Scott Lake_web
You can get amazing photos of the Three Sisters Mountains across beautiful Scott Lake, near Sisters in Central Oregon.

There are many hidden treasures in Oregon. One of them is Scott Lake near McKenzie Pass west of the little town of Sisters. You can get great photos here of the Three Sisters Mountains across this beautiful little body of water. In the evening the sun hits the mountains just right.

There are walk-in camping sites right on the lake, so this time we decided to stay there and see what photos we can get in the early morning. It gets cold here, even in the summer, so it is a good idea to bring a warm sleeping bag if you want to camp here. After a cozy night, we got up right before sunrise. There was a bit of frost on the ground and a fine mist was  rising from the lake water. Ideal conditions for nature photographers. The sky was clear and I knew we were in for a treat. The sun would be coming from the front left, so I asked my wife to position herself in the front of our yellow tent and have her look towards the sun.

When the first rays of the sun appeared over the tree line, I took my photo. My aperture was f13 and the shutter speed was 1/30s, just enough to have the sun rays show a bit of a star. Since the tent and my wife were getting illuminated by the light, I could add the Sisters into the composition without having too much contrast. We shot several more images that morning. Nature sometimes keeps giving. There are many photos to be had up near Scott Lake and around McKenzie Pass. We do outings to the area and some of our photographers teach workshops up there. It is one of my favorite areas to shoot in late summer and early fall.

Editor’s Note: “Capturing Oregon” brings you the stories of Oregon photographers as they traverse the state to capture its beauty. To see more of Christian’s photography, visit

about author Christian Heeb

Christian Heeb is a well know international Photographer who lives in Bend, Oregon. Christian has published over 120 books worldwide and his work appears in national and international publications. He is the author of the book Travel Photography and together with his wife and partner Regula Heeb runs the Cascade Center of Photography, a studio, workshop center and gallery devoted to photography in Bend. Christian also leads photo tours worldwide. He loves to share his love for Oregon with other photo enthusiasts and is a contributor to our "Capturing Oregon" photography series.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Jim Beer says…

    Everything you said about this place is true. The full moon rising between the sisters is another beautiful site. Try one or two nights before the full moon, so that you can capture the sunset colors on the sisters, as the moon rises. Note: The moon does not always rise between the sisters.

    Written on September 11th, 2013 / Flag this Comment
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