself to those willing to get wet. The destination is popular on hot, summer days (particularly weekends), as the river and pools provide a fun escape for Portland-area families.

Eagle Cap and Mirror Lake

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Eagle Cap and Mirror Lake
Eagle Cap reflects in Mirror Pond in the Lakes Basin Management Area of Eagle Cap Wilderness in northeast Oregon.

Summer reminds me of trips to the Wallowa Mountains in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. This shot was taken just after I bought my first DSLR camera, a Canon EOS 40D, but I really didn’t know what I was doing and did not have a wide-angle lens. So this photo of Eagle Cap reflected in Mirror Lake was taken with a Canon PowerShot SD 800 not longer after sunrise. It’s pretty clear how this lake got its name.

McKenzie River maple

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McKenzie RIver
The McKenzie River flows past a maple tree above Sahalie Falls.

A recent trip to the McKenzie River reminded me of this photo of a maple tree just off the trail above Sahalie Falls. I was lucky that the leaves, turned yellow in the fall, mostly stayed still long enough to capture the water flowing in the background. Even though I went to shoot the waterfalls, the light and color cooperated and this stands as one of the favorite photos that I’ve taken.