Mt Shasta is the jewel of Northern California. This inactive volcano perches high above the small town of Mount Shasta and is visible over the entirety of the region. Some folks believe that if you can’t see Mt. Shasta you’re not truly in Northern California. From a photography perspective, it’s amazing, but many people don’t know where to get the best shots! Thankfully, I grew up in the area, so I know where to find most of the little jewels in this region.
I met my group of photographers on Friday evening for a brief orientation so I could find out a little about their cameras, and shooting needs before we set out bright and early the next morning. Our first stop the following morning of our adventure was Trout Lake. This little lake sits north of the mountain and has possibly the best view. Recent storms have brought in some fresh snow on the mountain and cooler temperatures When we arrived, wispy clouds floated around the mountains and a mist began to rise off the lake as the warmth of the sun began to rise. It was a really beautiful spot. Once the sun was up, the wind died down, everyone got some clear reflections of the mountain. It was a perfect start to our day!
For the rest of our morning, we explored some of the barns and old buildings in the Little Shasta region including the iconic Little Shasta Church. These areas, while offering beautiful shots of the mountain also provide a little bit of context to the area.
That afternoon, we stopped at Lake Siskiyou to photograph some close-up shots of the peak as clouds began to move about the top. The textures were very cool, and students were capturing some beautiful images.
Our main goal for the afternoon was to climb up to Heart Lake for a breathtaking view of Shasta and Castle Lake. The recent snows gave us a challenge though. While we were only able to make it up partway up the trail, we did find a great lookout with a spectacular view. All was not lost! The snow was quite deep and thanks to Aperture Academy owner Moniques’ son Ryan and his friend Ian, we had enough people to help everyone get up and back and back down the trail. Though there might have been some minor sliding on rear ends, everyone kept a great attitude and had a fun adventure!
The following day we started off with a secret adventure to a local gem before setting our sites on Hedge Creek Falls, a lovely little waterfall tucked inside a narrow basalt canyon. This waterfall is one of the few in the state you can walk all the way behind. It’s really beautiful. After answering a few questions about settings, we talked about composition and different ways to frame our shot. Before long it was clear that we would have a lot of great images to sort through during our post-processing session.
We had a busy afternoon filled with processing tips, and a little image review before setting off for Burney Falls, another giant of the north. This waterfall is awesome, and because it’s spring-fed the flow is always nice. It also offers a cool way to get out of the heat. We photographed the up-close intimate details of the fall and then focused (pun intended) on a more grand scene!
The final stop of the night was the Sundial Bridge in Redding. We lucked out and had some clouds roll in, which provided color and texture to the sky. This time of year the water in the river is lower so we’re able to get interesting reflections and foreground shapes to help make for more aesthetically pleasing compositions. I loved this group. They were up for all kinds of adventure, and I threw a lot at them! They smiled and put forth awesome effort throughout the trek, and came away with some beautiful photos. I always love it when someone has a photo from a location hanging in their home but never knew where it was taken. Then I take them there and they come away with photos just as good as the professional ones. Images they can hang proudly!
Until next time,
Brian, (Ryan and Ian) and the rest of the Aperture Academy Team.
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