May 1st, 2021. View of Diamond Peak from south shore of Crescent Lake. Today I was excited to finally make the hike around the circumference of Crescent Lake. Although the 11.8 mile hike is perfectly level, its difficult nonetheless as you slog through a loose mix of pumice, mud and rocky shoreline. The walk took 5.5 hours, and the turquoise waters and snow capped views of Diamond Peak and Cowhorn Mountain were spectacular. My favorite features of Crescent Lake include the surrounding forest of lodge pole pine, its striking crystal clear waters, and the beautiful cream colored beaches of pumice. In this photograph what looks like sand is actually pumice with a diameter averaging 1/8 of an inch. The wide swath of pumice and rocky beach which surrounds Crescent Lake is not a natural feature, and is the product of damming the outflow of Crescent Creek, but then not being able to fully charge the reservoir during prolonged periods of drought. The initial dam was constructed in 1922, and was of a timber-crib design. Intended to augment irrigation in the Bend area, the wood and earthen dam created a capacity of 86,900 acre-feet. But by 1953, poor construction had reduced the reservoirs storage capacity to 36,000 acre feet, and the dam posed a significant risk of failing. The private owners of the dam requested help from the Federal Government with reconstruction, and in 1954 the Bureau of Reclamation authorized an emergency rehabilitation, with construction of the current concrete dam completed in 1956. Today the Crescent Lake Dam and reservoir once more provides 86,900 acre feet, but with the increasing severity of drought conditions, Crescent Lake has returned to its original lake level. Which is why the lake has such a broad swath of treeless and exposed shoreline. As I walked the west shore, beneath a community of plush cabins built on USFS lease property, I had to navigate around the many private docks which now rest upon dry ground. One resident mistook my tripod as a measuring instrument, and called out to see if the reservoir would be recharged. He was clearly upset and explained how the Tumalo Irrigation District owned the top 17 feet of water, and they were taking all of it. But he knew it came down to a matter of drought, and the last thing he said before turning his back was there was enough snow pack in the mountains, but just not enough rain to refill the reservoir.
September 3rd, 2017. A waxing gibbous moon stained orange-red with the thick smoke of Oregon’s raging wildfires rises over the mountain hamlet of Hemlock. Willamette National Forest. Westfir, Lane County Oregon. [Image taken using Nikon D800, Gitzo carbon tripod, Nikon 500mm f/4P, and cable release].
September 3rd, 2017. The forest fires burning throughout Oregon have been going strong for over two months; and severe air pollution now blankets much of western Oregon with a toxic smudge of foul air which reduces visibility, makes it difficult to breathe and obscures the sun to the extent that you can safely see sunspots with the naked eye. This photograph was taken from the Oakridge Municipal Airport at sunset. [Nikon D800, Gitzo carbon tripod, Nikon 500mm f/4P, and cable release]. Oakridge. Lane County, Oregon.