Tumalo Creek in Winter. Central Oregon’s Winter of 2016-17 was epic in many ways. Enormous dumps of snow, historic levels of property damage(I curse you ice dams!) and unparalleled winter beauty all made that winter unique. Backcountry access was difficult because Central Oregon received SO MUCH SNOW! I got out when I could but snow definitely complicated life, even the life of an Oregon Landscape photographer. Because, Bend, Oregon’s Shevlin Park has a parking lot that is maintained in winter, I made several different cross country ski trips through the park.
During my first ski trip through Shevlin Park, I skied a five mile loop. It was beautiful and the highlight was a specific view of Tumalo Creek in Winter. Snow covered the riparian areas flanking Tumalo Creek and there were interesting ice formations on the bottom of the creek, making the water brighter and much more colorful than usual. I decided to return the next day with my trusty “Big Rig”, the 4×5 film camera with which I capture all of my fine art landscape photographs. Shooting in Winter, has its challenges and those challenges are compounded when there are heavy snows. Well, the next day, I braved the elements and I was thrilled with the results. There was more snow on the banks of Tumalo Creek then there had been the previous day and there was more ice in the creek as well. I shared a digital capture from that day on my business’ Facebook page, Mike Putnam Landscape Photography. The results were stunning. That picture received over 8,800 “Likes”, nearly 1,000 comments and it was exposed to over 240,000 people. Simply unbelievable!
Tumalo Creek in Winter, the Capture
Over the next several days, snow continued to bury Bend and the Central Oregon area and temperatures were plummeting. I thought…. the scene at Tumalo Creek might be even better now than it was before. So, I packed up my landscape photography gear, and I headed back out to Shevlin Park. When I arrived at the scene of “Tumalo Creek in Winter”, I was astounded. It was one of the most beautiful winter scenes I’d ever witnessed. There was more snow than previously, Ice islands had formed in the creek, and the creek bottom was completely coated with thick layers of ice, creating a stunning color in the water. to top it off, the scene was delicately backlit, giving Tumalo Creek In Winter some warm highlights. It was simply stunning. I carefully composed one of the best Oregon winter photographs I’d ever taken and anxiously completed my ski loop and headed for home. My excitement had me skiing on clouds high above the snow! This fine art photograph is the happiest reminder I can imagine for Bend, Oregon’s historic winter of 2016-2017!