My job as a landscape photographer is a constant process of education and extrapolation. Whenever a light bulb goes on and I learn something new about the natural world, I instantly try to apply my new knowledge to enhance my art of photography. Through weather analysis, I’ve learned that it is typically about 5 degrees cooler at Tumalo Falls than it is at my home in downtown Bend, Oregon. I also know that in our dry high desert climate, warm snow sticks to trees better than cold snow, which tends to quickly blow off of limbs. As I have a pretty good grasp of local topography, I also know that Tumalo Falls is in a pretty deep canyon. While this winter has been pretty disappointing in terms of photogenic snow, I recently used several bits of knowledge to capture the following picture of Bend, Oregon’s Tumalo Falls with a beautiful coating of snow.
A temperature of 34 degrees in Bend and clouds to the west triggered my senses and prodded me to dust off my cross country skis. Three inches of fresh snow at the Tumalo Falls trailhead gradually built to 5 inches of snow at Tumalo Falls. Temperature at the falls was 29 degrees and the snow, as I’d hoped was sticky, coating the adjacent trees with wonderful wintery details. Because of Tumalo Falls’ canyon location, the air was placid and the trees behaved while I composed this image with my large format 4×5 camera. I even prefer the icicle details present in this landscape photograph over the solid sheet of ice I would have found under colder conditions. I’ve been to Bend’s Tumalo Fall under all sorts of winter conditions, including rain, graupel snow, white-outs, heavy snow and the light snow you see in what may be my favorite winter photograph of Bend, Oregon’s Tumalo Falls. I hope you enjoy my learning experience. To view more of my fine art photos of Oregon’s Lakes, Rivers and waterfalls, visit here, Oregon Waterfalls.
Thanks for Visiting,
My hometown of Bend, Oregon is truly a four season outdoor wonderland. Unfortunately, the winter of 2012 had been especially mild until yesterday. Bend and the Central Oregon region are heavily dependent on winter snow fall for their supply of exceptional drink water, as well as irrigation water for agricultural purposes. Winter snow melt from high on the flanks of Broken Top Mountain flows toward Bend via multiple alpine streams and eventually end up in the City of Bend’s water supply. Without enough winter snow fall, there are grave concerns regarding water supply. Additionally, the economies of Bend and the city of Sisters,or are heavily dependent upon winter snow fall to fuel winter sports. The Bend area offers world class Cross Country skiing, downhill skiing at Mt. Bachelor, and snowshoeing, throughout the Deschutes National Forest. Without adequate winter snow fall in Central Oregon, these winter driven snow sports suffer and tourism dollars plummet. One of my favorite winter locations for winter snow sports in the Bend area is Tumalo Mountain and its stunning view of the Central Oregon Cascades.
Tumalo Mountain is located 20 miles from the city of Bend, near the Mt. Bachelor ski resort. Tumalo Mountain is not lift served so snow sports enthusiasts have to earn their turns at this iconic backcountry location. The East facing slope of Tumalo is a steep bowl while the remainder of the mountain offers a more gradual grade for relaxed tree skiing. The photograph seen above of the Central Oregon Cascades after a heavy winter snowfall was taken from near the summit of Tumalo Mountain.
The next two photos in this winter collection are both of my favorite Oregon River, the Deschutes River. The image seen below features the distinct and beautiful Red Osier Dogwood which is common in riparian areas throughout Central Oregon. This particular Bend Oregon photo was captured in Tumalo State Park. Because Tumalo State Park is lower in elevation than the City of Bend, it is often accessible during the winter season. Red Osier Dogwoods along the Deschutes River near Bend, Oregon.
The recreational area along the Deschutes River trail south of the city of Bend is higher in elevation than the city of Bend and therefore is sporadically accessible during times of heavy snowfall in Central Oregon. One of my favorite hiking destinations along the Deschutes River trail is Benham Falls, seen below. While winter can be harsh at Benham Falls, summer is always spectacular at this beautiful waterfall.
The detail in the fine art print of this scene at Benham Falls in the Deschutes River is beautiful. The snow and ice details make this one of my favorite Bend Oregon winter scenes. Leaving the Bend area and traveling west to the city of Sisters, you can visit this wonderful grove of Ponderosa pine trees.
This particular Ponderosa Pine Tree Grove has stunning color in both the summer and winter. These trees all lean slightly towards where I was shooting this photo from and their bark is slightly shielded from the elements. This gives their bark the wonderful cinnamon color that is a favorite of hikers and naturalists in the Sisters, Oregon area.
One last image that I think embodies the snow/winter season in the Bend, Oregon area is the following Photo of Mt. Bachelor after a heavy winter snowfall.
This winter snow photo of Mt. Bachelor was hard earned, requiring a 60 minute snowshoe climb in 29 inches of overnight powder snow. Fine art prints of this and all of the images in this collection of winter photographs are available for sale. Please visit the galleries page of my website by visiting my photo gallery page. Oregon Photos for sale.
Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful snowy winter!
It appears that old man winter has finally arrived in full force on the Central Oregon scene. I received a mixed reaction when I declared that Central Oregon residents were in need of a cold snow infusion two entries ago, in that perhaps there aren’t as many snow lovers in our midst as I had once imagined. Personally, I love distinct seasons. I wouldn’t mind spring being a little more distinct and prolonged here in the Bend area but I have no reservations in regards to winter’s arrival. In celebration of our recent snowfalls, I strategically made my first cross country ski outing of the season to Tumalo Falls. I knew it had been quite cold and enough snow had fallen to make a potentially interesting photo or two. I’ve been to Tumalo Falls many times in the winter but frankly I’ve never really dialed in the scene to the point where I’m truly proud of my photos. This outing was very good but far from perfect. It was a day that my friend and fellow photographer, Troy McMullin refer to as a good stock day. By this we mean that the conditions or the setting might not have been appropriate for capturing a fine art photograph that is worthy of selling as a print but it was probably an attractive enough scene that is has some commercial value.
In early season conditions like this, one often has travel options. The road from the parking lot along Tumalo Creek had enough snow for skiing but it had little enough that it was still hikeable. Probably the only way to go wrong was to snowshoe. I had enough kick and glide that the weight of my skis were easily justified. After the quick 2.5 mile ski into Tumalo falls, my first stop was at the viewpoint where I took the following wintry picture.
The attractive elements of this image led me to my next several shots. I like the snow cover on the trees and the rocks in the middle of Tumalo Creek but I am especially fond of the ice formations at the base of the waterfall. Their artistic shapes and blue hues made them a subject worth zooming in on a little closer. any good photographer will tell you that it is better to get closer to your subject that to employ a lens with a longer, so I got closer. I dropped my skis and skirted along the right hand side of the creek’s canyon for a more intimate vantage point. The travel was actually more hazardous than I’d anticipated as some of the steep snow laden slopes were a bit nerve racking. Looking down I realized that one slip and I slide 75 feet straight into the creek which would be uncomfortable but not devastating. What would be devastating was the fact that I was potentially the last person into the falls that evening and that I could possibly break my leg during a slide into a creek. It is moments of exposure like this that trigger my mind to draw out dark scenarios of my own dismemberment that at worst are melodramatic and at best are preventing my wife from cashing in on a life insurance policy!
As I was fussing with optimal tripod placement and being covered with fresh fallen powder, I became acutely aware that i was getting cold! I like the details of the falls and its associated ice formations that are captured in this picture. When I tried to hike/climb/scramble I ran into two issues. The hillside became intimidatingly steep for someone(me) who isn’t ready to cash in their own life insurance policy and the spray from the waterfall became problematic for my lenses. The next image emphasizes the Ice sculptures beneath a tad more aggressively.
Hopefully this will be the first of many winter photo outings that I’ll make this winter season. It was great to be back out on skis and I’m glad winter has finally arrived despite the wishes of my loving wife and my favorite ultra-marathoner/retailer. By the way, my wife will have to wait awhile for summer and to cash my life insurance policy!