QT Luong • Photographing Crater Lake National Park

Oregon’s only national park has the remnants of a volcano, plus plenty of trails, tours and mountains to interest the landscape photographer. QT Luong recently visited and has all the tips you need should follow in his footsteps

An impossibly large and beautiful circle of pure, intense blue, surrounded by cliffs almost 2,000 feet high, Crater Lake is always stunning at first sight. Its establishment as one of earliest national parks as well as its mountain location has preserved the pristine quality of the air and water in Crater Lake National Park. The park is a perfect mid-summer destination. While most of the U.S. can be uncomfortably hot, Crater Lake National Park’s northwest location and high elevation ensures pleasant conditions in the middle of the summer. While the lake surrounded by snow can be striking, the abundant snowpack closes the road around the lake for most of the year, so this is another reason to visit in the summer.

The park is relatively uncrowded even at the height of the tourist season, with less than 500,000 visits per year. Although its main attraction is undoubtedly the lake, with its varying moods, the area has much more to offer to the photographer looking for off-the-beaten-path locations, including mountain vistas, wildflower meadows and curious geological formations.

The park can be accessed through three entrances to the north, west and south, all leading to a 33-mile scenic road that circles the lake, offering a number of overlook views. Trails give access to more varied viewpoints, high above the lake and at ...

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About Author


QT Luong is known for being the first to photograph all America’s 59 National Parks – in large format. Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan featured him in The National Parks: America's Best Idea. His photographs are extensively published and have been the subject of four large-format books including Treasured Lands (winner of 6 national book awards), several magazine and newspaper profiles, solo gallery and museum exhibits across the U.S.

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