The weather in the Pacific Northwest has finally changed. This means that the weather is getting colder, wetter, stormier and very unpredictable. We can finally start to anticipate the changing colors of the leaves and the stormy clouds to appear. This will ultimately bring a lot of water to the waterfalls and snow to the higher elevations. Now is the perfect time to break out your camera and head to the Columbia River Gorge if you would like to take advantage of all the above. The waterfalls are amazing just as the rain arrives and the struggling foliage will come alive with the leaves falling from their high perch. You can also expect to witness some of the most amazing cloud formations as they move through the gorge like a freight train. I would recommend that you bring all of your rain gear as well as your best lens as well as your tripod, bubble level and remote switch. You may also want to choose the best trail since you will find yourself spending hours taking photos along the waterfalls. Sometimes I will just make a long road trip by starting out in Portland and driving to Hood River and stopping along the way. On my return trip, I will either back track or drive across the bridge of the gods, in Washington State and take some photos from the north side of the river. Either way, you can expect to get some pretty epic photos if you go on a day that is perfect for panoramic shots.
Fall is now upon us and the foliage is starting to show their brilliant colors and the Pacific Northwest puts on one of the best displays! Lately, the Pacific Northwest has been getting hammered with rain and wind storms but the weather is now starting to turn cooler with parts of fog. This is one of the perfect ingredients to cook up some awesome Fall colors. The only thing missing is some sunny weather with just a dash of warmer temperatures. Luckily, we are predicted to get just that so be prepared for the foliage to put on a heck of a display over the next few weeks. Dust off your lens and make sure to remove your CIR-PL and don’t forget to either turn on your IS or bring your tripod because you can plan on having a pretty spectacular experience. However, if you plan on visiting any of the numerous waterfalls, you will want to bring a tripod but if you are going to be walking along some of the many neighborhoods or state parks, you can get away without a tripod as long as you can keep a steady hand and have a very good understanding of your camera’s settings. I always make sure to remove my CIR-PL, turn on the IS and mount my bubble level on the camera, in order to ensure that the photo is always level.
[/caption] Early Fall at Jefferson Park is sure to provide the best photography opportunities since the late Summer wildflowers are still in bloom as well as the red huckleberry leaves blanketing the alpine carpet. Since many of the trails have been closed in order to try and restore the park, you have to really look for opportunities to photograph Mt. Jefferson with the foliage in the foreground. There are still dozens of trails to suite your needs but you do want to stay focused since its easy to miss a terrific photo opportunity. It’s especially true since you will find yourself immersed in the sheer beauty of the area. I almost missed the opportunity to take this photo since I was heading towards the opposite part of the park in order to hike above the alpine lakes and I was worrying about running out of daylight. This photo was taken between Russell Lake and the mountain and I really liked the view of Mt. Jefferson with the foliage, trees and rocks in the foreground. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch but placed it low to the ground in order to get as much foliage in the photo without reducing the field of view. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 17mm in order to get a panoramic shot so I could include as much of the mountain and foliage as I could. Since I had attached my CIR-PL and warming filter as well as set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -1.3 the aperture was at F-5.7 and the shutter speed at 1/128 second since the camera mode was in Program/Normal. The photo was taken at about 1:20pm and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle above the mountain so the saturation was nice.
[/caption] Fall foliage is abundant along the Columbia River Gorge which makes for some spectacular photographs when you can include any of the numerous waterfalls. The Fall season arrives early in the Gorge but the Fall colors usually don’t arrive until just before Winter. This can create a great scene since the area is inundated with moister which allows the waterfalls to swell. You can then take advantage of the Autumn colors along with the movement of the creeks and waterfalls. I took this shot early in the morning and the skies were well overcast and there was a light rain coming down. Due to the glare being created by the overcast and overexposed sky as well as from the glare from the waterfall I resorted to attaching my ND8 filter to my Canon 18-55mm lens. I also attached my warming filter in order to capture the warm colors of the foliage. Because I set the Shutter Priority to 10 seconds the aperture was at F-25. I also set the ISO to 200 but the white balance to -1.3. The 100 ISO setting was too low so I ended up having to increase it to 200. However, I was able to reduce the white balance in order to combat the higher ISO. I wanted to get as much of the waterfall in the photo so I stood near the lodge and set the focal length at 24mm. I used my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to ensure there was no camera shake. You can see how much the trees were moving due to the wind being created by the waterfall. You can really get soaked when trying to cross the bridge and this day was no exception. I really wanted to create a long exposure in order to show just how awesome the waterfall is.