Aneroid Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness

Fourth of July weekend was spent at Aneroid Lake in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Oregon.  Though I did not take a large amount of pictures, my goal was to use the 24mm TSE lens to capture some different views of the lake.  The two shots shared here are each composites of two images.

The first image was taken in the evening with the sun setting behind the mountain ridge in the frame.  I wanted to include the clear water of the lake and the rocks below.  I used a circular polarizer to mitigate the reflection on the lake.  I do not believe tilt was involved since the foreground was not very close to the lens.  I had forgotten my bubble level so had to eyeball the lake’s horizon.  Each image was shifted up/down and overlaps over 50% resulting in a nice 4×5 aspect ratio image.

Another aspect of this image I want to point out is the use of a circular polarizer.  Too often I read online people dismissing the need of a circular polarizer on a wide angle lens.  Yes, the effect it could have would not deepen the blues within a sky evenly.  However, I most enjoy the reflection-cutting ability polarizers have on water.  I could not see the bottom of the lake with my own eyes as well as the camera-lens-polarizer combination could.  For me, a polarizer on a wide angle lens makes complete sense when shooting water (or wet objects).

Aneroid Lake Evening

The second photo was taken in the morning.  Dawn light was nice but I have no regrets missing the light by a few minutes.  Just a few clouds; I’m ok with the result I got anyway.  This shot required tilting to maximize DOF.  I even took three different exposures with a plan of an HDR panoramic stitch.  However, the detail in the “normally” exposed image of the three files had enough detail to rescue the highlight data.  Again, this is two photos with 50%+ overlaps resulting in a nice 4×5 aspect rato.  Using the tilt-shift at the lake was a fun experience.

Aneroid lake Dawn

One last image to prove I explored beyond the lake.  This area sits above Aneroid Lake along the Tenderfoot Pass trail.

Along the Tenderfoot Pass Trail


Priest Lake, Idaho

Known as the Crown Jewel of Idaho, Priest Lake had yet to be visited by me or my wife. Feeling the need for new scenery, we sprang for a quick weekend trip. This was new territory for both of us; we were looking forward to the new adventure.

We arrived Friday evening with the intention of exploring all day Saturday. We began with a drive along the east side of the lake. I was looking for any sign to trailheads but saw none. Upon reaching the north end of the lake we retrieved a guide book, courtesy of the hotel, in an attempt to find a scenic spot. Once choices were reviewed (most on the west side of the lake) we settled on Hunt Lake trailhead. The forest service roads progressively showed their lack of travel. The final mile was a very slow up-and-down across deep ditches carved across the road. Once atop, we had good views of the lake and surrounding forests with the larch adding to the view.

Hunt Lake Trail Head

The trail was very rocky and we were both concerned about bears. (I know this fear isn’t well founded, but bears are more prevalent the further north one travels.) After enjoying the views for many minutes, we descended to the lake. Following a brief lunch break, we commenced our exploration of the lake’s west side. Our first stop was the Hanna Flats Cedar grove. Clear skies aren’t the ideal weather for forest photos but the dense canopy and low angle of sunlight helped mitigate the streaming rays. I decided to have fun with the 24 TSE and capture bark detail.

Western Red Cedar bark detail

White Pine trunk and forest floor

Kalispell and Reeder bays were visited next. The afternoon light, though harsh, cast nice light on the clear mountain lake. We both felt like hiking but didn’t know if we had the time. Consulting the guide led me to realize the hiking trail I though wasn’t too short was actually four miles one way. Unfortunately, time was against us, so we continued the driving tour.

While driving along the north west edge of the lake, I felt compelled to take Forest Service 638. The map showed it met up with the highway again; it would provide a circuitous route through the forest back towards the road. At first, the solitude was nice but the views were stultified by the thick forest. I kept hoping there would be an opening to view the lake and the Selkirks beyond. This never occurred, but a nice view of the forest lay along the descent of this road. The low-angle afternoon light helped add drama to the scene.

Priest Lake Afternoon

Surrounding Forest

The remainder of the drive was simply on the highway back to the hotel. Earlier in the day I had opted out of capturing sunrise. I reasoned I didn’t really know were to go. That was the great thing about this trip for me (photographically): I didn’t have a rigid plan of where to shoot sunrise and sunset and my knowledge of the area was nil. Nevertheless, good views and interesting subjects were found through aimless travel of forest service roads.

The next morning I knew where I wanted to go. I got up well before sunrise and went to the dock next to Leonard Paul’s store. I bundled up for the cold temps and watched as fog rolled along the surface of the lake. The sunrise wasn’t a spectacular explosion of color, but the hint of warmth amidst the overwhelming cool of the morning light created a beautiful atmosphere.

Cold Priest Lake Sunrise

Seven Devils Mountains, Idaho

I had a craving for the mountains. I also had a craving for camping. Fortunately my wife felt likewise. With numerous options within a relatively short drive, we decided on the Seven Devils in North Central Idaho. This would be my second time to visit this range. Prior to my backpacking trip last year I assiduously researched the terrain in and around these mountains. Using Google Earth I determined that the Forest Service road would come around a bend near the final destination and open up to a grand view of the mountains. After a few miles of climbing up a collection of switchbacks all the while being jarred by the washboard ride, the glimpses of canyons and mountains come into full view especially the Seven Devils being right in your face as you round the corner.

This time in the mountains was a little more casual. No backpacking was planned but “little” hikes here and there were enjoyed. We warmed up with a very short hike up to the Heaven’s Gate fire lookout. We had great views all around. We followed that up with a healthier hike to overlook Papoose Lake just north of the lookout. This hike had a little up and down but the saddle that overlooked the lake was quite nice. After making it back to the car and ultimately camp, we had some lunch and rested before the main attraction was tackled. I had planned to hike the climbers route from the Seven Devils lake campground to overlook Mirror Lake. While viewing the cirque from camp, I felt intimidated having lost my hiking legs a little. I also felt sorry for what I might be putting my wife through. After a mile and ~800ft of progress, we were atop the saddle preparing to view Mirror Lake. The trail was strenuous but not difficult. Going down was a little tricky with the scree along the trail, but the view (as always) was worth it.

Brianna overlooking Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake Detail

Of the two mornings I had an opportunity to shoot sunrise, I only shot the first morning. I was fairly satisfied with what I had. Shooting only with the 24 TS-E lens, I was playing around with shifting for panos. I also used a circular polarizer to help balance the reflection on the lake surface. It was a rejuvenating trip to the mountains with a handful of shots I was pleased with. My greatest pleasure was that my wife actually enjoyed the strenuous hike, especially with such a gorgeous view as a reward.

Dawn at Seven Devils Lake

Sunrise at Seven Devils Lake

Wildflowers at Heaven’s Gate