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“Broken Top Magic”

Night at No Name Lake, Broken Top Mountain, Central Oregon

The Story of "Broken Top Magic"

I spent the summer of 2019 determined to explore more of my home state of Oregon while Sophie worked abroad.  While summer is considered the "off-season" for most photographers who find the dry, long days unideal for landscape photography, this is what we astrophotographers called "Milky Way season."

With night sky landscapes photos in mind, I packed up the minivan and drove out to Central Oregon, which is my favorite part of the state, to try to find compositions that included the endless beautiful mountains in the region.  While scouring Google Maps, I discovered a lake that sat in front of Broken Top Mountain and faced the right direction for the Galactic core.  After a bit of research, I discovered this lake was, indeed, accessible, and was called "No Name Lake."  Getting to it, however, would be difficult.

The road to the trail required 4WD which meant my van would not be an option, and I didn't have the camping equipment to have a comfortable night in the mountains, but I was determined to give it a try as I loved the setting.  I got as far as the van could get me and then waited for the first passing truck to pass me.  I knew that only friendly Central Oregonians and photographers would be taking that treacherous road; a theory that was immediately confirmed.  I hopped in the back of the truck with four friendly people from Bend and had the first obstacle sorted; the arrival.

As night fell and the few hikers who had made the trek began heading home, I found myself alone in the mountains scrambling to organize my shoot locations for the night and decided I would just have to tough it out until sun up.  Luckily, another photographer had astro in mind and showed up, providing some much appreciated company and more importantly, a ride out of there at the end!

When my head hit the pillow in the van that night, I smiled and reveled in the good fortune I had found and consumed with satisfaction for the images awaiting me in the morning.

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