Pillars of Rome (Oregon)

Pillars of Rome, Oregon

These are sandstone and gravel formations near Rome, Oregon USA, south of Jordan Valley, on US Highway 95.  The formations were a well known landmark to the Oregon Trail wagon trains as they moved West in the mid 1800's.  It reminded the travelers of Roman architecture, thus its name.

The Wikipedia link at the top of this article contains a great picture of the range, facing West.  There was no sense competing and I only took photos from the top, deciding not to waste film*.  

Click for larger image
Some have asked if this image was HDR.  Yes, but it was lightly touched and originally I was not even going to comment.  Here is the same shot, split, showing the final HDR, overlayed with a straight EV0 standard exposure.  This blended image was also saved as a JPG, at the request of a friend, and the JPG compresses and shifts colors differently than a PNG - I am no longer fond of JPG images:

Click for larger image

As always, I shoot RAW, with five different exposures at +/- EV 2.0 stops and I blend the photos using Corel's Paintshop Pro; details in the links below.

Here is an image where I played with layers and colors.  My thanks to Randal Davis for his instructions on the technique.  I'll probably re-work this picture again, to bring in more natural colors:

Click for larger image

Driving and Hiking Instructions:

If out of Boise, Idaho, drive about two hours through Nampa, then Marsing, then past Jordan Valley (watch your speed in the Jordan Valley area).  The trip can be made in a car, even on wet roads.

When in Rome, turn NW, off the highway, on a well-marked, well-maintained gravel road.  Drive a few miles to the rock formations.  Once on foot, jump the fence and walk about a quarter mile on flat terrain to the base.

As you approach the monoliths, there is a faint trail on the north side that will take you along the back, and then up to the top.  The trail is easy, with an easy ten-minute climb (follow the cliffs along the north side of the small spire in the top photo).  These photos were taken from the top plateaus, facing East.

If the driving instructions seem vague.  Don't worry.  Rome is unincorporated and I would guess less than a dozen people live there.  The "town" has a small cafe, a gas station, and a rancher's airstrip, where I saw a Kitfox and an old, tired Cessna 140.  Behind the cafe are a few trailer homes, and that is it.  Literally turn West at the cafe; you can't get lost. 

*I am joking about the film. Gosh, I miss Kodachrome.

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