[/caption] It’s been raining a lot this Spring so I decided to take advantage of the one dry day which was of course last Monday. It seemed that the best weather in the Pacific Northwest was along the gorge, so I again headed east of Portland. I have to admit that I’m getting somewhat tired of waterfalls about now. I have been itching to get some panoramic views of the Cascades. Who am I kidding, I love waterfalls. I could photograph them 365 days a year. Gotta love the Northwest. Since the rain clouds were kind of settling just east of the Bonneville dam I stopped at the Multnomah Falls parking area and again hiked above the falls towards Larch Mountain. I was able to ditch the crowds once I got to the top of the falls as I made my way towards the higher elevations. Monday’s are always a great time to avoid the masses. I set out to take advantage of the overcast sky’s so I could test my luck on setting my shutter between 10 and 12 seconds and I wasn’t disappointed. I was able to get this shot while setting my shutter speed to 10.37 seconds. You can really see the complete path of the water as it heads downstream. Every nook and cranny can bee seen, along with the neon greens of the vegetation. To avoid too much unwanted light, due to the long shutter exposure, I attached my ND4 along with my warming filter and my CIR-PL. Using my ND8 would have been overkill since the sun was perfectly blocked by the overcast sky’s most of the time. I was like a kid in a candy store on this day. You couldn’t have taken a bad picture. Most of the vegetation is out, along with the many spring flowers. I set my camera to shutter priority and had the ISO at 200 since it was a little dark on the trail. The F stop was at 25.8 and I was using my 18-55mm lens which was at 34mm focal length. I used my tripod on this shot as well as the entire day. Now is the time to hit the trails if you want to take advantage of the spring light around the Western slopes of the Cascades and the gorge. The rivers and creeks are cranking out their best right now and pretty soon the heat will be upon us and many of the smaller creeks will be mostly dried up.
[/caption] I decided to spend a day trying to take some pictures of the falls and creeks along the gorge but I found that most of the vegetation is still fairly sparse and somewhat brown. There are a lot of spring plants and flowers starting to come up but it’s still a few weeks away before it will turn to it’s most notable green of greens. Most of my hike was rain free but once I got above triple falls it started to rain pretty hard. To make things worse, I hit my leg on an old log and gave myself a really bad charlie horse. I spent the rest of the day limping along the trail. This really put a damper on my day. I decided to return to my car and maybe drive towards Hood River to see if the rain might let up. Boy was I wrong! the clouds had thickened and the rain had become even worse. I eventually decided to call it a day and drive back to Portland. The wind was especially bad and the rain progressively got even worse as I drove past Multnomah Falls. I used my ND8 along with my warming filter and my CIR-POL to capture this shot. Since the sun was high enough, there seemed to always be enough light to over expose any of my shots, if I didn’t have my ND8 filter attached. I set my ISO to 200 and my focal length was at 55mm. The F-stop I used was F10 in order to allow enough light in due to the use of the ND8 filter. The shutter time was 1 second while using the Auto Shutter Priority.
[/caption] While driving along the Columbia River, I noticed a sign that ready Eagle Sanctuary. I decided to check it out. There is a small area just off the road where you can view Eagles near the river. There is a small viewing platform and some information about the eagles and when and where to see them. After about 30 minutes of standing in the rain, I noticed that the clouds were starting to make some pretty awesome formations over the Columbia River, looking towards Washington. It was amazing how quickly they were changing shapes and moving east. There was a really fast moving cold front moving from the Pacific ocean towards the valley. I did however manage to take a quick photo of a younger bald eagle from about 50 yards away but it never landed so I wasn’t able to get a good shot. I also did see 4 adult bald eagles but they were too far to get a photo. I was far more amazed to get some shots of these awesome clouds. I used my 18-55 canon lens and set the ISO setting to 200. I did keep my cir-pol lens on but I did increase the AE setting to 2 since it was raining a bit and was thoroughly overcast.
[/caption]The best thing about the gorge in winter, is that there is always plenty of water to go around. The warm temperatures in the Cascades may be hampering the ski resorts and washing out all of the snow but that just makes for more dynamic waterfalls along the gorge. I have never seen this many waterfalls along the stretch between Troutdale and the Bonneville dam before. While many of the smaller creeks and waterfalls, during summer are dried up, the rainy and warm temperatures have created quite a spectacle. I was able to get about a 3 mile hike in and a few shots before I was hammered by a huge rain storm. I tried to wait out the rain under some rocks and then in my car for about 2 hours before giving up. Now is the time to take advantage of the ample amount of spectacular waterfalls and rushing creeks. I used my NDx4 along with my PL-CIR