Eye Scene: Photographer, Ryuichi Oshimoto Travels with Sigma Camera & Lenses
Southern Oregon, sunrise at Crater Lake in Klamath County.
The surface elevation at 6176ft, the depth of the lake is 1900 ft. One of the deepest lakes in the United States, it is one of the clearest lakes in the world and my body and soul clears by gazing into it.
Driving north from Los Angeles on Interstate Highway 5, I pass Mount Shasta and drive over to Highway 97 the town of Weed. Driving through the uneven terrain on US Highway 97 running through Klamath National Forest, a strong scent of wood wafted in the air and there were a number of trucks carrying lumber. Arriving in Oregon, I head north while gazing at Upper Klamath Lake on my left hand side, I merge onto Crater Lake Highway and head further north. Cattle graze on the pastures on the vast lush green landscape and refreshing wind blows. Being undecided on a place to stay, instead of setting up tent at one of the campgrounds on the side of the road, I decided to rent a small boathouse. Exhausted from the long drive, I couldn’t muster the energy to see Crater Lake. However on this longest day of the year, it was too early to turn in already. Without dropping off my belongings at the campground, I walked up the trail to the lake. In 1902, the park was made a national park. At the south entrance, there was no one in sight and access to the park was limited to the lodge, giftshop, restaurant and business center (Rim Visitor Center) at the South Rim.
The pastures in South Oregon are blessed with fresh, clean water.
The fresh air letting me forget about the fatigue, the high quality digital camera captured the clean atmosphere.
At this time, no cars headed toward Crater Lake.
I felt the land’s rugged terrain when I first saw the landscape from the trails and I pressed the shutter using the large aperture telephoto lens.
Suddenly the periphery of the lake elevated and I look down at Caldera Lake.
The snow was deep and the access to the lakeshore had been closed off.
The gift shop and restaurant in Rim Village that seemed to be closed from the snow.
Clicking the shutter at the snow covered steep rood, the clear atmosphere was also photographed.
I wanted to return to the campground before the stores closed, so I left the mountain without waiting for the sunset. Returning to Fort Klamath where the campground is, the pasture was immersed in gold by the afternoon sun.
Fort Klamath, established in 1863, was a crucial US Army post during conflicts between the Klamath, Modoc and Northern Paiute tribes. The Modoc War (also known as the Modoc Campaign or the Lava Beds War) was an armed conflict between the Native American Modoc tribe and the United States Army in the southern Oregon and northern California region from 1872 to 1873. The war was the Native American’s resistance to the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people in the US and the last of the Indian Wars that occurred in California and Oregon.
Returning to the campground, I bought some beer and snacks then returned to the boathouse. Many of the guests stayed in an RV or a cottage with an exception of one man who traveled on a Harley and set up a tent. Since he couldn’t finish everything by himself, he pulled some chilled beers out of the river and came toward my boathouse. A US soldier who was stationed in Japan, he happily talked to me. When he returned to his tent, I became weary and immediately fell asleep. With the unexpected guest, I missed the opportunity to prepare any dinner, so my dinner for the night was beer and chips, but it was a pleasant evening conversing with eager traveler.
The next morning, in order to see the sunrise at the lake, I packed up and left the campsite in the dark. By the time I reached the southern area of the lake, the eastern sky had brightened up. The temperature was low and my gloved fingers were frozen. Unfortunately, a veil of cloud surrounded the eastern skies, so I wasn’t able to enjoy the moment when the sun came up. As I watched the lake, a cold gust of air blew from behind me and the fog enveloped the southern part of the lake. At one time Mount Mazama (elevation 12,00ft) existed here. 7000 years ago, the mountain sank due to volcanic eruption and the 4.5-6 mile Crater Lake was born.
Crater Lake anticipates the sunrise. At one time a 12,000ft mountain existed here.
The peripheral area is 7000 to 800 ft high and the average surface elevation of the lake is 6178 ft.
When the cloud parted, the lake surface soaked the morning light.
Using the large aperture standard lens, the shimmering surface was photographed.
After the fog cleared up into a sunny morning, I drove to a slightly lower area of the lake to the Park Headquarters. As I waited for the visitor center to open, the temperature rose inside my car and I no longer needed my thick jacket. After watching a short film about Crater Lake at the visitor center, I went back to South Rim and saw many hotel guests from the Crater Lake Lodge walking around on the snow.
At 9am, the park ranger raises the flag and the visitor center opens.
From the observatory of Rim Visitor Center, I look down at Crater Lake.
A group of people wearing snowshoes participates on a guided tour.
Camera: DP1x, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100,White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/400 sec,Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 16.5mm
I left the lake before noon and possibly because the north entrance was closed due to the snow, there was a long line of traffic at the southern entrance. When I returned to Fort Klamath, I went to the one general store to buy some coffee and donuts.
Cattle freely roamed the pasture that looked much like a marsh. Crater Lake hid in the mountains in the background. The elevation here is about the same height as the bottom of Crater Lake at 4244 ft.
A pick-up truck stopped at the general store where I bought the coffee and donuts.
In the back of the truck, two dogs obediently waited for its owner.
From Fort Klamath, instead of taking the road from the day before, I drove south on State Road 140 on the western side of Upper Klamath Lake. On the 20 miles long, 8 miles wide largest freshwater lake in Oregon, there were people playing on the boat and fishing. Unlike the limited access from snow at Crater Lake, this lake seemed more approachable.
I stopped by Upper Klamath Lake. The lake attracts many fishermen and there were many colorful boats, but my lens moved toward the one black, subdued boat in the quiet atmosphere grabbed my attention.
Driving past Klamath Lake, I drove east on State Road 66, parallel to the border between California and Oregon. The road eventually leads into a lush green mountain. After I pass the Klamath River, flowing into the Pacific Ocean in northern California, the mountain becomes deeper and the undulating roads became more severe.
On State Road 66, I cross the Klamath River. In the 19th century, in order to relocate to the Pacific northwest, many aimed for California and Oregon in covered wagons. One of the trails, Applegate Trails, required them to cross the Klamath River. I wondered if the people crossing at the time had a moment to enjoy this view.
There are many beautiful meadows and lakes in Oregon and as I drive through the Klamath region, I also see traces of territorial dispute caused by humans. However gazing at the land created by volcanic activity, human history seems short and everything seems like a miniscule event.
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.