The Painted Hills….and more

I recently spent an evening with the Cascade Center of Photography out of Bend, Oregon doing some photography in the Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

Part of the Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

Part of the Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

Named for early 19-th century fur trader, John Day, the John Day Fossil Beds was established as a national monument on October 8, 1975.  The park is comprised of three geographically separate units:  Painted Hills, Clarno, and Sheep Rock.  Formed when the area was an ancient river flood plain, the Painted Hills are named for the color layers of soil that correspond to various geological eras.  The red soil in the above image is laterite, formed by floodplain deposits when the area was warm and humid.

It had rained a couple of days prior to our visit and, as a result, desiccation cracks formed in the muddy sediment surrounding the hills.  It made for some very interesting abstract images (as well as for some very muddy shoes).

Mud cracks remain in the soil after a recent rain storm

Mud cracks remain in the soil after a recent rain storm

It wasn’t long before the sun started to go down and the “golden hour” started to paint the hills (pun intended) with amazing light.

Evening light paints the hills a brilliant gold color

Evening light paints the hills a brilliant gold color

Once the sun had set, we packed up our gear and made our way back to the van.  We weren’t done for the night and we made our way to an area called the “Oregon Outback” to do some star photography and a little bit of light painting.

 

 

The Milky Way glows bright over a Western Juniper in the "Oregon Outback"

The Milky Way glows bright over a Western Juniper in the “Oregon Outback”

It wasn’t long until it was after midnight and the evening came to and end … the weekend, however was just beginning, and after catching some much needed shuteye, it was time to start searching for some historic schools.

 

Until the next adventure…

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