Meet June, an adorable little 1 year old from The Dalles, Oregon. June's daddy is currently serving in the Navy and is somewhere in the world on the deep dark blue. Although he wasn't able to physically be there on his daughter's big day, we hope that this video will still allow him to experience the special moments. We also hope that it makes water come out of his face, because apparently he's a pretty tough hombre.
We've all seen it as we drive through the Gorge. In the day-time, it's a perfectly perched castle on top of the ridge. At night, it's an alien spacecraft that has just landed and is on the prowl for victims. The night-time story is one that I was told as a child. I don't remember who told me the tale, but I'll just default the blame over to any one of my older brothers. Every-time we drove by the Vista House at night I was fairly confident that it would be our last. I was also very impressed that we drove through the Gorge at the EXACT time the spacecraft landed EVERY SINGLE TIME. Impeccable timing on our end..... or theirs? These were the things that occupied my mind on these ominous drives with my family.
The world famous Vista House is one of the most photographed locations in the Gorge. With good reason too. Dedicated almost 100 years ago in 1918, it sits proudly at 733 feet above the mighty Columbia atop Crown Point, an area that was often referred to as "Thor's Heights". In short, this is where I would live if I were to design the ultimate "house." Not because of my Thor-Like biceps*, but because of it's pure awesomeness.
Although the Vista House is an excellent stopping point as you travel along the Historic Hwy, an even better stop is at the Women's Forum Viewpoint just west of the Vista House. From this point photographers capture the iconic view of the Gorge seen on millions of postcards since 1918.
Although this location is anything but obscure, I feel like it's a must for inclusion in our ongoing project. We gave it a shot on our way back from Portland recently, but being the perfectionist that I am, the lighting wasn't quite good enough. I'll be back soon when time allows, but in the meantime, here's a quick shot pulled from the lapse that just won't make the cut.
*And when I say "Thor-Like Biceps", I mean the opposite of that thing.
We love taking family photos. There are so many different personalities within a family, and we love the challenge of showcasing each one of them.
For this shoot, we originally had planned on taking photos up near the Rowena Overlook area. Me and Jesse arrived early and confirmed our suspicions that the wind was trying to blow our faces off, so we quickly changed locations to the city streets of The Dalles.
The Dalles has so many neat buildings with different personalities, giving us an excellent selection of backgrounds. We settled on some older brick buildings near the railroad tracks and stayed within a city block.
We typically shoot family photos for about an hour, and this was the case with the Boones. As we've discovered in the past, after an hour, most kids want to kick you in the knee-caps rather than smile for photos, so we didn't push our luck.
Here are a few selections from the Boone photo session. Biggie-Size thanks to them for allowing us to share some of our favorites.
Early Friday morning I took a shot at a sunrise session from the top of Mitchell Point in the Columbia River Gorge. First of all, let's just talk about the obvious. My name is Mitchell, and this place is called Mitchell Point... If it's not 100% awesome, then I would be thoroughly disappointed.
Good news, Mitchell Point IS maximum awesome. One thing that surprises me though is this: Not many people realize that the quaint little viewpoint looking over the river next to the parking lot is NOT Mitchell Point. It's just a place to get hyped up about the REAL Mitchell Point. With that being said, the wheelchair accessible view off of the parking lot is great. So great, that while stopping at it for a rest break, I oft-times proclaim its greatness via song. And yes, I have video to prove it.
Onto Mitchell Point. I got to the trailhead at about 5:30am. Time was short, so I knew I had to run up the trail with all my gear if there was even a chance of me making it to the top before the sunrise. It was dark, it was foggy, it was awesome. I strapped my headlamp on and plowed up the trail. I wish I would have snapped a pic as I was heading up. It felt very surreal as my headlamp cut through the fog as I ran through the trees. A person could have easily been a bit scared, and by all means, I'm sure a zombie attack was imminent, but getting to the point before sunrise was all I could think about. The trail up to the point isn't all that long, (1.2 miles) but it's very steep. I got to the top with just a few minutes to spare before sunrise. Initially, I had planned on shooting directly into the sunrise. This is what I normally do, and seems like the natural direction to capture the most dynamic light. For whatever reason, I decided to shoot West and away from the sunrise. The fog and clouds developing in that portion of the Gorge piqued my interest, so I decided to take a chance on something a little unconventional. For the record, here's a shot I took after the time-lapse was complete in the opposite direction. Without a doubt, I'll be back to capture this view, but believe it or not, I was PSYCHED that I shot in the opposite direction.
Looking West in the direction of the time-lapse, right as the sun was coming up, a rainbow began to form within the fog and clouds above the river. I was so excited! It wasn't an entire rainbow, but I was elated because the lapse started before its' formation! I felt exactly like the "double rainbow guy" on Youtube, and wasn't reluctant to echo his feelings from the top of Mitchell Point. Disclaimer: If you don't get the reference, just know that I'm not a weirdo, and that this is a joke. :)
PS: the video is flipped, and I don't care to flip it back. Don't panic!
In summary, although the direction of the sunrise was incredible, how often is a full-blown RAINBOW going to form right in front of your camera as it's running a time-lapse? This was an awesome day, and the trip up to the point was well worth my time. Here's one frame of the completed time-lapse showing the rainbow starting to turn into a double rainbow. Hooray Gorge!
Indian Point is one of those places that you've probably seen multiple times driving through the Gorge, but perhaps have just left it at that. Indian Point is a prominent "thumb-like" outcropping that towers over the Oregon side of the Gorge just across the river from Carson, WA. I promise you, once you notice it for the first time, it will be difficult to miss on subsequent trips through the Gorge. I'm pretty sure that it's a giant magnet. I'm also fairly confident that all of our eyes are made of metal. See what I did there?
The trail to Indian Point is fairly straight forward. And when I say straight forward, what I mean is that the trail gains 2,400 ft in just under 4 miles. Your calves will grow to 4 times their normal size in a matter of 2 hours. In summary, Indian Point is your one-stop shop for acquiring horse legs.
I took a buddy with me on this hike, as I wanted to scout out the location for some portions of time-lapse. We got an early start and starting plowing up the trail at 7am. After 500 switchbacks and about 50 high-fives, Josh and I made it to the top. Here's a tip regarding Indian Point. You will have 0 fun if you're terrified of heights. The hike is fantastic, as it cuts its way through sections of old growth trees up the side of the mountain, but once you get to the top, it's all business, and there aren't many places to stand without being exposed to 1,000 ft drops on both sides.
As expected, the views from this vantage point are incredible. We were up there around 9:30 am, so the nice glows of the sunrise were gone, but it was still beautiful! With some careful planning, this location is going to be top notch. I'll continue to add to each individual blog post as I gather footage worthy for the final product!
Every spring, various areas of the Gorge EXPLODE with colorful wildflowers. It's a fantastic time of the year, as the hills are still green, cherry blossoms are at full bloom, and temperatures begin their climb to Jesse-approved levels. We took a drive up past Columbia Hills State Park recently to explore the area and snap a few pictures of this annual awesomeness.
It was a beautiful day and we arrived just as the sun was starting to tuck itself below the mountains to the West. Jesse doesn't really like getting pictures taken of herself, but I insisted, because Jesse is a full-blown beach angel of the West Coast. : )
One of the first things I noticed about Jesse when I first met her was how naturally beautiful she was. I'm so thankful that she doesn't smear cake batter on her face and call it make-up. It takes her about 5 minutes to put her make-up on, and I love her for it. She'll never admit it, but she is beautimous. (Sound it out)
Even though I felt awful about ugly-ing up the picture, I had jump in for a quick shot as well. We've never been good at timing countdown pictures of ourselves, so we were satisfied with this result.
Meanwhile, directly behind the camera was this beautiful scene featuring the soft glow of Mt. Hood. The mountain has been tucked behind clouds quite a bit recently, so this grand view of the mountain was received with much fanfare. Welcome back, old chap.
I'm sure we've all had it. The time when we're driving along the road and we see something so awesomely mysterious that we double take like a broken bobble head doll just to be sure we're seeing what we think we're seeing. To me, this house is the definition of that exact thing.
Tucked away just outside of The Dalles, this house asks a myriad of questions, yet answers none of them. It's fantastic. I don't have many details relating to the history of it, but if my memory serves me correctly, it has looked like this for many moons.
My first time visiting this house was at about 1am. I was by myself, it was completely dark and I was in the middle of nowhere. I knew that I was in the right place, but because the house is off the road a bit, I couldn't see it. I got outside of the car, turned off all the lights, and waited for my eyes to adjust. A few moments passed, and then slowly, the house began to take shape in the middle of a freshly cut field. Here's a tip for those of you wanting to photograph this house at night. BRING SOMEONE. I like to think that I'm a pretty tough dude. I down beef jerky like it's water, have watched every episode of Walker, Texas Ranger, and shave my face with a samurai sword. However, this place is creepy at night. I set up some various shots, and felt a sense of nervousness every time the photo was complete and it was time to review the shot. I think I was afraid of the camera picking up something in the window. I also hated the fact that every time I looked at my camera screen, my night vision was lost again. I know it wasn't true, but I felt like I was being watched. And once that feeling is there, it's difficult to shake. I have spoken with a few other individuals who had similar experiences when there by themselves at night. This is pretty uncommon for me, as I'm the type of guy who prefers to leave the flashlight off as I lone wolf my way through the forest in the middle of the night. I didn't stay much longer than 30 minutes or so, but will certainly be back with a buddy to try and do this place justice when the grass has grown a little more around the perimeter of the house.
With that being said, this location is A+ any time of day. Here are a few more pictures taken around the house at daylight. The night shots will have to wait until the release of the video. :)
Oft-times, me and Jesse enjoy just hopping in the car and going for drives. Not anywhere in particular, but just for the sake of getting out and seeing something new. We do our best to get ourselves lost, but through the power of the technologies, haven't succeeded just yet. Friday we drove up 3 mile road outside of The Dalles to see what we could find. One of our first discoveries was this furry fellow standing guard just as we were heading out.
Seems like this Guard-Cow would have been enough, but we continued on up the road with a feeling that we had just met the reigning leader of the entire barnyard kingdom.
We pulled off to the side of the road in various spots and found some great spots to highlight the awesome cumulus clouds that were perfectly abundant. Although these areas don't necessarily have "Gorge" written all over them, I want the video to showcase all of the diverse landscapes that the Gorge has to offer, including the rolling hills and wheat fields.
It's always fun when Jesse's able to come along on these little excursions, and it's also helpful because she's a pro at snapping plenty of behind-the-scenes pictures/video!
We set up time-lapses in two different spots on this trip. It was pretty windy, so I was a little upset with myself for not bringing our larger tripod, but the lapses still turned out pretty good. However, we may be back once the crops are full grown to give them another go. After all, any excuse to drive an awesome spot is a good one. :) Here's a couple of shots pulled from each of the two different locations.
First of all, if you live anywhere near the Rowena Viewpoint and you haven't been there to watch an entire sunrise, DO IT. Ok, good talk.
I woke up early Wed morning and did a quick check of the weather. All seemed well and there were a few breaks in the clouds. Perfect! As Jesse has a constant urge to punch all mornings in the face, I went solo just a few miles down the Gorge to Rowena Viewpoint. It was an awesome morning. Hardly any wind, and I could tell that there was big potential for an excellent sunrise. I didn't have much time to set up once I got there, so I hurried and set up the camera and began planning the sequence. Here's an obligatory phone picture of my setup before things started happening. I sometimes like to bring the GoPro along to snap pictures as well, as I'm often surprised with the results, so that's why you can see it attached to the top of the cam.
I had been watching the celestial data closely (nerd) and determined that I was running out of time to get a good sunrise sequence from the Rowena Viewpoint. Sure, this effort will only translate to a few seconds of video at most, but this location is well worth it. I have been waiting for the sun to cycle around and get into position so that it wasn't rising over the river or too far north, and was psyched to see it rise perfectly behind the slope of the hills.
This picture is pulled from about 700 that I took in about an hour. I have yet to process them all, but am pretty hopeful that it will turn out to be a rock-solid sequence. Only time will tell!
Spring is definitely springing in the Columbia River Gorge, and I couldn't be happier. Although I truly love the winter season, a little green and warmer weather is always welcome with arms wide open. (Yes, like the chart-topping song)
Me and Jesse had a great trip down the Gorge to a place we've never been, Summit Falls. This is a pretty obscure little falls, and doesn't boast the mind-blowing heights of other more prominent tourist stops. These types of locations have always been my favorite, and this little jaunt didn't disappoint. Summit Falls has an upper and lower section, and the "trail" is accessed by a service road that most would overlook along I-84 East. The falls would certainly be enough reason to stop at this location, but there's another pretty impressive draw. A decent portion of the route to the falls is over an incredible moss covered portion of a now abandoned section of the 1916 Historic Highway. That's right, a road of moss. I didn't believe it until me and Jesse saw portions of perfect looking pavement between the moss, as well as old highway guard rails made out of stone. This moss has been growing here for over 50 years! If you want to feel like you're the last person on earth after a zombie takeover, this is a solid choice.
Naturally, with inklings of zombies around every corner, Jesse felt it was appropriate to take up arms and "attack with the north", as quoted from this short clip displaying her sheer strength.
The most impressive part of this mighty charge was how far Jesse ran. Good solid charge Babe!
On to Summit Falls!
The lower portion of Summit Falls was fairly easy to get to, with just a bit of scrambling down the scree slope to get there. Like I said earlier, Summit Falls doesn't necessarily have any impressive stats to boast about, but me and Jesse loved our little pocket of solace we discovered, and it was all ours for over an hour. This was a great spot to get some slider shots and audio for the ongoing project, and of course was a great place to snap some regular pictures as well.
After we were satisfied with our efforts at the lower section, we trekked our way up the "trail" to the upper section. We had quite a time traversing and scrambling our way up along the steep bank, but were rewarded with this when we finally made it to the top.
We lucked out with this portion of the falls, as water was flowing pretty steadily. We especially enjoyed the nurse stump that you can see in the upper right of the picture. Here we collected more footage and audio, and then started our way home.
With future plans to reopen and refurbish many of the old sections of the Historic Hwy in 2016, I can't help but think that this series of falls is bound to get way more attention in the future. I also can't help but have mixed feelings about the restoration of this section of the highway, as the ruins and deterioration of what once was provided a pretty special experience.