Vern Bartley Photographs at Sunriver Lodge

Sunriver Lodge Betty Gray Gallery presents photography by Vern Bartley opening on July 28 through August 24.  The artist will attend the reception in his honor on Saturday, August 6, 4–8pm in the upper gallery.

Bartley’s early photographic career coincided with public service as he photographed fires other events during his 18 years as a firefighter/paramedic with the Bend Fire Department.   A natural as a pilot, he then founded directed Air Life of Oregon, the noted air ambulance company.  Pilot skills also lead to aerial photography a panorama of the Cascades in the exhibit.  

Retirement took him away from flight to a serious pursuit of photography. A consulting job for an air ambulance company in Alaska led to amazing adventure a portfolio of award-winning, b/w infrared shots of icebergs on Bear Lake.  These appeared in respected photographic magazines B&W Lens Work.

More adventure accompanied his 2010 fall tour, with his wife Paulette, of Central Eastern Oregon.  Bartley used (as in most his career) NIKON digital cameras shooting in color, b/w b/w infrared that captures invisible spectrums of light greater detail.  Path less traveled certainly applies to this experience with washed-out roads, days of little human contact, cattle herds to navigate – all to create images seen in the exhibit.  

Traveling from Bend to Christmas Valley s dunes (resulting from Mt. Mazama’s eruption which created Crater Lake), he photographed the exhibit shot of tumbleweed sagebrush. The surreal color of the plants, actually observed, resulted from cloudy skies breakthrough of the sun at sunset on the dunes.

The couple journeyed to Fort Rock, Lakeview with nearby petroglyphs, the Alvord Desert bordered by the Steens with rich golds acid greens on the fall aspens seen in the exhibit, the quaint French Glen named for cattle baron Pete French (killed in a dispute over cattle).               


Next to the Jordan Valley with the wild Owyhee River isolated ranches, Silver City ghost town – a boom/bust mining town of the mid-1800’s – then the magnificent rock-formation, near Rome, OR, the Pillars of Rome, seen in the show.

Onward past the Jordan Crater – some 100’ deep 100 degrees on the black cinder – to Leslie Gulch the exhibit photo of canyons taken while fires raged nearby producing a smoke-filled sky at sunset with remarkably dramatic lighting.

Then travel to Baker City the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center the successful search for the sepia shot of the wagon ruts of the trail, moving to Antelope Valley Hot Lake Springs, noted as the oldest town in Oregon famous for it’s hot springs which eased the wounds of Confederate soldiers.

Nearing the trip’s end headed to the Joseph Valley Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in North America with the canyon rim some 8,000 feet above the Snake River.  Finally they closed with the famed Zumwalt Prairie, also a North American record as the largest remaining grassl .  Another exhibit photo is an antique thresher in a spectacular sunset on the prairie.

The public is welcome to attend the August 6 reception where the artist will discuss his travel, art technique.  

Billye Turner, art consultant, coordinates the Sunriver exhibition schedule that includes an October exhibition of the Oregon Watercolor Society (contact Turner at 541-382-9398).

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