Photo: Northern Pygmy Owl

Northern Pygmy Owl Last weekend we met up with some friends at their cabin in the Mt. Hood National Forest.  It was a nice day out, so we had brought our bikes up to the mountain with us. Riding around the back roads, we found a trail that led up to a large rock formation. At the base of the rock, I spotted a little bird making some noise and sitting in one of the lower pine tree branches. Giving the little guy a second look I realized it was an owl. I pointed it out to everyone and we watched the owl as it looked back at us. As I attached my zoom lens, it hopped over to another branch, slightly further away. Everyone continued on the trail, while I hung behind to try to get a few shots before the owl flew off. As I crept a bit closer, the owl suddenly got very interested in something on the ground. Just after I took this shot, it zoomed down just ten feet away from me, catching a mouse nearly the same size as itself. I didn't have a good angle on it to get any good shots of the owl as it struggled to get the mouse airborne. However, I did get one fuzzy shot of a big orange eye staring at me though the underbrush. I also managed to get a few fuzzy shots after it managed to fly off with its huge dinner.

Nature in action!

---

Technical Details Aperture Value: f/5.6 Focal Length: 300mm Exposure Program: Aperture Priority ISO: 400 Shutter Speed Value: 1/200 sec Location: Zigzag, Oregon

Mountains

Cloud Cap

Technical Details Aperture Value: f/10 Focal Length: 18mm Exposure Program: Aperture Priority ISO: 200 Shutter Speed Value: 1/50 sec Location: Mount St. Helens Volcanic National Park, Washington

Hood

Technical Details Aperture Value: f/7.1 Focal Length: 125mm Exposure Program: Aperture Priority ISO: 200 Shutter Speed Value: 1/320 sec Location: Mt. Hood, Lolo Pass, Oregon Other: HDR Processing

Lost Lake

Lost Lake

Once upon a time (about 1873 to be exact), there were a bunch of guys from Hood River that went for a trip around Mount Hood. While camping on a nice little lake, one of the men wondered how flammable the moss on the trees were. Being a curious, albeit not very bright, individual he decided to test his theory by touching his pipe to one of the trees covered in the moss. A few moments later the party was fleeing for their lives as a forest fire raced through the trees covered in the very flammable moss. Being proud folks, they decided best not to discuss their folly.

About seven years later, another group of men went on a quest in the same area. Whether the lake was the destination or not, I do not know. Despite the fact that the area surrounding the lake was burnt, they had some trouble finding said lake. Standing on a ridge, looking down at where they believed the lake was supposed to be, but was obviously not, they proclaimed that they were not lost. It was, in fact, the lake that was lost. Hence, the lake has been known since as Lost Lake (although, that particular group did eventually find their lost lake).

The original name of the lake was E-e-kwahl-a-mat-yam-lshkt, or 'heart of the mountains' for those not fluent in the Hood River tribe's native tongue. Given that the lake is indeed in the shape of a heart and is indeed in the middle of the mountains, I think this name makes a heck of a lot more sense. Although, it doesn't have a humorous story about stupid people to go along with it.

Speaking of humorous stories involving this lake... the adventurous chef, author, and traveler, Anthony Bourdain recently featured a camping trip to this very lake in his Northwest No Reservations episode. Those of you familiar with the show can imagine the possible plethora of viewer amusement at Anthony being forced to camp.  Alas, no Bigfoot sightings though.

Technical Details Post Processing: HDR - three images @ 1 stop intervals Location: Lost Lake, OR