Photography and photojournalism in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest

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Don’t forget your boots!

Spanish Head-8

This image was taken last weekend at the Oregon coast while visiting the family in Lincoln City. That visit coincided with some unusually nice weather that provided two straight outstanding sunrises and sunsets. To take advantage of that, I headed on several occasions to Spanish Head at the south end of the town and walked out to the remains of an ancient lava flow that extends from the beach out into the water. It’s a gorgeous spot with a ton of rocks, both individual and in clusters, that provide foreground interest, while the main lava flow can be used as a background or as the main focal point of the shot. In this image, though, I found a nice rock on my way back home and stopped to take a few extra frames. The water flow of this wave, which was less than a foot high, proved to be perfect for the shutter speed I was using. It also overflowed my boots, but since that already had taken place earlier in the morning it wasn’t too much hassle.

Thanks for viewing!

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Elowah Spring

Elowah -5

Elowah -6Elowah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge is one of the most easily accessible of the major waterfalls near the Portland metropolitan area. You still have to get your feet wet to take full advantage of this spot as a photographer, though, which is where things get really fun. On this day, though, I was kind of stuck for compositional ideas and ended making compromises that I didn’t like with regard to placing different elements in different spots. Plus, this waterfall always is a challenge to expose properly because of the tree cover shading the creek below this huge boulder to the left. That relative window into the amphitheater of basalt and lichen, though, is one of my favorite views in the entire Gorge and I never tire of seeing it.

Thanks for viewing, your feedback is always encouraged and welcome.

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The Rush of the Gorge

Multnomah Creek-2

Does anyone else run out of interesting, yet descriptive names for landscape photos? This image shows Multnomah Creek just below Dutchman Falls. It can be found less than a half-mile from where Multnomah Falls pours 600 feet over a rock ledge to the Columbia River below, and  it’s one of the most beautiful spots on the entire creek.

The three mini-cascades team up to form a powerful current that is actually pretty brisk when you’re standing in its midst. Friend and fellow photographer Gary Meyers and I enjoyed a recent morning on this creek and came away with a portable hard drive’s worth of nice images, thanks to the perfect shooting conditions. This past week has been prime waterfall shooting weather in Oregon, and I’d like to think we took full advantage of it.

Thanks for viewing!

Spring for some Weisendanger

Weisendanger Falls-1

Yesterday, I made my second outing this spring into the Columbia River Gorge. I paid a visit to Multnomah Creek, which feeds the world-famous Multnomah Falls before it plunges over 600 feet down to the Columbia River itself. Because of the that, the waterfalls above the main falls, such as it is, are often overlooked by photographers and hikers. But they are absolutely worth the visit, even if you don’t have a camera in hand.

In the photo above, Weisendanger Falls is shown in the background, with the onrushing creek coming straight at the viewer. Weisendanger is a 50-foot waterfall that pours into a beautiful little ampitheater, while just upstream sits the even taller Ecola Falls, which tumbles off a basalt ledge and around a sharp corner past the splash pool.

Downstream from Weisendanger, probably no less than another 200 yards, sits the multi-tiered Dutchman Falls. It’s one of the most scenic stretches of water that Oregon has to offer, and that’s saying something. In this shot, I played around with shutter speeds a little bit to get the detail in the water I was looking for. I used speeds ranging from 1/8 second to 15 seconds in an attempt to find as wide a range of looks as possible.

Blue Hour on the Willamette

Morrison Bridge-4

I really enjoy shooting cityscape images during the blue hour. Portland is one of the best places around for this, because the fantastic – and numerous – bridges spanning the Willamette River lend themselves to endless compositions. And because of the many old docks, pilings and other remnants of Portland’s past littering the east bank of the river, the place has history to spare. At least by the relatively limited standards of the western United States. But I digress.

In this shot, I found a solitary piling sticking its head above the water in between the concrete chunks that once formed the ferry landing. It made a nice compositional anchor for my foreground, while I used my iPhone to paint the concrete and rocks with light to give it a little extra glow and bring out detail. I’m enjoying this kind of subtle light painting recently, as it gives a nice touch to foreground elements at night that otherwise might be lost or missed.

Thanks for viewing, and please feel free to leave, commentary, critique or suggestions on where to shoot in the future. I love finding new – to me – spots and scenery, so don’t hesitate. Thanks!

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Fire up the waterfront

Fire up the waterfront

Steel wool spinning creates some intriguing images, especially when you’re already in an interesting environment. This shot was taken on the east bank of the Willamette River in downtown Portland just north of the Morrison Bridge. With the last remnants of the blue hour in the sky, the flaming wool makes for some really colorful light painting.

The Dog Days of Christmas

Dog Days of Christmas

 

It was so nasty outside here in the Portland area on Christmas day I felt like I had to go search out some snow. That took me 40 miles east into the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington side of the river, where I spent maybe 20 minutes photographing Dog Creek Falls, above, as it got dark. This is jokingly referred to by some as an “old man’s” waterfall because it requires about a 25-yard “hike” from the highway to get down to the creek itself. In the fall, salmon and steelhead can be seen struggling up the creek, which is barely a foot deep, even now in December. With a coating of snow, though, this spot takes on a darker appearance overall because of the heightened contrast.

It’s a fun little spot to pull into for a spell, just one of many along SR 14 east of Stevenson. Skamania County is one of the best spots in the Pacific Northwest for its concentration of waterfalls; Dog Creek Falls is just the beginning.

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