One of my projects this year is to upgrade my photography game. It seems like no matter how hard I try, the photos that I am taking on the water or trail never turn out quite the way that I want them to. So, one of the areas where I want to invest some time and energy this year is learning how to better use my camera, tripod and all of the settings so that I can get more out of my photos.
This weekend, I stumbled on something that I intend to use for some future practice sessions. Sara and I had a friend visiting from out of town and were looking for a short hike. We didn't have a lot of time and wanted to get outdoors. For us, Heybrook Lookout is our go-to when we need a quick and easy route with minimal elevation gain and good views.
And then the idea was hatched....
Future Photo Project Epiphany
So, back to my photo project... I didn't set out with a plan to turn Heybrook into my photo lair, but after hiking up this time I realized what a great opportunity this location offers. The lookout is only about a mile up the trail and it has a platform above the trees where a person could easily set up shop for some landscape photography.
So, basically... easy access and lots of color. I'm a photography noob and the idea that a place this striking is so easy to get to is very intriguing. I know I need practice and this seems like a great place.
There are evergreens in the foreground, jagged mountains on the horizon, and sometimes a hazy mist generated by the river below that just keeps moving around. Throw in some strawberry cotton candy clouds at sunrise/sunset and I should be all set up for some interesting light conditions. Although I wouldn't be protected from the wind, there is ample space at the top to stage gear and keep things dry.
Because of the easy access, I'm not expecting to get an original photo from this spot, but in terms of accessibility it seems like an easy place to establish a baseline and experiment with new techniques, ideas and light conditions over and over. Basically an easy way to measure the development of skills over time.
I suppose that one consideration is that people camp out in the upper platform, so you would need to consider minimizing noise and disruption if it is occupied. An easy way around that would be to just occupy it yourself... for $75 you can reserve the upper platform of the lookout and have access to a kitchen and propane stove.
Anyhow, once you get set up there is plenty of subject matter to work with. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Index, Persius, Baring and the Cascades. The photos below were taken from the public platform at mid-day with an iPhone. I'm looking forward to another trip with a little better plan.... More to come on this topic.
Getting to the top is not hard at all. The trail is well marked, less than a mile, and has less than 1000 ft of gain. I used the Gaia GPS app on my phone to map the route: