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Heather Wonderland --  Chris Carvalho/Lensjoy.com



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Scotland isn't the only place to see fields of heather;  the Northwest Cascades have them too.  This one is on Oregon's Mt. Hood.  It was a beautiful sight in 2001 when I took this photo.  Like most wildflowers, heather has good and bad years.  Differences in snowpack, rainfall, and temperature can greatly influence how well subalpine flowers grow each season.  I haven't seen it as good on the mountain since then.  The unusual depth of perspective shows the deep pink, small 3/16" (4mm) flowers up close at the bottom extending to the distant ridge far uphill.  It's made possible by using a view camera, which allows the lens to be raised above the normal center position while keeping the back vertical.  If an ordinary 35mm or digital SLR were used the camera would need to be tilted upward and this would distort the trees and ridgeline noticeably.  This species is pink mountain-heather, Phyllodoce empetriformis.  Heather fields in the Cascades aren't roadside attractions; finding them requires hiking into wilderness areas.  

While I was setting up the shot a fellow photographer happened by with a 35mm camera.  We talked for a while.  He looked through his viewfinder but couldn't get a shot he liked.  He asked to see what the composition looked like on my camera's ground glass and saw immediately that there was a photo he couldn't take.  I hadn't been shooting 4x5 film very long at that time but the afternoon's experience cemented in my mind the idea that the view camera was the best way to create the photos of the landscape I was seeking.  


Info:  Chromira digital print of Velvia 50 4x5 chrome, Fuji Crystal Archive CD paper

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