Oregon Landscape Photography News
This blog section is a way for me to share images and adventures with friends, family, and fellow professional photographers. Most of these adventures take place in the wilderness area near Bend, Oregon, the heart of Central Oregon. Many of the images you will see here were originally captured with a large format camera, as were all of the images on my website. Over the past several years, I’ve accumulated thousands of very good photos, most of which are not available for purchase. I’ve found that sharing my work is one of the most rewarding parts of being a photographer and this news section will hopefully provide me with a more efficient way of sharing my work with others. In addition to sharing Oregon Landscape photographs that may not be available on my website, the informality of this blog will allow me to share information and anecdotes about my photographic adventures on a more personal level. I hope you enjoy it!
Hidden deep in Oregon’s Coast Range within Siuslaw National Forest lies one of the Pacific Northwest’s hidden gems, the Devil’s Staircase.
This remote and beautiful location is a proposed Wilderness Area, slated for protection. Boasting one of the most remote locations in Oregon’s Coast Range, amazing forest is home to black bears, elk, and an abundance of other wildlife in addition to its namesake waterfall, The Devil’s Staircase, seen to the right.
This elegant, stair-stepped waterfall gracefully cascades down a total of 50 feet down 3-5 foot drops. With a backdrop of blooming salmonberry and old growth conifers, the Devil’s Staircase also makes a stunning fine art landscape photograph.
This beautiful new fine art print was hard earned. Having done a great deal of online research, I knew the journey to the falls would be arduous and disorienting.
Devil’s Staircase, The Adventure
My first attempt at finding this wonderful waterfall ended in failure. The drive from my home in Bend took about 6 1/2 hours, much of which was on remote logging roads, overgrown to the point that trees and brush connected together across the the roadway.
As there is little to no signage in the area, driving is a series of best guesses. Knowing that you are starting in the correct location is…. also a guess. I nervously navigated the clogged hilltop logging roads with their treacherously steep shoulders and eventually found what appeared to be the beginning of the on-foot part of my journey. I had read about a faint trail which traveled directly away from the road leading to the old logging landing I had presumptuously parked at. After arriving at my presumptuous starting location, I gathered my maps, compasses, 10 essentials, emergency overnight gear and approximately 30 lbs of camera gear. I took a literal leap of faith into the labyrinth like Siuslaw National Forest. My route entailed more controlled falling than it did hiking. On the ridgeline I was descending, I took a long series of muddy drops for about a mile until I ran into a small stream which was pleasant except for the fact that my intended route should not cross a stream for at least 2 miles!!!! Yikes! Was I already lost? I knew I could not be where I needed to be.”
I knew the wise thing to do was to retreat with my tail between my legs to the top of the brutally steep ridge I had just plunged down. The ascent was horrendous. For every two steps I slid backwards one step. Because there was no real “trail”, I spent much of my upward hike on my belly in mud, crawling under low-lying vine maple trees and and salmonberry bushes. Carrying a 40 pound backpack while scrambling over rugged terrain was an unbearable burden. Eventually I reached my parking spot and realized that I wouldn’t have time for another descent and still be able to get back to my truck before nightfall. I returned home to Bend humbled but not defeated.
The Devil’s Staircase Adventure part 2…
Weeks after my initial attempt to find the elusive staircase, I regrouped and doubled my efforts. I found better maps of the area which is located in Oregon’s Siuslaw National Forest between the Smith River and the Umpqua River. While planning my return, I realized I would need an able bodied
hiking partner for both safety and sherpa purposes. Enter Josh…former neighbor, great friend, excellent woodsman and as it turns out, a tireless backcountry hiker.
When I contacted Josh about the adventure, he eagerly signed on to the exploration. Thank God!
On the first logging road on the way to the waterfall, we encountered a downed alder tree across the road. It was too heavy to lift and too high to drive over. Fortunately we had packed a large hand saw just for this purpose. Josh and I took turns cutting out a road sized section of the tree and returned to the driving part of our adventure.
I’ve driven thousands of miles down forest service roads and have never seen a road more overgrown than the ones in this section of the Siuslaw National Forest. I intentionally drive a beat-up old Tahoe because it has good clearance and the paint job is already heavily decorated with “Oregon Racing Stripes”, scratches from trees and brush along narrow forest service roads. The overgrown roads in this part of the Coast Range weren’t a concern because they were torturing my paint job, they were problematic because we simply couldn’t see where the road was!
The shoulders of the road were exceptionally steep, precipitously dropping several hundred feet in many locations. On several occasions, we had to stop and get out of my rig to see exactly where the road was. Eventually, we found what we believed was the proper parking spot and beginning of our hiking route.
In preparation for my second attempt at finding the Devil’s Staircase, I downloaded maps which included waypoints which proved to be priceless in the first 2 miles of our expedition. These waypoints gave us the confidence to trust the faint, debris covered trail which departed from the logging landing where we had parked.
Our route to the Staircase meandered up and down zigzagging ridge lines through magnificent old growth forests intermingled with dense undergrowth.
In between anxious map,GPS, and compass examinations, we felt immersed in the dense ecosystem of this vibrant but forbidding forest, known as the “Dark Grove”.
We encountered countless snails and banana slugs, while enjoying the calls of woodland birds.
As an interesting side note, I’d like to mention Josh’s choice of footwear. Sandals! Keep in mind that he is an extremely experienced backcountry traveler. He explained that his feet have been hardened by countless miles of backcountry travel, they don’t get hot in sandals and with open toed shoes his feet dry off quickly.
The “Trail” which descends into the “Dark Grove” quickly became difficult to follow. It required lots of scrambling on hands and knees to trudge
through sections like you see in the photo to the left.
Low lying vine maples and rhododendrons made wearing a heavy backpack with a beefy tripod a nuisance.
My tripod repeated got caught on branches which would pull me backward until I stopped to disengage the offending branch.
The lushness of the forest was remarkable. The Oregon Coast Range is notoriously damp and the section of woods in this proposed wilderness area are no exception.
Dense undergrowth was often accentuated with a layer of moss and lichen.
As our route drove us deeper into the heart of this 30,500 acre tract of land, signs of our trail became more sparse and extremely difficult to discern.
Elegant stands of old growth forest were interspersed with dense stands of Salmonberry, vine maple and rhododendrons.
According to the good folks at Cascadia Wildlands, the extremely steep terrain and remarkably loose soil in this proposed wilderness area made it exceedingly difficult for loggers. Fortunately, this is an example of accidental old growth forest preservation. Currently, two groups, Cascadia Wildlands as well as Oregon Wild are leading the charge to protect this magnificent part of the world against future logging.
The Devil’s Staircase is part of the largest unprotected tract of land in the Oregon Coast Range and it definitely deserves to be preserved.
As we continued downward toward the falls and Wasson Creek, we lost any sign of trail but we were greeted by plentiful signs of wildlife. We found lots of Black Bear and Mountain Lion scat as well as countless piles of Elk poop. Our route was riddled with faint elk trails which served as more of a distraction than a benefit. It was almost as if the local elk weren’t as concerned about getting to the Staircase as we were!
As we weren’t positive about exactly where the staircase was located and we no longer had GPS service, we opted to navigate conservatively. Instead of descending directly upon the waterfall, we opted to drop into Wasson Creek at a spot where we were confident that we would be downstream of the falls.
This navigational tactic may have prevented disaster but it definitely took us longer than a more direct and aggressive route would have .
We steeply descended into an almost impenetrable maze of salmonberry and the nefarious Devil’s Club whose thorny branches were an unpleasant surprise. From salmonberry brambles we made a series of unfortunate decisions which led us into a huge skunk cabbage bog. We slogged shin deep in mud and elk poop which threatened to remove our shoes. Keep in mind, Josh was wearing sandals for this entire exploration. He never lodged a single complaint about his footwear during our entire adventure!
The enormous old growth Douglas Fir you see to the left was typical of the cathedral like forest we enjoyed during our quest to find the elusive Devil’s Staircase.
After we excavated ourselves from the skunk cabbage bog, we thankfully made our way down to the banks of what we hoped was Wasson Creek. The banks of the creek were extremely steep and in most places there was drop of more than 10 feet down to the water’s edge. With some frustration, we found a passage down to water level where we blissfully waded knee deep in the direction where we hoped to find the Holy Grail of the Dark Grove, the Devil’s Staircase.
The Creek was enchanting and filled with life. Its clear water was probably a matter of seasonal timing as I suspect that with heavier stream flow, the creek would be much more turbid.
The creek was decorated with pleasant mini waterfalls which cascaded over small sandstone shelves and plummeted into intriguing “potholes” formed via the miracle of erosion.
The scene you see to the right was typical of our 1/4 mile wade through Wasson Creek. We honestly weren’t certain if the Devil’s Staircase was up or downstream from where we dropped into Wasson Creek but our educated guess was that it should be upstream. Imagine our exaltation when we first heard the roar of the falls, soon followed by our first glimpse of those elegant sandstone stair steps which compose Oregon’s most elusive waterfall!
The scene was absolutely breath-taking. The individual stairs of the Devil’s Staircase range from about 3 to 5 feet high with a total elevation loss of about 50 feet.
The scene is simply sublime. Water cascading over perfect natural stair-steps, intriguing potholes, abundant insect life and the serene backdrop of an ancient old-growth forest make for an awe inspiring experience!
Some notes about my fine art landscape photographs of the Devil’s Staircase
The intention of my photographs is usually to capture the essence of the beautiful environments I visit. This entails an analysis of what specific characteristics of a place make it unique. For my Devil’s Staircase Fine Art Photograph, I wanted to emphasize the waterfall itself as well as the unique pot holes in the stream bed and the enchanting forest. When I first conceptualized images of the Devil’s Staircase, I imagined a heavier water flow over the steps. This was of course out of my control and… I think would have been unfortunate. Heavier flow would have meant a simple series of white drops and would have obscured the features in the stream bed which help to define the place. I desperately wanted overcast skies to eliminate contrasty spots in future fine art prints of this special place. In total, I spent just over 2 hours exploring and shooting the falls from various perspectives and with two different cameras. I utilized a Sony digital camera and my “Big Rig”, which is my faithful Ebony large format 4×5 film camera.
The “Big Rig” is gorgeous, but heavy. It is what I use to capture all of the fine art landscape photographs you see in the galleries of my website. Because the image files from my 4×5 sheet film are enormous, I can make exceptionally detailed fine art prints at remarkably large sizes. I routinely sell prints which are 50 inches wide! While all of the photos in this blog entry are for sale, only the fine art landscape photographs of the Devil’s Staircase which were taken with my “Big Rig” can be printed at sizes larger than 20 inches in the long dimension.
A couple notes about getting to the Devil’s Staircase….
I’m not going to tell you how to get to the Devil’s Staircase!!! This place is Really remote and I cannot over-emphasize how easy it is to get lost down there. The “Easy” way to the Devil’s Staircase is really difficult. Many people have gotten lost and had to unintentionally spend the night in that forest. Minor emergencies become major crises in places like the Dark Grove which has no cell phone coverage. I simple do not want the liability of contributing to other people getting lost trying to find this waterfall. OK..all of this being said, with some research, you can find plenty of information about routes to the Staircase online and most of the people who claim to have taken the “easy” route into the falls actually did take the easy route. You will get dirty, wet, sweaty, and possibly bloody( I did). You will get scratched, scraped, you will crawl on your belly, and you will slide, against your will down steep slopes covered in thick undergrowth and if you are like me, you will love it1 My advice is to go with a strong hiking partner, be VERY prepared and have finely honed route finding skills before adventuring to to this magical part of the world which desperately deserves the protected status of a designated Wilderness Area!
Top 10 Oregon waterfall hikes. Oregon is blessed with an amazing collection of waterfalls, arguably the most impressive in the United States. This, of course, means many readers will have a favorite waterfall which is not on my list. That’s actually good. It will give me more waterfalls to explore and hopefully photograph. I’ve ventured to hundreds of Oregon’s waterfalls and have loved most of them. As I approach the exploration of Oregon waterfalls from the perspective of an Oregon Landscape Photographer, I tend to dig in deep and thoroughly analyze the waterfalls I visit. So, in my opinion, here are, in no particular order, the top 10 waterfall hikes in Oregon!
1. Tumalo Falls Hike, Deschutes National Forest.
Where do I start with my list of the top 10 waterfalls in Oregon? Well, I start …at home. I live in Bend, Oregon and Tumalo Falls is one of our iconic local attractions, located approximately 10 miles from Downtown Bend , beautiful Mirror Pond and Drake Park.
The hike to Tumalo Falls is not….a hike. It is a 50 foot stroll from the parking lot to the viewing point. Don’t think of Tumalo Falls as your destination, think of it as your gateway. Hiking and Mountain Biking trails spring off in all directions from Tumalo Falls. Waterfall enthusiasts have an easy decision to make, to see more waterfalls or not! By following the obvious trail on the south side of Tumalo Creek, Hikers will gradually gain elevation and enjoy countless waterfalls, most of which are remarkable as stand-alone waterfalls. The first waterfall beyond Tumalo Falls is approximately one mile upstream with the next being another 1/4 mile further. Hikers can pick their own adventure as this hike is an out and back. I recommend continuing approximately 3 miles upstream from the parking area to an unnamed waterfall I’ve dubbed, Turtle Falls. Turtle Falls is a 40 foot tall, wide curtain of powerful water. It is Really loud and quite awe-inspiring and an excellent turn-around point
Intrepid hikers with lots of adventure time can continue uphill beyond Turtle Falls and and eventually reach Broken Top Mountain and its incomparable alpine beauty.
There are many other trails in the Tumalo Falls area which provide endless options for Hikers and mountain bikers.
2. Proxy Falls Hike, Three Sisters Wilderness, near McKenzie
The Hike to Proxy Falls is almost as refreshing as the waterfall itself. The 1.5 mile loop trail quickly enters the western edge of the Three Sisters Wilderness Area as it ambles through old growth fir and cedar forests and over the top of ancient lava flows.
Early spring brings a proliferation of Rhododendron blooms and autumn offers a kaleidoscope of vine maple foliage. The hike, while not appropriate for disabled travelers, is considered family friendly.
The hike gradually gains elevation as it gently weaves through a temperate rain forest. Most hikers tend to hike this trail in a counter-clockwise direction, which brings them to Lower Proxy Falls( pictured to the right)first. This photographically stunning waterfall is the main attraction on this magical hike. At 226 feet tall, Proxy Falls and its braided patterns mesmerize countless hikers every year. The Proxy waterfall hike brings hikers to an overlook of its namesake waterfall. the view is attractive but the magic lies below. Intrepid hikers should scramble down the often muddy slopes beneath the viewpoint, following the obvious trail. This scramble is NOT for everyone but is easily passable for able bodied hikers. Prepare to get wet and like it. Spray fills the basin beneath the falls, stimulating the senses. There are undeveloped trails that parallel the falls on both sides. Depending on stream-flows, wet shoes may be a requirement.
After frolicking in the refreshing spray of this magnificent waterfall, hop back onto the loop trail and continue. If you started in a counter-clockwise direction, you will reach Upper Proxy Falls after a 1/2 mile stroll. You will notice a small sign indicating a trail departing to the right hand side of the trail. Take it! This leads to Upper Proxy, a wonderful “Bonus” waterfall. While not the showstopper that Lower Proxy is, it is well worth exploration and it is an excellent place for a lunch break. Bring your own lunch, it will not be provided for you! After your bonus, continue the short hike back to the parking area.
Directions to the Proxy Falls Hike:
-From Bend, drive west on Highway 20 to the city of Sisters
-In Sisters, follow signage to McKenzie Pass(OR 242) approximately 15 miles where you reach the Dee Wright observatory, a worthy rest spot with spectacular views of the Oregon Cascades and an extensive lava flow. Be forewarned, while beautiful, highway 242 is not for those prone to car sickness. The road winds mercilessly, is very narrow, and has some steep shoulders.
-From the observatory, continue another 12 miles to the obvious trailhead for the Proxy Falls trail. Bathrooms are available at the trailhead.
3. Multnomah Falls Hike, Columbia River Gorge
Where to start with Oregon Waterfalls…maybe from the top! At 627 feet tall, Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall. Located in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah is visible and accessible from Highway 84 which runs East-West through the gorge. Multnomah is not one of my favorite waterfalls because it offers solitude because…it doesn’t! It has a huge parking lot and a very busy visitor’s center. Multnomah makes my list because it is stunning, family friendly, and offers some wonderful hiking opportunities along side and above the falls. The historic Multnomah Falls lodge, was thankfully spared from this past summers horrendous wildfires in the Columbia River Gorge. I’d like to extend a special thanks to all of the firefighters who help save the lodge and countless other special places in the Gorge. For visitors who suffer from time constraints, the Benson Bridge, centered in the image at left, is a worthy destination. From the bridge, visitors will have sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge as well as the impressive upper drop of the falls. The feel of fresh spray and the rich aroma of ionized water make the short hike worth the effort for an able-bodied visitor.
Multnomah Falls varies tremendously throughout the year as this part of the Columbia River Gorge experience a full four seasons. Intrepid hikers can continue up the trail adjacent to the falls enduring 11 different switchbacks and enjoy the viewing platform at the top of the falls. The Very brave can continue on the Larch Mountain Trail which continues beyond the top of Multnomah Falls and includes a side spur to the panoramic point, Sherrard Point.
4. Toketee Falls Hike, North Umpqua River
Toketee Falls and its short but beautiful hike are all about the details. specifically, amazingly intricate details of intricate basalt columns. The framing of Toketee Falls via a symmetrical basalt column gateway is almost too perfect to be believable. It must be seen to be appreciated. The Hike to Toketee Falls is a family friendly but not handicap accessible 0.5 miles one way to a viewing platform where the North Umpqua River double drops. The first about 30 feet and the second about 70 feet. You will know when you’ve arrived at the trailhead because a huge and unusual wooden irrigation tube runs along one side of the parking area. I mean, it is really big… maybe 20 feet tall… leaking like a sieve and bands together with steel straps. Frankly, it doesn’t look safe!
The hike itself is beautiful if not arduous. You will experience a very tropical feeling forest, more evocative of Kauai than of southern Oregon. Old growth trees, giant ferns and lush undergrowth flank the banks of the deep volcanic gorge which has been scoured by the waters of the North Umpqua River. The hike is an out and back and is a nice road trip diversion for families. There is an obvious but dangerous trails that plummets down into the waterfall’s natural amphitheater. It is not for everyone. I’ve never read of fatalities on this unofficial side trail, but they are a distinct possibility. Know that you have been forewarned and know that the view from below is really stunning. You get a water-level view to enjoy the falls’s ionized spray and the up-close details of this amazing natural wonder.
Directions to the Toketee Falls Hike:
From Bend, drive south on highway 97 for 75 miles and turn right on Highway 138 towards Crater Lake National Park. Continue on Highway 138 for 42 miles and take a right on Forest Road 34. Cross the first bridge and the parking lot for the trail is on the left. The trailhead for the Toketee Falls Hike is at the far end of the Parking lot. Remember, if you see the giant ,leaky wooden irrigation pipe, you are at the right place!
5. Thor’s Well, Cape Perpetua, Yachats, Oregon
Wait, a waterfall in the ocean….yep, and it’s awesome! Thor’s Well may have made my list on a technicality but I stand by it as it is unique and I like it! Located near the quaint seaside town of Yachats, Oregon, Part of what makes Thor’s Well so special is it’s proximity to several other interesting coastal features which are also located in the Cape Perpetua National Scenic Area.-
Short Hikes to the Devil’s Churn, the Spouting Horn, and Cook’s Chasm are are close by and all visually stunning, as the view from the Cape Perpetua overlook and its stunning view to the South along the Pacific Coast.
Thor’s Well requires a high tide in order for ocean surges to fill the Well’s coastal cave and force water upward before it forms a brief circle waterfall after each surge.
Directions to Cape Perpetua:
There are multiple routes to Cape Perpetua and Thor’s Well from Central Oregon.
-Drive west on highway 20 out of Bend, through the city of Sisters and over Santiam Pass.
-Take highway 126 for 68 miles and continue to the city of Eugene.
-Merge onto I-5 North toward Portland for 1.2 miles
-Merge onto the Randy-Pape belt line ( OR 569 W) which becomes OR 126 West, which you will take for 55 miles
-Turn right on North Fork Road and continue for 0.9 miles
-Turn left on Munsel Lake Road for 2.1 miles
-Turn right on US 101 for 21 miles and arrive at Cape Perpetua.
6.Oneonta Falls Hike, Columbia River Gorge
The Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge is blessed with countless interesting waterfalls, making is one of the most waterfall rich areas of the United States. A personal favorite amongst Gorge waterfalls is the famed Oneonta Falls, located in the stunning Oneonta Gorge. 100 foot tall Oneonta Falls is located a half mile upstream in the incomparable Oneonta Gorge, a 200 foot deep moss covered slot canyon which at points is only 6 feet wide.
Hikers be forewarned, you will get wet on this hike! Even in warm summer months, there is one pool which is the full width of the canyon which will be chest deep on a 6 foot tall person. If you are bringing camera gear, bring a dry bag. the Same goes for your phone!
The Short hike to Oneonta Falls are simply stunning but another warning should be headed. At the beginning of the hike, Oneonta Creek and Gorge are blockaded by a huge log jam. I mean its really big! This sounds like a minor detail but wet logs with dangerous drops into the creek below are a dangerous combination. It is my understanding that at least one person has died at this log jam…. Please be careful if you choose to proceed. If you do, be prepared for a magical mossy gem of an experience!
Directions to Oneonta Falls:
-From Bend, take highway 97 north for 40 miles to the city of Madras,OR
-In Madras,take highway 26 West towards Portland for 100 miles
-In the city of Gresham, follow sign to I 84 East towards Hood River, Oregon for 16 miles to the Oneonta Gorge trail head.
7. Abiqua Falls Hike, near Scotts Mills, Willamette Valley Oregon
Abiqua Falls is a stunning natural amphitheater composed almost entirely of volcanic basalt columns adorned with vibrant orange lichen.
Abiqua Falls, by itself is an elegant 100 foot tall single drop waterfall but the scene is about much more than the falls. The amphitheater is simply stunning, like something out of Jurassic Park. Moss-laden big leaf maples, Douglas Firs, Cedars and hemlock harmoniously mesh with the extraordinary basalt patterns of this stunning rocky basin.
Abiqua Falls are located on land belonging to the Mount Angel Abbey which graciously allows visitors to experience this exquisite place. Please be respectful of the surrounding environment. Access has been prohibited in the past and with misbehavior, it is a future possibility.
The hike to Abiqua Falls from the trailhead is relatively short but not a simple one. The trail is steep, often muddy, and slippery but it does have ropes fixed in critical locations to aid hikers up and down the steepest parts of the hike.
Directions to Abiqua Falls:
-Start at the small town Scotts Mills Oregon.
-Follow Crooked Finger Road approximately 11 miles. Paved road will end after about 10 miles.
-Turn right on an unmarked signs at an ORV staging area. Follow this gravel and stone road for 2 1/4 miles to a locked gate with a small parking area. You will likely need a high clearance vehicle for this section of the road.
-From the parking area( this term is used liberally as this is NOT formal parking area, it is simply a wide part of the road.
– From the parking area, walk back up the road for about 100 feet to the trail which travels down the slick muddy path for about 1/2 mile before reaching the Shangri-La, which is the Abiqua Falls Amphitheater.
8. South Falls Hike, Silver Falls State Park
Silver Falls State Park is one of the crown jewels of Oregon’s amazing State Parks system. The Trail of 10 Falls, located within Silver Falls allows hikers to enjoy, you guessed it… 10 different waterfalls!
The hike is stunning.
Hikers will pass behind, above or beside, the aforementioned South Falls, as well as Lower South Falls, Lower North Falls, Drake Falls, Double Falls, Middle North Falls, Twin Falls, North Falls, Upper North Falls, and Winter Falls. The Trail of 10 Falls is 7.2 miles long but a well structured and relatively easy hike.
I selected South Falls as one of my 10 best Waterfall Hikes in Oregon because of the Trail of 10 Falls but South Falls is a worthy singular destination if you are in the vicinity.
South Falls is located a short,flat hike from the parking area. The 1/4 mile hike to the falls passes the historic Silver Falls Lodge. Some but not all of the view points at South Falls are handicapped accessible.
Directions to Silver Falls State Park:
-From Bend, take highway 20 west through the town of Sisters for a total of 46 miles to the Santiam Y Junction where you will take a slight right ontoOR-22 West . Continue on OR-22 for 67 miles.
-Turn off Boedhiigheimer Rd. SE,
-Take a slight right towards Fern Ridge Road SE where you will take a left
-Turn right onto Boedighigheimer RD SE and continue for 5.7 miles
-Turn right onto OR-214 N for 7.2 miles and the entrance for Silver Falls State Park will be on the right. Follow signage for the South Falls Parking area.
9. Benham Falls Hike, Deschutes River Trail, Bend, Oregon
For the sake of immediate transparency, Benham Falls is is less of a waterfall and more of a really violent series of whitewater rapids. Bentham Makes the list because of the hikes which go both up and downstream from the “Falls”
Located on the Deschutes River Trail, 14 miles south of Bend. Oregon, the Benham Falls area is a hiker’s paradise. To clarify for out of town visitors, the “Deschutes River Trail” can mean several things. There is a Lower Deschutes River Trail in Northern Oregon where the Deschutes River dumps into the Columbia River,
There is a “River Trail” through the urban boundary of the city of Bend which is administered and managed by the Bend Parks and Rec Department and there is the Deschutes River Trail South Of Bend, in the ‘Deschutes national Forest, accessed from Century Drive.
There is a designated parking area for Benham Falls, which also has a bathroom. Multiple viewpoints share the beauty of this rugged section of the Deschutes River.
To be clear, the beauty of Benham Falls lies in the hike an the surrounding area and not in the waterfall itself. The “Falls” are interesting and noisy and beautiful but don’t offer the jaw dropping vertical plunges of many Oregon Waterfalls. Regardless, I stand by my decision to include it in my list of the top 10 waterfall hikes in Oregon.
For those of you who are visiting The Deschutes River Trail to Mt. Bike……don’t! You will find that there are a lot of hikers to frustrate you. There are lots of other biking trails in the area that you will enjoy more.
Directions to Benham Falls:
- From Bend, Take SW Century Drive south towards Mt. Bachelor for approximately 10 miles
- turn left at FS 41 for approximately 5 miles and follow signage to Benham Falls.
- This forest service road travels about 1 mile to an obvious parking area.
10. Tamanawas Falls Hike, Mt. Hood National Forest
The Hike to Tamanawas Falls is 2.0 miles one way and gains 600 feet of elevation as it travels through attractive mountain forests. Currently, there is a detour through a large rock slide but it is passable.
Tamanawas Falls themselves are stunning. This basalt lipped waterfall takes a single 109 foot plunge over a deeply undercut cliff edge. Hikers can walk behind the falls to enjoy its spray.
Directions to Tamanawas Falls:
-From Bend, take highway 97 north for 102 miles
-turn right at OR 35 towards Hood River, Oregon for 15.6 miles
-turn right at the Sherwood Trail Parking area where the Tamanawas Falls Hike begins.
My line of Oregon Greeting Cards/ Note Cards has gradually grown over the last few years. I’m anticipating the arrival of 5 new cards, which I believe will help balance out my Oregon Greeting Cards collection.
Broken Top Mountain, located in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness Area is a favorite hiking and climbing destinations for Central Oregonians. Countless miles of alpine hiking lure explorers from all over Oregon.
Broken Top receives a heavy winter snow-load, so its summer hiking season is short but beautiful.
I captured the image to the left, Broken Top Eruption in the summer of 2017, shortly before a harsh wildfire season, smoked out much of the Three Sisters Wilderness Area.
My fine art prints of Broken Top Eruption are gorgeous as are my new greeting cards of the same image.
It is a celebration of alpine wildflowers and one of Oregon’s most iconic mountains. This Note cards will be a favorite for hikers and gardeners from across Oregon! This Broken Top Greeting Card will be available on my website in packs of 8 and at a variety of retail locations across Oregon. If you are affiliated with a retail organization and are interested in carrying my expanding line of Oregon Greeting Cards, please contact me directly 541-610-4815 to discuss wholesale pricing.
Silver Falls is on of the gems of Oregon’s renowned State Park system. Lush, almost tropical forests, are highlighted by an unprecedented collection of waterfalls.
South Falls, pictured in my newest note card, is the most accessible of all the waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park and arguably the most photogenic.
Located near the historic Silver Falls Lodge, South Falls plunges 177 vertical feet over a basalt rimmed cliff, creating a spectacular entrance to the famed “Trail of Ten Falls”
I’ve noted increasing demand for my Oregon Note Cards from people in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. This new Silver Falls greeting card is a thank you for all of my supporters in the Willamette Valley.
Located near the picturesque town of Silverton, Oregon, Silver Falls and not far from Salem Oregon, it is a favorite amongst visitors to Western Oregon.
Tamolitch Pool is located on the McKenzie River west of Oregon Cascade Crest.
Tamolitch Pool’s azure waters gleam like a precious sapphire in the sun. The bluest water I’ve ever seen is truly something to behold.
Located along Oregon’s iconic McKenzie River Trail, Tamolitch requires a 2.5 mile hike through old growth forests and lava flows.
Tamolitch Pool’s waters are…frigid. 38 degree temperatures , year-round are not for timid swimmers.
While Tamolitch Pool, also known as the “Blue Pool” looks shallow, it is nearly 60 feet deep.
Widely considered to be One of Oregon’s most scenic waterfalls, Proxy Falls is also located west of Oregon’s Cascade Crest, just inside of the western edge of the Three Sisters Wilderness.
The hike into Proxy Falls is a pleasant 1.5 mile stroll through old- growth fir forests, accented by profusion of rhododendron blossoms in spring and the technicolor dream of vine maples in autumn.
The magic of Proxy Falls is awoken by getting close to its spray. This requires a short scramble down a muddy slope but it is worth it. Prepare to get wet and embrace the magic of one of the most enchanting waterfalls in the world.
Proxy Falls is mesmerizing to experience. It’s braided falls connect and disconnect like a hydrological spider web.
This beautiful waterfall is technically referred to as “Lower Proxy Falls”. Also on the Proxy Falls loop hike is the smaller Upper Proxy Falls which holds its own alluring charms and is a short and very worthy side hike.
Proxy falls is less than an hour from Eugene, Oregon where I hope to have my line of greeting cards available for sale in the near future.
The beautiful Painted Hills of John Day are a 90 minute drive east of Bend, Oregon. I certain spring seasons, these geologic wonders are swept up in a sea of yellow cleomes and chaenactis flowers. This new greeting card of the famed John Day Painted Hills was captured at the height of an epic wildflower bloom and immediately after an evening thunderstorm.
The Painted Hills, located near the city of Mitchell Oregon are a wonderful day trip into arid and striking Eastern Oregon.
To see the beautiful fine art landscape photograph of this image, please visit, Oregon Painted Hills photos.
To view my entire collection of cards, please visit,
If I’m lucky I get to release new fine art landscape photographs a couple of times each year. It is a long process which requires lots of tedious decisions that would be irrelevant in the eyes of some and critical in the eyes of
others. The difference between images that will translate well on the internet and ones that will translate well as fine art landscape photographs is vast. Most of the fine art prints that i sell tend to be large, usually 30 inches or more in the long dimension. Because I need to be able to make very large fine art landscape prints, I need to start with an exceptionally large image file which I capture and create with my large format film camera. This means that my original 4×5 transparencies need to have excellent focus. Without great focus, the final prints will be too soft, lack clarity and look unrealistic. I also need to avoid images which have large areas that are inappropriately exposed. Contrast is needed for clarity but large contrasty areas in large fine art prints end up being big black-holes or big blown-out sun spots. Both are Really unattractive in large prints but would be fine in your Instagram account. The above Metolius River photo, would have been frustrating to the viewer if the large Douglas Fir on the left side of the image was much darker. Having that large vertical swath without perceptible detail would also work fine for a small Facebook image, but not for a large fine art print.
The following image of Central Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor offered a separate type of challenge. The beautiful sunset in
this image captured from Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness Area, makes the fine art print work. Without an alpenglow infused sky, the beautiful alpine stream would guide flow the viewer toward a big bland, uninteresting sky. Once again, a bland sky would be tolerable for thumbnail images on one’s iPhone but not for a 50 inch tall fine art photograph. because of my persistence, this image has both a flowing stream and technicolor sky guiding the viewer towards Oregon’s favorite ski mountain, Mt. Bachelor. I’ve entitled this image, “Alpenflow”.
Another one of my newest images presented different challenges. Water Flow. I’ve visited this magical little emerald pool several times in the past but it has often been sunny, making the photos I captured too contrasty or the water level too high. With high stream flows, the flow over the central pool dulled the image, eliminating the depth, and interest of the image. Eventually, streamflow and weather cooperated and I was able to capture this artistic image with my trusty Ebony 4×5 camera. The fine art prints from have amazing texture and detail. To read more about this new fine art landscape photograph, visit, “Living Water”.
Without extreme attention to detail in my selection process, the large prints of this image would have been inferior.
The last of my new fine art landscape photographs, “Broken Top Eruption”, required an almost geologic patience. Ive been traveling to the site of this image annually for nearly 20 years now and this was the first summer where the wildflowers were this prolific in this particular spot. The Three Sisters Wilderness, what I consider one of the Seven Wonders of Central Oregon, is always special but the wildflowers are not always this bountiful. I’ve shot many different scenes in the vicinity of this image and have walked past this scene countless times. This years when the wildflowers spoke to me.
With wildflowers exploding, the light conditions generously cooperated. Overcast skies offered periodic sun-breaks on the summit of Broken Top Mountain, giving life to its rocky spires. Without the sun-breaks, Broken Top would have been rendered flat and lifeless. With any wind at all, the lush wildflower foreground would have been an abstract nightmare. With the optimal conditions I enjoyed, you can see the minute filamentous hairs on each leaf and bloom. It is only with near perfect photographic parameters that fine art landscape photographs like this can be captured. That, in part, is why they excite me! I hope you enjoy my newest work. Please browse through the following and click on the various thumbnails to see large images of the fine art landscape prints that I have available and to to read the stories behind them.
Oregon Coast Photography. Everyone loves the beautiful Oregon Coast, it seems almost universal. Cool temperatures and rainy, blustery winter weather are embraced rather than endured on the Oregon Coast. In exchange for non tropical weather, coastal visitors get rugged seascapes, an abundance of seafood, old growth coastal forests and a relative scarcity of fellow visitors.
To be clear, crowds can be considerable near popular Oregon Coastal towns such at Cannon Beach, seen on the left.
Cannon Beach was the first Oregon Beach I ever visited. 20 years ago, my wife, Debbie and I were in the midst of a prolonged and belated honeymoon and we were advised to visit the Oregon Coast. Cannon Beach seemed to be the closest beach town to Portland, so we ventured forth. It was remarkable. Having grown up in Kentucky, my family occasionally vacationed in warmer coastal towns in Florida and North Carolina. Cannon Beach was a wonderful contrast. Overcast skies made for rich colors in the landscape. The remarkable seastacks including the Iconic Haystack Rock and, “The Needles” , seen to the left were other worldly. Like nothing I’d ever seen in the Southeast US.
And…. the tide pools were absolutely enchanting. Technicolor Pacific Ocean starfish, anemones,clams, crabs, various mollusks, and countless small fish temporarily enclosed in endless tidal aquariums were like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
After my first visit to the Oregon Coast I was smitten! The photograph of a tide pool at Southern Oregon’s Bandon Beach seen at the right is very representative. Color, and textures meld with aromas and living water to enrich the senses.
Shortly after our first visit to the Oregon Coast, My wife and I decide to permanently re-locate to Oregon. We chose to live in the amazing town of Bend, Oregon but the 363 mile long Oregon Coast has always held a special place in our hearts.
One of the Oregon Coast towns that continually draws us back is Bandon Beach. Oregon Coast photography is a pleasure anywhere but Bandon Oregon is second to none in terms of rugged sea stacks and amazing sand beaches.
Despite Bandon, Oregon being a considerable drive from our home in Bend, we return whenever we can because the tide pools, sea stacks and beaches are magical. Face Rock Beach, seen to the left is one of our favorite beaches in the Bandon Area. Face Rock is the large rock on the left side of the image on the left side of this image. With close inspection, you can see the clear profile of a face leaning back in the Pacific Ocean, as if it were reclining in a hot tub. The grouping if smaller sea stacks, located to the right of Face Rock are known as “the kittens”.
Another favorite section of the Oregon coast is the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Byway. This byway is a 12 mile long section of the Southern Oregon Coast, located just north of Brookings, Oregon. This quiet length of coastline is a wonderful location for Oregon Coast Photography. Tide pools and sea stacks abound and and visitors are comparatively sparse. Most of the waypoints along this section of the Coast are undeveloped, so if you are looking for Putt-Putt golf or cotton candy, this part of the Oregon Coast is not for you.
Instead, enjoy quiet strolls, excellent seafood, wildlife viewing, picnics, and amazing Oregon Coast Sunsets.
Because most of the rock formations on the Oregon Coast are volcanic in origin, they are very durable. These durable formations have created many dramatic and
interesting features. Perhaps my favorite volcanic water feature on the Oregon Coast is, Thor’s Well, located on Cape Perpetua, near the town of Yachats, Oregon.
Thor’s Well is a large lava tube whose upper opening is about 15 feet above sea level. Its lower opening is near sea level. When tidal swells are high, waves crash into Thor’s Well’s lower opening and push out through the upper opening. As the wave recedes, seawater is drawn back into the lava tube and creates a natural circular waterfall. My Thor’s Well photograph seen to the left captures this receding waterfall effect.
For those of you who are landscape photographers, be forewarned, Thor’s Well has consumed countless expensive cameras. Wave heights are always unpredictable and the non vigilant photographer can easily be caught by rogue waves. Unsuspecting coastal explorers can easily be sucks into the well, which would mean almost certain death, so …..be careful! I am committed to broadening my collection of fine art photographs of the Oregon Coast, so please check back to my online gallery, Oregon Coast Landscape Photography.
Hiking season is upon us in Oregon and with this seasonal evolution, should come some caution. The first areas in Oregon to reward hikers are of low elevation. Low elevation riparian areas, specifically in the high desert regions of Central and Eastern Oregon are home to the indigenous Western Rattlesnake which tend to awake from their winter somnolence in Early May.
As a child, I grew up in a snake filled part of the US. I had a law-mowing business which made me cross paths with snakes on a daily basis. In general, snakes don’t bother me.
Rattlesnakes are a different story! There is something very primal and unsettling about hearing a the warning of an angry rattlesnake and not knowing where it is.
I encountered the big Western Rattlesnake you see at left while hiking and photographing along the Lower Deschutes River, near its’ confluence with the Columbia River Gorge.
I mention this location because it typifies rattlesnake terrain in Oregon…riparian areas, east of the Cascades and at lower elevations.Western Rattlesnakes have a long period of inactivity during Oregon’s long winters. Over my two decades of scouting landscape photographs in Oregon, I’ve noticed a distinct pattern in the seasonal emergence of Rattlesnakes in Oregon. When Balsamroot begin to bloom, Rattlesnakes become active.
I captured the image you see to the right on the same morning that I had the run- in with the rattlesnake you see above. Please notice the large yellow flowers in this image. They are the aforementioned Balsamroot, whose bloom season seems to correlate quite accurately with the seasonal emergence of Oregon’s Western rattlesnakes.
I was, unwisely, hiking off trail, near the river when I heard the snake’s rattle, warning me to keep my distance. My stomach dropped as if I’d crested a huge hill in the front car of an amusement park roller-coaster because I couldn’t see the snake. This non-snake -fearing landscape photographer was terrified! The snakes natural camouflaged pattern was betraying both of us. Moments later( seemed like an eternity) I saw the snakes movement. I shrieked like a frightened child, jump as high as my old knees carrying 45 pounds of camera gear would allow and dashed off! As my heart rate slowly dropped back to a sustainable level, I could hear the rattlesnake still warning something even though I was well out of threat-range. I realized my tripod had fallen off of my photography backpack and landed right next to the Western Rattlesnake, who was VERY ANGRY! Click the link below to see a quick video of the rattlesnake in question. Please excuse the low video quality from my iPhone shot at long range!
A couple quick notes about this interaction. I would never knowingly agitate a rattlesnake or any other animal. This was an accidental encounter and my tripod was the culprit which raised the snake’s ire. The Photo of the rattlesnake that you see at the top of this page was shot from a LONG way from the snake. I would never intentionally get that close to a rattlesnake. Shortly after I retrieved my tripod, the snake settled and moved on, as did I.
Some Important tips for traveling through Rattlesnake Habitat
1. Stay on established trails! On well trodden trails, identifying Rattlesnakes is much easier and they choose to avoid heavily traveled terrain.
2. Wear Boots, the higher the better.
3. Wear long, loose fitting pants. No leggings, no shorts.
4. Keep your dogs on a lease or better yet, leave them at home. Dogs tend to be intensely curious about rattlesnakes which leads to trouble. If you do take your dogs with you in Western Rattlesnake terrain, I highly advise that you first get your dog a series of rattlesnake vaccines. I have seen several dogs whose lives were saved because they had been previously vaccinated.
5. Be very cognizant of children. They tend to put their hands and feet in places that rattlesnakes spend time.
6. Avoid rocky terrain with poor visibility.
7. Travel with a friend.
8. If you encounter a rattlesnake, keep your distance. They are Not aggressive unless provoked, so keeping your distance promotes your safety and theirs.
9. If you see blooming balsamroot flowers, beware, as you might be in active rattlesnake habitat.
Some rattlesnake terrain in the Bend and Central Oregon Region: Smith Rock State Park, Alder Springs/Lower Wychus Creek, Lake Billy Chinook, the Lower Deschutes River, Prineville Reservoir, Any riparian area that is below 3,000 feet in elevation.
Have fun, hike safe, be respectful, be cautious and be aware in Oregon’s rattlesnake terrain!
I’m excited to announce the release of three beautiful new pieces of fine art landscape photography! As the winter of 2016-17 winds down for the season, the historic snowfalls are no linger chilling to recount.
The image at right, “Tumalo Creek in Winter” was captured with my trusty 4×5 film camera. It is the same camera I utilize to capture all of my fine art landscape photography.
Because my 4×5 camera, combined with state of the art, modern, multi-coated lenses and ultra tight-grained, slow speed film, I can create fine art landscape photography that is unequaled by modern digital cameras.
I made several trips to the back of Bend, Oregon’s Shevlin Park during the winter of 2016-17 in an effort to capture the image you see here. The fine art landscape prints from this image are simply stunning. It is an elegant reminder of the impactful, formative, and historic winter of 2016-17. Heavy snow falls and frigid temperatures allowed for the accumulation of ice on the bottom of Tumalo Creek, making it more clear and blue than during a typical winter evening.
Read more about the capture of this beautiful fine art photograph, Tumalo Creek in Winter.Purchase this fine art landscape photograph
The next piece of fine art landscape photography I will be releasing is, “Polychrome Pool”. This stunning image was captured in
a rarely visited area of the Three Sisters Wilderness. The technicolor collection of rocks in this gorgeous pool are quite simply the most beautiful I’ve ever seen . This winsome little stream gently cascades for miles before it reaches the mighty Deschutes River, one of the Seven Wonders of Central Oregon.
The mystical feel of this delicate location still resonates with me today. I’ve committed to not disclosing the location of Polychrome Pool. I fear sharing this place with adoring backcountry visitors may endanger its fragile ecosystem.
For purchasing information about this piece of fine art landscape photography,
Purchase this fine art landscape photographThe following fine art landscape photography, Todd Lake Sunset, is an example of being at a special location for a fantastic event. Todd Lake is located along the Cascade Lakes Highway about 25 miles from my hometown of Bend,OR.
This idyllic alpine lake is a favorite amongst locals hikers and fishermen alike. With Mt. Bachelor as a backdrop, Todd Lake has the natural composition that makes fine art landscape photographers daydream! The evening that I captured this sunset of Todd Lake, I had visualized a different fine art landscape print. To my delight, clouds to the west parted as the mountain winds died down, creating a surreal and fantastic sunset light-show completed with a reflection! I literally ran down the loop train around the lake and frantically composed the image you see here. I had time to snap three exposures before the light was gone and the sunset show was over. It was the kind of fleeting moments that can be dreamt of but never predicted! Fortunately for me, my exposure was true and and I have a stunning new piece of fine art landscape photography to show for it!Purchase this fine art photo of Todd Lake
The Seven Wonders of Central Oregon….
I love lists…especially outdoor related lists. Ever since Travel Oregon’s wildly successful Seven Wonders of Oregon campaign, I’ve brainstormed about what would be on my list of the Seven Wonders of Central Oregon. As I debated and compiled information and images of the locations on this list, I was astounded. What other area of the country has the quality and variety of outdoor destinations that Central Oregon enjoys? Central Oregon is blessed with a plethora of outdoor opportunities which made the formulation my list a wonderful challenge. I hope you enjoy my list of the Seven Wonders of Central Oregon and feel free to share a link to this list with your friends. If you have something to add, please leave your comments at the end of this article.
1.The Mighty Deschutes River.
Central Oregon’s Deschutes River is the life line for this wonderful and diverse region of Oregon. Without the Deschutes River, there would be no agriculture and recreational opportunities would be limited. Inclusion of the Deschutes amongst the Seven Wonders of Central Oregon is virtually mandatory. It is scenic, diverse, life-giving and it offers endless recreational opportunities. Hiking, fishing, boating, mountain biking, and horse back riding are all popular along the shores of the Deschutes. Although there are too many highlights to mention, some highlights of the Deschutes and its tributaries include: The Deschutes River Trail, Tumalo Falls, Mirror Pond / Drake Park, and Shevlin Park.
The Deschutes River is quite simply the soul of the region. Tributaries such as Paulina Creek, Fall River, Tumalo Creek, Whycus Creek, The Metolius River( see #4 below) and the Crooked River contribute to the Deschutes during its 252 mile route north to the Columbia River.
For technical reasons, the Deschutes is often divided into three distinct parcels.
- The Upper Deschutes River. The Headwaters of the Deschutes are at Little Lava Lake, located along the Cascade Lakes Highway(see #7 below). The Deschutes inauspiciously ebbs out of the picturesque Little Lava Lake and slowly meanders south along the Highway. The “Upper Deschutes” extends from the Headwaters to the city of Bend.
- The Middle Deschutes River is a beautiful yet tortured segment of our favorite waterway. Much of the Water in the Middle
Deschutes is siphoned off for agricultural purposes. This leads to low water levels and therefore dangerously high water temperatures in the Middle Deschutes during irrigation season. The Middle Deschutes courses through a more largely treeless,arid environment and it carves a deeper canyon, creating epic views like you see to the right!
The Middle Deschutes starts down river of the City of Bend and ends at Lake Billy Chinook, which is the result of the Deschutes River being dammed.
3. The Lower Deschutes River.
The Lower Deschutes River extends from Lake Billy Chinook to the confluence of the Deschutes River with the Columbia River, in the Columbia River Gorge.
The Lower Deschutes is the stuff of fly-fishing documentaries. It is a big, dry-flanked, bold,western river. It its consistently rated as one of the best flyfishing rivers in the United States partly because of the trout fishing during legendary salmon fly hatches but more so because of seasonal steelhead runs which draws in fly fishermen( and women) from around the world.
2. The Three Sisters Wilderness Area
Central Oregon’s Three Sisters are hallmarks of our part of Oregon and are visible from much of the region. Referred to by early settlers as, Faith(North), Hope(Middle) and Charity(South), the Sisters are all dormant
volcanoes which top out at over 10,000 feet in elevation.
In 1964, the Three Sisters Wilderness Area, was established. The Wilderness encompasses over 286,000 acres and includes the aforementioned Three Sisters as well as Broken Top Mountain.
The Wilderness Area is a backpacking mecca which draws hikers from across the United States. It is the most visited wilderness area in Oregon and boasts Oregon’s larges undisturbed alpine region. Meltwater from winter snow feeds the Deschutes River( see seven wonders #1!)
Broken Top Mountain, seen to the left tops out at over 9,000 feet in elevation and offers many epic hiking opportunities.
The Three Sisters and Broken Top are all glaciated and receive heavy snowfall in winter. They are all popular amongst peak baggers and wildflower hunters. Summer comes late in the Three Sisters wilderness area but it is amazing. the Three Sisters Wilderness Area includes more than 260 miles of hiking trails
The wilderness is bisected by 40 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Popular access points for hiking in the wilderness include the Obsidian Trail, located west of the Three Sisters, and the Polk Creek Trail Head, near the city of Sisters.
Included in the wilderness are countless other gems such as waterfalls, wildflower meadows, streams and lakes. A new favorite I discovered in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area is Resurrection Falls.
An old favorite amongst locals and visitors is 226 foot tall Proxy Falls, seen to the right. Proxy Falls is almost worthy of being one of the seven wonders of Central Oregon by itself!
Proxy is on the West side of the Wilderness Area and is easily accessible from Highway 242, also know as the Mckenzie Highway.
Some popular trailheads for accessing the Three Sisters Wilderness include, the Green Lakes Trailhead, the Pole Creek and Three Creeks trailheads, both located near the town of Sisters, Oregon and the Obsidian Trailhead located on Mackenzie Pass, slightly west of the Pacific Crest Trail.
3. Smith Rock State Park
The Seven Wonders of Central Oregon wouldn’t be complete without Smith Rock State Park. Yeah, I know, Smith Rock State is considered one of the 7 wonders of Oregon, deftly promoted by Travel Oregon. Well…it is undeniably located in Central Oregon, so, we get to claim it too! Located a scenic 25 minute drive from Bend, Smith Rock is a world class rock climbing destination. On warm summer days, visitors will recognize countless different accents from climbers and hikers from around the world.
Located near the sleepy town of Terrebonne, Smith Rock tends to get very crowded on summer weekends. Consider yourself forewarned!
Walk in bivouac camping is available at the park on a first come first serve basis.
Smith Rock is a a vertical world unlike anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest. The Crooked River gently slaloms around the park’s vertical spires. Mule deer, Golden and Bald Eagles, River Otters and Rattlesnakes can often be spotted within the park. Yes, Rattlesnakes! Hiking trails abound and the “Misery Ridge Trail” is a favorite amongst visitors. Beware that this trail is not appropriate for people predisposed to acrophobia. Although relatively small, ( 640 acres) Smith Rock is a stunning example of the bewildering diversity of the Central Oregon region. Vertical towers jutting over 600 feet into the sky, a meandering river flanked by basalt columns, the surrounding high desert and stunning views of the Three Sisters, Mt. Bachelor and Mt. Jefferson make for an unforgettable experience.
Some of the better know rock formations at Smith Rock, include the cleverly named, “Smith Rock Group”, the balanced rock at Asterisk Pass, Morning Glory Wall, the Red Wall, and the rocky spires of “the Monument”, seen in the photograph to the left. For more extended exploration of the Smith Rock area, consider hiking up the “Burma Road” for dizzying views down to Smith Rock.
There are modest wildflower blooms in the Park which are usually witnessed from May to July. The adjacent, Gray Butte, has a large and wild trail system which begs for exploration from intrepid visitors. Smith Rock has a small visitor center located in a yurt, adjacent to the main parking area which serves as a wonderful source of information for visitors.
4. The Metolius River
Perhaps the most underrated of all of my seven wonders of Central Oregon is the the amazing Metolius River. The Metolius offers fantastic fishing, hiking and family friendly sight seeing.
The Metolius magically springs from the ground at the base of Black Butte, a symmetrical mountain located east of the Pacific Crest. Black Butte, a symmetrical cinder cone, tops out at 6,400 feet of elevation and offers excellent hiking and sweeping views of the Pacific Crest from its summit. The waters of the Metolius are pure, cold, and have have an alluring blue tint, reminiscent of Daiquiri ice.
The Metolius is a famed trout fishing river filled with finicky rainbows, browns and even bull trout. Fishing in the Metolius is restricted to fly-fishing only and barbless hooks are required. It is the kind of river where 10% of fishermen catch 90% of the fish, so don’t be alarmed if you have little success on your first fishing expedition on the Metolius. Hit or miss, fishing on the Metolius is an amazing experience because the setting is so stunning. Old growth Douglas Firs, and Ponderosa Pines, strikingly clear water, peekaboo mountain views and the charming community of Camp Sherman all stimulate the senses.
Visits to the Metolius are not complete without visits to the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery to feed huge rainbow trout and a visit to the Camp Sherman Store. The store is a magical time capsule, offering basic provisions as well as fly fishing supplies, craft beers, excellent cold cut sandwiches and souvenirs.
Wizard Falls, seen to the left, is about five miles down stream from the Camp Sherman Store. It is adjacent to the fish hatchery, which is a wonderful attraction of families. The West Metolius Trail begins at Lower Canyon Creek and travels down-river. Less than one half mile from the trailhead, a wonderful spring gushes from the banks of the Metolius into the river. Wizard Falls and its eponymous fish hatchery are approximately 2.7 miles from the trailhead.
For more exploration, I recommend hiking or biking downstream from Lower Bridge where the river is largely undisturbed by man. in this lower stretch of the Metolius River, it gains speed, volume and beauty before its stoppage at Lake Billy Chinook which is dammed by the Pelton Round Butte dam.
5. Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area
Located Northwest of the Metolius River Basin is the most rugged member of the Seven Wonders of Central Oregon, the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area. Accessible from multiple trailheads, the beauty of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness has to be earned. Shorter access trails such as Pamelia Lake from the west and Jack Lake from the east are crowded in summer months. Many other trail heads access the Mt. Jefferson area but most require arduous yet invigorating approaches. Mt. Jefferson, seen to the left, is Oregon’s second tallest mountain at 10,497 feet elevation and arguable Oregon’s most photogenic mountain. The Jefferson Park area offers stunning alpine meadows, numerous small lakes, blueberries, huckleberries and in productive years offers heavenly wildflower meadows.
Endless miles of rugged trails are available in the wilderness area for hikers and horseback riders. Early season jaunts offer endless stands of rhododendrons blooming at lower elevations. During summer, Indian Paintbrush, lupines, monkey flowers, and asters decorate alpine meadows. In late summer and early autumn, the reds yellows and maroons of huckleberries and blueberries are prolific.
When planning your next adventure into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area, make sure to consult the Deschutes National Forest website as some areas of the wilderness require special day use and overnight camping permits.
A lesser known but equally beautiful mountain in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness area is Three Fingered Jack, seen to the right. At 7,844 feet of elevation, Three Fingered Jack’s rocky spires are visible from much of Central Oregon. Easily accessed from the east, the Canyon Creek Meadow area is a favorite of hikers and horseback riders in the Central Oregon area.
In prolific wildflower years, the upper Canyon Creek meadow is absolutely blanketed with lupines and various other wildflowers. The hike to upper Canyon Creek Meadow is a very reasonable three mile hike and is doable for anyone of a reasonable fitness level.
Both Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack, are traversed by the Pacific Crest Trail which can be tapped into via a trailhead located near Santiam Pass, located on Highway 20, west of the city of Sisters.
6. Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway
It was an easy decision to add the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway to the seven wonders of Central Oregon. Central Oregon’s Cascade Lakes are absolutely stunning and they offer something for everyone. Mountain biking, hiking, paddling, fishing, swimming, and camping are just part of what make this area of Central Oregon special. While the Central Oregon area is often referred to as the High Desert, you would never believe it when you visit the Cascade Lakes. Pine forests, lava flows, and countless lakes decorate this wonderful part of Oregon. The Cascade Lakes Highway is a nationally recognized scenic byway which extends 66 miles from near Mirror Pond in downtown Bend to highway 58, near Oakridge Oregon.
The First of the Cascade lakes encountered along the highway is Todd Lake, seen to the left. Todd Lake is a 45 acre gem, located a quick 1/4 mile hike off of the highway. Stocked with Brook trout, this gorgeous lake is a hikers dream. Lush meadows, backed by views of Mt. Bachelor and Broken Top Mountain are filled with wildflowers in summer. An easy, well marked trail circumnavigates the lake and is an ideal outing for kids and adults alike.
The next significant lake along the highway is a locals favorite, Sparks Lake. Sparks Lake is shallow but beautiful. Camping is popular along the shores of Sparks as are hiking, mountain biking, fishing and paddling. On calm mornings, there is no more beautiful place to be. Sweeping views of Mt. Bachelor, South Sister and Broken Top can be enjoyed at Sparks. Not for from Sparks Lake is tiny, Devil’s Lake.
The crystal clear waters of Devil’s Lake are flanked by a large lava flow which originated from nearby South Sister which can be seen in the image of Elk Lake, at left. Elk Lake is relatively…civilized. The Elk Lake Resort offers food, a small supply of camping necessities, a marina, lots of camping spots and a pleasant sandy beach, for soaking in rays and views of South Sister. On of my personal favorite lakes along the Cascade Lakes Highway is
up next, Hosmer Lake. Well known with fishermen and paddlers. The crystal clear waters of Hosmer Lake are filled with huge Brook Trout, but good luck catching them! Hosmer offers camping with few amenities but with exceptional views of Mt. Bachelor, South Sister and Broken Top. The north end of Hosmer even offers an inflowing stream with a small waterfall that intrepid paddlers can visit. Beyond Hosmer lie Lava Lake and Little Lava Lake. Little Lava lake, incidentally is the headwaters for the Deschutes River, see seven wonders of Central Oregon number 1, on its 252 mile journey to the Columbia River. Beyond Little Lava lake are several large, relatively developed lakes, including, Cultus Lake, Crane Prairie Reservoir, Wickiup Reservoir, Davis Lake, Odell Lake and Crescent Lake. Incidentally, The Junction of OR46(Cascade lakes Scenic Byway) with Highway 58 is about an hour drive to Newberry Crater, the last of my seven wonders of Central Oregon.
7. Newberry Crater National Volcanic Monument
Located about an hour drive from Bend, Newberry Crater National Volcanic Monument is, in my opinion, the most underrated member on my list of the seven wonders of Central Oregon. It embodies much of the essence of Central Oregon. Impressive
volcanic features, lakes, streams, sweeping views, expansive forests, rocky spires and outdoor facilities that everyone can enjoy. Newberry Crater is a large shield volcano, much like Oregon’s Crater Lake. Newberry Crater’s caldera collapsed approximately 500,000 years ago, forming East Lake and Paulina Lake. Since the caldera collapse, there have been countless subsequent volcanic activities int eh Caldera.
Camping facilities at Newberry Crater are excellent as are the hiking trails and options for fishing. The Oregon state record brown trout(28lbs 5oz) was caught in Paulina Lake in 2002.
Some favorite activities at Newberry Crater include Mt. biking the rim trail that circles the Newberry caldera, hiking the Big Obsidian Flow trail, lounging in the lakeside hot springs, fishing/paddling, and dining at Paulina Lake Lodge. The view from the summit of Paulina Peak is one of the best in Oregon, offering sweeping views of the Central Oregon Cascades, East Lake, and Paulina Lake.
Oregon Landscape Photographer, Mike Putnam
Where to begin? How about the beginning…. I was born in Omaha, Nebraska, a long time ago! A year later, my parents, Mike and Sheila Putnam, packed up and moved our family to Lexington, Kentucky. I had a pleasant, and very well supported, if not typical childhood. I attended Sayre School( Go Spartans!) from Kindergarten all the way through high school. When I
was 12 years old, my only sibling, Hallison, was born. While in Lexington, I developed a passion for the natural world, animals, gardening, and athletics. I played both soccer and basketball while in high school. After graduation, I attended Kenyon College( Go Lords!) where I majored in Philosophy, played soccer for the college team, made some of the best friends a guy could ever have(GDI’s!) and I received a wonderful liberal arts education. After graduation, I briefly took an office job before realizing the indoor life was not for me. I underwent two years of post-graduate education at the University of Kentucky( Go Cats!) before being admitted to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University( War Eagle!) where I met my future wife, Debbie. Debbie was a year ahead of me in Vet school. In addition to being smart beautiful, Debbie took great notes, which was a huge bonus for me! After receiving a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn, Debbie and I moved back to Lexington where I worked as an equine veterinarian( shout-out to Dr. Chet Blackey, one of the great mentors in my life!). A passion for adventure drew Debbie and I out of Lexington and to our home in Bend, Oregon, a place I truly love.
Several years after moving to Bend, our only child, Emma, was born. She, like her mother, is smart, funny, athletic, exceptionally hard-working
and beautiful. She is our light. After working as a Veterinarian( My emphasis was on horses with some small animals as well) for nearly 15 years I hung up my stethoscope and became a full-time Landscape photographer.
My transition from Veterinarian to Landscape photographer was not as abrupt as it sounds. I have always had a tremendous passion for the outdoors. As soon as I was old enough to drive, much of my free time was spent hiking and backpacking. The outdoor world has always been my “happy spot”. My adventures have always been accompanied by a camera which documents my quests. I’ve explored in countless wild areas across the United States, including but not limited to the Appalachian Mountains, the Smokey Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Mountains, the San Juan Mountain, the Wind River Range, the Cascade Mountains, the Wrangle St. Elias Mountains, and the Alaska Range. After moving to Bend, nearly 20 years ago, my passion for wild and beautiful places exploded. Being able to find adventure and natural beauty before or after the work day was a game-changer for me. Being forced to repeatedly say, ” the pictures don’t do it justice…” took its toll. I wanted images that truly honored the special places that brought me such joy. After years of research and trial and error, I bought and experimented with countless different cameras in an effort to honor the beauty of the natural world. Long before discontinuing my Veterinary career, I settled on a large format film camera for the capture and creation of all of my fine art landscape photographs. To be certain, being a large format photographer is unique in today’s digital world. To learn a bit more about my prints, visit, fine art landscape photography.
Currently, our wonderful daughter, Emma is in High School, My amazing wife, Dr. Debbie Putnam is an owner and Veterinarian at Riverside Animal Hospital here in Bend and I am a busy Oregon Landscape photographer. I’ll soon share more details about my fine art landscape prints and what makes them special. Thanks for visiting!
California Road trip. I am often asked by friends where I’ve been traveling for landscape photography purposes. They are often surprised that I rarely leave Central Oregon and virtually never leave the boundaries of my home state of Oregon. I live in downtown Bend, not far from this location along the banks of Mirror Pond in Bend’s Drake Park, Bend Oregon photo. I love it there! It is beautiful and there are countless natural areas in the Bend, Oregon area that are more than photo worthy.
Compound my home body tendencies with soccer dad necessities and my passion for local scenery is better understood. My wonderful wife is extremely busy with her work-life. She’s a veterinarian(so am I, believe it or not!) and an owner of Riverside Animal Hospital which is also located near our home on the Westside of Bend. Her chaotic work schedule means that I am often the primary parent for our amazing daughter, Emma, who is often in need of chauffeur services. As a competitive soccer player and honor student, she too is remarkably busy. As I’m self-employed, I have the latitude to shuttle Emma to and fro. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a soccer dad. I played soccer in college( Go Kenyon Lords!) and Emma and I have spent thousands of hours practicing soccer together over the years. Watching her play makes me more proud than I could ever have imagined. My life-balance of soccer-Dad and Landscape photographer is fantastic but I need to focus on photographic opportunities in any time window that I can find.
In the summer of 2016, Emma’s club soccer team was scheduled to play in a tournament in Davis, California and the idea for a California Road Trip was hatched.
I knew time on the trip would be limited , so I tried to work in a couple of California Landscape Photography opportunities balanced out with what my traveling companions , Emma and her friend, Zoe, wanted.
The girls over-achieved in their soccer tournament, advancing to the playoff round of the tournament, despite playing up an age group against some of the top 100 ranked teams in the US. The photo to the right shows some of my favorite women immediately before the departure for our adventure, my daughter, Emma, my wife, Debbie, Our wonderful friend, Chanda, and her daughter, Zoe. Chanda and Rocco entrusted Zoe with Emma and I which, when I think about it, is pretty flattering. Granted, Zoe is not your average friend to our family, she is something akin to a favorite cousin and a second daughter.
Me and the girls headed almost due south towards Yosemite National Park with the intention of shooting sunset From the famed Tunnel View overlook.
After driving for 2.5 hours, we stopped for gas and much to my chagrin, I could not find my credit card. Yikes! Evidently, after I paid for lunch, 2.5 hours earlier,my credit card ended up in my wife’s purse. There was no simple resolution, so, Debbie left my credit card at a bank in Willows, California( shout out to the nice women who work there, they were life-savers). We drove north/backwards for 3 hours to Willows.
The photo to the left show Emma, Zoe and my newly recovered credit card in downtown Willows, California.
Prior to my credit card snafu, we were going to have lots of extra time to explore the Yosemite Valley, after the snafu, I knew the timing would be tight.
I drove hard while the girls slumbered deeply, a reoccurring theme during our trip! We narrowly avoided a bad highway accident that involved multiple cars flipping into oncoming lanes. Perhaps gladly, the girls slept through the whole near-miss!
We arrived in Yosemite National Park not long before sunset, we got our bearings and quickly headed to the Tunnel View overlook, our chosen shooting location for the evening.
Yosemite National Park is no Secret! The Tunnel View overlook was crowded! I quickly composed the scene while dozens of tourists looked on in disbelief. Fortunately, Emma and Zoe served as my marketing directors, answering question, distributing brochures and taking pictures of tourists while they posed with my 4×5 camera. All of my fine art landscape photographs are captured with my 4×5 film camera pictured in the photo to the right.
I’m not sure how many times I said,”Yep, this is the same type of camera Ansel Adams used in this very same location”.
There was something magical about shooting from a location that Ansel, through his photography, helped protect for posterity. Pretty Cool!
For more info about my newest print, visit Yosemite National Park fine art photograph.
While I exclusively shot with my beloved 4×5 camera, the girls went wild with their iPhones. I focused on the Yosemite Valley you see above, featuring El Capitan, Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks, and Bridal Veil Falls. The girls focused a bit more on ….selfies! After our wildfire enlivened sunset in Yosemite, we left in the dark while gaping in awe at the vertical faces that rose thousands of feet above the valley floor. We spent the next night in the small town of Mariposa, just outside of Yosemite. The next morning, it was back on the road. No California road trip would be complete with out a visit to the beach. We made a bee-line for the Big Sur Coast.
I knew the girls wanted to spend as much time as possible during our California road trip in the Big Sur area , which was fine with me… it was beautiful. One of our favorite stops along the California Coast was at the McWay Falls viewpoint in Julia Pfeiffer State Park, Big Sur. It was stunning and …crowded. I don’t mean to harp on the California crowds. We live in Oregon which is seeing an influx of new residents from California and I think the congestion in California is a primary reason for their re-location. I don’t blame them.
While we found no solitude in Julia Pfeiffer State Park, the setting was stunning. McWay Falls plummets 80 feet, directly onto the beach in Julia Pfeiffer cove. The stunning turquoise color of the cove is my favorite part of this new California Landscape photograph. I am offering both vertical( shown above) and horizontally oriented fine art prints of this beautiful location along California’s Big Sur Coast. in this Vertical photo of McWay Falls, I love the intimate feeling of the image, the glowing reflected light beneath the falls and the wonderful color and luminosity of the water in the cove.
We narrowly avoided another tragic accident on Highway 1 before staying in the town of Salinas. Three take-aways about Salinas. 1. There is a fantastic Taco Truck there, Tacos El Grullense, 2. It is a much longer drive from Salinas to Carmel than you might think! 3. The girls loved the swimming pool at the Holiday Inn( they love all swimming pools!)
The next morning we were off to beautiful Carmel, California for a day of beach time and shopping, a teenage girl’s dream. While I’m more of a mountain guy than a beach guy, Carmel was beautiful and quaint. The level of opulence was quite stunning. In terms of shopping, I could be happy with nothing more than a Patagonia Store, a grocery store and a sporting goods store. My travel companions…like to shop. It must be an X vs. Y chromosomal issue.
The girls were giddy with each high-end boutique they discovered and they all looked the same to me. I did find some impressive art galleries and we had a good lunch. The next stop on our California Road Trip was academically oriented. The next stop on our California road trip, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California.
A special thanks to my friends, Chooch, David Laws and Scott Witscher. Chooch and David both are Stanford alumni while Scott grew up in the town of Palo Alto. All of them rave about the town and the school. Stanford has the reputation of being one of the best academic universities int he world and Stanford’s campus did not disappoint.
The architecture was stunning, the scale of the campus was impressive, and the athletic facilities were amazing. The accessibility was pleasant and the girls loved the gift shop! I honestly believe that our visit offered some future academic motivation for Emma and Zoe who are both already honor roll students.
I’ve told the following tidbit to many former Bay Area residents and I’m usually interrupted by a knowing giggle about half way through the story. We left Palo Alto and the Stanford campus at about 3PM. Siri routed us north on Highway 101 to Highway 80 and the Bay Bridge. Just South of the Bay Bridge, traffic slowed considerably and then stopped. Stopped! Between 3:45 and 4:45 we traveled exactly 1 mile! I had made an enormous “country mouse in the big city error”. We never found a lane closure, accident, construction. No extenuating circumstances whatsoever. I cannot imagine tolerating that kind of traffic on a daily basis. It is mind -boggling to me.
That night we drove Northeast out of the Bay area and stayed in the pleasant but unremarkable town of Fairfield. The last notable stop on our California Road trip was at the famed, “Olive Pit” in Corning, California where the girls gorged themselves on every imaginable type of olive known to man.
California Road trip notes from an Oregonian
- California is really big! Oregon is not a small state but California is huge. We drove hours each day and never made it any further south than Carmel and Big Sur.
- California is beautiful. Yosemite Valley is quite simply one of the most visually stunning places I’ve ever seen. Big Sur while also very attractive was not as stunning to me. The Oregon coast is every bit as beautiful as California’s but Oregon has no equal for the Yosemite Valley.
- The Traffic is horrendous. Not just during our Bay area adventure but virtually everywhere we went, the traffic was worse than anything I ever experience in Central Oregon.
- Stanford is stunning and lived up to its reputation.
- The people were friendly. This is not stated as a surprise, just an observation. I guess I was assuming that the stress of hectic lifestyle would make residents surly. Not the case.
- There are a LOT of people in California. Granted, we visited Yosemite Valley and Big Sur, burt, wow. We traveled entirely on weekdays. I cannot imagine how much congestion there would be on a weekend.
- The Food was quite good. In Bend, we have excellent food but California did not disappoint.
- My traveling companions, Emma and Zoe are awesome! Awesome! They are smart, funny, tolerant, and they were game for any adventure. I could not imagine better traveling buddies.
There are few places that have more enjoyable summers than Bend Oregon. Warm sunny days, low humidity, cool evenings and endless outdoor recreational opportunities are what define summers in Bend. Luckily, I was able to capture several new Bend Oregon photos which capture the essence of this beautiful city and the surrounding region. At the heart of Bend, lies Mirror Pond and Bend’s famed Drake Park. Named after Alexander Drake, the park offers Bend’s most iconic view right from the heart of Downtown Bend. Old growth Ponderosa trees, rebound trout, Bend’s most famous footbridge, view of Central Oregon’s Three Sisters Mountains, and proximity to downtown Bend are just part of what makes Drake Park and Mirror Pond one of Bend Oregon’s featured attractions.
Drake Park lies on the left hand side of this new fine art print. In the middle of the image on the far shore of Mirror Pond, is the Nashville Footbridge with connects Drake Park and Harmon Park, located on the west side of Mirror Pond. Also bordering the waters of Mirror Pond are Brooks Park, Pageant Park, Columbia Park. Mirror Pond is truly the backbone of Bend’s history, culture and a focal point for its historic inner Westside neighborhoods.
Another one of my new Bend Oregon Photos is of Smith Rock State Park. Located near Terrebonne, Oregon, about 25 miles north of Bend, Smith Rock State Park is one of the crown jewels of the Oregon State Parks System.
Smith Rock is a mecca for rock climbers from around the world. It’s countless vertical rock faces offer a myriad of climbing routes for both sport and traditional climbers. For more information about this image one of my newest Bend Oregon Photos, please visit, Smith Rock State Park Photo.
My newest Fine art landscape photograph, Resurrection Falls, will be unveiled 9/2/2016 during Downtown Bend’s First Friday Art Walk.
I believe the stunning braided pattern of this gorgeous Oregon waterfall will delight collectors and has already proven to be a big seller, before its has even been released!
This beautiful waterfall, located in the Three Sisters Wilderness, not far from Bend, is extremely difficult to reach and I believe that very few people have ever seen this wonderful backcountry waterfall. For more information about this beautiful new landscape photograph, please visit, Oregon Waterfall photo.
Resurrection Falls is my favorite new Oregon Waterfall. I’m beautiful any time of year but especially so in spring, when wildflowers are blooming in the foreground and the stream flow is heavy enough to accent the elegant patterns of this beautiful new Oregon Waterfall photograph! Please stop by Patagonia at Bend located at 1000 NW Wall Street in Bend between 5-8PM, tomorrow evening(9/2/2016) to see this wonderful new photograph of Resurrection Falls!
Tumalo Falls Driving Directions
Located just 10 minutes from downtown Bend, Oregon, Tumalo Falls is a short drive from the hub of Central Oregon. In summer months, Tumalo Falls is easily accessible but the parking lot does fill up during summer weekends, so arrive early. The trail which directly parallels Tumalo Creek travels uphill for several miles and passes an astounding array of additional waterfalls. Trail heads abound in the Tumalo Falls area. Do your research ahead of time if you plan to mountain bike or go on extended hikes.
Tumalo Falls parking lot, Not accessible in winter!
Crows Feet Commons, Downtown Bend
Tumalo Falls, Bend Oregon’s favorite waterfall is a 97 foot tall single drop waterfall on Tumalo Creek, located 10 minutes west of Bend, on Skyliners Road.
Tumalo Falls and the Skyliners area are one of the recreational areas that makes Bend a phenomenal place for Hiking, Mt. Biking and Cross Country Skiing.
In summer, Tumalo Falls bustles with adventurers, eager to explore the easily accessible backcountry areas adjacent to the waterfall. Arrive early if you want to park near the waterfall. Trails depart in every direction but the easiest and most rewarding trail for families directly parallels Tumalo Creek. Travel uphill to enjoy 10 additional waterfalls that are found within 3.5 miles of the parking lot.
All of the waterfalls in the Tumalo Creek basin are attractive but none more so than Tumalo Falls. Of all my Tumalo Falls Photos, “Tumalo Falls in Summer” has proven to be the most popular.
Seen at right is my Tumalo Falls in Summer image in the esteemed Sierra Club Engagement Calendar. I always enjoy capturing and sharing the beauty of Central Oregon. It is an especially big honor to share Central Oregon’s beauty with the millions of people around the world who enjoy the Sierra Club Calendars!
In Winter, Tumalo Falls is not accessible via car. Instead, explorers must make a 2.5 mile journey via skis, or snowshoes to reach the falls. Winter at Tumalo Falls is certainly stunning, especially when there is fresh snow fall.
I’ve skied in to Tumalo Falls countless times in winter and this image is the favorite winter image I’ve captured. Just the right amount of snow frosting the surfaces of the scene, make for an elegant fine art landscape photograph.
The Trail to Tumalo Falls in winter is one of the few backcountry trails in the Bend area where dogs can roam without leashes. If you are a dog loving cross country skier, This is the trail for you!
Winter adventurers should be forewarned that parking at the Tumalo Falls trailhead requires a Snow Park Pass, which can be purchased at various retailers in Bend, such as Powderhouse.
I was recently honored to have my image, “Tumalo Falls In Winter” selected to be on the cover of a new local magazine, “Bend Lifestyles”
The cover of “Bend Lifestyle” Magazine can be seen to the right.
This image of Tumalo Falls, as well as “Tumalo Falls in Autumn” and “Tumalo Fall in Summer’ are all included in my collection of Oregon Greeting Cards.
All three of the Tumalo Falls Photos which I offer as fine art prints can be viewed by visiting my Oregon Coast, Rivers, and Waterfalls Gallery. Oregon Waterfall Photos.
Autumn in Central Oregon is, in my opinion, the most underrated time of year in our beautiful part of the world. Beautiful Tumalo Falls Photos can be captured any time of year but autumn is definitely my favorite.
The following image of Tumalo Falls in Autumn was captured while my wonderful Daughter, Emma, and I were standing in a rain storm on a blustery October day. Tumalo Falls doesn’t have the fall color intensity of some Central Oregon location such as the Metolius River and it’s stunning , sun-kissed Vine Maples or Bend’s Shevlin Park and its golden larch trees. Nonetheless, under the right conditions, Tumalo Falls can have some stunning color in autumn.
I recommend overcast days with even light, to remove annoying, contrasty light. Wet saturated foliage are also a bonus, so early dewy mornings and rainstorms can be a photographers friend while capturing Tumalo Falls Photos! I have several new Ideas for fine art prints of the Tumalo Falls area, so please check back to my blog often to see my most up to date work.
Thanks For Visiting,
I’m thrilled to announce That I have released two new Oregon landscape photos! My collection of fine art landscape photographs is continually growing as I attempt to capture new images of Oregon’s diverse and beautiful landscapes.
The first of my new Oregon Landscape photos is Central Oregon’s very own Black Butte. My New fine art print of Black Butte Ranch is entitled, “Black Butte Morning”
Follow the above link for more information about Oregon’s Black Butte and Black Butte Ranch and about this beautiful new Oregon landscape photo.
This new photo of Black Butte will soon be on display at Crow’s Feet Commons in downtown Bend.
This image has the most beautiful wild lupines I’ve ever seen and the detail in my framed print is astounding. Please stop by Crow’s Feet Commons and see for yourself!
The second of my two new Oregon Landscape photos was captured a bit further from Bend. This image you see below from Silver Falls State Park.
Silver Falls State Park is an absolutely phenomenal place. It’s “Trail of Ten Falls” is one of Oregon’s best hikes and the whole park is a lush wonderland.
Visit Silver Falls State Park Photo for more information about the park and about my newest Oregon Landscape photos!
Mother Nature was kind to me while I was at Silver Falls. There had been lots of recent rain, giving Silver Creek a heavy flow and making South Falls( pictured here) more dramatic. Additionally, the fall color was at it’s absolute peak. The layers of yellows and the amount of detail in this framed print of Silver Falls State Park is stunning. I captured this new fine art print with my 4×5 film camera, allowing me to make huge photographs with incredible detail. You need to see it to believe it!
To view all of my fine art landscape photographs, please visit the gallery pages on my website, Fine Art landscape photographs. From the galleries, you can access purchasing options for each of my fine art prints. If you would like to ask me questions prior to ordering fine art prints, please use the linked contact form, or call me directly at 541-610-4815.
Thanks for visiting!
Metal prints? I’m a traditionalist. I’ve always preferred my traditional fine art photographs over other medias such as canvas gallery wraps, acrylic face mounts or metal prints but I’m beginning to see the light. Call me a late adaptor! Last year I had many meetings with the good folks at St. Charles Hospital, here in Bend, Oregon. They had done their research on the the growing field of Evidence Based Design and more specifically, the role of artwork in the healing arts. They inspired me to do my own research and the evidence is unequivocal. Artwork( specifically landscape photography) aids in the healing process for hospitalized patients. In my meetings with St. Charles Hospital, the type of print that would work best for them was the primary concern. They had a list of logical needs: Central Oregon Landscape photography, safe art work, strong color, soothing images, cleanable surfaces, and modern clean lines. We came to the mutual conclusion that Metal prints would be the perfect surface for my fine art photography in St.Charles Hospital. Below is one of my metal prints of Black Butte that I will release tonight, for Bend’s First Friday Art Walk.
More important for me than studies on evidence based design is the overwhelmingly positive feedback I’ve received regarding my metal prints since they have been at St.Charles Hospital. I have received dozens of kind notes from friends and strangers noting how my landscape photography made their stay more pleasant. this avalanche of positive feedback convinced me to print some metal prints for myself and…. show them tonight at Crow’s Feet Commons during the First Friday Art Walk in downtown Bend, Oregon. I’ll be showing 5 new metal prints.
About the Metal Prints…
The print quality and detail of my metal prints is exceptional but they are different from my traditional fine art photographs in several ways….
1.In general, they seem to be slightly more saturated.
2. They do not require framing, making them less expensive. My metal prints have an aluminum subframe on the back of the print which gives them rigidity and makes them “float” away from the wall. See photo to the left. The aluminum subframe has has an internal ridge which you can easily attach hanging hardware, making hinging them quick and easy. Of course, not having framing and matting, these prints occupy a smaller “footprint” on a wall
3. They are very light, weighing a fraction of what my traditional framed prints weigh.
4. They are less reflective…. Not having glass in front of them, my metal prints look good in a wider variety of lighting conditions.
5. The prints have an elegant depth to them, almost as if they were covered with a thin transparent film of water.
6. They have a very modern “clean” look making them adaptable for interior designs that would not cooperate with my traditional fine art framing.
My New Oregon Greeting Cards have arrived! Four new greeting cards which beautifully capture the beauty of Bend and the Central Oregon Region. All of these Oregon Greeting Cards are 5×7 and if you purchase them from my website, envelopes are included. To see my entire collection, visit, Oregon Greeting Cards. The print quality of these new cards is excellent, as is the case with all of my cards. Below you will find photos of the new cards.
This beautiful image of an aspen grove near my home in Bend, Oregon is one of best selling fine art landscape photographs. It also is included in the prestigious Sierra Club Wilderness Calendar for 2016. Follow the included link to learn more about the inclusion of this beautiful image in the Sierra Club Calendar October 2016.Purchase this Aspen Grove Greeting Card
If you are interested in purchasing a fine art print of this beautiful photograph, please visit the product page for this image. On the product page you will find print surface options such as traditional fine art photograph, Metal prints, Acrylic face-mounted prints and canvas prints. Aspen Grove Photo
The fine art photograph of this is absolutely stunning as is the Greeting Card. All of my Greeting cards are blank on the inside and have information about the location where the image was captured on the back of the greeting card.
“Fourth of July” Greeting Card. This Beautiful image includes Oregon’s Mt. Jefferson in the background and a stunning foreground of alpine wildflowers. Beargrass, lupines, Penstemon, and red Indian Paintbrush all make for a stunning Greeting Card.This beautiful photo of Mt. Jefferson is completed by a stunning lenticular cloud cap over the summit of Mt. Jefferson.
Purchase this Mt. Jefferson Greeting Card Like all of my Greeting Cards, this image is available as a framed fine art photograph. Mt. Jefferson Photograph.Another new Oregon Greeting Card includes the magical Deschutes River. The Deschutes River extends over 250 miles from Little Lava Lake locate along the Cascade Lakes Highway to the mighty Columbia River.
The image for this beautiful Deschutes River Greeting Card was captured along the Deschutes River Trail, just minutes away from Bend, Oregon.
The mesmerizing flow patterns in the Deschutes River combined with warm fall color along the banks of the Deschutes make for a stunning greeting card.Purchase this Deschutes River Greeting Card
Notice the Heart-shaped flow pattern in the lower left are of this photograph! To purchase a framed photograph of this image, visit Deschutes River in Autumn.The Deschutes River Trail offers exceptional recreational opportunities for the city of Bend and this greeting card is the perfect way to share the beauty of the Deschutes River with friends and Family. The Three Sisters mountains, “Faith, Hope and Charity”, more commonly referred to as North Sister, Middle Sister and South Sister dominate the skyline in the Central Oregon area.
As all of the Three Sisters stand over 10,000 feet tall, they are hard to miss when driving or hiking in the Central Oregon area. Each of the Three Sisters have their own glaciers and they form the foundation for the beautiful and popular Three Sisters Wilderness Area.
The image for this Three Sisters Greeting Cards was captured in the Deschutes National Forest, Near the city of Sisters, Oregon.Purchase this Three Sisters Greeting Card
To view purchasing options for the fine art print of this beautiful image, visit “Morning Glory”, Three Sisters. If you are a business which would like to make a large purchase of my greeting cards, please contact me for special rates on purchase of over 100 greeting cards. [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]
I discovered the view of Mirror Pond long before My wife, Dr. Debbie Putnam and I ever moved to Bend, Oregon. I remember the moment well. It was 20 years ago and I was surfing the internet, which at the time was a collection of long strings and dixie cups! I was looking for a new hometown. Friends, Max ands Chris Reitz recommended we investigate Bend, Oregon. A slow search led me to the city of Bend’s website and the view of Mirror Pond, and Drake Park with Middle Sister and North Sister in the background. I was smitten. Below is recent photo that I captured of Mirror Pond at sunrise. Bend’s signature view, with Drake Park, Mirror Pond, Middle and North Sisters, fall color, the residential area surrounding the park and beautiful sunrise color, all in the heart of Downtown Bend.
Mirror Pond and Drake Park are beautiful any time of year but Autumn is my favorite. It is amazing to have one of the west’s great rivers( Mirror Pond is formed by the Deschutes River being dammed up) glaciated volcanoes, footbridges, old growth trees all visible from the middle of Bend’s urban core. Astonishing! Years ago, when I had just started my professional photography career, the first place I displayed my work was the now defunct Mirror Pond Gallery which was operated by Arts Central. The former Mirror Pond Gallery was housed in the Goodwillie-Allen Rademacher House that is located about 50 feet from where I captured the photograph of Mirror Pond you see above. I fondly recall the sense of legitimacy I felt when I sold my very first fine art photograph at the Mirror Pond Gallery. The gallery was formative in my photography career and I was thrilled to be part of it. The beautiful photo you see above can be purchased here, Mirror Pond, Bend Oregon
The Goodwillie-Allen-Rademacher house was constructed in 1904 by Arthur L. Goodwillie who would become the city of Bend’s first mayor. It is one of the oldest Craftsman-bungalow style homes in the state of Oregon. Goodwillie lived in the house until 1908, when Herbert E. Allen, an executive with the Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company occupied the home. Dr. Clyde J. Rademacher, founder of Bend Memorial Clinic resided in the house from 1937-1983. The house was nearly demolished in the early 1990’s but with great civic effort, it was saved, moved 50 feet to the south, to it’s current location and eventually preserved. In 2007, the Goodwill-Allen-Rademacher house was added to the National Register of Historic places.
Mirror Pond, Then and Now
After preservation, the Goodwill-Allen-Rademacher House(Goodwillie House) was utilized as the Mirror Pond Gallery and operated by Arts Central of Bend. Although esteemed, the gallery suffered tax problems and social issues. I had repeated experiences where my family felt intimidated by unseemly characters who frequently loitered around the gallery and intimidated its staff. The Gallery closed in 2008 and has thankfully been re-incarnated as Crow’s Feet Commons. Located at 875 NW Brooks Street, Crow’s Feet is a cafe and community gathering spot. Owned by David Marchi, Crow’s Feet Commons serves coffee and a wide variety of craft beer,( plenty of non- alcoholic beverages as well) and operates as a bike and ski shop. It is a conglomeration of what many Bend residents are passionate about. The Staff at Crow’s feet is personable and accommodating and they have done an amazing job of cleaning up the the adjacent plaza and making it a beautiful, safe, community gathering spot. The Goodwillie House deserves a tennant like Crow’s Feet Commons and the residents of Bend deserve the Mirror Pond Plaza to be the safe and beautiful place it has become since the foundation of Crow’s Feet. In addition to the civilized amenities available at Crow’s Feet commons and Mirror Pond Plaza, there are natural ones as well. For an urban corridor, Mirror Pond is laden with wildlife. Canada Geese, and mallards are almost always visible and on occasion, visitors with a trained eye can spot bald eagles, osprey and even River Otters!
I captured the above image of a river otter with a recently caught fish on the same autumn morning that I captured the lead image of Bend’s Mirror Pond.
Crow’s Feet Commons photography exhibit
I recently hung some of my fine art landscape photography at Crow’s Feet Commons( thanks to David and the staff for the wall space) and I couldn’t be happier. The Goodwillie House has wonderful character, Crow’s Feet Commons is about 3 blocks from my home, the lighting is good and the view of Mirror Pond and the Oregon Cascades from the adjacent Plaza are sublime. I am thrilled to have my work at Crow’s Feet which has quickly become a social hub for the city of Bend. Please Visit the Crow’s Feet Commons website for more information about the upcoming events they will be hosting and… better yet, stop in, order a tasty beverage, enjoy my landscape photographs and soak in the view of Mirror Pond from Bend’s best gathering spot. I plan to periodically rotate the work I have hanging at Crow’s Feet but below are a couple of the landscape photographs I currently have hanging there.
My Landscape photography looks beautiful at Crows Feet, which is a special place. Please stop by there frequently and tell them I sent you!
Thanks for Visiting,
I’m extremely proud to announce that one of my images was selected to be in the Sierra Club Calendar October 2016! I’ve have been a fan of the Sierra club my entire life and their Wilderness Calendars have always been filled with images captured by photographers who have influenced and motivated me. The Sierra Club’s 2016 Wilderness Calendar is no different except one of my images, “Autumn Delight” Oregon Aspen Grove is included for the month of October!
The 2016 Sierra Club Calendar Wilderness is beautiful, as always. Below is an image of the back cover of the calendar.
Viewing the back cover of the calendar makes me intensely proud. To be grouped with photographers such as Carr Clifton, Jack Dykinga and Mary Liz Austin who are some of my strongest photographic influences has been one of my long time term goals. I love my job as a landscape photographer. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. As I often tell people, “in my job, a bad day of work is a good day of hiking”. Well few of my work days have been as rewarding as the day that this calendar showed up in the mail. Many thanks to the good folks at Sierra Club for selecting my Aspen Grove image from the thousands of images that were submitted by the best landscape photographers in the world!
“Autumn Delight” Sierra Club Calendar October 2016
My image, titled, “Autumn Delight” Oregon Aspen Grove, which was captured in The Deschutes National Forest, near my home in Bend, Oregon is one of my better selling fine art photographs. It captures the essence and grace of our local aspen groves. This beautiful image of my favorite aspen grove is seen below.
To view purchasing options for this beautiful Photograph, please visit here. “Autumn Delight”.
I’m very excited to announce the release of my very first “Bend Wild Calendar”, hot off the presses for Christmas. I’ve entertained countless suggestions to print my own Bend, Oregon area calendar for years and this year, I finally made the plunge. This beautiful calendar was printed in Oregon and designed right here in Bend. Thanks to Sally and the staff at Red Barn design. Sally isn’t just a great neighbor, she’s a great designer as well! All of the images in my new Bend wild Calendar were captured near Bend, in the Central Oregon region. This calendar is 11 inches tall, 12 wide and when open, it is 22 inches tall and 11 inches wide. Below is the cover of my Bend Wild Calendar! Celebrate the beauty of Bend, Oregon, all year long!Purchase this Bend, Oregon Calendar Now!
This Bend, Oregon Area Calendar makes the perfect Christmas gift for friends, family, co-workers, employees and clients with whom you would like to share the beauty of Bend and the Central Oregon area, all year long!
Bend Wild Calendar, special rates for purchases of 25 or more!
Contact me directly for rate quotes for purchases of 25 or more calendars and 50 or more calendars.
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Back cover of the Bend Wild Calendar, featuring thumbnail images for each of the monthly Central Oregon Photographs.
Each of these Bend Oregon calendars come shrink wrapped with a cardboard insert to prevent them from bending. Purchases of 25 or more Bend Wild Calendars come boxed for ease of transport. All of the landscape photographs in this calendar were captured with my 4×5 film camera and all are available as fine art photographs. Fine Art landscape photographer. Below is a sample page for my calendar with includes planning spaces and moon phases to appropriately plan your outdoor adventures in Central Oregon!
I am proud to announce the release of “Smith Rock Morning”, my newest fine art photograph which I will unveil at the upcoming First Friday(11/6/2015) Art Walk at Crows Feet Commons( 875 NW Brooks Street, Bend, Or). I’ll be at Crow’s Feet from 5-9PM with a huge collection of my new and old work, as well as my new Bend Wild Calendar. My work will be displayed at Crow’s Feet through the end of December, so stop by at any time to enjoy great coffee, wonderful beer and My fine art landscape photographs! My newest work, “Smith Rock Morning” is seen below.
Smith Rock is a jewel in the Oregon State Park system and gladly it is located just a short drive from my home in Bend, Oregon. I’ve been traveled to Smith Rock hundreds of times and have alway been amazed by the variation in photographic conditions that can occur. I visualized this fine art photograph years ago and finally the conditions cooperated for me to capture this beautiful image. The Crooked river levels were perfect, fall color was near its peak and amazing clouds were swirling over the pinnacles of my favorite rock feature at Smith Rock, know as “The Monument”. I had visited this exact location for 3 consecutive days before capturing this image with my trusty 4×5 film camera. To reach this spot, in the middle of the Crooked River, I had to precariously scramble from boulder to boulder while not dropping my 45 lbs of camera gear into the the depths below! At several spots, I could barely stretch from one rock to the next. I was thankful for my 6’2″ frame! I spent several hours on that boulder enjoying the spectacular clouds overhead and enjoying the playful antics of a family of otters, until just the right moment, when the Monument was illuminated, with moody clouds overhead. This new fine art photograph of Smith Rock State Park achieves my primary goal as a photographer. That goal is to capture, on film, what I consider to be the essence of a place. Stunning vertical spires, an elegant river, dramatic clouds and the fantastic textures of one of Oregon’s most beautiful locations. Please come see this beautiful new photograph of Smith Rock, at Crow’s Feet Commons, tomorrow( 11/6/2015) during the First Friday Art Walk!
Thanks For Visiting,
I’d only read about Thor’s Well, an amazing natural water feature located at Cape Perpetua on the Oregon Coast until about two years ago. It is surreal, to say the least. Thor’s Well is essentially an oversized ocean blow hole. It is a large hole in the seaside rocks that is filled from underneath by surging Pacific Ocean swells. When the tide is high, Thor’s Well over-flows, briefly forming a boiling cauldron, before emptying back into the ocean. As the cauldron empties, a wonderful flow pattern forms as water descends down through the Well and back into the Pacific Ocean. It’s this drainage that makes the magic! To view a larger version of this beautiful part of the Oregon Coast, Thor’s Well.
The evening I captured this new fine art print, the wind was absolutely blasting on Cape Perpetua and, honestly, the photography conditions were pretty miserable. I planned my efforts around sunset and hopefully high tide. When I arrived, several photographers were already stationed around the lip of Thor’s Well and I sidled up to join them. The only real tripod locations are on a raised lava shelf which is very irregular and very unforgiving. Fortunately, I found the shooting angle I’d envisioned and didn’t have to crowd other photographers too badly. As the wind nuked through the scene, it repeatedly sprayed salt water across our faces and….camera gear. I must have been a real comedy to observe. As is often the case, I was the only one shooting a film camera, much less a 4×5 film camera with enormous flapping bellows, which tried to serve as a kite in the ferocious pacific wind. On three separate occasions, the wind blew my camera, lens and tripod over as I stumbled across lava to catch it just before my fellow photographers had a chance to see a grown man(me)cry! I was fortunate and determined. As daylight passed and the sun set just below the pacific, the other photographers packed and left, I gladly stayed a bit longer to capture this new fine art photograph of Thor’s Well. The photography Gods gifted me with the most windless exposure when the light over Thor’s Well was the warmest. The Detail in this new fine art landscape photograph is exceptional. To view purchasing information for this beautiful photograph of the Oregon Coast, Thor’s Well. I’ll be unveiling it during the First Friday Art Walk(10/2/2015) in Downtown Bend. As is often the case, I will be located at Patagonia@ Bend, 1000 NW Wall Street. Please stop by to see me and this beautiful new fine art photograph of Thor’s Well, this Friday at Patagonia@Bend!
Hope to See You There,