The creeks high above the Columbia River Gorge are so swollen that much of the vegetation that grows along the creeks banks haven’t been able to grow their leaves. The many wildflowers that usually come out in May have also been unable to bloom due to the cold weather. It looks like another record event in the Pacific Northwest. It’s still snowing in the Cascades with record snow falls along with the Willamette and Columbia river at record levels. However, this makes for some spectacular waterfalls and raging creeks all over the Northwest. This photo was taken about 3 miles up from the Columbia river as I was standing along the creeks edge. The water is moving so fast that it’s hard to set your shutter priority due to the high volume of water raging over the rocks. The fast moving water tends to create a glare as well as hide the rocks that normally create a barrier for the water to wind around. However, you can look for parts along the creeks that are otherwise non photogenic. I have photographed along this creek for several years and have never seen this type of scene before. I ended up spending over an hour photographing the water carving around these boulders as some small plants started to flourish along a wet rock. Normally these boulders are high and dry but since the water level is so high you can see the nook and crannies flooded with moving water. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I had the focal length at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic photo as I could without having too many distractions in the frame as well as create a high field of view. In order to create this type of image I stood right along the creeks edge and stood directly over the creek while balancing myself and my tripod above a very slippery rock. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake or blur since the shutter priority was set at 15 seconds. Luckily, the sun was shrouded in a low layer of clouds and it only drizzled for a short period of time. The aperture was at F-22 since I had the ISO set at 100 and the white balance at -1.7. It was about 2:30pm and the sun was positioned directly in front of me.
[/caption] Paradise Loop Trail begins near the Timberline lodge and parallels Mt. Hood. The majority of the trail is part of the Pacific Crest Trail but you can cut off the trail and hike along Paradise Park which will then loop back to the PCT. The trail can get very dusty during the summer months due to it popularity so plan on getting very dirty. The elevation along most of the trail is above 5800 feet so you are above the tree lines and well within the many glacier carved canyons and volcanic rocks. In late summer the trail is inundated with wildflowers growing along the many creeks and steep slopes. If you are in need of some additional strain you can cut up from the trail and hike towards Mississippi Head which puts you directly in front of the mountain. This part of the trail is very strenuous due to the high elevation where the air is thin and the trail is very steep. You will find all kinds of alpine wildflowers that only grow near the 7000 foot elevations. The elevation gain is 2300 feet and if you make the additional hike up to Mississippi Head you will need to add an additional 1500 feet of elevation gain. This trail is well worth the effort and the views are stunning. I took this shot last August and I had just purchased my Canon EOS T1i camera. This was my first trip with the camera and I hadn’t purchased my bubble level or remote switch so I took this shot without a tripod. Unfortunately I had to handhold the camera which only allowed me to set the shutter priority to 1/5 second in order to avoid any camera shake. However, I did want to get some movement of the water. I was using my Canon 18/55mm kit lens and I set the focal length to 25mm. I had the camera mode in shutter priority so the aperture was at F-22. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -0.3. I took the photo at about 2:00 pm so the sun was pretty bright. This helped eliminate any blur or camera shake even though the aperture was at F-22 and I was still able to keep the ISO at 100. I did attach my warming and CIR-PL filter in order to increase the contrast of the sky and foreground. This hike is already on my calendar for next August and I will be sure to bring an arsenal of ND filters, bubble level, remote switch and tripod.