I haven’t been to New York and now I have one less reason to go. Shoshone Falls in Idaho is often called the Niagara of the West and I am plenty impressed. It is 212 feet tall by 1000 feet wide. Here she is at 6500 cubic feet per second. Agriculture has diverted much of the water from the Snake River. I have read about historical flows in the 30,000 cfs range. One story tells about how settlers heard the falls from the Oregon Trail several miles away and came to see what the source of the noise was. Shoshone Falls effectively divides the Snake into upper and lower sections. Impeded by this massive obstacle, the salmon used to gather at the base of the falls in massive numbers. I’d love to have been around to see that.
After taking a new job in Idaho, I’ve been looking forward to my first photography outing. The weather hasn’t been exactly cooperative over the last two weeks but I finally managed to get out to an area known as Squaw Butte today.
A landmark of the Boise area, Squaw Butte appears in the distance as an isolated mountain. It’s actually a ridge several miles long. The highest point is 5,894 feet. The ridge is strewn with volcanic boulders, which I understand is fairly unique to this area.
This trip was a good introduction to the Idaho landscape. Areas like this have a unique beauty. There are few trees. You have to go to higher elevations to reach the coniferous forests. It is wide, open country. After turning off the main road, I didn’t see another person except for my family who came along with me. The sense of seclusion and freedom was rejuvenating.
We proceeded as far as possible but had to turn back short of the top when the 2WD family vehicle couldn’t maintain traction up a steep, wet section of the road. That’s OK. It gives me reason to return, which I definitely plan to do soon. I am excited to see how the area changes through the seasons.
Given the winter we’ve been experiencing this year, this scene might be hard to find. I made this photo last year over in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. I’m not about to complain about the mild temperatures we’ve enjoyed but every season offers its own unique photographic opportunities.
I’m going to have to slow down on my blog for a few weeks but please stay tuned. I’ll be back with some new photos from a new area.
A sunrise or sunset at a lake is one of my favorite subjects. I have many images like this in my library. The key to making a great image is perseverance. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets are very difficult to predict. Sometimes you’ll be rewarded with amazing colors and great light. Other times you get nothing. Paying attention to the weather can help increase your chances but it’s not a guarantee. Generally speaking, you’ll want partly cloudy conditions. High altitude cirrus clouds can offer some of the more dramatic scenes in my opinion. There are also times when the various cumulus-type clouds can add interest to the scene. Clear conditions generally won’t offer much in the way of color unless it is hazy. Usually low, thick stratus clouds mean nothing interesting is going to happen.
Fortunately for the last twelve years, I have lived near a state-owned conservation area that boasts numerous fishing lakes and many options for composition. Being close by, I’ve been able to go often at both sunrise and sunset. If the possibility of a good sunrise/sunset exists, I don’t try to over think the situation – I just go. The worst that can happen is sitting in a beautiful spot and watching the day come to life or the night take over. I can’t remember an occasion when I regretted being out there whether I made the image I wanted or not.
At the northwest corner of the lower 48 states is one of the most amazing natural areas I’ve ever visited. Cape Flattery is located at the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. The views are absolutely breathtaking and I’m not one who uses that word freely. It is a high, rocky point extending into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean. The rocks have been carved into spectacular features by wave action over the eons. For many, Cape Flattery might be a side trip while visiting the Olympic National Park but I see it as a worthy destination all by itself. However, there are many wonderful outdoor photography locations in the area. Shi Shi Beach, Second Beach, Ruby Beach, and of course the National Park are just a few. Cape Flattery is on the Makah Reservation and you will need a permit to visit the area. It’s simple and inexpensive to obtain one when you get there. I highly recommend Cape Flattery as an amazing location for landscape/seascape photography.
I try to see something unique every time I travel and I’m seldom without my camera. It isn’t always possible to make a side trip but this time, my friend and I got to drive through Garner State Park on our way back to San Antonio. The Frio is a pretty river and this place was well worth exploring. After checking the area well for rattlesnakes, I set up and made this one of a kind photo (at least for me). As it’s name suggests, the water is quite cool – yes, I checked. The fisherman in me wanted to cast a line but I’m content to have gotten a few photos. Next time you travel, see if there’s not some place close by that looks interesting. As they say, you never know until you go.