Like many mountains, Mount Shasta is featured prominently in Native American legends. Local tribes saw the mountain as the center of the universe and integral to their creation myths. Mount Shasta sits on territories held by the Shasta, Wintu, Achumawi, Atsugewi, and Modoc tribes. For me, Mount Shasta has always held a sacred presence in my heart.
For this photograph, I was out for an adventure to see if I could get some early morning photos at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges. I was hoping to get out there early enough to maybe even get a sunrise coming up over Tule Lake. A bonus would be if I could get the sunrise along with a Bald Eagle in the photo. Great goals, but yet also knowing all of those probably would not happen. So at least shoot for the sunrise over the lake at least.
The refuges are about 2 1/2 hour drive away from me. So I set the time I needed to get up so I could get dressed, eat something, prepare some food for the trip and hit the road in time to get over for the sunrise. In theory, I was all set. So the next morning I slowly got up, started to accomplish all of the listed items above and finally hit the road – late. I really need to move closer to things I want to photograph!
The good part is this is eagle ‘season’ over at the Refuges. Of course, the only type of season is to shoot them with your camera. So I am still very confident that even though I am running late for the sunrise, I will hopefully still see some great Bald and Golden Eagles once I get there.
As I am driving, the road I take will go fairly close by Mt Shasta. As I am getting closer and closer to my turn, I am realizing that even though I won’t make sunrise at the refuges, I will be near Mt Shasta for sunrise. Now Mt Shasta is a very predominate feature in the area around here while sitting at 14,179 feet. So naturally, numerous photographers are always sharing their photos of the mountain with a variety of clouds, storms, clear skies, etc. I have taken a few myself with some mixed results.
As I am driving by, sunrise is starting to unfold and not looking too bad. A quick change of gears and the next thing I know, my tripod is out and I am standing in some pretty cold weather waiting for the magic to begin. I quickly realized I may not have prepared enough for cold January weather while standing outside. As I start to tear apart my car, I slowly, one-by-one find some cold-weather clothing to help fend off the freezing temperature. I am pleased with how the clouds are formed and how the light is hitting them. A thin layer of fog is off to the left and I like how it accents the whole scene. Once the sun starts to hit the top of the mountain is when this photograph was taken. A few more shots later, I packed up everything and jumped back into my warm car and back heading to the refuges.
Even when your plans don’t quite pan out, always be ready to look for something to make the day a success. Oh yeah, there later where plenty of eagles to take photos of and it worked out also – but not at sunrise.