Castilleja Hill, Columbia River Scenic Area

I appreciate any comments.

5D MKIV, 70mm, f/16, 1/160 sec. ISO 200

This used to be an undiscovered area, known only to a few wildflower enthusiasts. More and more people are coming out but there was some unfortunate publicity this year that highlighted this hike, so there were five times more people than I have ever seen. Many had no concept of how to behave in a natural area and that took the edge off of the best wildflower display in the 15 tears I have been coming out here.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.


Sure looks like a glorious spring that was happening in the PNW. I can see how this might be a popular destination - and given all the recent discussions, it’s a shame that traffic to this area has increased so much.

I find the composition somewhat unique and intriguing; most because the oak tree appears so diminutive (ooh, big word…) I mean usually oaks with their big canopies and expanding branches oversee the landscape, but here it’s almost like the tree is just another plant in the sea of flowers. Not a bad thing mind you, but makes this a bit different in a good way.

Also good job on the depth and details both near and far. The flowers in the LRC are sufficiently in focus to help create excellent depth of field.

Colors look great and you did a good job handling the contrast and lighting.

The only small nits I have are in the upper area. There’s a bright blue something near the middle top of the frame. Either a reflection in the water, or something, someone by the tree. Easy enough to clone away. But also, there’s a gray streak that extends thru the trees also near the top and right. Neither of these are deal breakers, but thought I would mention.


Hi Don, It’s a really beautiful location. It is always a little bit sad when people don’t know how to behave in nature.

The image to me is quite simple (in a good way) in terms of what you are trying to convey. I quite like the way you have isolated the tree against the flowers and it then leads you off to the right to the meadow next to the river.

Couple of things to have a look at. I think the photo could be rotated a few degrees to the right. All the trees look like they are leaning left a bit. However, if you rotate you may lose some of the room of the left next to the main tree in the foreground.

Just above the lower left corner there is a branch/bush creeping into the frame. You could probably clone it out, but always keep an eye out for distractions at the edge of the frame.

In terms of processing, i think it looks OK considering you shot this scene in the middle of the day (or close to it)You may want to think about giving the flowers a touch more ‘pop’ as they appear slightly muted.

Hope that helps,


Thank you for your comments. I cleaned up my master image based on both of your comments.

I wish I had more time to post and comment. It seems I had more time before I retired.


I’ve not hiked Castilleja, but am amazed at how popular Dalles Mountain Ranch has become. I agree that it’s hard to find a balance between a location being enjoyed and being overrun.
I love the oak tree anchoring the lower left third, and that’s a great diagonal of yellow.