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.
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Elowah 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.
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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.
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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.
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.
There’s nothing quite like snow for the holidays, especially here in Oregon where there’s never a guarantee that you’ll get any for Christmas. This year, I took a quick trip up to Mt. Hood the other day to shoot the Zigzag River and ensure I have some nice, snowy images to share at the proper time of year. I figure most proper landscape photographers in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest will be doing something similar, so here is my small contribution to the mix. Just getting out in the snow is pretty refreshing when you’re cooped up in an office way too often. I suspect that’s why so many folks in tech fields get into shooting landscapes in the first place. Aside from the ease of transition to modern digital cameras and software, that is.
The Zigzag River features a great little waterfall, too, but I barely shot any frames there during this trip. The snow seemed to make everything glow, and also added blue tones to everything that needed a bit of subduing. But hey, nothing’s perfect.
I hope anyone who reads this is having or had a great 2012 and Christmas season. Thanks for viewing and have a wonderful new year!
Lower Lewis River Falls is just one of several noteworthy Pacific Northwest waterfalls on the Lewis River west of Mt. Adams in southwest Washington, but it’s probably the most widely known because of its unique geology.
This provides it with its distinctive multi-cascade appearance, as well as the mossy rock shelf that allows one to walk out into the river until you reach the edge of the splash pool. A virtual black hole, the pool beneath the falls is full of currents that could potentially disappear the unwary.
Oregon and Washington landscape photographers both flock to this waterfall in the autumn, when the fall color is at its height. It’s hard to find a poor vantage point, either, whether you’re sitting in the middle of the river (above) or up on top looking downriver. Long exposure or short, it’s an extremely photogenic area.
Perhaps the dark emerald water provides the drama in any photograph of this amazing location. Maybe it’s the sheer drop from the top over the falls in all directions. More likely it’s all that and more. At any rate, this is a spot not to be missed.
For more information check out this Lower Lewis River website.