Eye Scene: Photographer, Ryuichi Oshimoto Travels with Sigma Camera & Lenses
Across the road, surrounded by trees left and right, I see the top of the snow-covered Mount Shasta. Its façade was stately and heavenly clouds float around the mountain. Astonished by the beautiful landscape, I pressed the shutter.
On the evening of the second week in April, when I arrive at a lodge in Siskiyou Lake in northern California, fine snow fell from the gray sky. On the cold silent night, I slept soundly in the well-heated room. Waking up early in the morning, I look outside in the dark and see a thin layer of snow on the ground accumulated from the night before. From the lodge, I drove slowly on the frozen road and headed to the town of Shasta. In the sub-degree temperature, the town seemed deserted and Shasta Mountain, easily visible on a clear day, was undetectable. When I stepped outside to walk around, my body trembled from the cold.
The town was mind-numbingly cold.
The wind coming down from Mount Shasta was strong and frigid. Since my hands would not move willingly, I set the tripod on the road and used a slow shutter speed to photograph the scene.
Camera: DP2s, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/6 sec, Aperture: f3.2, Focal length:24.2mm
After returning to the lodge to eat breakfast, my body warmed up and began to get sleepy. As I closed my eyes in the chair, light began to seep through the trees and as if the snowstorm before had been a lie, my surroundings suddenly brightened up. I left the lodge again and headed toward source of the Sacramento River.
The spring water, flowing from underneath the moss-covered rocks, was not only crystal clear, but also very delicious. When the cold water traveled down my throat, it felt like all the cells in my body renewed.
The spring water flowing from under these rocks travels 400 miles to San Francisco Bay.
It was worth the trip to drink the water here. Nothing compares to natural spring water.
Besides the flowing water, all the moisture freezes on this frigid morning.
After getting energized by drinking the water, I went to the business center. The bright and cheerful woman park ranger informed me that most of the places were closed due to the snow, but on this day I verified that the road leading to Bunny Flat Trailhead was open.
Leaving the small town of Shasta, I drive up Everitt Memorial Highway and the road becomes surrounded by a wall of snow. In between the fast moving clouds, the sunlight shines through and the white snow was blinding. The shaded area of the road was still frozen from the last night’s snow, so I drive carefully through it.
On the way to Bunny Flat, the road was blocked by snow. Walking up the snow, last night’s snow had become a soft cushion and it was fun to walk around on. The sun reflected off the snow and the dazzling world around me as the temperature rose. Although exhausted from the long drive last night, I felt like a child walking on the fluffy snow.
Blocked by the snow, I couldn’t move forward.
Camera: DP1x, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100,White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/250 sec,Aperture: f10.0, Focal length: 16.6mm
I look up at Shasta Mountain (elevation 14,178 ft) from Bunny Flat (elevation 6900 ft.) Using the super-wide angle zoom lens, a bright, white world was photographed.
Descending Mount Shasta and after eating lunch at the town of Shasta, I headed south. The surrounding areas of Mount Shasta are full of natural springs streaming out clean water. Dunsmuir, a town 7 miles south of Shasta, has a number of beautiful falls. I visited one of them called Hedge Creek Falls to surround myself with the pure water. The water flow had increased significantly since I visited a few summers ago and although it was not a big waterfall, there was much excitement.
From the small cave like crevice behind the waterfall, I photographed the scene while bathing in a spray of water.
The falling water, the surrounding rocks, trees and sky was enveloped with super-wide angle zoom lens.
Warm sunlight strikes the tirelessly falling water, creating a rainbow.
When looking at the photograph, it revives the sound of the waterfall.
I even went to Castle Lake as recommended at the business center. Traveling up the road where the landscape was obscured by the snow wall, I arrived at the lakeside. I parked the car and climbed up the steep snow covered slope to see the frozen lake.
Cirque Lake at elevation 5400 ft, was created from melting snow on the slopes.
The surface of the accumulated snow was just blinding under the afternoon sun.
When changed to monochrome, the surface of the land became well defined.
Descending Castle Lake, the sunset was imminent. I decided to spend watching the sunset at the lodge at Siskiyou Lake.
From the Siskiyou Lakeshore, I watch Mount Shasta as it starts to change color from the sunset in the west.
The ever-moving clouds came out of nowhere and disappeared.
The large aperture telephoto zoom lens captured the scene sharply as though I was right next to the slope.
The sun set behind the mountains on the southern part of the lake. Soon after, it was covered by clouds and the sunset couldn’t be seen.
Camera: DP2s, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/500 sec, Aperture: f5.6, Focal length:24.2mm
The next morning, I waited for the sunrise at Siskiyou Lake. The shore was cold, but compared to the morning before, it was bearable. The eastern sky slowly turned red and the sunlight begins to hit Shsasta Mountain. The weather this day was partly cloudy and as I hoped for good weather, thick clouds began to cover the eastern sky.
Because of the cloud coverage, I couldn’t see a beautiful sunrise so I drove east on Highway 89 and when I arrive at McCloud, the clouds disappeared. From Mount Shasta, the flat land on the southern direction was covered in shallow snow. Parking the car after driving further down the state road, I walk on the snow for thirty minutes to Lower McCloud Falls.
I walk on the snow trail in the sunny weather.
Camera: DP1x, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/320 sec, Aperture:f8.0, Focal length: 16.6mm
From McCloud Falls, taking Interstate Freeway 5 north then northeast on Highway 97, I headed to the northern side of Mount Shasta. When I get to Pluto Cave, the blue sky faded and became cloudy. Snow was nowhere to be found and seeing yellow flowers growing among the dry land and igneous rock scattered around was a strange sight.
On the snow-less dry land, small yellow flowers grow.
Zooming out at the maximum focal length, I sat down on the ground to photograph the scene.
The cloudy sky soon darkened and snow seemed it could fall any minute. On this day, I didn’t assume I could see the sunset, so I thought that I would go back to the lodge early and have dinner. When I got to my room, light started to seep through the dark western sky. I sped toward Mount Shasta in my car. The higher I went, the light got stronger and I realized I came to Bunny Flat. The top of Mount Shasta was covered in clouds, but I couldn’t believe that the thick clouds had just disappeared. As I walked on the snow again, cold pure wind blew from the mountain.
The wind seemed to whisper, ‘It’s time to go down the mountain.” Wrapped around in the wind, I descended the mountain as I watched the light red sky.
The clouds billowing in the sky was mystical.
I couldn’t see the top of Mount Shasta, but feeling like I was a part of the mountain, the shutter was quietly pressed.
All artwork on this page was processed from RAW data (X3F) with Sigma PhotoPro software. After processing, some selected images were imported into retouching software to remove dust. This photo essay is currently running on Sigma Japan’s site and it is published here two months later.