Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blazing Star

At Lava Beds National Monument, my mother and I hiked to the summit of Schonchin Butte, the one cinder cone in the monument that you're allowed to hike on. There is a fire lookout station at the top of the 700-foot-high butte, but there was no ranger on duty when we made the trip.

The view from the summit is impressive. You can see Mount Shasta quite clearly from there, as seen in this photograph. In this view, you can also see some of the Medicine Lake Volcano, which has an enormous 800-square-mile footprint, but not that much height, only around 4000 feet.

And here is an exmple of a blazing star (Mentzelia laevicaulis).

The summit of this cinder cone is pretty incredible. On the one hand, it's not much but a pile of tephra and pumice with a huge lava flow originating at its base, but at the same time, it has a surprising amount of vegetation on it. And yet, to the northeast, you can see the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge alongside the fertile farmlands of Tule Lake.

Aavlanche Lilly

Here is a shot of an avalanche lilly that I captured during the last hike to Van Trump Park. It had become cold and rainy while we ate lunch, so we weren't all that keen on lingering, but I couldn't resist these beautiful flowers. Though I regret not being able to get a good shot of the south summit of Mt. Rainier, known as Point Success, at least I got one of these!

I used my usual macro setup, the 105mm VR macro lens with my Metz flash aimed into my reflector (silver side) that Kelli held for me. Because I was raining, I shot this one hand-held.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

We stopped at the Lava Lands visitor center on the way back up north from Klamath Falls. It ended up being a very worthwhile stop, even though we didn't have time to explore the whole place; I've heard that Benhma Falls, a direct result of the lava flow here, is very picturesque. This flow is from a parasitic cinder cone, formed on the flanks of the volcano whose summit lies nearly 20 miles southeast. Yes, it's a huge volcano, occupying close to 500 square miles, and littered cinder and spatter cones.

The Lava Lands visitor center is near Lava Butte, which also has a road leading to its summit, with a trail circumnavigating the summit crater, as well as a paved trail meandering through a small section of the lava flow.

These shots are definitely record shots. The light was pretty harsh when we were there in the middle of the afternoon with a nearly cloudless sky.

Here is an image showing part of the lava field, with the Mount Bachelor and the Three Sisters on the horizon.

In the next image, the forked tree trunk in the foreground is framing Mount Bachelor. The other mountains are the Three Sisters, with Broken Top in the foreground.

The final image is of a bush that I have not yet identified, growing in the lava bed, with the same set of mountains in the background.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Back from Oregon

I'm back from a week in southern Oregon, specifically Klamath Falls. I'm a bit behind on blog postings, still needing to post on the trip to Mount Dickerman, and the trip to Hurricane Hill.

However, right since Oregon is more fresh on my mind, I might as well start there :)

The image above is a stitched panorama shot from Garfield Peak in Crater Lake National Park. It's a moderate hike starting at the Crater Lake Lodge, with a total round trip of around 3.3 miles. Garfield Peak is not the highest in the park or even the highest on the rim of the caldera, but it offers great views of Wizard Island and the lake, as well as of the Phantom Ship. The mountain on the right in the panorama is Mount Thielsen, another majestic peak in the Oregon Cascades.