Lassen Volcanic National Park

January 08, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

One of my unofficial New Years resolutions is to update the blog more consistently. It shouldn't be to hard considering I enjoy writing and I started my photography web presence with a blog. It's been difficult keeping up with it, however, with the demands of creating web pages and a solidified, more professional web presence.  Most recently, my partner Sean Davis and I created a separate home for our collaboration on Tahoe Wedding Movies which still requires some necessary updates and improvements. Plus, I've been incredibly pleased with the operation of this site especially with regards to ease of use for clients to proof their photos. The whole experience for me, from uploading private wedding gallery's, sharing it with the bride and groom, editing their selections back in Lightroom, and re-uploading their edited photos has made my life really easy and has reduced a lot of stress. The print options are impressive and the quality is world class as well. So now that some of these improvements are out of the way I think there will be plenty of time to update the blog. 

I have a lot to get to but I'm go into start with my trip to Lassen a couple months ago. My good friend Paul (really more like a brother) is living in Redding at the moment and he told me about a mutual friend and mentor who was making a trip to the west coast and wanted to check Lassen Volcanic National Park off his list. I saw the opportunity to re-unite with these two awesome guys in a place I've yet to see as a perfect reason to get out of Tahoe. If I was going to make the 4-5 hour drive to Lassen I wanted to make it count. I went to 500px.com and searched for photos of Lassen to get ideas on the big attractions and what I would like to photograph. The dominant attraction visually was clearly Cinder Cone Peak in the northeast corner of the park. 

I left Tahoe after lunch by way of I-395 up to Susanville before continuing on 44 into Lassen. Highway 44 in November felt like a private road open only for me and forest service officials. It was a beautiful start to my trip.  To get to the cinder cone trail and campground there is a 7-mile dirt road straight into the forest. The 3-car-wide, perfectly groomed dirt road was worth the trip alone.  Doing 50mph drifts in my subaru with lots of room for possible error was the most fun I've had driving in a long time!  In November the campgrounds are closed but access is possible if not snowed in. I slept in my car that cold frosty night at the trail head to Cinder Cone Peak. 

I woke up around 4a.m. to heat up some oatmeal before hitting the trail under the stars.  A frozen mist blanketed everything in white overnight so the white-painted-sandy trail was like hiking in snow. I approached the cinder cone volcano as blue hour came into full effect.  Blue hour is my favorite time in the morning!  An hour or so before sunrise the light of the approaching sun bounces off the atmosphere illuminating the surface with a cool blue tone. There is a softness with the light that I really love and is quickly lost when the sun makes its appearance.  The trail up the volcano is steep and deep. Deep as in loose volcanic sand that feels like two steps forward, one step back, all the way to the top.  The view at the top is amazing in all directions and I spent the next hour or two trying to capture it in all the changing light. 

Blue hour at the base of Cinder Cone Peak    Cinder Cone - Lassen Peak - PanoramaCinder Cone - Lassen Peak - PanoramaA very large panorama looking at Lassen Peak from the Cinder Cone Volcano in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Cinder Cone and Lassen PeakCinder Cone and Lassen Peak

Lassen Peak, CALassen Peak, CA

Painted Dunes, Lassen Volcanic National ParkPainted Dunes, Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Peak ViewLassen Peak View

Paul and Mark Wandering in the forest Mark, Paul, and myself at Ridge Lake

 

Im not sure what my favorite part of the experience was. The beauty, the photos I came away with, the time spent with good friends, the seclusion; it was all worth it. I think the seclusion though was the most striking.  I felt like the only person within a hundred miles out there and I think that made my experience all the more meaningful. It feels like such and honor to be alive, breathing, seeing, experiencing, and witnessing something that happens every single day that no one else sees.  I know many are capable, but the seclusion makes it feel like our planet is putting on a show just for me and I can't help but ask, "who am I?" to be able to experience this. I'm thankful that my passion for photography puts me in these situations. It's hard to imagine any other passion, hobby, or job that gives back like these experiences with photography do. 

(Photos are available for purchase here)

 

-CV


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