I’d been on the road for nearly a month – from Los Angeles, through the national parks of California and deep into the Oregon wilderness. I’d experienced the dry heat of the drought, the thunderous storms along the coast, and the spectacular weather of a blizzard along the rim of Crater Lake. The daily grind was tough and challenging, but I loved it!
It was late-April when I found myself driving along a dirt road beside a fantastically picturesque lake on a beautiful and unseasonably warm day. Parking, the vivid blue waters of Trillium Lake called to me as I found a spot to rest along the shore, soaking in the magnificent beauty and tranquility. It was late afternoon, yet the sun still warmed the waters and the faintest wisps of clouds spun over Mt. Hood. With my gear in tow, I began scouting for that perfect scene to try and capture the beauty I was experiencing. Braving the mud along the lake I was able to frame some rocks and reeds into the image of the magnificent Mt. Hood reflecting in the waters – an elegant foreground, yet not the compelling image I was searching for. I loved the scene, but something was missing, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Setting up, I settled down for sunset, hoping I would discover what I was missing.
Gazing over the crystal-blue waters as wisps of clouds shone bright in the sunset light, I once again marveled at the scene before me. The terrific beauty and symmetry of the mountain framed by sunset clouds reflecting in the shimmering lake enchanted me as a pair of mallards drifted in to my frame – splashing, playing, and scavenging for food amongst the swaying reeds along the shoreline. A smile etched on my face, this was pure. The moment was perfect and the missing piece revealed – the combination of Mother Nature’s beauty and the vibrancy of life as the mallards played amongst the reeds. Then it was over; the glow of the clouds began to fade and the ducks paddled away, leaving me alone as time once again imposed her will. That is the power of moments, so strong one instant yet gone the next. But in that one moment, in that instant of perfect serenity, I snapped the shutter down and captured Elysium.
Elysium was shot with a Pentax 645Z @ 60mm, f/9.5, ISO 100 with a 6.0 second exposure being supported by a Really Right Stuff BH-55-LR on a Gitzo GT3542XL. I used a B+W Circular Polarizer Filter, 0.3 Stop ND Graduated Filter, and a Remote Shutter Release. The image was taken along the shores of Trillium Lake in Oregon.