Capturing Oregon: Sparks Lake

July 2, 2012 (Updated January 10, 2014)

If there is a iconic shot in Oregon, it is the view from the edge of Sparks Lake looking towards South Sister. The scenery here is simply stunning, and it always amazes me how few people come here for sunrise. The lake is about a 40-minute drive west of my home in Bend, Oregon. One morning last year I camped at the lake and got up before dawn. There is a little trail at the boat ramp which leads out on a rock cliff to stunning views. I hiked out there just in time; a thin layer of fog was hovering on the far side of the lake and the first glow of the sunrise was lighting up the peaks.

I shot some images of the scene and then took several photos with myself in the shot. Putting a person in your photos draws in the viewer. Using the self-timer on  your camera is a nice trick if nobody else is around. I used a wireless flash unit, clamped to a rock with a Justin Clamp, to further light myself.

Needless to say, the morning was crisp and beautiful. Tranquility is hard to find, but here in central Oregon it’s just a few miles from your house. I can’t think of a better photo spot than Sparks Lake; although on second thought, there are probably thousands more in Oregon.

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.