9 May
Caliche :: OR

Caliche :: OR


Strange name for a photo, eh?  Well, it’s actually quite literal.  This was shot in the Alvord desert of Oregon (a stunning place, in my opinion) on a mostly dry lake bed.  I say mostly, because when we arrived, the northern end of the playa still had some water – not much, but enough that there was a thick mud along the water’s edge called “caliche”.  (At least according to the locals!  I am certainly no mud expert.)

Anyway, this whole set up was interesting in a few ways.  First, in the span of just a day, a slight wind caused the water on the northern end of the lake to migrate significantly south vastly changing the face of the damaged playa in just 24 hours.  Anyone who was silly enough to park / camp close to the migration area would have been in for a rude surprise.

Second, I have never seen such sticky mud before.  Our hike across it got progressively harder…and taller, as the caliche built up beneath the soles of our shoes.  According to some of the people living on the playa’s edge, visitors can easily bury their vehicles up to the axle if they don’t heed the subtle color changes that signify the transition from hard, dry earth to mud.

As for the actual image, this was our first sunrise at the desert and obviously, it was pretty dang stunning.  This was shot with a wide angle lens and a grad ND filter.

It was also taken as part of a series of images to be used in this month’s lesson, Hyperfocal Distance, that David and I are teaching over at Light & Landscape (a fun, online teaching and critiquing program that we helped launch in February….we have an online image review planned for later this month, so if you’re looking for some feedback and a taste of what we do in the L&L Member’s Area, definitely contact us for more information!)

The camera settings:  f/11, 1/8 sec, 10 mm, iso 100

8 Responses to “Caliche”

  1. facetfully May 9, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

    Beautiful image. I live in Oregon and though I have been pretty close…the Steens…I have never been to the Alvord! My BAD!!!!

    • seeingspotsphoto May 10, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

      lol Well, sounds like you have a reason to go back! 🙂 It’s honestly my favorite part of the trip. The hot springs were pretty sweet, the hiking in the Steens Wilderness was nice and the sunrises over the lake bed were sooo soooo good!

      • facetfully May 10, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

        Oregon is a beautiful state, but the USA has lots of that! Looks like you do get around.

      • seeingspotsphoto May 20, 2016 at 3:22 am #

        I certainly try to travel as much as I can. Our world is a beautiful place, and I hope to see as much a possible/meet as many awesome people as possible while I’m still young (ish lol) and can enjoy it! 🙂

  2. edithlevyphotography May 9, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

    Wow…stunning Shannon.

  3. Tommy May 12, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    Wonderful image.

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