Photographing Mount Hood

Why a Quality Tripod is Essential

While it’s fairly common knowledge that the state of Oregon is most known for being home to a majority of the country’s most beautiful waterfalls, Oregon’s mountains are what inspire me the most–specifically, Mount Hood.

Standing at 11,250 feet, Hood one of Oregon’s largest mountains and in my opinion, the most photogenic. Surrounded by several lakes, peaks and rivers, it’s hard to grow bored shooting such a beautiful and iconic landscape. I’ve spent the past three years shooting Mount Hood from a variety of locations in many different types of conditions.

Many of my favorite images of Mount Hood have been shot at a peak near Hood called TDH located above Mirror Lake on Hood’s southern side. While the view from TDH is in my opinion, the most impressive viewpoint of Mount Hood, it’s certainly not a place you can just drive up to and walk out. To get to TDH, it’s a nearly six mile, roundtrip, vertical climb that often requires snowshoes and even sometimes the general ‘know how’ to reach the summit when the trail has been lost due to high levels of snow. Photographing this mountain so much has helped me grow to realize just how essential a quality tripod is. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing a couple of my favorite images taken from the summit of TDH and I’ll talk about how owning a quality tripod has been essential for me in my efforts.

I went up to TDH for sunrise a morning after a fresh layer of snow blanketed the trees below. On this particular morning, it was hovering at around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Because I was using the carbon fiber Induro CLT 204, I was able to remove my thick and cumbersome gloves and roam around the summit, setting up several shots and fine-tuning my compositions with ease. This would have been really hard to do if I was using an aluminum tripod as it would have been painfully hard to hold in the bitter cold. The 204 allowed me to stably capture quality exposures at f/18 which would have been impossible to do if I was handheld.

Night photography of Mount Hood, Oregon taken from Tom Dick Harry Mountain by Andrew Studer

A couple years ago, I was on a flight returning to Portland at night. I remember looking out the window being above the clouds and seeing a mountain stand above it all. The image of a mountain above the clouds stuck with me and as I got more and more into photography I strived to capture something similar. To get a photo of Mount Hood above the clouds, I needed to find a day when an inversion was likely to happen. After seeing potential for my dream shot to happen, I packed my backpack with a tent, a camera body, a few lenses, sleeping bag, and some food and in hopes of it clearing and a layer of fog forming overnight. Needless to say, having the Induro CLT 104 was essential to keeping the hike up as low weight as possible while hauling up overnight equipment. Due to a late night pee break outside my tent, I realized my prediction came true and I was above a thick layer of fog and Mount Hood stood above.

Because I needed to camp overnight, packing a lightweight yet stable tripod along with the rest of my gear was essential. For overnight/extended backpacking trips, I prefer my CLT 104. With a heavier tripod, I’d compromise the amount of camera gear I could bring so I’m especially thankful that there is a tripod that perfectly fits my needs in these situations