We spent a few days last week at my family’s lake house on Prineville Reservoir, a trip I’ve made almost every year since I was born.

I love the high-desert landscape of Central Oregon, and never tire of the sunsets and cloud patterns that hover over the lake. I was really hoping for some lightning while we were there — thunderstorms were in the forecast — but no such luck.

I found a large group of deer — as many as nine at a time — grazing in this grassy area every night at dusk. And every night, I made my way down there to snap some shots. I was incredibly frustrated by how few of the photos actually came out, but it was great practice and I have some ideas for next time…tripod instead of a monopod, for starters, and I’m thinking it might be time for a new lens that opens up to f2.8. As always, I welcome tips/pointers/suggestions… (1/60, f4.0, ISO 800)

Same general area as the top photo, but from the other side of the little cove and after the deer had meandered away. Was experimenting with settings to manipulate the lighting a little bit. It’s dark at the bottom, but I still like the effect. (1/3200, f4.0, ISO 800)

Another shot with some intentionally dark shadows in attempt to make the fading sunlight pop a little bit. (1/400, f4.0, ISO 800)

More or less the same shot as above, just taken horizontally and beyond the trees. (1/250, f4.0, ISO 800)

We got some interesting cloud patterns our second day at the lake, and I snapped several dozen shots of ’em. Might upload a few more later. (1/400, f13.0, ISO 200)

My wife took this photo on our way back, but I had to include it. We drove through Kah-Nee-Tah on the way to Gresham and saw dozens of these painted Mustangs wandering around the hillsides near the road…they’re absolutely gorgous. (1/320, f9.0, ISO 200)