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My spring break was built around a lot of photography. Thurs-Sat I was in Lake Tahoe to hang w/ Flex and try my best to get a hold on Bonsai Rock. Let’s just say Bonsai Rock won again…the weather was so bad that I only made it down to actually photograph it once…and then I barely made it. I was ¾ of the way to the rock from South Shore to photograph sunrise when I realized I had left my camera in the cabin.




I hurried back…only to discover the door was locked.


I was almost positive that Murphy’s law was going to come into play and this sunrise was going to be spectacular…and I would have missed it entirely because I was a retard. I could’ve enjoyed it from the cabin porch, while I sucked on a icicle. I think I’d have just shoved an icicle in my heart if it had been epic.


Rather than mope it up…I beat on Flex’s window to make him let me in. If I was going down, I was at least going to be en-route to capture the sunrise. He woke up after a solid 5 minutes of banging….on came the lights. I hurried back to the front door to get my bag…only he never came.


Apparently, I just triggered his need to use the restroom…because the lights went out and 2-minutes later I was hurrying around the house to bang on the window again.


This time he woke up and I was let in to get my bag.


Thankfully, the sunrise was un-tacular…and the morning was nothing more than a bit of exercise and another notch on my list of failures at that location.


This Tuesday I left with my youngest son to the Alvord Desert. A remote area of Eastern Oregon. You pass nowhere on your way here. The plan was to arrive and then figure out everything else from there. Long rides with 6-yeasr olds are crazy. Not only are they hungry all the time and want snacks…but they play crazy car games. Games like “what if…”


“What if this car caught on fire….what if a shark was chasing you…what if your car blew up…what if we never made it to the Al-bor Dezer?”


When we arrived it was nearing sunset, and thankfully this go around there were clouds…and things looked promising. Due to the remoteness of this area, I was never really sure if I was in the correct area. I saw something that looked like a desert playa…but no access to it…which led me to believe, due to the numerous photos and videos I’ve watched of cars and motorcycles driving on it, I was not in the correct place. I drove on. Then I stopped seeing a playa…which led to thoughts of….oh man….what if we don’t make it to the “Al-bor Dezer?”


I called Oachs who was shopping…to have him do some map work. Thankfully, despite the remoteness…the Alvord has a tremendous cell signal…and I was able to finally figure out that I WAS in the right location…and the playa I saw, was indeed the one I wanted to be on. I just couldn’t find out how to get on to it.


I was really wanting to drive the Pirus at mach speed on the desert playa….and break the hybrid land speed record….but I never found a spot I thought I wouldn’t get stuck in….so I opted to park the ride on the side of the road and walk out on to the playa.


I decided to go photograph first, because the light was happening…and set up camp at a later point. A decision which I would regret….


This shot was from a very cool sunset in a very VERY good location. Aiden played in the mud and ran amuck while I photographed. I really enjoy photography most when I can enjoy it with my kids.

Part 2 in a couple days…I’m off to SF to teach another class with the Aperture Academy.


You can get your Iceland on too…if you’re brave. I appreciate all the support thus’s been great and much appreciated.


If you Facebook….you can get a fan appreciation high five here.


Camped out at Alvord Lake, the best experience ever.

About a 16 min exposure at iso 800 with the 5d2. I used a light to brighten up the foreground a bit. Noise reduction was also applied.

Taken on a wonderful trip to the alvord.




f/16, ISO 100


Thanks for commenting!

Proud team member of Photocascadia


© Zachariah Schnepf.

My images are posted here for your enjoyment only. All rights are reserved. Please contact me through flickr if you are interested in using one of my images for any reason.

As I was driving towards the backside of the Alvord playa, I realized I wouldn't make it in time for sunset. I glanced to my left and saw this, so I pulled the truck over and decided to shoot the sunset with the "desert sea" of bushes (Greasewood) and a backdrop of the Mickey Buttes, and Mickey Basin. I had 5 miles of road left between me and the ideal location, but the going was slow due to ruts and such. That mist on the horizon is dust from the truck :)




Jamey Pyles Photography


I just got back from a quick road trip to South Eastern Oregon with my buddy Kevin Pieper.


Canon 17-40L

Polarizer - GND

Alvord Desert, Oregon


If you would like to request license options on my images please contact me directly.


All images on this blog are copyright protected, registered with the US Copyright Office, and vigorously protected. In order to avoid what could be costly contact for you with my attorney, get my written permission before any use, additionally any approved web use of this image is also required to be linked to this URL and properly credited. NO commercial use is allowed without my written approval and compensation. Images are protected and their use is tracked using Digimarc:tm:.


Please Note: My images are posted here for viewing enjoyment only. All Rights are Reserved.


This is an old one taken in the Alvord Desert area of the Steens Mountains at sunrise in spring, which felt more like winter still. This was on a local ranch which I asked the owner if I could roam his property. He was very kind in letting me do so since his cattle was not grazing in this area. I found this area after scouting around for a bit but it was not too far from the road down there. Thanks in advance for all comments!


Egret, Great White

Shot at Phoenix, AZ - Alvord Lake


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I only have to make it until 6!



I’m not the roundest spoon in the drawer. Often times I get so excited to go photograph that I put basic necessity in the, “ah…I’ll do it later category.” Which was the case this very night. I was so excited to photograph sunset at the Alvord I figured, I would set up a camp AFTER I had finished photographing.


This is a decision I wish I had put more thought into.


I brought my new Project Iceland tent with me on this trip…so I could give it a test for things like…functionality in cold and wind, ease of setup, roominess, etc. I was going to put this bad boy through it’s paces for sure.


I finished photographing and after figuring out there was NO way I was going to get the Prius onto the Playa…It was time to start lugging all the gear out on to it for set-up. Aiden wisely stayed in the car, I think when he saw me loaded to the brim with gear, he realized he‘d have to help carry if he went. It was warmer in the car…and their were cookies there as well.


He missed a hell of a show.


I’ve set up a lot of tents in my day…and for the most part they’ve been really similar. Not this one though.

I began like I normally do…lay the tent out…assemble the poles…and then get to the ‘putting up’ portion. I’m looking for the little places the poles slide into on the outside of the tent…and I can’t find them. It is getting dark…so I grab a light to help the situation….but I still am unable to find the places where the poles attach. NICE.


I grab the directions, and they look like the people from IKEA wrote them. WTF? It’s getting dark quick, and I have no tent to crawl into…and don’t feel like I’m any closer to figuring out a solution.


After much brow wrinkling I finally realize that the poles go on the INSIDE of the tent. I’ve never had a tent like this in my life…but this tent puts the poles inside the tent. I push the poles in, and within a few minutes, I have what seems like a tent….I quickly undo all the pads, and push the gear inside so I can run back to the road and fetch my son…who has probably figured I’ve died.


Aiden is in the car, eating snacks, and playing with the buttons in the car….he has zero concern for my whereabouts…which I guess is better than him freaking out. He’s ready to go to the hot-tub, so we load up and drive down the road a mile to a make-shift desert hot-tub.


To say this thing is ‘janky hill-billy stuff’ is giving it a bit too much credit…but man, this is a piece together contraption if I ever saw one….yet, I fell in love with it.


Having a kick but (albeit slimy) hot-tub in the middle of freaking nowhere was SUPER cool. It was surreal to sit in there, on some old piece of tire, and just watch the stars. The water was too hot for Aiden, and while I assumed there was some kind of method to cool the water down…I wasn’t about to touch anything. With Aiden not able/wanting to get in the contraption, I felt bad soaking up the warmth…and got out so we could make our way to the tent and get ready for sleep.


Thankfully, I marked the area where we went down to the playa, so I could find the tent, because while it was very dark when I finished setting up camp…it was a whole new level of dark now…and not knowing where the tent was would’ve been bad. We got to the tent, I fired up a little cup of noodles for us to enjoy…it wasn’t overly tasty…but the warmth was nice in our bellies.


The new tent is roomy…and for a solo traveler it will be perfect...but for me, my son, all our gear, and his stuffed toys…it was quite cramped. Aiden got into his skivies, crawled into bed and within a few moments was out. I sat up for awhile messing with star trails exposures and tent lights…it was a fun little shoot…although the longer I tried, the colder it got, and the less I liked going outside to click the cable release…it was looking more enjoyable to be inside my sleeping bag than sitting up waiting for 30 minute exposures to finish.


It got cold that night. I mean it got COLD that night. I woke up at one point and felt something hard on my pillow….it was ICE forming. The half of my pillow that was exposed to the elements was FREEZING There was also a nice layer of ice forming on the inside, and outside of the tent as well. I felt in my son’s sleeping bag….he was still out, warm, and snug. I had given him my 0’ sleeping bag, while I used my Mountain Hardware 25/40 flip bag. A sleeping bag that usually does the job…even though they never tell you which side is the 25 and which is the 40. I tried to figure it out by flipping it several times during the night…and was cold both ways. I also had on 2 pair of socks, and 3 shirts, and my pants, and was still uncomfortable.


It’s times like this I have serious trouble taking myself seriously as an adventurer.


I felt wimpy to be honest…my son was snoozing away in JUST his undies, and I was freezing my rear off fully dressed plus some. To make matter worse there were HOARDES of coyotes outside the tent having a field day with whatever they had captured. They were close to the tent, and I really didn’t like it…there was zero chance however that I was going to wake my kid, and run back to the safety of the Prius


…even though I wanted to.


I was thinking things like…”MAN, I wish I had a gun to fire into the air right now….”


Even though the coyote’s on “I shouldn’t be alive” looked menacing, I’m pretty sure they’re not going to kill me….I’m NOT going o wimp out…I was GOING to tough it out, and freeze in fear until morning…


Hey at least there would be ice on the Playa in the morning, and that thought was good enough to keep me from going totally insane….that and the headphones and ipod I brought. Although Jonsi sounds a bit like a coyote in some situations when he‘s singing…


In the morning I woke, and went out to photograph while Aiden slept like a log in the tent. That boy is built differently than me…he’s a machine. Photography was great….seeing the Alvord all frozen was so cool. This shot was taken about 20-30 minutes before the sun rose…and the whole place was glowing with this very interesting set of warm and cool tones. It was also fun to listen to the angry ducks and geese curse at the world for freezing up their lake.


If you would like to request license options on my images please contact me directly.


All images on this blog are copyright protected, registered with the US Copyright Office, and vigorously protected. In order to avoid what could be costly contact for you with my attorney, get my written permission before any use, additionally any approved web use of this image is also required to be linked to this URL and properly credited. NO commercial use is allowed without my written approval and compensation. Images are protected and their use is tracked using Digimarc™.


Canon 17-40L

Polarizer - 2-stop reverse GND

Camped out on the Alvord Desert, I was able to witness the largest fire in the nation at the time and Oregon's largest since 1865 develop and spread. When we arrived that day, the land was dominated by a thick cloud of smoke. Out on the tiles, we set up camp and watched as the horizon grew red. The Longdraw fire started not far from the Alvord and moved East with the wind... It burned over 580,000 acres.


You just have to see it large. Click the photo and see the large size!


©Jamey Pyles Photography


ANNOUNCEMENT : 2013 Calendar is in! It is 8.5x11 inches, price is $15 but $20 gets it shipped to your door. Payment is made easy by paypal. Shoot me a flickr message if you would like to see the sample photos or if you want me to send a paypal invoice (I'll just need your email address).


There are quite a few unreleased photos on the new calendar, including a mountain goat

Alvord Desert and the Steens Mountains in south eastern Oregon.

My camp on the Alvord Desert playa, under the Milky Way.


Southeast Oregon has some of the darkest skies in the United States, allowing for an incredible display of stars, and seeing our galaxy with your bare eyes.


You'll definitely need to view this in the lightbox, and the blacks will probably look crushed unless you have the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari (which all correctly support color profiles).


Thanks Mike for letting me borrow your D800 for this shot! The sky would have looked quite assy on the ol' three hundo..

The Alvord Desert playa at dusk after spring rain.

Spent this last weekend spinning through eastern Oregon with Alex Noriega--- a night in the Painted Hills then on to the Alvord Desert where we met Paul Bowman. The Alvord is probably the most remarkable natural area in a state known for its damp and lush climate. In fact, the Alvord reminds me in many ways of a miniature version of Death Valley, absent dunes. Another great reason to shoot at the Alvord is because its remoteness places it far from sources of light pollution, making it one of the darkest corners of the country. I took full advantage of this fact while capturing the starkness of the landscape under a sky full of stars.

With the snow and rain Stephen was fortunate enough to witness the first two days of his shooting in lovely Northern California…I was glad to be able to provide him with fog on his last. He truly witnessed this place in all its wonder and glory. I honestly don’t think the sun EVER came out the duration of his stay.


Fog, however, was perfect for viewing this place by the river….as far as I know I’m one of the only people (other than Oachs) to photograph it…so I have to name it. I’m thinking of calling it ’The Furrows’ because tiles is already used for the Alvord Desert area….and ’little mesas’ sounds dumb….any other ideas will be strongly taken into consideration.


Like Stephen mentioned, before I found the trail…I used to hack through 4 ft deep blackberry bushes to get through…not fun. The trail is much easier….made by bums and fishermen.


I got a lot of images from this morning that look nice…this is probably my favorite. The area truly has an enormous amount of options photographically…depending on the weather.

View Large On Black


A rework of one of my favorites. For those who asked "hey, why would you rework this, again?" I'm a perfectionist, and maybe a little neurotic when it comes to my photography. I had a client ask for a print of this image, so I took the opportunity to improve it even further. I was never completely happy with the color and tonality. The client absolutely loved the print of this version, and so do I. The print has a 3D quality that is awesome!


Thanks for commenting!

Proud team member of Photocascadia


© Zachariah Schnepf.

My images are posted here for your enjoyment only. All rights are reserved. Please contact me through flickr if you are interested in using one of my images for any reason.

Spent some time in South East Oregon..This part of the state usually sees very little rain, but not this year..Talking with the locals they have not seen this much water in over 30 years..The Alvord Playa is now a lake again ;-/

Amazing area, so amazing...


For best view click on image...And a cool way to view mine, or anyone's stream, is here on fluidr

Dusk sets in over the Alvord desert, as storms approach.


Made the same day as my images The Shadow of Death, Alvord Flame, and Voltaic Force. Between this trip and my first, when I shot Our Place in the Cosmos, I consider myself very lucky to have caught such a wide range of conditions, especially given the remote nature of this location and time/difficulty involved in reaching it.


If you like how my images look, you might be interested in knowing that I teach my processing workflow over Skype! Use the contact link on my website if you're interested in learning more about workshops, prints, or licensing:

Ah, the Alvord Desert, in southeastern Oregon. You may think you've seen dark skies, but I'm not sure there's anywhere in the continental United States that is darker than the Alvord. It was so dark that long exposures facing a hair east of due south (toward the Milky Way's galactic center at the time) managed to pick up the tiniest bit of light pollution. I'm still trying to figure out if that's from Winnemuca (population 7,000 and over 120 miles away) or the mecca of light pollution, Las Vegas (metro area population 2,000,000 and a whopping 600 miles away). The fact that I could see light pollution at all from either of these places, given their respective sizes and distances, is a testament to how incredibly dark the skies are in that desert.


Notes: There was a surprising amount of moisture in the air (I visited in May), which created the kind of gauzy, undefined look you see in the stars. The green stuff low on the horizon is, of course, airglow. In the sky you're looking at the galactic center of the Milky Way. In the sky on the right side is Rho Ophiuchi (Row O-fee-oochi), a star-forming region.


Photographic notes: Two exposures, one for the land and one for the sky, lovingly and carefully massaged in Lightroom 5 and PS 6.


More night photography, prints, and a "contact me" form for licensing at my website.

Recently returned from a whirlwind trip to the Columbia Gorge, Painted Hills and Alvord Desert with Jesse Estes. This is from our last morning on the Alvord desert. Sorry about the intrusive watermark. Just found out about a guy who's stolen a bunch of my images (and many other photographer's images) and claiming them as his own.

Our Galaxy standing on end over a bush on the Alvord Desert. The green and slight Magenta color in the sky is the northern lights.

Alvord Desert, Oregon

I made a trip out to South East Oregon and just returned home today. Drove over 1,000 miles round trip. I just happen to go out to the high desert on a pretty hot week.. The temps were up to, and over 100 degrees, and with no shade I felt like I was being slowly cooked ;)

So nice to be back home in the lush, cool and moist Willamette Valley :)

This image is from a hot and stormy evening on the Alvord Playa, a dry lake bed in the rain shadow of the Steens Mt...

A fiery sunset, REPLETE with virga, over Oregon's Alvord Desert. This image was made only 30 minutes before my lightning image from here, Voltaic Force.






I teach my processing workflow over Skype! I also offer in-field workshops, if you happen to be around the Midwest. Use the contact link on my website if you're interested in learning more:

Starring: (From L to R) Tawni Hillz, Hayden Brown, Teriniy Alvord, Danika White, Madelin Rae Caroo and Molly Montgomery


This is the dirt road leading to the Alvord Desert.

CALLED: (02/02)


For this photoshoot it had to be very sophistacted and polished. We wanted our photo to be very european. We couldn't find a hat that we were pleased with so we made a headpiece. We think we fulfilled the brief in this photo and really want to win this!


Hope this is good enough! :)

April 16, 2008 - Alvord, Texas USA --A friend and I went and shot a old abandoned brick barn and line shack yesterday. So "unAndielike" and so much fun. Long exposures, tripod, nature, hiking, bugs, poison ivy and cattle.....a fantastic shooting day!!!-photo by Andie Smith


This photo is available for publication. Please contact me via Flickr Mail or at

After the sun set behind the Steens, the stormy clouds erupted in amber hues.. Alvord Playa, Southeast Oregon...

Looks best Large On Black.


Besides witnessing the universe on the Alvord I really wanted to camp out on the playa to take advantage of some interesting vernal pools for sunrise. Sunrise didn't turn out to be too colorful but I certainly had a plethora of interesting foregrounds to work with. This is one of the comps that caught my eye as I was going through the photos.


Check out the rest of the photos from the trip in my Eastern Oregon Trip 2010 set.

April 16, 2008 - Alvord, Texas USA -- Another shot of the old barn Terry and I went out too the other day. Sorry folks this one is on private property. -photo by Andie Smith


This photo is available for publication. Please contact me via Flickr Mail or at

The Alvord Desert in Southeast Oregon.


6x9 medium format pinhole image.

I just got back from a 4 day road trip through Oregon with Ryan Dyar. It was a great time with some really nice conditions. I really haven't had time to sort through all the images yet, but I thought I would throw this one up for fun.


This is the Alvord Playa in Southeastern Oregon. It fills up with water every spring when the snow melts from the Steens Mountains. We camped here the first night. It was incredibly dusty and pretty windy; a bad combination, but we did get a decent sunset here. This particular image was taken in the morning.


I was camped out on the Alvord Desert with Jon Lesch and we were up shooting the Milky Way when I noticed some green color in my shots taken looking South. Jon was shooting to the Northwest and he noticed some redish color in the lower left of his frame and thought the sensor was heating up so he packed up his camera for the night. I decided to take a shot in the Northwest direction and said to Jon that the color was the Northern Lights. I then turned my camera to the North and took a shot and was amazed to see all this color, after a short time the light became bright enough that I could see the lights with my own eyes. by the next frame the curtains of light in this photo were gone.

Alvord Desert, Oregon

CALLED: (02/02)

Motion Editorial: (Please watch in HD. Thanks!)


So for this challenge we had to do an Ad Campaign and Motion Editorial for Coco Chanel. The motion editorial took FOREVER to do. It took so long to get the music to match up perfectly. But we finally got it right. Coco Chanel is all about the sophisticated, chic, high end girl. And we think we achived that. We hope this is good enough to win! We want to sooo bad. :)

April 16, 2008 - Alvord, Texas USA -- Terry and I both shot this door. We shot opposite sides of it! I thought i had one like his, but i don't! if you don't ever go shoot with other photographers you should it really lets you see a different perspective.-photo by Andie Smith


*you can see Terry's image here: same door i promise!


This photo is available for publication. Please contact me via Flickr Mail or at

April 16, 2008 - Alvord, Texas USA -- An old line shack that was built with men still walked the pipelines. from what i understand, there are not too many still standing -photo by Andie Smith


This photo is available for publication. Please contact me via Flickr Mail or at

fire burn, and cauldron bubble


Alvord is nice for soaking, but Mickey Hot Springs is prettier. I love the main pool that looks bottomless and these smaller ones below that bubble and hiss. It reminds me there's a lot going on under the surface - so to speak. :)

Morning on the Alvord desert of southeastern Oregon.

Here's another one from my trip to the Oregon Outback: This is the sun setting behind the Steens Mountains, with the Alvord Desert playa in the foreground.


This was only my second visit to this area, and unlike last time (which was in late July), the playa really gleamed in the sunlight. Also, perhaps because it was still spring, much of the desert surface hadn't yet developed the deep cracks that I usually see in photos, so I had to hunt around for them a bit. Luckily I found these little dry rivulets, which made for amazing leading lines.


I've been reworking the galleries in my website recently. My previous galleries could not be viewed on Android mobile devices, and even though my new galleries are still not responsive, they at least can be viewed using all manner of mobile device. At least I think so, anyway. Let me know if I'm wrong.


Thanks for checking out the photo!

Here's another comp from the Alvord. This one was after the sun had risen enough to illuminate the playa. Any preference?


Large On Black


Check out the rest of the photos from the trip in my Eastern Oregon Trip 2010 set.

CALLED: (05/06)


So this week the girls went overseas to Paris! We were inspired by a lot of things but mostly the maid version of Cinderella. Here is our storyline:

Teriniy is a maid at the King & Queen's Castle in Paris. She finds out that they are having a ball and she isn't allowed to attend because she needs to clean. But when she gets some down time, she sneaks off and tries to catch a glimspe of the ball, dreaming of becomming a princess one day. In this photo her she is sneaking off to the ball. We wanted our photo to look couture and Teriniy to look very regal. Hopefully this is good enough to make it to next week. :)

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