[/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.
[/caption] Friday was another great day to view the Falls in and around the Gorge. Most of the vegetation is out but there are still some vegetation that is just not ready yet. However, there were plenty of neon greens to create a great landscape with the creeks and waterfalls in the background. I decided to take as many pictures along the gorge in one day. I started my morning atop the Womens Forum State Scenic Viewpoint and eventually finished near Hood River atop Mitchel Point, a grueling but quick hike that overlooks the entire gorge. The day was filled with downpours, wind, sun, sprinkles and cold. The waterfalls are currently so thunderous that it’s almost impossible to get a pictures near the falls without ending up with water spots covering your lens. I was forced to delete most of my photos due to this. I was able to photograph over 10 of the waterfalls and visit three viewpoints that are high above the gorge. I decided to post this picture of Wahclella Falls since it shows just how green the vegetation is and how scenic the gorge is. There were several other smaller waterfalls pouring over the basalt cliffs as I was trying to take this picture high above the basalt grotto. This waterfall is one of the most difficult to photograph due to the speed and strength of the falls. The speed of the water coming out of Wahclella Falls is so great that it’s really hard to get the mirrored effect without distorting the rest of the falls and creek. To get this shot I hiked just above the main trail and used my tripod to steady my camera. The exposure mode was set at auto exposure and the exposure program was set at shutter priority. The shutter was set at .8 seconds and the focal length was set at 15mm. I was using my 12-24 wide angle lens and had attached my warming filter and my CIR-PL. I set the ISO to 100 and the F-stop was set at 18. The rain had just started again when I took this picture. The hike to Wahclella Falls is easy and very scenic. There are hundreds of areas to stop along the creek to take pictures of the vegetation clinging along the creek as well as the many moss covered rocks seemingly floating just above the water.