This past weekend, I made a trip up to Rowena Crest in the Columbia River Gorge to capture the annual wildflower bloom. This is a spring pilgrimage for many photographers (as a quick Google Images search will attest to) but I’ll admit it was too hard for me to resist the chance to photograph it myself.
I was originally planning to backpack around the Painted Hills and adjacent Sutton Mountain, but early last week I saw spectacular wildflower images streaming in from several Hood River photographers whose work I follow. The wildflowers don’t stick around for long - only two to three weeks - so I knew this would have to be my chance. To make the most of it, I did my homework: a quick check of the astro forecast indicated that the skies would be clear all night, and there was a solid hour or so between moonset and sunrise. Scenes of bright yellow and purple wildflowers set against the Milky Way weighed in my mind against getting up at 3am - and easily won out. I'd say it was worth it.
Unfortunately, with only an hour of truly dark skies, I was limited to a single composition. But I made the most of it by throwing myself in for a self-portrait!
In the rush to get all the shots I needed before the sky got any lighter, I hadn’t even noticed how many cars had appeared at Rowena Crest as sunrise approached. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to have gotten word that the wildflowers are blooming. As I set up to capture the sunrise, I found myself in a line of four other photographers all clustered around the same patch of blooms - a culture shock for me since most of my photography takes place deep in the backcountry!
This was a sunrise well worth sharing, though.