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Tramp Spotlight: Mirror Lake, Oregon

Hey Trampers, here's a Tramp Spotlight for the week.  The purpose of our Tramp Spotlight segment is to feature a particular image and talk about the story behind getting the shot.   During my summer trip to the Pacific Northwest, I was blessed with beautiful weather, great hiking and amazing scenery.  I did some hiking and camping around Mt. Hood and read about a lake that was known for its reflection of the great mountain.  I wanted to hike to the lake and capture this reflection during sunrise.

The lake is called Mirror Lake and is accessed via a 4-mile trail that climbs almost immediately from the trailhead.  My friend Michael and I set off during a very chilly but clear morning with the hope of reaching the lake before sunrise.  However, we left a little too late and therefore ran the risk of the sun getting too high in the sky.  This would render the scene washed out and eliminate the soft, pastel colours associated with pre-sunrise.  With this in mind, I ran the last mile with all my camera gear on my back.

When I arrived at the lake, the sun was well and truly up.  I followed the trail around the lake to get into a position where I could see the reflection of Mt. Hood.  Fog was swirling around the lake lifting off it like steam in a sauna.  I found my place and quickly set up to compose this....... 

Sunrise over Mirror Lake in Oregon with 11,240 ft Mt. Hood in the background.

Unfortunately the sun was too high in the sky making the scene a little too contrasty with that bluish hue that's associated with photos taken during the middle portion of the day.  However, I'm not overly disappointed with the final product.  I was able to get the sun star effect in the top right corner of the image.  There's also some nice, warm colour on the left side of the image on the grasses and trees. The foreground logs provide somewhat of a leading line into the middle and background.  Mt. Hood itself is a little too washed out for my liking.  Even my polariser couldn't cut the glare down. The reflection was disappointing and I think that nearby Trillium Lake is the actual lake that's known for it's reflection of Mt. Hood.  

Processing wise, I used four bracketed photos and ran them through HDR Efex Pro 2. It's been a while since I did any sort of HDR.  I find that processing an image through HDR software when there's a sun star really brings out the effect nicely.  I thought about cloning out the lens flare, but in the end I felt it added a nice touch. 

Apart from reaching Mirror Lake a little too late, I was happy with the image and tried to keep the HDR-processing as natural as possible.  A lesson to be learned here.  When you think you're getting up early enough, you had better set your alarm clock back at least 30 more minutes.  It was a great hike through a beautiful forest and a nice place to spend an amazing summer's morning.

Thanks for stopping by!