Category Archives: Travel

Travel photography and stories

by Scott Sady This blog post about Oregon waterfall photography and exploring the Pacific Northwest has been a long time coming. So long in fact, that I forgot about it until I was contacted by the Oregon Eclipse travel guide to use one of my starfish photos that I shot even earlier on Bandon beach….

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By Scott How to best photograph the Lava flowing in Volcano National Park on the big island of Hawaii? I’m not going to talk about pixels or f-stops or composition or any of what makes a good photograph, I am going to tell you all the things that I tried to find out before I…


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  • Susan WilmesAugust 15, 2016 - 12:36 pm

    Scott, Thank you SOOO much for this post. I just spent the last hour pouring over your photos and carefully reading your posts. You are so thorough – I appreciate your comments and descriptions, but even moire so your insight into the process of just getting to the lava flow. I’ll be in Kona volunteering for the Ironman in October and always leave time for the volcano. I was there in the 80’s when you could walk on the lava tubes then as well, but never had an opportunity to get back to them under those type of conditions. Your photos are mesmerizing and bring me back to the 80’s when I felt how insignificant we are in the scheme of things. While I attempt to take a few good photographs, they don’t even come close to yours. I’m sure Madame Pele would approve of your work in documenting her fiery nature! Thanks again!

  • ssadyAugust 15, 2016 - 3:48 pm

    Thanks Susan. When the lava started flowing again, I got online and couldn’t find out anything either. That’s why I did this. Also, I mention try to rent a bike in Kona if possible, that is because all the bikes in Kalapana, Pahoa, Hilo area were already dedicated to the rental fleets. So if you plan to go out multiple times, that is the way to go.

  • Curt WeidnerJanuary 28, 2017 - 2:51 pm

    What a great article! SO, many useful tidbits. We also have rented a house in Kalpana. Any other hints about staying somewhere that’s off the grid? Any recommendations on where to rent bikes? Can you walk in to the lava flow any time? You mentioned driving closer since you were staying in Kalpana. How did that work? I’m a serious amature photographer so all photo hints esp on dark frames is appreciated. I haven’t seen dealing with digital noise mentioned anywhere else. Thanks, Curt

  • ssadyJanuary 29, 2017 - 6:31 pm

    Hard to say, check the hawaii volcanoe update, I’m not even sure there is much flow on the surface right now, but there does seem to be a massive flow shooting out of a hole in the cliff into the water. It’s possible the best way to see it will be via lava boat tour. Do some searching for epic lava on instagram or facebook. As for dark frames, just make sure if you do any long exposures at night to through the lens cap on and make one dark exposure at those same settings. Later you can google dark frame subtraction and figure out how to use that frame to help automatically eliminate a lot of the noise you will get from the heat and long exposure.

by Scott, A group of us have been backpacking together for the last 5 years or so. We always go someplace in the High Sierra range, but this year decided to hit the Trinity Alps for a change of pace. Not knowing what to expect, I did some research online and found very few details,…


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  • Dotty MoltJuly 9, 2015 - 11:10 am

    These are absolutely beautiful ! And what an amazing story ! When can I come along on one of your backpacking trips !!! ?

  • YvetteJuly 13, 2015 - 4:16 pm

    Always a highlight of our year. Thanks for capturing the experience. Beautiful photos and excellent descriptions.

  • jakeJuly 19, 2015 - 4:31 pm

    Hey I’m planning on doing this trip in a couple of weeks and I was curious how much water was on the trails? Should we pack extra or can we reach water without to much of a problem? Thanks!

  • ssadyJuly 19, 2015 - 4:47 pm

    Depends on which way you go in. If you go in like us via stoney ridge, then you won’t get water until you get up over the pass and near the outflow of Echo Lake. Everywhere else we seemed to find plenty of streams and lakes. I never carried more than 1L of water at a time, and only wished I had more that first day up stoney ridge.

  • MegJune 20, 2016 - 6:02 pm

    Hey Scott – Really appreciate this write up (and other posts too) and love your pictures! Trying to figure out how many days we need to do this trip. Thinking of trying to do it in 3-4 and was wondering how many miles it was? Appreciate your thoughts.

  • ssadyJune 21, 2016 - 5:52 am

    You could easily do this in 3-4 days. The way we did it, the hike in and the hike out were about 7 miles each, but the distance between the lakes in the loop is very short, like a mile or two.

  • John SharpAugust 16, 2016 - 4:27 am


    We are going in the Stoney Ridge trail head as you did. We plan on making it a loop all the way around Bear Basin.

    I have some questions:

    What is the parking situation at the trail head?

    Our plan is to stay night #2 at Diamond lake as you did and we want to hike Siligo peak. Is their a trail to the peak near Diamond or do we have to go back around towards Deer lake to access a trail? We are considering just going up to the peak with our packs then going back to Diamond to set up camp. Or would you recommend setting up camp at Diamond and “free” hiking to the peak?

    Lastly, as I have never been to this area I am somewhat concerned about your report saying there are a dearth of campsites at various lakes. Does this mean at the lake side proper? Are there nearby sites? We have a party of 4 using 3 tents.

    I hope you get this message and can respond. Thank you for your report, it was the inspiration for us choosing this route.

  • ssadyAugust 16, 2016 - 7:29 am

    Parking at the the trailhead was fine if I recall. It is not the most popular entry point. The easiest access to Siligo peak is from where the trail “t’s” to go down to Summit Lake. But Diamond Lake is only 1.5 miles from there, so not hard to do from there either. The lakes, except for summit, usually have one spot. Diamond Lake in particular has one nice large spot where you could all fit. If it is taken, I don’t remember much else there, even away from the lake, but there are a lot of beautiful meadows between lakes with running streams that are good for camping. The Stoney Ridge trail is long and hot and the water sources on the map did not exist for us. Bring extra water for the first days in, and Echo lake had a large flat area for camping.

  • heatherAugust 25, 2016 - 12:44 pm

    hi there – great post! can you recall the driving conditions to the trailhead? I can’t find much. we have a Mini and it drove fine (albeit slowly) to the Lost Coast trailhead a few years ago but thought I’d check…

  • ssadyAugust 25, 2016 - 7:27 pm

    We drove there in a prius

  • John SharpAugust 30, 2016 - 4:14 am

    Thank you for you timely response.
    Are there signs to get to the trailhead?
    Also, our plan was to stay at Summit Lake not Diamond. Again, with three tents which would you recommend?
    Thank you.

  • ssadySeptember 4, 2016 - 10:33 am

    HI John, Summit lake has a ton of campsites. I’m sure if you are not there on a holiday weekend, you will have no problems. Some of my favorite were around to the right of the lake as you come in from the main trail. There are signs for the trailheads, but get a good map, there are 3 or 4 trailheads that feed into this area, just depends where you are coming from and what kind of a first day you want to have.

  • RicardoOctober 6, 2016 - 8:28 pm

    Great photography and writeup, thanks! I see one of the guys in your group had a fly rod. How was the fishing overall? I’m looking for a trip I can bring my fly rod (with my 2 boys and wife) and good fishing is a must!

  • ssadyOctober 10, 2016 - 7:47 am

    We didn’t have much luck. Probably look up some of the fishing supply stores in the area and see what the best times are. One of our last trips was probably only a little bit harder than this one, but we had fish everywhere.

  • James MitchellNovember 9, 2016 - 9:38 pm

    Wow… you nailed it

by Scott I have been ski racing for about 4 years now and made the decision early on to camp out when I was at Mammoth Mountain. It can be cold as hell in winter, I’ve had nights down to -19 F, but in winter, you have all the hot springs to yourself and it…


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  • Linda CrowellMay 6, 2015 - 8:21 pm

    What amazing,photographs Scott.i would like to get a couple of the ones from Mono Lake.

by Scott I probably would not turn such a small subject area into a blog post at all if we didn’t come across one of the top wildflower hikes I have ever been on. Actually both of the 8 mile round trip hikes we took in the Point Reyes National Seashore were exceptional and worthy…


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  • Linda CrowellApril 30, 2015 - 3:08 am

    Yoor photos are absolutely amazing. They blow me away every time!