Deschutes River Reflection
Aspen Trees at peak of fall color, Deschutes River Trail
Deschutes River Reflection. For a high desert environment, the Deschutes River Basin has some amazing waterways. The Deschutes rambles 252 miles from its headwaters at Little Lava Lake to the mighty Columbia River
Originating from snowfall, High in the Three Sisters Wilderness The Deschutes changes personality multiple times during its journey to the Columbia.
It is a large stream near its headwaters and evolves into a rugged raging river by the time it reaches Benham Falls, just outside the city of Bend. The Deschutes River Trail is an amazing recreational resource for the city of Bend. The trail includes parking and trail access at Benham Falls, Slough, Dillon Falls, Aspen Camp, Big Eddy, Lava Island, and Meadow Camp.
It offers exceptional hiking, biking and and trail running opportunities, all with scenic views of the mighty Deschutes.The section of the river located along the Deschutes River Trail is a microcosm of the beauty that the river shares and the difficulty that it experiences. Wild rapids, calm oxbows, and seasonal flow variations are all part of this river’s personality.
“Deschutes River Reflection”: the Capture
In one particularly placid section of the Deschutes River located between Benham Falls and Dillon Falls is a wonderful stand of Aspen Trees which, during special falls seasons, explode with color. It is an easy location to visit, yet it has its own sublime beauty. I’ve been visiting this section of the river annually for over 20 years and I never tire of it. I’ve always seen its beauty but never honored it with a fine art print. Perhaps because it is so accessible, I’ve been extremely discriminating about photographing it. In my opinion, this scene has some specific conditional requirements which have never appropriately aligned for me until this autumn. Windless conditions, late afternoon light, impeccable fall color and intriguing cloud formations were all paramount in making this new fine art landscape photograph work. Windless conditions go without saying if you want a reflection of anything. Late,( but not too late) afternoon light is readily available and without direct light, the scene becomes flat and dull and with processing becomes forced and phony. Impeccable fall color is surprisingly elusive. Depending on environmental conditions, these aspen trees have a huge annual variation in climax colors. Some years hard freezes can hit, browning the leaves while in others, there is a simultaneous kaleidoscope of color including Oranges, yellows and greens. Lastly and perhaps most critical for the scene are the clouds. Even on windless, bluebirds days at the peak of fall, the scene lacks nuance and depth. Clouds complete the scene. I’ve been to this exact location countless times with the hope of capturing elegant clouds behind the aspen trees but not blocking the sun. I’ve always appreciated the beauty but have left empty handed…. until this year. On this recent autumn afternoon, from my home near Mirror Pond,
I could see partial cloud cover which appeared to be hovering in the vicinity of this section of the Deschutes River. Knowing that fall color was at its peak for the year, and was the right time of day, I grabbed my camera gear and drove south. when I was arrived, I was enlivened with potential. Would the wind die down? Would the clouds hold their place? Anyone who spends extend amounts fo time in the outdoors, know that cloud formations are continually morphing. I settled down on the banks of the Deschutes and waited. As good fortune would have it, the winds died down and the clouds evolved into elegant formations, filling the already resplendent scene with depth. A quartet of conditions had magically intersected allowing me to capture and create this stunning new fine art landscape photograph of the Deschutes River. I’m beyond thrilled with the results and think you will be too! If you would like to arrange a viewing of this wonderful new fine art print, please contact me at 541-610-4815 and we can arrange a viewing.
For information regarding the protection and preservation of the Deschutes River, please visit the websites for these two wonderful organizations: