[/caption] Another picture perfect setting in the Columbia River Gorge! This is just another waterfall in the Oregon gorge that you see when you hike near the same creek that thunders over Multnomah Falls. I set up my tripod on the trail and just made sure to leave enough room for other hikers to pass by without having to move. I made sure to use my bubble level and remote switch and turned off the OS on my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I wanted to get the most extreme ghosting effect since the water was traveling through slick basalt and the white water was pretty long. I set the shutter speed at 6 seconds and just made sure to attach my ND4 and CIR-PL.
[/caption] You can visit an awesome waterfall just above the ultra busy Multnomah Falls area and enjoy some peace and quiet as you enjoy an incredible waterfall. The same creek that feeds Multnomah Falls offers a hikers and photographers paradise. Thousands of tourists invade the Multnomah Falls area and usually stop at the the bridge or the viewing platform above the falls. However, the best part of the trek starts as you wind yourself up into the gorge and immerse yourself in the smaller and more quaint waterfalls. You could continue the trail all the way up to Larch mountain if your brave enough to include an additional 6 miles and 3500 foot of elevation gain to your day. However, the most scenic part of the hiking trail is just 3/4 of a mile above Multnomah Falls. You will still find yourself hiking alongside many of the tourists but there numbers are only a fraction of the tourists at the lodge. This particular waterfall doesn’t have a name but is one of the many very photogenic waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. You can get alongside the creek if you hike just a few yards below the main trail and wait for the best possible opportunity. There isn’t a lot of room to move around so most of the hikers continue along the trail while some do hike down to the creeks edge. However, there is ample room to set up your tripod. The waterfall is about 150 feet tall and splashes into a massive basalt cavern that eventually opens up to form the lower canyon that the creek flows through. I was standing about 100 yards from the waterfall and the massive object to the left of the photo is an old tree trunk that has been sitting there for so long that many trees and plants have taken root. The stump is only about 5 feet from where I was standing and since I wanted to maintain a good field of view I made sure to keep the focal length at the right distance. This way I was able to make sure the entire photo was in focus even though the tree stump was five feet away, the waterfall was 100 yards and the trees behind the waterfall were several hundred yards away. I found that having a focal length of 21mm still allowed me to have the correct focal length to frame as much of the scenery as I could. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and made sure to attach my warming, ND4 and CIR-PL filter in order to use the shutter priority. I set the shutter speed at 4 seconds and the aperture was at F-13. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1. I took the photo at about 12:40pm and the sun was directly behind the waterfall. Fortunately, the sky was overcast with only fragments of the sun able to shine through the clouds. I made sure to use my tripod and bubble level in order to avoid any camera shake. I also made sure to turn off the OS on the lens. Now is the time to visit the gorge since there are only a few more days until the warmer temperatures and sunny skies take over and the gorge loses it’s high water levels and the vegetation starts to lose their neon colors.
[/caption] The trail that leads to triple falls is one of the most scenic and spectacular trails in the Gorge. The trail leads you past four beautiful and very photogenic waterfalls, unbelievable views of the gorge and the Columbia River, old growth forest and parallels the creek that feeds the waterfalls. The best time to visit is between May and early July. This is the best time to catch the creeks at their highest level and the foliage is usually in full bloom. The wildflowers are also spectacular and some of the most widespread in the Pacific Northwest. However, since the weather can be unpredictable, sometimes the foliage can stay dormant well into June depending on the temperatures during spring. The photo that I posted is the most popular viewing area of the waterfall and you can really see just how awesome this part of the gorge really is. The creek climbs several miles past Triple Falls and the trail parallels the creek and offers millions of photo opportunities. I may sound bias but this part of the Pacific Northwest makes any other parts of the world look like a desert. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. The viewing area is a very uneven and steep cliff so setting up your tripod can be tricky and only one person at a time can take this photo since it’s so narrow. I set the camera mode at shutter priority and set the shutter speed at 4 seconds. The ISO was at 100 and I adjusted the white balance to -0.7. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic view as possible without having any vignetting. The day was mostly overcast and the sun was directly behind the waterfall. It was about 12:30pm but since the clouds were moving so fast I just waited for the best opportunity. If you plan on visiting and expect to get a photo of triple falls without having dozens of people sitting along the waterfall you want to come during a weekday and a very overcast or rainy day since hikers like to sit just above the waterfall and take pictures. I was pretty fortunate to only have to wait for two hikers to eventually move away from the area before I could get to work. the elevation gain to triple falls is only about 600 feet but you could continue all the way to larch mountain if you’re up to the 6.5 mile hike. This is one hike that you will truly be glad you took and you can expect some of the most fantastic views of your life.
[/caption] Toketee Falls was carved from ancient columnar basalt and drops almost 120 feet in two stages and is located in the Southern Oregon foothills of the Cascades. The hike is fairly easy but the views are awesome. You get the opportunity to witness the sunny and warm temperatures of Oregon’s sub Mediterranean climate. The waterfall is a short hike from highway 138 and there are several other waterfalls within a short hike or drive. Toketee Falls flows along the N. Umpqua River and the hike is a short half mile walk with stunning views of the eroded basalt rock and the swift moving river. This photo was taken from the viewing platform. I’ve seen several pictures from the edge of the river but you will need to duck under the railings and hike down a very steep and unmarked area in order to get to the edge of the river. It looked doable but I decided to save my energy for a 6 mile hike along the N. Umpqua river.
[/caption] Every time I visit the Gorge, I always look for ways to get a different perspective of the many waterfalls in the area. Wile visiting Wahclella falls I decided to take my chances and leap to a rock in order to get this photograph. It was a little sketchy since the water level was at it’s absolute highest level that I had ever seen and the rocks were pretty slippery. However, I decided to chance it even though I was carrying my tripod and all of my lenses. The rock that I was standing on was big enough to allow me to set up my tripod with all three legs extended and I was able to move around as I looked for different photo opportunities. This shot was especially interesting since the perfectly round boulder was pretty much directly centered in my photo with Wahclella falls just above it. The creek was completely surrounding the boulder as well as the massive walls that created the waterfall. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I attached my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic shot as possible. However, since I had attached my ND4, CIR-PL and warming filter there was some vignetting so I had to crop parts of the edges out. I had the camera in shutter priority and set the shutter speed at 4 seconds in order to get the right amount of ghosting from the fast and swollen creek. The aperture was automatically set at F-11 since the ISO was at 100 and the white balance was at -1. I used photoshop to increase the saturation of the vegetation and removed some of the glare from the water.
[/caption] The best time to visit Silver Falls State Park is either in late Spring, when the water level is at is maximum or during Fall when the leaves are peaking. I always try to visit during the middle of the week since the crowds can be unbearable. It’s also impossible to get a photo of the waterfalls without ending up with several hikers in the photo. This is especially frustrating when you are trying to set your shutter priority at 15 seconds. You will also find crowds of photographers on weekends. I normally get here as early as possible and leave just before dark. I also plan my trips when the weather is overcast and is calling for rain showers. This ensures the best photos and keeps many of the hikers at bay. You will need to plan on doing some serious hiking since you may end up wanting to hike to the waterfalls during the morning and then again in the early evening since the sunlight is dramatically different. I usually end up hiking up to 12 miles so I usually take a power nap in the afternoon since the lighting isn’t as good and I’m exhausted during the ride home. This photo of 93 foot Lower South Falls is one of the most photogenic since it’s fairly wide and has lots of foliage surrounding it but without hiding the waterfall. There are several areas to set up your tripod but you just need to be aware of hikers since the trail cuts directly behind the falls. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and attached my ND4, CIR-PL and warming filter in order to get the movement of the water. The camera was in shutter priority and I set the shutter at 4 seconds. The aperture was set at F-16 since I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3. I wanted to get the most panoramic photo so I had the focal length at 19mm. I also made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. The lighting was pretty low since it was well overcast and it was about 4:20pm. I actually took this photo on 6/10/11 and the vegetation was absolutely brilliant. The foliage was incredibly neon green due to the insane amount of rain the Willamette Vally had received during Spring. I also made for an above average amount of fast moving water cascading down from the Cascade Mountains. This is a must place to visit for all photographers.
[/caption] Metlako Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Gorge but unfortunately it’s also one of the most difficult to photograph without having any blur or camera shake in the picture. This is largely due to the fact that you have to climb over the guard rail and set up your tripod and hold on to the only tree while you hover just inches from the 200 foot canyon wall. The tree is literally hanging from the edge of the canyon and the creek is 200 feet below. As you can see in this photo you’re also in a very precarious spot since the waterfall is behind the vegetation but the forested trees blanket the entire photo. It’s very hard to get the camera to focus on the waterfall and the vegetation without causing the camera sensor to blur. It also doesn’t help that Metlako Falls is positioned deep in the canyon with trees elbowing for the camera. The viewpoint is about 200 yards from the 100 foot waterfall and you have to position the camera at a slight 30 degree angle since you’re standing above the falls. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and attached my warming, CIR-PL and ND4 filters in order to reduce the glare and increase the shutter speed. I had the shutter speed at 4 seconds and the aperture was at F-16 since I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.7. The weather was rather cool and the skies were raining so I lucked out on the exposure. I had the focal length at 50mm in order to take advantage of the lighting and the neon green forest. The water level was especially incredible since it was early Summer and the winter had some of the highest snow pack in decades. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch since you can’t get this waterfall to be in focus without a tripod.
[/caption] The waterfalls are spectacular at Silver Falls State Park, OR. I was surprised to get a photo of the south waterfall since it’s normally littered with hikers all along the trail between the falls. I ended up with a good window and decided to take as many photos as I could. I was lucky enough to choose a day to visit the park on a very overcast but fairly warm day. I was even surprised that I didnt’ see any other photographers the entire day. Normally you will see dozens of photographers on any late spring/early summer overcast day. The vegetation is absolutely blinding with its neon green colors which goes very well with the dark black basalt rock all along the waterfalls. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. This is pretty much my only lens that I use when photographing waterfalls since it takes unbelievable shots and I normally stand no more than a few yards from the base of the waterfalls or 100 yards when taking a panoramic shot. I made sure to attach my ND8, CIR-PL and warming filter as well as use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I had the camera mode in shutter priority and set the shutter at 4 seconds and the aperture was at F-16. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.3 due to the glare from the sun which was just overhead. I had the focal length at 19mm and stood just above the falls in order to frame the vegetation around the waterfall as well as create the most dynamic panoramic photo as I could.
[/caption] The water is a thundering in the Columbia River Gorge and the waterfalls won’t disappoint. The wildflowers are out as well as all of the vegetation that had been mostly absent. If you have been putting off your hiking trip to the gorge now is the time to lace up those hiking shoes and pack your snacks because the gorge has awaken. If your ears are sensitive to the piercing sounds of huge waterfalls plunging towards earth I would also pack some earplugs. I took another one of my road trips while visiting as many waterfalls as I could in one day and this was the first day that everything was perfect since there are plenty of wildflowers, green neon vegetation, overcast skies and plenty of water. This photo is of Multnomah Falls and I decided to post it since I was amazed with the amount of water as well as the color. I normally don’t even stop here due to all of the traffic but I decided to stop this time since I knew that the falls would be spectacular. I took this shot on Monday 6/6/11 at about 11:50am. Because the sky was overcast I was able to keep the shutter open for 4 seconds without having any overexposure. I had the camera in Shutter Priority with the aperture at F-14. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3. I had to tilt my camera at about 75 degrees so I was concerned about sun glare since the sun was directly behind the falls. However, since I attached my ND8, CIR-PL and warming filter I was able to increase the shutter speed to 4 seconds. Unfortunately, there was one person standing on the bridge which kind of ruins the photo but at least they were wearing brown clothes so its less distracting. The waterfall was creating a pretty strong wind as you can see in the movement of the trees in the right and left corners of the photo. The water spray from Multnomah Falls causes a lot of water spray so I normally choose to stand as far back as I can. However, I was able to get somewhat close to the falls and open the lens to 17mm in order to photograph the entire waterfall as well as the splash below. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to avoid any camera shake or blur.
[/caption] Dry Creek Falls is known to be one of the most seldom visited waterfalls within the Columbia River Gorge scenic area. This is the main reason that I had never took the time to make the 5.5 round trip hike to the waterfall. However, I am very glad that I finally decided to make the hike to this spectacular and very secluded and seldom visited gem. Sometimes you need to decide for yourself before you let someone else decide whether something is worth visiting or not. I was totally amazed at this scenic hike along the PCT, especially with the canopy of neon green trees and vegetation that littered the area. There are plenty of wildflowers along the trail and you also follow along the creek just before ending at the falls. I also happened along a deer that had been grazing just above the hiking trail. Parts of the trail do cut through some power lines but its only for a few hundred yards and once you get far enough on the trail you will no longer hear the busy I-84 traffic. Unfortunately, because the waterfall was used as a diversion dam back in the day, parts of the falls below the water is littered with iron and old concrete along with an old pipe just below the falls which is hard to keep out of your photos. However, I was able to take many photos as well as this one shown that doesn’t show any remnants of the dam. I took this shot while using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I was standing just behind the old dam so I could set the focal length at 28mm and then frame the huge walls surrounding the area. I made sure to attach my ND8, warming filter and CIR-PL so I could have the camera in Shutter Priority. I set the shutter speed at 4 seconds and the aperture was at F-16. I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.3. Because the falls are in such a secluded area which get only limited light I was able to take this shot at 12:00pm even though the sun was directly behind the falls. It’s hard to imagine that there is probably even a bigger waterfall in the cliffs behind dry creek falls. This is a hike definitely worth making and you will really enjoy the solitude of the area.