I recently returned from a 3-week photo trip to Oregon and the Northern California redwoods. My main objective in Oregon was photographing waterfalls, but I found many beautiful scenes along the way. I visited two areas in Oregon. The first was the Umpqua National Forest along highway 138 where there are several waterfalls in close proximity.
Many of the waterfalls were impressive, but challenging to shoot. That was the case with Watson Falls. It was overcast and a cold, windy spray was coming off the falls. My camera and I were getting soaked. (I had a rain jacket, but no rain pants.) It was difficult to keep water off my lens long enough to get a shot. I would have liked to climb down closer to the base of the falls, but that would have been wetter, colder, and windier!
After a few disappointing shots, I went back down the trail to some cascades that I had passed on the way up. This turned out to be my favorite area of this part of my trip. I enjoyed creating small scenes within sections of the cascades. I also experimented with shutter speeds to vary the texture of the water. I took the shot below as the sun was emerging from the morning overcast. What caught my attention was the way the warm light reflected on the rocks.
The shot below is the full cascade, taken just before leaving this area. In all, I spent about an hour composing different shots at these cascades and loving it – the zen of photography!
My other favorite shots came on a day when I hiked a few miles on the North Umpqua River Trail. It was a sunny day. When the sun is out in the forest, the sunlight creates bright spots that can be distracting in photos. The solution is to focus on small scenes that either are fully shaded or take advantage of the sun in other ways. This first shot below was taken in shade. I decided to go with a shallow depth of field to blur the background.
The maple leaves below were backlit by the sun which makes them appear to glow. It was probably a little windy so I used a fast shutter speed.
I visited several other waterfalls over three days, but I found it difficult to create compelling compositions due to one thing or another.
I will write about the other area I visited, Silver Falls State Park, in my next entry.