Sparks Lake is positioned 25 miles west of Bend, Oregon, alongside the gorgeous Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway. Sweeping mountain views, spring wildflowers and volcanic outcroppings make for naturally elegant compositions that beckon to panorama photographers. With a floor elevation of 5,433 ft, 780 acres of floor space and 10 miles of shoreline, Sparks Lake provides infinite alternative for exploration. Trout-filled waters, wonderful camp websites and beautiful pure surroundings make Sparks Lake a favourite amongst photographers, paddlers, hikers, campers and fishermen.

Climate At Sparks Lake

Winter climate at Sparks Lake is harsh. Close by Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort receives over 450 inches of snow yearly. The Cascade Lakes freeway is closed from late autumn till late spring. Winter entry requires an 11-mile roundtrip tour on the snow-covered freeway, necessitating cross nation snowboarding expertise, snowshoeing stamina or a snowmobile. Winter guests needs to be ready for heavy snows, arctic circumstances and a frozen lake floor.

When the Cascade Lakes freeway opens in spring, photographic alternatives abound. Meadows stuffed with yellow buttercups and pink mountain heather are a magical spring shock. Summer season bestows heat temperatures, bluebird skies…and mosquitoes. Be ready with further bug-proof layers and robust repellants. Autumn yields pockets of shade from blueberry and huckleberry and recent dustings of snow on the close by volcanoes.

Picture Expertise

As I stay within the metropolis of Bend, Sparks Lake is a brief drive away. Due to its shut proximity, infinite compositions and elegant magnificence, I’ve made roughly 100 visits to Sparks Lake. For this picture, I tracked climate patterns, which I hoped would yield a recent coating of high-elevation snow, a placid, unfrozen lake floor and an fascinating cloud sample. I used to be totally rewarded. I discovered all the pieces I’d hoped for with a bonus layer of morning mist hovering over the mirror-like lake floor. I used to be capturing an Ebony 4×5 movie physique and needed to seize each South Sister and Damaged High mirrored within the lake, so I utilized a Rodenstock 75mm Grandagon-N, which is equal to a 25mm lens on a 35mm digital camera. I additionally employed a 2-stop ND grad filter on a LEE Filter system to present the picture a bit extra depth by including some mild to the rocks within the foreground.

Photographers will discover fascinating compositions with any focal size, however quite a lot of lenses is useful. The surroundings at Sparks is sweeping, clear and chic, which urges me to seize a wide-angle lens. Nevertheless, I like to recommend that you simply arrive on the lake together with your longest lens mounted, as wildlife is plentiful but skittish. I’ve loved photographing sandhill cranes, blue herons, bald eagles, ospreys, otters, beavers and mule deer whereas at Sparks.

Finest Occasions

Spring, summer time and autumn all supply incredible photographic alternatives at Sparks Lake. Pockets of wildflowers will be discovered from June by means of August. Early spring will supply loads of snow on the encircling mountains. Mountain snow ranges wane in late summer time and are replenished in early autumn. Autumn and spring mornings regularly take pleasure in a layer of mist over the lake, providing added curiosity to mountain reflections.

Whereas planning for golden-hour shoots is smart, noon images will be rewarding with cooperative cloud formations. Morning will present probably the most solitude at Sparks, and evenings will typically embody paddlers having fun with the lake’s crystal-clear waters.

Climate forecasts at excessive elevations within the Oregon Cascades are notoriously fickle. I’ve had a few of my greatest outings after defying gloomy forecasts and making the journey, solely to seek out stunning under-lit clouds throughout golden hours.

Iconic views of the lake will be discovered close to the boat launch and on the Ray Atkeson Loop Path that begins on the fundamental parking zone. Intrepid photographers shouldn’t cease there, as equally stunning and less-photographed views can be found elsewhere alongside the shores of magical Sparks Lake.

Contact: Go to Bend,

See extra of Mike Putnam’s work at

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