Dalles Mountain Ranch, Dallesport, Washington, USA by Earl Robicheaux

Picture Story

Here’s James Dean in his 39 Chevy visiting the Dalles Mountain Ranch at evening….Not quite, but in spirit….The balsamroot and lupin are well worth his visit…Dalles Mountain Ranch is part of the Columbia Hills State Park in Eastern Washington sitting above the Columbia river with vistas of Mt Hood, the Columbia river, steep rimrocks, wildlife and many species wildflowers. From mid-April to May it is one of the go-to places along the Columbia River for these types of wildflowers

Having visited the Ranch a number of times, I never had quite succeeded in working that old derelict into the scenery. One can easily find it by following the worn-out path for about a quarter of a mile from the 1878 wooden barn at the parking area that heads south to its spot on e south facing slop below. This time, however, I strategized to create a bit of interest into that 1939 (or so) relic that the Bleakney’s left there for some obscure reason. So in preparation for this challenge, I purchased two small battery powered LED lanterns, about 4” high, and inserted some warming film into their domes to assure nice mellow light.

I arrived from Portland on a Sunday afternoon filled with sunshine, photographers and guest. but patience is a virtue and with the setting sun came loneliness….”All to myself.” I hung one lantern above the dashboard and another on the rear seat, got out my equipment and began my fun. When the light started to really get good, the breeze kicked up and so I bump the ISO to 3200.

A word about post processing. I am a big believer in Tony Kuyper’s Luminosity Mask. In this image I mildly applied his Smart Orton effect, to give the yellow of the balsamroot a nice glow.

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