Nowhere in particular
I love a good road trip. Even better is a road trip with no destination in mind. I think I enjoy those kind of trips because there are really no expectations. Whatever you find ends up being a bonus. A recent trip around Central Oregon proved to be just that. Bonus upon bonus upon bonus. When you're taking photos, that's when the magic happens!
The initial plan was quite simple. I was meeting a friend in Sunriver and we were going to go for a walk along the river with my dog, Shaumbe. Perhaps I'd get lucky and stumble on a photo or two. Having never walked that trail before, I didn't know what to expect. I lugged my 25 pound bag of camera gear and tripod with me, just in case. It was certainly a scenic walk, but nothing popped out at me as something I wanted to photograph. It was sprinkling a little bit and I wanted to control Shaumbe because of the other dogs, walkers and bikers on the trail. We walked about two miles round trip and enjoyed the views, but nothing really came to fruition in terms of photography. I was fine with that though because this was never intended to be a "photography trip." I was happy to spend time with good company and my dog. Little did I know what would transpire.
We decided to pivot. We made our way back to the car and basically pointed at the map to decide where to go next. We were a little tired from the walk and decided to head south. Mt. Bachelor looked amazing that day and the clouds were really impressive, so I suggested heading toward La Pine. That's where there are open meadows which allow you to see the mountain without too many trees in the way. We grabbed a bite to eat and decided to head toward Paulina Lake. Perhaps we'd find a view. I followed my gut and made the turn opposite the way of the lake. There were breaks in the tree lines, so there had to be an opening to the mountain. There was! It was wonderful. We parked along the side of the road and the view was impressive. The fields in the foreground were nice and green and you could see the mountain perfectly. Talk about a bonus! I felt like I had hit the jackpot. I stood there for about 10 minutes, firing shot after shot. My friend waited patiently in the car.
Connecting the dots
I think the key to a good road trip is connecting the dots. We had talked about Paulina Lake, so that was the next dot on the map. What's important is to recognize the dots along the way. On the way up the mountain, there was an amazing viewpoint. Bam! More photos of the mountains. We wound our way toward Paulina Lake. We made it to the lake and saw several cars, so we decided to keep going. We made it all the way to East Lake. It was amazing! We found another "dot" along the way and pulled over and found an amazing view of the lake. It was still frozen and there was all kinds of snow still. It made for a great photo stop.
We decided to keep driving. Sure enough, there was another "dot" on the road. This time it was a wide view of the lake. It wasn't frozen, but it was extremely beautiful. We walked down the dock that was surrounded by snow and fired off a few more photos. I couldn't believe my photography luck. We kept going up the road and finally hit the end. However, we knew Paulina Lake was still to be explored. Yep, more photos! You can see East Lake and Paulina Lake below. They were both incredible.
I won't bore you with the play by play of the rest of the trip. I just think it's pretty cool that a day with no specific goal in mind ends up being amazing. When you can connect the dots and just build upon your adventure, I think that's special, photography or not. My advice: just go and see where the road takes you. Follow your instincts, pick a spot on a map, make a random turn, stop at the viewpoints, go until the road ends. You'll never know what you'll find and the things you'll experience.