Waterfalls of Oregon

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!

Watson Falls
16mm, 1/3 sec at f/16, ISO 50 with a polarizing filter

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.

Mossy Cascade – This is the left side of the cascades.
35mm, 1/3 sec at f/7.1, ISO 50
Water and Stone
30mm, 1/3 sec at f/13, ISO 100

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!

Cascades Below the Falls
16mm, 0.5 sec at f/14, ISO 64

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.

Flower along the Trail
105mm, 1/250 sec at f/4.0, ISO 640

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.

Maple Leaves Light
104mm, 1/1000 sec at f/5.0, ISO 640

I visited several other waterfalls over three days, but I found it difficult to create compelling compositions due to one thing or another.

Emerging from the Canyon
32mm, 1 sec at f/10, ISO 100
The challenge of finding a great composition at this waterfall was being constrained to the viewing platform. I would have liked to climb down the steep embankment to the bottom of the canyon, but a ranger had previously told me that area is off limits.
Whitehorse Falls
35mm, 2 sec at f/16, ISO 100
Clearwater Falls
37 mm, 1.3 sec at f/16, ISO 100
The challenge of these falls was the chaos created by the fallen logs.

I will write about the other area I visited, Silver Falls State Park, in my next entry.

Waterfalls of Northern California

I have been on the road quite a bit through the month of October and have fallen behind in editing photos. These photos are from a road trip I did on way way to and from Oregon in early October. I stopped at several waterfalls on my way. What a treat to see such lush waterfalls since I live in Southern California where big mossy falls are rare! These first falls were dripping from the hillside into the river below.

Dripping Falls
Waterfall Morning Light

It was a challenge to capture these waterfalls since I was just dropping in without any idea of how the light would fall around the falls. I caught the falls above in the early morning light with the sun somewhat behind it.

Columns in the Waterfall
Pileated Woodpecker – This guy was busy on a tree while I hiked a trail around the falls.

To see more photos from this trip, click here.