The story of summertime in Central Oregon is not complete without an aquatic component.  With dozens of alpine lakes, pristine streams, and rushing rivers, there is no shortage of opportunities to get out on the water, whether a casual float or adrenaline inducing whitewater fits your appetite.  

Hosmer lake is one of the Cascade Lake Highway's premier destinations, with its crystal clear waters,  countless trout, and expansive mountain views attracting paddlers and fishermen alike.  I have photographed the lake before, but only from the confines of my kayak.  I always felt that such a low vantage point did not give the meandering waters or mountain views the justice they deserved.  

On this outing, I wanted to bring my drone along on my paddle board.  Even paddling standing up on the paddle board revealed more views than sitting down on the kayak.  This reminded me of the power of making even small adjustments to the height from which a photograph is taken. 

Near the end of the lake, I was able to park my paddle board and launch my drone from land, a much more secure proposition than launching from the water, where a quick loss in concentration could send me swimming.  I backtracked with the drone to the narrow section of the lake that winds through the tall grass.  From about 250' in the sky, I was able to use the patterns created by the water and grasses as leading lines to the mountains, my favorite subject matter of all.  

Although I have had mixed feelings about drones over the years because of noise and their ease of use feeling almost like cheating, I am now able to recognize both their power and their limitations.  Using them as a way to expand my creative vision and reveal views that I would not be able to photograph otherwise seems to be the most effective way to make the drone a tool instead of a crutch.

Hosmer's Odyssey

Hosmer Lake, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon

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