While snow has fallen in the mountains for much of November, it is perhaps the snowfall at lower elevations that has intrigued me the most.  While snow at lower elevations in Central Oregon is not uncommon, there is usually a balance between snow trying to cover the landscape, and the landscape emerging through its winter cloak.  

This perpetual swinging of balance makes these moments of shared influence quite fleeting.  After the first significant snowfall of the season, I spent an afternoon walking along the Deschutes River, looking for some late fall colors and interesting patterns in the freshly dusted landscape.  Just across the river, one of the lava flows from the Newberry Volcano stretches for miles.  I had hiked on sections of this lava flow before in all seasons, but had never seen this stretch of lava, especially not from this angle, just across the meandering waters.

At golden hour, I launched my drone to see what patterns and light I could find on the lava flow.  I quickly found that there is such an abundance of textures, that it would be difficult to make sense of any composition.  When the sun finally peaked through the clouds, I knew I had a short window to execute a shot that was simultaneously full of drama, and minimalistic.  

I used the subtle changes in topography to put this top-down perspective together.  The slightly higher, west-facing lava captured the golden hour light, while the depressed and east-facing lava maintained the cool tones of snow on a wintery day.  The effect culminated in a composition that used the contrast in light and tonality to provide a direction for the eye to view the image, and make sense of the ultra-textured frame.  

While I still prefer to tell my visual stories based on where my legs can take me, during this shoulder season I have been happy to embrace the abstract perspectives that using my drone has provided.  

Dust on Crust

Newberry Volcano, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon

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