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During the Labor Day weekend, my family and I decided to head up to Bend, Oregon to check out what all the fuss was about. Friends have told me they could see themselves retiring up there. Now, I know why. It is very beautiful up there with lots to do. I have to say the town is old, but there is new developments and all the amenities of suburb life. Yes, they also have a Dairy Queen up there and 7-Eleven. I’m all set.

When we arrived in Bend, it was quite overcast. After dinner I decided to scope out where Sparks Lake was located; it was an easy find, and there were quite a few people camping out there. It was raining in the mountains, but not in the city of Bend. I found where I needed to be and planned to get out there the next day. The weather seemed like it was going to clear for the next day. It was true. The day was super nice.

After dinner, the family and I made our way to Sparks Lake. We parked in the parking lot near the lake. It was an easy hike to the spot I researched. The “trail” was paved all the way! After setting up and getting to work, I got captured this picture as the sun was setting.

I wanted to stay out and see if I could capture the milky way. I pushed the limits of the patience my kids and wife would have as they waited in the car. Remembering a picture I came across, I asked the wife to drive the SUV right up to the boat landing to the lake. She was quite nervous to do so because it had gotten fairly dark near 9pm. She managed to find the boat landing area. Talking to her on my cell phone, while she was driving(!!!), I told her to turn on the high beams. I took only one picture with a shutter speed of 30sec. The time needed to be longer than 30sec, but at the same time I didn’t want the stars to streak. Reviewing the picture on the camera screen, it didn’t look like the high beams were powerful enough to shine across the lake. After the one picture, I told my wife to head back to the parking lot. Being even darker now, she missed the entrance to the parking lot and proceeded down the road to the entrance to the whole Sparks Lake area. She was still on the phone with me and said she was passing this yellow/orange car. I did remember that car on the way in and determined my wife was trying to ditch me or leave me to the wolves! I told her to turn around and I started to make my way back to the parking lot. As I was almost near the parking lot from the trail, the SUV’s xenon lights appeared and she found the parking lot again. The kids were scared because it was so dark and they thought mummy was lost! They later said, mum can’t drive no more! Hahaha. She does good, but even she was a little scared! I had to share this story because she and the kids help me capture this one:

~Greg

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