Photography and photojournalism in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest

Latest

A Zigzag Holiday

Zigzag-3

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!

Advertisements

Lower Lewis River Falls is a photographic favorite

Lower Lewis-6 Web

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.

Lower Lewis-5 web copyThis 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.

Chaos at Spirit Falls

Spirit Falls-5

For landscape photographers it’s often true that the more difficult it is to reach a destination, the more rewarding the images turn out to be. Spirit Falls in Skamania County, Washington, definitely falls into this category. With no real established trail, and a demanding hike down into the canyon carved out by the Little White Salmon River, it is hard on the knees but very much worth the effort.

This spot is a favorite of extreme kayakers, who like nothing more than to run the 35-foot waterfall before plunging downstream through a notorious section of Class 5 rapids known simply as Chaos. The beginning of this section is shown above earlier this month after a heavy rain, and it’s easy to see where the name came from. It’s mesmerizing to watch the river plunge, churn and spit streams of water in all directions. Capturing this required faster shutter speeds than I normally use for waterfalls, but the resulting explosions of water made for some pretty captivating images.

In the photo above, shot at f/8 and 1/8th of a second, it’s easy to almost feel the icy water about to drench the camera’s lens. That’s what happened, and I was pretty thankful for the handy rain cover over my D700. Shots like this made the 600 foot vertical climb back out of the canyon a bit easier to manage, and I’m definitely looking forward to returning here when the water level is a bit lower.

Thor’s Well, Cape Perpetua, Oregon

 

Thor’s Well is one of the most unique features one can find on the central Oregon Coast. Located at the water’s edge of an old lava flow at the base of Cape Perpetua south of Yachats, the ocean has bored an underwater tunnel into the rock over time. The resulting “well” accordingly fills with water and empties itself repeatedly as the tide comes in, providing a spectacle unlike too many others. When the skies are right it’s downright spectacular. On this occasion I found a little bit of color just after sunrise, but this spot probably is best as the sun is sinking into the horizon. At any time, however, the ebb and flow of the tide and its waves provides a riveting sight that you will not likely soon forget. Credit goes to Darren White, an outstanding Northwest landscape photographer, for the moniker, which came about barely five years ago.

A Spanish Head Thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving Day at the central Oregon Coast involved heading down to the beach at Spanish Head in Lincoln City and shooting a fantastic sunset. It looks a bit far away in this image, but that’s because I’m shooting with an ultra-wide Tokina 11-16mm lens. It’s one of my favorites for this type of work, and it’s steadily become a workhorse for me even when I’m not shooting landscapes.

In this shot, the tide is coming up a bit, providing me with a steady supply of gorgeous water motion flowing over the basalt that decorates the beach at this spot. The reflection of the sunset on the wet sand is the icing on the cake, kicking off what turned out to be a great Thanksgiving holiday. I’m going to be shooting more at the beach as the new year comes around, weather provided, so this is a little taste of what the future holds in store.

Thanks for viewing!

Lower Lewis River Autumn

Image

Lower Lewis River Falls in Skamania County, Washington, is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Northwest, especially in the fall. I recently visited this spot with a fellow photographer (Gary Meyers, shown above) just before a particularly severe rainstorm raised the water level several feet and made impossible some of the images we made. When the water level is low, however, you can walk out into the middle of the Lewis River and shoot from perspectives like the one shown above. It’s an amazing sight, and the sound of the rushing water is even better.

Portland’s Favorite Japanese Maple

I took a journey up into Portland’s South Hills last week to photograph the city’s most beloved Japanese Maple, which can be found at the city’s Japanese Garden at Washington Park. It’s an iconic tree and location for Portlanders, and on a typical fall day this time of year it’s easy to find dozens of photographers at a time wandering the grounds. In the week since I shot this photo the tree has since turned more red and I’m finding more and more photos online each day as this week progresses.

I don’t have a lot to say about this photo, other than I shot it with an ultra-wide angle Tokina 11-16mm lens, which really makes the tree appear much larger here than it really is. It’s striking, actually, because from where this is shot I am kneeling next to my tripod looking up into the tree’s canopy at roughly a 45-degree angle. If the only view one has seen previously is the one above, it’s easy to walk right past and miss the tree entirely if you haven’t been to the Garden before. It’s a must-see spot for visitors to Portland, however, and is open year-round. It’s also photogenic year-round, with some of the nicest photos I’ve seen of this spot coming with snow on the ground.