The Five Peaks of Anthony Lakes, Oregon
Gunsight Mountain is probably the most recognizable peak around the Anthony Lakes Basin located in Northeast Oregon. For those of you who have one of my 2017 calendars, I thought you might enjoy a little behind-the-scenes story about this image, The Five Peaks of Anthony Lakes. I will let you in on a secret. This is probably one of my favorite images! I’m sure the reason is because I grew up skiing at Anthony Lakes and I pretty much consider the place home.
Over the years, I have learned a few tricks to increase the chances of getting great photos at Anthony Lakes. Most importantly, you have to be there when the magic light happens. This is something you simply cannot do from town. You would never be able to see the light, let alone get there in time to capture it if you did. The best way to solve this problem is to camp out on the mountain. Sunrise and sunset are usually the best quality of light for landscapes, and being on location at the right time greatly improves your chances of getting a great shot.
The first step to capturing this photo was getting to the top of the mountain before sunrise, Whew! Witnessing sunrise from the top is a breath-taking experience whether you’re a photographer or not. As I stood there, gazing out to the valley beyond, I had the feeling I was the only person in the world. The air was cold, clear and pristine. The only sound was a gentle wind whishing through the sparse high-altitude trees and the chirping of a little mountain blue bird. Luna, our moon, was silently watching over us. She hovered in the sky silently just over Angell Peak, in a waning crescent phase.
The snow had already been groomed for the skiers and the busy day of fun that lay ahead. The pattern in the snow left from the groomers is what skiers call corduroy; I’m sure you can see why. The lines of the corduroy ran off, directing my eye to the mountain basin where Anthony Lake resides and to the best composition of the mountains.
I set my camera up on my tripod and proceeded to take the shot, or should I say shots. I love big wide panoramas. To photograph the entire scene, I position my camera vertically on my tripod and take several vertical images. Later, in Photoshop, I use a method called stitching to seamlessly combine the images into one larger panoramic photo.
Just in case you’re wondering, and I hope you are, the five peaks are, from left to right, Van Patten Butte, Gunsight Mountain, Angell Peak, Lees Peak and The Lakes Lookout.