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Winter Sunrise at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

A winter sunrise photo of the Mine Building at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, Oregon by Lori Rowland Photography

Winter Sunrise ~ Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

There’s a story behind every photo and this one is no exception…

I thought you might enjoy revisiting one of my favorite winter photographs taken at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center just outside of Baker City, Oregon. The Interpretive Center has lots of nice trails all with beautiful views of Baker Valley. This makes it an excellent place to view sunsets and moonsets over the Elkhorn Mountains. On this morning, it was the moonset I was after.

The date, January 12, 2017. This particular winter was the one with lots of snow, much more than average. I always track the Moonsets during the winter months. Here in Baker City, the winter moonsets always occur just over the Elkhorn Mountain Range just west of the valley. It is a very beautiful sight to see the Moon setting just over Elkhorn Peak. Unfortunately, this January’s full moon took place behind a thick layer of clouds on the western horizon. I can anticipate, I can plan, I can be there… but I cannot control the weather. She has a mind all her own. Kinda like me I suppose! 🙂

We left town early, about 5:45 a.m. We decided to snowshoe & cross-country ski out to a point where we could view the anticipated moonset. Since it was still pre-dawn, we set out on our trek with our headlamps on. As the sky began to lighten with the coming sunrise, we could see that the clouds on the horizon were just too thick. It soon became obvious, moonset photography was not going to happen. It is at that point that I decided to quickly come up with a plan B.

Scanning the horizon back toward the Interpretive Center, I spotted the old mine building. We trekked in that direction. Soon I could see the beautiful warm colors starting to fill the sky and a wonderful warm reflection beginning to form in the cold wind whipped snow. I did not know, as I never do, what the sunrise would bring, but I did know that I had found my composition. I quickly set up my camera and waited for Mother Nature to do her best. All the vivid colors came and went in a span of fewer than 10 minutes.

I think that morning like this is what make landscape photography so special. You may not get what you anticipated but if you are flexible and keep your eyes open, you may very well get something else, both beautiful and unexpected. Enjoy!

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2 Responses

    • Thank you, Evan! The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center really has an amazing trail network worthy of exploring. This was my first time out there with so much snow. It’s amazing how differently the mood is in the winter months.

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