A Cold Journey East

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Eastern Oregon for the first time. It was the day after Christmas, and my mother, brother, and two and a half year old nephew were going to visit our friend Jeff at his place near La Grande. I love shooting the snow, and its been insanely warm this winter around Portland, so I thought I would go the distance. 

The ride out there was awful. It was my first time in the Columbia River Gorge since the Eagle Creek Fire, and I was intrigued. All we saw was icy roads and brake lights. But we made it eventually, and just before dark. The area welcomed us with a fresh snowfall, and after some bourbon around a snowy fire we called it a night.

The next morning we headed to a sno-park to introduce my nephew to sledding. It was cold. It was windy. It was snowing. He was not amused. I however, had a blast exploring a bit.

Our next destination was Wallowa Lake. I had been wanting to check it out for a couple years and was excited to see it in the snow! I had brought my DJI Phantom 4 Pro along for the journey, and we made another stop along the way to give Jeff a little demonstration. He’s a photographer as well, though he mostly shoots film, something I decided to approach after I was a little more confident in my skills. Almost there.

River Bend
“River Bend” DJI Phantom 4 Pro, 1/800 sec, f2.8, ISO 100

After this we moved along to Wallowa Lake. Joseph Oregon is a gorgeous little town. It was quiet. I hear during the summer months its pretty happening. Wallowa Lake is located right on the edge of town. Also on the edge of the Wallowa Mountains. Its interesting, theres a gorgeous lake in front of you at the base of these amazing mountains, and you behind you is a vast flat landscape. Its absolutely gorgeous.

We hung out at the shore a bit while I shot, launched the drone, then decided to make our way back to Jeffs place after the sun went down. As you can see it was incredibly overcast, but just outside of Jefferson I noticed some color peeking through holes in the clouds. A few minutes later my mom gasped and told me to look out the drivers side window. We were surprised with a break in the clouds right at the perfect moment. My brother pulled over and I jumped out and snapped off a couple with no tripod, hoping I could get something. I didn’t have time find much for composition, but still got a shot I was pretty happy about.

Web in the Sky
“Web in the Sky” Sony a7rii, Canon 24-70mm f2.8L ii, Metabones V, 1/40 sec, f7.1, ISO 800

The next day we traveled to Baker City. What a cool little town. We made the journey to meet a very close old friend, Dale. He traveled up from Ontario with his son and we all had lunch. It was really great to see him!_-5

After lunch he took us up to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. There is a ton of very interesting information about the Pioneers who travelled to Oregon in the mid 1800’s. There is even still ruts outside from the wagons. It was pretty hazy, but there was still a great view of the valley and Blue Mountains in the distance.

The Oregon Trail
“The Oregon Trail” Sony a7rii, Canon 24-70mm f2.8L ii, Metabones V, 1/200 sec, f16, ISO 400

From here we headed back to the cabin. It was almost dark when we arrived, and we were leaving in the morning, so I went for a stroll around the woods. I came across a deer and just hung out and for a bit while we stared at each other. It was a great way to end the trip.

My Calm Forest Friend
“My Calm Forest Friend” Sony a7rii, Canon 70-200mm f4L IS, 1/200sec, f4.5, ISO2000

I knew Oregon was beautiful, but it took me way to long to get out east. I’m so thankful to my brother for taking me out there and for our host for putting us up. I look forward to getting back out and doing more exploring and shooting with Jeff. Check his instagram page out at @jefhsu. I also have some video of the trip available HERE.

Thanks for reading!



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