Through the Sisters and Bend Region
Tuesday 24 April 2012 — Category: Outings
After leaving the Hoodoo Ski Area on my way to Eastern Oregon, I continued along U.S. Route 20, descended the eastern slope of the Cascades and made my way through the region of Sisters and Bend (the largest city in Oregon east of the Cascades).
Black Butte area — I came across a captivating scene of a meadow, some wood fencing, and a small grove of saplings. I drove right past it, but I kept feeling like I should really go back, so a short distance further down the road I finally turned around. There was something about the scene that really attracted me, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I don’t think any of the six resulting photos from that spot really capture what I saw and felt there, but perhaps, taken all together, they can communicate at least part of it.
When I was traversing the small town of Sisters, I saw that there could be some great shots of the Three Sisters, but buildings and trees were partially blocking the view. So I turned off the main road onto a side street, at about 10:15 Sunday morning. As you can imagine, in a tiny town of about 2,000 inhabitants the streets were pretty deserted. The road I found myself on was quite wide, with large parking spaces on each side, and a center divider along most of it.
I drove a couple of blocks to the end of the road, sometimes pulling over along the way to see if that was a good spot for a photo. When I reached the end of the center divider, I decided to turn around because it didn’t look like I would be able to get away from the buildings and trees. So I flipped a U-turn and headed back the way I came. But when I looked in the rearview mirror, I saw nice views of the Three Sisters again. Therefore, when I reached the end of the center divider on the other end, I made another U-turn to go back and try again to find a good place to stop for a photo.
Deschutes County deputy sheriff explained that I had been driving recklessly and making illegal U-turns! I politely explained that I was a tourist passing through, and looking for places to take photos. He took my documents, returned to his vehicle, and started writing on a form. Was he really going to give me a ticket?!
A few minutes later he returned with a warning (NOT a ticket — hurray!), and explained that I needed to be at least 500 feet away from any cars before making a U-turn, AND to not drive in the roadside parking places. I replied that the street was deserted, so I thought it was OK. He retorted that the street was obviously not empty, because HE was there! OK, OK — I thought to myself — I’ll just shut up and not argue about it! I was really glad to not get a ticket — to me that would seem a very bad way to treat a tourist, in a town that relies heavily on them!
As I continued past Sisters and Bend on U.S. Route 20, I was treated to some great views of the many high peaks in this part of Oregon’s central Cascades. One principle of photography that I discovered during this time — and applied countless times during my five-day journey — was this: look in your rearview mirrors frequently! And not just to check the traffic or see if the sheriff is on your tail! No! There are potentially a lot of great views BEHIND you — where you’re coming from — and the easiest way to see what they are is to keep checking out the scene as presented by your mirrors. I lost track of how many times following this principle caused me to stop and take pictures of the view that was NOT in front of me!
At one point I pulled over and took a series of 13 photos to combine into one sweeping panorama, encompassing Broken Top and the South Sister to the south, through the other two Sisters, Black Crater, Mount Washington, Santiam Pass, Three Fingered Jack and Black Butte, all the way to Mount Jefferson to the north. It’s quite a spectacular view! I tried to imagine what the pioneers must have felt like seeing it, after a long trek across Eastern Oregon. Sisters-Bend Area 2012 photo album.
For a complete list of all the blog entries and photo albums resulting from my trip to Eastern Oregon, be sure to check out the April 2012 Eastern Oregon Photo Outing Recap