Wahclella Falls

Columbia River Gorge, OR

[/caption] Wahclella Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s located in one of the most dramatic and spectacular canyons that is bursting with neon green vegetation and massive basalt walls reaching 500 feet. When the snow melts from the Cascades or when the rains in the Cascade foothills begin to gravitate towards the lower elevations, there is only one place for them to go and that’s through the narrow Tanner Creek. The waterfall just above Wahclella Falls is only flowing when there is too much runoff for it to flow through the creek by itself. The waterfall is comprised of a very narrow bit of basalt rock which creates a thunderous bottleneck of fresh water leaping over the falls. In fact, there is so much water thundering into the pool below the falls that it pierces your eardrums as it crashes below and the wind draft will surely soak your lens. This photo was taken at about the time that the waterfall is at its maximum. It was taken on 4/30/10 and it had been raining throughout the week as well as the warmer temperatures were melting the snow near Mt. Hood. It’s impossible to set your shutter any higher that about 1/2 second since you won’t be able to see any difference between 1/2 a second or 60 seconds. The water is moving too fast and the amount of wind being created by the falls whips and pummels the surrounding vegetation. I took this shot with my Canon EOS T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm lens. I attached my ND4 and my warming filter in order to get as much water blur as possible. I was standing on the small bridge that takes you over the creek. There is a short loop that you can take around the waterfall. There are actually two bridges that take you over the creek at different spots. I had the camera set in the Shutter Priority mode so the aperture was set at F-16 and I set the shutter to 1/2 second. Even though it was totally overcast and raining at times I had to set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -1.3 due to the glare being created from the waterfall and creek. This photo really shows just how dynamic the canyon really is. You can see the massive basalt rocks, the neon greens of the vegetation as well as the fast moving waterfall and creek. It’s important to come here on an overcast day as well as during Spring to early June if you want to capture a shot like this one. Anytime after early summer the water level really drops off and the vegetation isn’t as intense. You are also more likely to have sunnier skies since it can get very warm in summer. However, if you just want to enjoy the atmosphere anytime is a good time to visit the Gorge.

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