March 31, 2022 was kind of a big day in my photography journey. It's not like getting published in National Geographic or anything, but Nikon published one of my photos to their Instagram story. Granted, I would have loved for them to have put my photo on their feed, but I'll take what I can get! It's another step forward in this photography adventure that I've really begun to love. When they reached out to me via email, I truly was flattered. I may have even pumped my fist a time or two.
The location above is truly stunning. That's the photo they showcased, albeit cut off because of IG's portrait dimensions. I've been to Artist's Palette in Death Valley and, while beautiful, this puts it to shame in my humble opinion. It's not a huge area, but the colors are truly stunning, It's like someone moved the saturation slider all the way to the right. The colors are deep, rich and vibrant. They almost look fake. Sometimes I look at my own photo and think to myself, "Did I over edit that?" When I look at the original, it's pretty darn close.
The Painted Hills are about an hour and 45 minutes away from Bend, Oregon. Make sure you hit the restroom before you go! Except for the city of Prineville, there's only one rest stop along the way. I was actually surprised to travel across mountains to get to this area. I was of the belief that almost everything east of Bend was desert. Boy, was I wrong. While not a treacherous drive by any means, you do have to cross one of Oregon's snow zones. That means carry chains or have snow tires on your vehicle.
When you arrive at the left hand turn to get to Painted Hills, the color comes out of nowhere. The first mile or so of the drive, you see colored hills and I pulled over thinking to myself, this has to be as good as it gets. I didn't want to miss out, so I stopped and snapped as many photos as I could. When you keep going, so do the colors. I found my way to the road which leads to the main overlook. I stopped along the way because I wanted to get a few different vantage points. I'm glad I did, but later on I realized I was probably in someone's shot from the overlook. Oops!
I finally made it to the overlook parking lot. It's a short walk up an easy hill to get to the top. That's where I took the photo above. I stayed up there for almost two hours. The colors kept changing as did the skies. It was beautiful and peaceful. I loved it there.
When I started this blog, I knew it would end up being some ramblings. Some of it would be just a way to remember the things I've done along this journey. It's truly not intended to be a pat on my own back for any sort of "achievement." However, I am excited to see the progress. I do get frustrated sometimes at the lack of likes, comments or followers. Then I stop and realize what's truly important. Photography has allowed me to escape some pretty stressful times. I'm grateful for that escape. I'm grateful for the opportunity to create. I'm grateful to soak in God's beauty. I'm grateful for the learning that happens along the way, both with photography and personally.