I occasionally suffer from a touch of insomnia. Sometimes, however, that can be a good thing – like when it gets me out of bed in the middle of the night to do some night photography. That's how I came to make this image of a Starry Night Over Sparks Lake in the Oregon Cascade Range outside of Bend, Oregon. Rather than toss and turn trying to get myself to sleep, I drove the 30 minutes to this alpine lake and then it was just me and about a quadrillion stars in the night sky. The solitude was breath-taking. The view humbling and inspiring. Contrary to what I expected, I felt invigorated and wide awake the rest of the day and excited to see on the computer screen the results of my efforts fumbling around in the dark at the lake with my camera. Of course, missing too much sleep is not a good thing. Fortunately, I usually sleep like a log the night after a bout of insomnia.
This is why I love photography – it motivates me to be in so many beautiful places at wonderful times of day. It's an incredible gift with so many rewards. I've lost count of how many incredible sunsets and sunrises I've seen as a result of following my photographic muse.
Autumn has arrived through much of the USA, and nature is getting ready to celebrate with a showy display of color. I'm happy to help the celebration along by slashing 15% off my usual prices when you purchase any print out of my featured Autumn Gallery & Collection – Autumn Potpourri, Eastern Sierra Nevada & Western Colorado Fall Color – which you will find on my home page. The offer is good through the month of October, so don't let the opportunity to add some vibrant fall color artwork to the walls of your home slip away! Just use the code "Autumn" at checkout.
Renowned 20th century photographer Ansel Adams coined the phrase "pre-visualization" when it came to imagining a scene and how it might look when photographed and printed. Sometimes he was referring to a scene that already existed, and he was using pre-visualization to imagine what part of that scene he would include in his camera's viewfinder. Other times, he was pre-visualizing a scene that was before him with different conditions – different quality of light, different time of day, different direction of light, different season.
The scene in the photograph above, which I took out at Tumalo, Oregon a few mornings ago, falls into the category of one of those I imagined in my mind when I first visited the site and returned to it several times until the environmental conditions matched my vision of the scene. I visited the site when there wasn't enough snow on the mountains or the alpenglow just didn't materialize. I also visited the site when clouds obscured the mountains completely. It was only on this particular morning that "I got lucky." Another way to put it might be to say that I knew what I was after and waited for it to appear. In fact, I remember that on this morning I was waiting in the dark thinking to myself that the alpenglow probably wouldn't materialize. It was too dark to see the thin veil of clouds that were behind and over the mountains. When it got light enough, I could see those clouds and I thought it just might happen. And it did.
Now, I'm not purporting to be a self-improvement guru. My wife is the Life Coach in the family. But I have to wonder if you can use the same power of visualization to move your life forward; to achieve your goals; to fulfill your destiny? Of course, you have to have a certain amount of faith and determination that if you keep at it, what you visualize for yourself will come to pass. See it. Believe it. Create it.
Since returning from the Canadian Rockies in early October, I've been enjoying the spectacular autumn in Central Oregon. I've visited some photographic locations in the area around my home in Bend that feel like old friends to me. I've posted nine images from a few of those places. I love fall weather in the Pacific Northwest – still warm during the day so you can walk around without a jacket but brisk in the mornings and evenings. It's also the season of my birthday, which my family helped me celebrate a few days before Halloween. I've seen some very colorful sunsets and sunrises this fall around Bend, most of them occurred while I was busy doing something else beside photography. I've taken so many images of wonderful light on the landscape now during my travels that I can relax and just enjoy the beauty of a sunset and sunrise even when I don't have my camera with me. Either way, with or without the camera and tripod, it's good for the soul.
Let's hope we have a wet winter with a good snow pack. We need it here in Oregon. I noticed the Cascade lakes, especially Sparks and Scott lakes, were lower than I've ever seen them this fall. They looked more like mud holes than lakes. The autumn colors along the Deschutes River Trail, especially at the aspen groves, were especially good this year compared to recent years. These locations are best in late morning when the sun illuminates the colorful foliage and highlights the reflections in the river.
Even on a day where the sky is a boring clear blue sky, Sparks Lake is worth a visit. The mountains viewed from the lake shore are impressive. Smith Rock is another location I'm drawn to visit again and again. The best light is at sunrise when the colors in the rhyolite monolith explode. But I caught Smith Rock on a dull gray cloudy day and still came away with a keeper.
I can already feel the weather reaching the frigid zone – hovering around 32 degrees Fahrenheit in early mornings and forcing me to reach for my ice scraper to clear the windshield of my vehicle. Enjoy the remaining days of autumn. A chilly blast of winter can't be far behind. I'm hoping looking forward to pink/blue alpenglow on some winter mornings.
Best to you all,
This image of Mono Lake is one of several of mine featured in a new art book entitled, "International Masters of Photography" Volume 3 just released by World Wide Art Books of California. You can thumb through it online at:
Although, I understand they are having some problems with the portions of the digital version that contain two-page spreads, so you might want to wait a day until they fix that.
Enjoy each and every moment,
Some people close up shop and go fishing. Others, like myself, need more stimulation than baiting a hook and waiting for a fish to bite. On Father's Day, June 15, 2014 my family and I will be off on an epic global adventure that takes us to 22 countries in just under 12 months. Our plan is to return June 1, 2015. In between our departure and return, amazing things are bound to happen. I welcome all of you who have been so encouraging and followed my photography to visit our family travel blog at GordonFamilyRTW and become our virtual fellow-travelers as we travel through Europe, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, Oceania, South America and finally, Central America.
During the trip, I'll be focusing on taking photos with my camera rather than editing the photographs I do take. In fact, I'm not even taking a laptop with me in an effort to both travel light and devote myself to picture making rather than image editing. I will have an iPad with me to enable me to upload selected images to illustrate our travel blog. But for the most part, post-processing of images on a computer will wait until I return. At that point, I'm sure I'll be spending most of my days at the computer working on images from the trip preparing to make them available for purchase on this Web Gallery. By all means, enjoy our travel blog! Once you visit it, you can subscribe to an RSS feed to be alerted to any new blog posts.
I hope you have a wonderful year ahead. Meanwhile, I leave you with an image from a brief visit in May to Eagle Island State Park near Boise, Idaho. These dilapidated structures from an abandoned dairy provided a nice distraction during the long drive from Boise to my Central Oregon home.