[/caption] Thursday was the perfect day to take advantage of the nicer weather by hiking back in to the Gorge and along the Herman Creek Trail. This trail takes you along one of the most scenic trails in the area. You can hear the rumbling of Herman Creek and witness some of the most spectacular tree lined forests around. I keep expecting to run in to Big Foot whenever I’m on this trail. The entire trail is completely covered by a canopy of bigleaf maples and Douglas Fir’s, which is good if it’s raining. There are several areas that expose you to the awesome views of the canyon below and the forest on the other side. You can hear Osprey and Red Tail Hawk’s flying above you. There is only one smaller, less spectacular waterfall on the trail but the overall beauty makes up for that. However, there are several brooks that cut along the trail as well as several photo op’s to take of the creek. Spring and summer flowers grow along the trail whenever it’s near the canyon cliffs. I also always seem to run in to several snakes during the later part of the afternoon. I took this shot just .8 miles from where I parked. This area is one of the best spots to take of the huge basalt and tree lined cliffs that are on the other side of the creek. Because of the intense neon green vegetation and the numerous trees, I always use a tripod. If you don’t, your pictures will almost always come out blurry. The cameras sensor always seems to get confused by all of the greenery and camera shake doesn’t help either. Since the sun was directly in front of me, I set my exposure to just above 0 and had the ISO set at 200. The F stop was at 6.4 and the shutter speed was at 1/83 second. I was using my warming filter along with my CIR-PL. I was using my 18-55mm lens and had the focal length at 39mm. I had the camera set at auto exposure. I highly recommend this hike if your interested in hiking along a tree lined trail and enjoy witnessing some of the most intense colors the Gorge has to offer. There is also a popular campground near the parking area. However, you can hear the noise coming from I-84 and it’s very loud.
[/caption] Silver Falls State Park is Oregon’s largest State Park and has the highest concentration of waterfalls in the state. The park boast’s 10 waterfalls and they’re all within the hiking trail. I always try to start out as early as I can in the morning in order to take advantage of the early sun and the lack of crowds. By noon, there can be hundreds of hikers crowding the trail, which can really frustrate any photographer trying to capture a serene shot of the falls. This is especially true since some of the trails go directly under the falls. Five of the waterfalls are over 100 feet and if you go in early Spring they’re swelling with intense amounts of water thundering towards the basalt rocks below. The falls can be really empty in summer, winter and fall, so I recommend spring. However, some of the vegetation is still not out yet. We’ve been experiencing some of the strangest springtime weather. Normally the waterfalls throughout the western slopes of the Cascades are completely covered with all of the neon greens. I’m assuming it’s due to the late snow and colder weather that we’ve been receiving. At this rate I hope that the waterfalls stay swelled along with lots of vegetation. I spent the entire day photographing at the park. I started at 7:00 am and finished around 6:00 pm. I tried to capture the early sun in the morning and the soft sun in the evening. Since the waterfalls are deep in the canyon, the sun is usually pretty soft throughout the day. Lower South falls is one of my favorite falls to photograph. The waterfall is 93 feet high and the trail goes directly under the falls. You can get a great shot from either side and since the trail travels up several hundred steep steps you can sometimes get a great shot from high above the falls. I took this shot around 11:00am and I used my ND8 and my warming filter. I set my exposure mode to shutter priority at 1 second. The F-stop was set at 20 and the ISO was at 100. I was using my 18-55mm lens and had the focal length at 43mm. I was also using my tripod. Due to the popularity of the park, I would recommend going on a weekday and getting there as early as possible. Weekends can be busier than a parking lot on Christmas eve. May and June are also the best times to go there.