Capturing Oregon: Playing Cowboy

June 11, 2013 (Updated August 18, 2014)

Here I am in the middle of a beautiful high altitude meadow, not far from the hamlet Fossil in Northeastern Oregon.  The sun is setting, and the yellowish light of the weakening sun lights hit the grass and the two riders in front of me. It is like a scene out of a Zane Grey western novel. The two riders are Nancy and Phil Wilson of the Wilson Ranches Retreat. My wife and I are guests at their ranch with a bunch of other fun folks from all over the country.

To capture this scene, I have to steady my horse Tecumseh, who behaves pretty good today. Try shooting photos from the saddle and you’ll know what I mean. I need my telephoto lens almost at 200 mm to capture the two riders. They are nicely back lit by the sun, and my Nikon D300s captures the dynamic range pretty well. I shoot several exposures to manually blend the backdrop with the riders later in Photoshop. The danger is to lose the volcano due to overexposure. The new models like the D600 now capture a broader dynamic range, but at that time I had to work with what I had.

The shot only took a few seconds. The image stays with me as a remembrance to a perfect day out west. Oregon still has these places in abundance, and I love shooting all corners of this beautiful state.

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 The

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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