[/caption] A short hike takes you to the Herman Creek Trail bridge with spectacular views of the swift moving water. The bridge is only a short and easy 2 mile round trip hike but if you’re wanting more adventure and more exercise you can add an additional 1500 miles or so since it connects to the Pacific Crest Trail. However, there are also a few other trails that follow along the creek from the north which offers amazing views of the gorge and the canyons below.
One of my favorite places to photograph fast moving water is standing on a bridge that passes over a creek or river. This gives you endless amounts of photographic opportunities since you can either take pictures looking up the river or down river. Having access below the bridge also lets you use the bridge as a barrier from the glare from the sun. However, it’s important that the bridge is in a primitive area that doesn’t destroy the feel that you’re in the forest. The creek in this photo is Herman Creek which cuts through the gorge. The Herman Creek bridge trail is easy to find and is seldom used since the main trail forks away and the more popular PCT trail is just to the south. However, the trail will meet up with the PCT within just about a mile after you cross the bridge. The bridge is only about 1 mile from the Herman Creek campsite and is an easy hike that is teaming with views of the cliffs as well as the dense forest. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I had the focal length at 19mm in order to get the most out of this panoramic photo opportunity. I made sure to attach my ND8, CIR-PL and warming filter in order to set the shutter priority at 15 seconds. The aperture was at F-22 and the sky was mostly overcast with almost no sun. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -2. I was also using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake. I was standing directly below the bridge and even though there was limited glare the bridge helped reduce some glare from the fast moving water. The entire area was teaming with birds as well as some wildflowers that were just starting to show their colors. The vegetation wasn’t at their peak but I liked the darker colors around the trees that grow along the edges of the creek.
[/caption] Aside from photographing the many waterfalls in the Gorge I think that photographing the tree lined forest is the second most impressive thing about the area. However, it can be very difficult and challenging to take a really good photo of the forest. Whenever I’m photographing a waterfall I take several minutes if not hours setting up my tripod and looking for the many angles that I can shoot the falls. I normally use a waterfall as my destination so during my hike I sometimes don’t take the time to see the forest through the trees. But when I decide that I want to concentrate my photos on the forest it can take a lot of time hiking with my tripod and camera attached as well as setting up on some really uneven ground. The rewards can be well worth the effort but getting really good shots of a tree lined forest is very challenging. I took this shot while hiking the Herman Creek trail. There is an area that is exposed to the cliffs and tree lined forest. You can see the trees climbing up against the basalt rock cliffs with other species scattered about. The weather was partly cloudy with the sky partly backlit. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm lens. I attached my warming filter and my CIR-PL due to the overexposed sky and the desire to capture the warm tones of the trees and basalt cliffs. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to ensure no blurring of the landscape. I learned very early that you can’t take landscape photos of the forest without using a tripod if you don’t want any camera shake to appear. A forest filled photo can really confuse the sensor and the different lighting effects will guarantee a blurry photo.
[/caption] Thursday was the perfect day to take advantage of the nicer weather by hiking back in to the Gorge and along the Herman Creek Trail. This trail takes you along one of the most scenic trails in the area. You can hear the rumbling of Herman Creek and witness some of the most spectacular tree lined forests around. I keep expecting to run in to Big Foot whenever I’m on this trail. The entire trail is completely covered by a canopy of bigleaf maples and Douglas Fir’s, which is good if it’s raining. There are several areas that expose you to the awesome views of the canyon below and the forest on the other side. You can hear Osprey and Red Tail Hawk’s flying above you. There is only one smaller, less spectacular waterfall on the trail but the overall beauty makes up for that. However, there are several brooks that cut along the trail as well as several photo op’s to take of the creek. Spring and summer flowers grow along the trail whenever it’s near the canyon cliffs. I also always seem to run in to several snakes during the later part of the afternoon. I took this shot just .8 miles from where I parked. This area is one of the best spots to take of the huge basalt and tree lined cliffs that are on the other side of the creek. Because of the intense neon green vegetation and the numerous trees, I always use a tripod. If you don’t, your pictures will almost always come out blurry. The cameras sensor always seems to get confused by all of the greenery and camera shake doesn’t help either. Since the sun was directly in front of me, I set my exposure to just above 0 and had the ISO set at 200. The F stop was at 6.4 and the shutter speed was at 1/83 second. I was using my warming filter along with my CIR-PL. I was using my 18-55mm lens and had the focal length at 39mm. I had the camera set at auto exposure. I highly recommend this hike if your interested in hiking along a tree lined trail and enjoy witnessing some of the most intense colors the Gorge has to offer. There is also a popular campground near the parking area. However, you can hear the noise coming from I-84 and it’s very loud.