Landscape photography is largely about seizing the moment...venturing to locations when conditions are prime and increasing your chances of coming away with something you'll be proud of. June, in Northern California, is the perfect month for such conditions when it comes to photography, as the Mt. Shasta region is full of great photography subjects...waterfalls, crystal clear lakes and of course, the 14,179 foot snow capped peaks of Mt. Shasta herself.
Our group of 11 students met in Mt. Shasta Friday night for orientation and we saw many familiar faces as four students were back for more after attending other workshops in the past. A quick 30-minute orientation and then it was off to bed for a good nights sleep to prepare us for an early rise and the weekend ahead.
Saturday morning came fast and we all piled into two vehicles and made our way to our first stop -- Middle McCloud Falls. This isn't a tall waterfall, but wide and it's quite stunning. It plunges 45 feet yet it's nearly 100 feet wide, creating a curtain of water that narrows into a nice canyon of rocks and freshly grown foliage below. These rocks and plants make for adding great color into the compositions.
We arrived at Middle McCloud Falls early to allow plenty of time to capture it's beauty before the sunlight would make conditions less than ideal. With sensors full of images from our first stop we made our way up to 7,000 feet in elevation to Castle Lake. Along the way up the hill we got glimpses of Mt. Shasta in the distance and every detail was visible as the clarity of the morning sky was absolutely perfect.
Castle Lake is nestled between three small mountains and this year the lake still had giant ice patches on it, making for ideal conditions for photography. Not to mention, the glassy reflections that captured the granite and snow covered hillside in the distance. It really was a magical place on this morning.
With 3 hours of shooting already under our belts, we headed out to the Lavender fields, north of Mt. Shasta for a lunch break and to capture some images of the purple lavender rows, intentionally lined up with Mt. Shasta in the distance. While the mid day sun proves to be challenging light to shoot in we gave it a go and enjoyed the Lavender Lemonade provided for free by the owners of the farm.
With lunch completed we headed back to the lodge for an afternoon break before heading out in the evening in hopes of some night light at sunset. We arrived at Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta towering on the horizon, framed by two smaller tree lined peaks. The light was low and warm and even though the lake wasn't offering up any reflections it still made for some nice images, and gave us a chance to work more on compositions.
Sunday morning we rose early again and made our way to one of the most amazing places on the planet....Mossbrae Falls. You really have to see this place for yourself to understand why it is so amazing. It's a cliff with an underground spring flowing from it that stretches about 100 yards down the side of the Sacramento River. It feels like it should be in Hawaii, or New Zealand, but lucky for us, it's right there in the Mt. Shasta area and we set off to photograph it....and we did. There are so many different compositions in this location, and the cool mist offered welcome relief from the hot day that was under way. We spent a good two hours shooting and enjoying this location before heading off to Redding for a small break, and lunch.
After lunch we made the drive out to Burney Falls, yet another totally unique and amazing location. By now the temperatures had risen into the 90's so spending more time at a waterfall was just what we wanted, and needed. We arrived at Burney a little earlier than expected so we dipped our toes in the water while we waited for the shade to fall on the face of the falls, then the shooting began. Like Mossbrae, this falls has many angles and unique compositions to offer, and we did our best to find them all.
After two long day of shooting we made our way to our final stop -- the sundial bridge. This is such a unique bridge and at night offers up some nice light for longer exposures and getting creative with the architectural angles and patterns.
With the bridge location nicely captured, everyone returned to their cars and said their goodbyes to another great weekend of shooting and a new group of friends!
Until next time!
Stephen & Scott
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