Monday, June 3, 2013

A winter trip to the Owyhee River

I know, summer is here, time to begin planning trips that involve being outside in the warm sun. I, for one, am very anxious to begin my summer backpacking adventures. Before I fully commit to the change in seasons, however, I'd like to share a few more images from my 2-week trip down to the southeast corner of Oregon last winter.

The trip culminated with this sunrise view over the Owyhee River. I scouted the high rimrock above the canyon the day before, startling a golden eagle from this very perch. After studying the landscape I decided I would return to this spot the next morning. I awoke early and could smell the change in the weather from inside my tent. The previous 10 days had been clear and sunny; but overnight it snowed lightly, dusting the landscape in a powdery white veil. I put on my headlamp and hiked a mile or so through the darkness from my riverside camp to this incredible vista. I quickly set up my 8 x 10 view camera, shielding it from the intermittent snow showers passing over the canyon below. A low band of isolated clouds brushed past, dissipating as the sun rose and the coyotes began to sing. This was my favorite image of the trip; in fact, it may very well be my favorite 8 x 10 thus far. The extra effort involved in creating a meaningful landscape photograph with a large and cumbersome view camera makes the reward that much more sweet when the conditions come together.

Owyhee Winter, Owyee Canyonlands, Southeast Oregon. Gowland Lite 8 x 10, Schneider Super Symmar 150 lens, Center Filter, Lee .6 hard grad, 12 sec, f64, Tango Drum Scan
I had to pack up quickly as snow began to fall more heavily. The 30-mile drive out can turn into an undrivable mucky quagmire this time of year if temperatures rise above freezing and there is moisture like this on the ground. Well, I was also craving a cinnamon roll and coffee from the Rockhouse Cafe, in Jordan Valley, so I was extra motivated. By the time I rallied my subaru back to civilization, 3 or 4 inches of snow had fallen.
The road to the Owyhee River. Olympus E PM-1, Olympus 14-42 lens