Just off the Cascade Lakes Highway in the Mount Bachelor area of Central Oregon lies Sparks Lake. A beautiful, shallow mountain lake, it is a favorite summer destination for campers and hikers from nearby Bend. When winter arrives, however, the complexion of the lake changes dramatically, and access is much more limited due to the heavy snowfalls that occur in the area. The Cascade Lakes highway is not plowed, so in order to capture a winter scene on the lake, one must be able to time their visit immediately after the first significant snow or two and before the heavy stuff arrives that will close the highway.
This shot was taken on one such early November day. There was 4"-6" of fresh overnight snow on the ground, enough to cover the grassy shoreline areas and mountain peaks in the distance, but not enough to obscure the recently frozen thin ice of the lake itself.
I composed a shot that included the peaks of South Sister on the left and Broken Top on the right, using the taller pines in the mid-ground to draw the eye across the ice into the layered forest and snow covered flanks of the mountains in the distance. The movement of the clouds was perfectly timed to "fill" the saddle between the mountains just as the rising sun illuminated the peak of South Sister with a faint alpenglow. The pinks and magentas spread into the clouds for just 30 or 60 seconds, reflecting in the clear surface of the ice in the foreground before me. Satisfied with the image I saw in my Live View screen, I paused, and gratefully took in the beautiful scene that had unfolded before me.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor