Sinnott Aurora, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
It was a warm afternoon in August when I received a warning about a potential aurora in Southern Oregon, that night. With this information, I searched my map of vistas to see what location would work best to photograph the Northern Lights.
According to that map, the Sinnott Memorial Overlook inside the caldera of Crater Lake National Park would be a great choice.
Arriving at the location before sunset, I set up my gear. On this night I used two cameras, one that I was manually controlling with each shot. The other was setup capturing a night sky timelapse.
While waiting for sunset, and the skies to darken, I began to people watch. Dozens of people came and went quickly. Only one photographer stayed for more than 5 minutes. Most came down the stairs to the overlook, found that the door was locked, snapped a quick image and moved on. Never allowing themselves enough time to absorb the vista and what it had to offer. This continued to occour even after sunset and after the Northern Lights appeared on camera. The other photographers never knew they were there.
Pro Tip: If you want to get more than just snapshots recording you witnessed something or recorded you were at a location. Stop and stay a while. Absorb what the location has to offer. Do not just put your camera to you eye, take a shot and leave. When you do that, you miss so much.
About Crater Lake
Crater Lake National Park is an amazing place, I have been to numerous National Parks & Monument throughout the Western United States and Crater Lake is by far the most photogenic and under rated of them all.
With a depth of 1,943 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States - and one of the most beautiful. The water's intense blue color is an indication of its great depth and purity. Surrounded by cliffs, the lake is fed entirely by rain and snow. Scientists consider Crater Lake to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.
Crater Lake rests in the belly of a dormant volcano. The volcano once stood 12,000 feet tall, but it collapsed after a major eruption 7,700 years ago. Later eruptions formed Wizard Island, a cinder cone that rises from the water. The park has an abundance of fascinating volcanic features, including a second rocky island, the Phantom Ship.
Crater Lake itself occupies less than 10% of the park. Beyond the lake, old-growth forests blanket the landscape. Established in 1902, the park protects 15 species of conifers, from towering ponderosa pines to ancient whitebark pines. These trees shelter a wide array of wildlife, including black bears, mountain lions, elk, and spotted owls. (https://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/basicinfo.htm)
For more information about Crater Lake visit:
- Crater Lake National Park - https://www.nps.gov/crla
- Crater Lake Institute - http://www.craterlakeinstitute.com/
- What to Do Near Crater Lake - http://www.craterlakesbackyard.com/
- Klamath Tribes - http://klamathtribes.org/