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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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.
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!
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!
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!