I am very blessed to have several friends who are both excellent photographers. Each year for Christmas they both give me a calendar featuring their best outdoor images from the past year. The calendars are always something that I treasure and I enjoy seeing their outdoor experiences.
Myself, on the other hand, perhaps being my own worst critic, never quite appreciate my own photographs, as much. Nevertheless, I do take photos when I go hiking and being able to revisit a perfect summers day of hiking during the cold snowy months is always entertaining.
I went through my last year’s photos looking for images that perhaps I wouldn’t share with anyone, and then ran each of the photos through a filter program to make them more interesting. So, my photo calendar, 12 images, slightly altered, mostly altered, totally altered, with a brief description, for a different perspective to my time spent outdoors last year.
Over the years I have always sought out locations where I could go for a hike and then spend the afternoon by a running creek or river. I love the sound of white noise. I love the sound of running water muffling, or removing, the sounds of the outside world, if only for an afternoon. This photo is underwater river rock, as I spent the quiet afternoon by a canyon creek, the creek bed itself covered with water-worn colorful volcanic rocks. “Ripples never come back…”
The wonderful thing about hiking is that it is always possible to find your next favorite hike. This is an old overgrown obscure trail that is my new favorite place to visit. Suffice to say, there are old growth trees and meadows dense with wildflowers. One of the challenges that only these days of unlimited camera memory create is trying to capture butterflies or hummingbirds nectaring on a wildflower with an endless series of near-miss and blurred images. This photo, a deep purple monkshood, sans butterfly or bird, turns into something entirely different, and perhaps sinister, with this filter.
So, perhaps this could have been an alternative cover for a certain Soundgarden album. This is a late spring day in the central Oregon high desert with wise old junipers in the foreground. Various cloud layers become slightly more interesting in this image. But really, I am thinking of the Soundgarden song.
This is perhaps the most over-the-top filter but it seems very appropriate for this photo. Happy summer solstice, from June 2016! Sitting on a slab of basalt, eating homemade chili and enjoying a warm peaceful evening of bird song and bliss. A perfect way to welcome the summer season basking in the first rays of summer during the last rays of the day, filtered through lazy, drifting clouds. Or perhaps filtered through a filter.
One of my lingering hiking questions has always been where the sun sets behind the Three Sisters on the first days of summer, from the vantage point of Tumalo Mountain. This day the skies were breathtakingly clear, except for a few high clouds along the western horizon. When I got the summit there was a strong west wind and it was very chilly, fortunately, I brought warm layers – and hot tea – just in case. I took about 100 photos while the sun was setting, waiting, of course, for that one absolutely perfect image, but instead getting dozens of nice images, instead. The answer to this not-age-old-question is, no, the sun does not set at the summit of South Sister on the summer solstice, but instead along the south shoulder of South Sister. Nonetheless, a beautiful sunset was had by the 20 or so people enjoying the terrific views of a long summers evening.
One of my favorite places is, Catherine Creek, north of the Columbia River, in Washington. Catherine Creek is known for its spectacular early spring wildflower displays. However, I have found that I mostly visit Catherine Creek after most of the flowers (and crowds) have gone, repeatedly returning to the dry, grassy slopes, during the summer months. Mostly, I sit in one of the spots I have found off-trail and observe the spaces, write in my journal and of course, read (always have a good book handy when hiking). Afternoons are mostly nothing happening but enjoyable solitude, warm breezes, and meadowlark song. This photo is of a lone thunderhead building up to the east of Catherine Creek. Perhaps you ever heard of Laputa? From, Castles in the Sky, by Hayao Miyazaki? Laputa was the first thing I thought of when I saw this cloud building and so I snapped a photo.
This design is available for any progressive rock band that wants to use it as their album cover. Surrounded by the volcanic scenery, hiking to the top of a very large cinder cone and enjoying the 360° view of the Oregon Cascades, I decided to take photos of my closest volcanic companion, Mount Washington. Many fabulous photos were taken that day, but I decided to take this photo and turn it on its head, literally. Mount Washington has never looked so fabulous.
Please don’t look at this image while driving a moving vehicle. As you near the treeline in the Cascades you can come across beautiful, and stark, reminders of how difficult the living conditions are from year-to-year in the form of bleached and blasted skeletal snags. Time passes though the wind twisted remains of this high-altitude relic.
The golden light of an early fall setting sun backlighting desert sage. This filter just fit the evening colors of the original photo perfectly.
We should always base our lives in reality. But for a fun day, what if we could walk a forested landscape that was just a bit off? Purple foliage, all in my brain… From one of my favorite fall hikes when the mosquitoes – and their blood-lust for me -have dissipated and lingering by a high mountain lake for an afternoon can be a more relaxed affair. Old man’s beard hangs from the firs and hemlocks along this stretch of trail making the forest particularly beautiful.
East Zigzag Mountain, blanketed by late October snows. Ice crystals grow like mushrooms from the hiking trail during this time of year. The forest still, the mountain birds having flown away. The last couple of miles, sans snowshoes, were a workout, and I felt proud enough of the hike to take a photo of where my footprints and I had spent a fall afternoon. The filter is old-timey and gives the photo a bygone feeling.
This is an impromptu photo snapped in the middle of the night while trying not to freeze in single-digit weather. This is a waning moon, filtered by low drifting fogs, shot through a snow-encrusted tree. Cold and clouds conspire to keep this image of the moon unfocused, but in this case, that is the point. During a cold and snowy winter, this photo is a fitting end to the year.