Powerful First View of Golden Rim of Crater Lake

Theresa and I recently spent time exploring some of the beauty of Oregon. Our first stop was Crater Lake National Park which I had visited years ago as a teenager. That trip and been a quick ‘hit-and-run’ affair. This time I was determined to spend more time getting to know the various facets of the park. And that meant getting up well before sunrise to catch the sun painting a golden rim of Crater Lake.

Golden Rim of Crater Lake


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Behind the Photo

This photograph is a composite of 3 shots, each with a different exposure to target a specific tonal range. The process is called bracketing where you’re over and under exposing as well as one shot for mid-range. There are literally hundreds of tutorials that do a great job of explaining this process far better than I can here. Watch a few and experiment.

I went for a bracketed series here due to the high dynamic range of between background and foreground. Also I wanted to reproduce what my ‘eyes’ saw which was the glow of sunrise, Wizard Island in silhouette and the foreground of the crater in detail as first light started to illuminate it.

Despite the advances of camera sensors these days they still are no match for the range of our eyes hence the bracketing and merging these photos in post. It may seem over processed but I tried to keep it true to what I was experiencing at sunrise there at the crater.

Golden Rim of Crater Lake

Crater Lake makes its first appearance in the folklore of the Klamath Indians. The Klamath Indians describe the catastrophic eruption of Mount Mazama and the creation of Crater Lake in one of their legends. Their legend of a raging war between two great volcanoes, Mount Mazama and Mount Shasta, parallels the geological history of Crater Lake.

The first mention by europeans involves John Wesley Hillman, Henry Klippel, and Isaac Skeeters, were in search of the legendary “Lost Cabin” gold mine when they came upon the lake by accident on June 12, 1853. Hillman reported that this was the bluest lake he had ever seen, and Skeeters called it Deep Blue Lake. In 1862, Chauncy Nye and his party of prospectors also came upon the lake. Nye wrote the first published article about the lake, stating “the waters were of a deeply blue color causing us to name it Blue Lake”.

And believe it or not there were other you ‘discovered’ and name the lake afterwards but it was Jim Sutton who in 1869 gave it lake the name that would stick. Mainly because he wrote about his exploration of the lake by canvas boat in a local newspaper account.


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