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“Redemption”

Smith Rock State Park, Terrabonne, Oregon

The Story of "Redemption"

My first visit to Smith Rock State Park was in 2014, and was the first place I went with my first DSLR camera.  I took my first ever photos with it and tried a technique I was new to called HDR... now standard in every phone.  While exploring the park, I found a viewpoint that I still have never quite seen anyone else photograph, and I thought I nailed the shot...

Those awful photos have haunted me as I've grown as a photographer, and in July of 2019, I had my first chance to get back to Smith Rock and try again.  I watched the sky all week in Bend, waiting for the night when the clouds looked most promising.  On an evening with a sky full of thin clouds and a moon that was nearing full, I decided to take a shot at redemption.

After a grueling hike over Misery Ridge, I got to the top and followed my distant memories back to the place I tried to remember.  Somehow, I was able to get myself to the EXACT place I had been half a decade before.  With the camera and tripod set up, it was up to the sun now...

This photo is called Redemption because a culmination of new skills, new equipment, and countless hours of practice enabled me to choose exactly the right night and exactly the right setting to achieve an image the younger me couldn't.  It is one of my favorites, and I hope you like it too!

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