Tour of Oregon


Tour of Oregon

Labor Day weekend plus an extra day off allowed me to travel to several places I had been hoping to visit in Oregon: the Painted Hills, the Alvord Desert and Steens Mountains, a second, very-brief visit to Crater Lake, and all sorts of travel over the roads crossing the desert. It was one of the best trips I've taken to date, and much needed time away from the city. My first stop was at the Painted Hills, fifty miles northeast of Prineville.






The ruddy hues of the laterite layers change from softer, rusty tones to vibrant red-oranges, depending on the time of day and weather conditions. It's one of the many reasons I can't wait to get back here.

The nearby Blue Basin flips the palette from warm to cool.





This trip also marks the first time I've taken self-portraits. I'd recently realized just how much I like the photography of people, but I travel alone. I decided it was okay to use myself as a subject. It's a bit of a challenge, but it makes any good results extra special. Be prepared for a lot of them.





After a slow drive up to the top of the Steens and back down, I drove around to the Alvord Desert. Here you can follow a two-track right down onto the playa. And from there, you can rip around at your heart's pleasure. I pulled on to the desert floor as the sun sank behind the mountains I had just descended. To get a sense of scale, notice the camp of people in the lower left of the photo below.





Remember those self-portraits I mentioned? It was this morning that I took most. Turns out, when sitting in the middle of a dried up lake bed at sunrise, I have a desire to attempt a lot of selfies.





Don't visit this area without making a stop at Fields Station. Get yourself a burger and a shake. It's amazing. Not because it's unexpected, but because it's unequivocally delicious.





I took a roundabout way to get back home. I dipped into Nevada and came up headed for Crater Lake. Two years earlier I had visited the lake and I remembered a little barn on the drive that would've made for a beautiful photograph. But I was racing the sun then, and didn't want to stop for a minute before I was up at the lake. This time I had just enough time to stop, but the mosquitos that swarmed me encouraged me to make swift and efficient photography.





It was a year of wildfires for Oregon. Fresh smoke filled the woods on the north side of the lake. I took the time for one more self-portrait and a few extra shots. Then it was time to head home.