The Klamath Basin is a great place to capture nature through the lens. Native wildlife is exquisite and extensive. Crater Lake and the Cascades are ruggedly beautiful. The river, lake and marshes are loaded with animal life in its element.
Each season presents a new opportunity to record nature’s constantly changing scene. One of the most beautiful sights in Southern Oregon is Mt. Mc Laughlin, any time of the year. This mountain can be viewed from Highway#97 as well as from many locations on the upper portion of Klamath Lake.
The marsh at Pelican Bay is an excellent location for viewing bird life from a boat or canoe. There is a signed canoe trail around the entire marsh that begins and ends in the bay. The Williamson and Wood Rivers have otter, beaver, muskrat and mink in addition to countless varieties of birds, in addition to some very large trout. It is possible to observe bald and golden eagles on the same day, during the fall and winter.
Spring arrives after April 1 in the Klamath Basin most years.
The Cascades especially Mt. Mc Laughlin, are still snow capped and stunning. The deciduous trees are budding and blooming as the flora awakens to greet summer.
River Animals are active after their winter respite. On any given spring day while floating down the Williamson or Wood rivers a photographer might see beaver, raccoon, otter, muskrat, mink, fox, coyote, badger and deer.
Birds of many varieties are present and active. Wading birds including blue heron, green heron, white egret, white-faced ibis and a plethora of shore birds abound. Diving birds including horned bill grebe, pied bill grebe, white pelicans, cormorants and migrating diving ducks can be observed. Marsh birds are present in the tulles in great numbers. This is the time of year when the horned bill grebes conduct their unusual courting ritual on the lake to the delight of photographers. Wood-peckers, magpies, crows and ravens are ever present, and noisy, too.
Raptors are also a possibility. Bald and Golden Eagles are in the basin as well as a variety of hawks including the osprey, sometimes called the fish hawk.
Crater Lake, while ever beautiful, usually has a great deal of snow in spring. Snow can limit, but not diminish, the photographic opportunities of the lake and its surroundings. On Highway #62 leading to the lake, groves of quaking aspens and aging ranch buildings challenge the photographer’s skill, not to mention the rugged snow capped peaks that ring the lake.
An afternoon rain shower can produce breathing sunset scenes, the setting sun painting cumulus rain clouds in shades of orange, pink and gray as it descends over Mt. Laughlin. Thunder storms of spring show lightening strikes far and near, as photographers are challenged to capture and record the show in video and still shots
Summer is the time of the marsh, blooming water lilies, the appearance of wild flowers of many varieties and peak animal activity along the riverbanks and in the forests. Crater Lake comes into its own at this time, challenging the shutterbug to capture breath taking panoramic scenes. It is a time of shirtsleeves, comfortable temperatures, cattle in the fields, the rodeo, and the cutting horse competition, bar bqs, picnics, mosquitoes, floating down the rivers and good trout fishing. All are available to the creative photographer each and every day.
Fall presents a changing color pallet as the aspen, maple, dog wood, cotton wood, alder, poplar, birch, fruit and willow trees prepare for the impending cold of winter. The golden hues of the leaves and grass is a stark contrast to the green of summer. Migrating waterfowl fill the sky and all other varieties of migrating birds seek more hospitable environments. Photographic possibilities are only limited to the imagination and limitations of the eye and camera.
Winter comes swiftly in the high country. Temperatures dip well below freezing long before December 21st. Winter photography possibilities are many, but not for those who seek the comfort of warmth. River scenes with snow covered banks, trees and docks harkens back to the days of black and white film when light values and shadows defined the quality of the image, in the absence of color. On a particular winter day along Modoc Point Road near Chiloquin, there were a pair of golden and bald eagles in the same dead tree. When that happens, one must be prepared.