Tag Archives: Pacific Northwest waterfalls

Fairy Falls, Oregon

[/caption] This isn’t exactly the most masculine name for a waterfall but I guess you could imagine this waterfall being created by a fairy. The waterfall itself is a very photogenic waterfall and there are several different photographic opportunities. I usually zoom into the waterfall and capture the water cascading down and over the step like basalt rocks. I can literally visualize myself climbing up the entire waterfall like a staircase. The waterfall is located directly on the main hiking trail that climbs along the gorge. The waterfall is about a 1.5 mile hike and the entire hike is somewhat steep with about 700 feet of elevation gain from the main trail. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I had the camera mode in Shutter Priority and set the shutter speed at 4 seconds. The sky was completely overcast but the sun was directly behind the waterfall which caused the water and foliage to give off great colors. I attached the warming, ND4 and CIR-PL in order to allow me to set the shutter speed at 4 seconds. The aperture was set at F-8 and I set the ISO at 100 and reduced the white balance to -0.3. I was standing about 8 feet from the waterfall and I had the focal length at 21mm in order to frame the entire waterfall in the photo as well as include some of the foliage and logs in the foreground.

Multnomah Falls, OR

[/caption] The water is a thundering in the Columbia River Gorge and the waterfalls won’t disappoint. The wildflowers are out as well as all of the vegetation that had been mostly absent. If you have been putting off your hiking trip to the gorge now is the time to lace up those hiking shoes and pack your snacks because the gorge has awaken. If your ears are sensitive to the piercing sounds of huge waterfalls plunging towards earth I would also pack some earplugs. I took another one of my road trips while visiting as many waterfalls as I could in one day and this was the first day that everything was perfect since there are plenty of wildflowers, green neon vegetation, overcast skies and plenty of water. This photo is of Multnomah Falls and I decided to post it since I was amazed with the amount of water as well as the color. I normally don’t even stop here due to all of the traffic but I decided to stop this time since I knew that the falls would be spectacular. I took this shot on Monday 6/6/11 at about 11:50am. Because the sky was overcast I was able to keep the shutter open for 4 seconds without having any overexposure. I had the camera in Shutter Priority with the aperture at F-14. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.3. I had to tilt my camera at about 75 degrees so I was concerned about sun glare since the sun was directly behind the falls. However, since I attached my ND8, CIR-PL and warming filter I was able to increase the shutter speed to 4 seconds. Unfortunately, there was one person standing on the bridge which kind of ruins the photo but at least they were wearing brown clothes so its less distracting. The waterfall was creating a pretty strong wind as you can see in the movement of the trees in the right and left corners of the photo. The water spray from Multnomah Falls causes a lot of water spray so I normally choose to stand as far back as I can. However, I was able to get somewhat close to the falls and open the lens to 17mm in order to photograph the entire waterfall as well as the splash below. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to avoid any camera shake or blur.

Punchbowl Falls, OR

[/caption] Unless you plan on wading out in a foot of frigid water to get this type of shot I wouldn’t plan on making the trek until the water level starts to drop. The water level is so high that the rocky beach is almost completely underwater. I have never seen the water level in the gorge this high since I started hiking the gorge over 20 years ago. As you can see from this photo Punchbowl Falls is beyond swelled. In order for me to get this shot I had to take off my socks and shoes and wade out in about a foot of water before I could get a clear shot of the falls. The water is moving pretty fast so you need to steady your tripod as firmly as possible and hope that it doesn’t move. In case I did lose my footing and found myself swimming in the frigid creek I made sure to leave my photography bag, with all of my other lenses, at the safety of the creeks edge. The creek was so cold that after about 30 minutes I completely lost feeling in both of my legs from the knees down. The pebbles and rocks that you are forced to stand on are pretty jagged and hard but once my feet became numb I lost all feeling and was forced to rely on my tripod to steady myself as I scrambled back to the edge. Next time I will bring my Teva’s so I don’t have this problem again. Though the vegetation is starting to spring there are still several plants that still haven’t bloomed as well as several of the old growth trees that have only just begun to show their buds. This created a challenge since I wanted to take advantage of the swelling creeks and waterfalls but not include any of the shots with the bare vegetation. The harsh winter and cool and rainy spring has really made it tough on the gorge this year. The wildflowers are even somewhat confused. Several of the flowers are growing along the high cliffs but most of the wildflowers that grow along the creeks are barely out. I chose this shot in order to show just how much water was thundering over the falls as well as ensure there were no bare branches. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Sigma 17-70mm lens. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake. This was especially difficult since the tripod was in the middle of the fast moving creek. I attached my ND8, warming filter and CIR-PL so I could have the camera in Shutter Priority mode. The focal length was at 58mm and I had the shutter open for 4 seconds. The aperture was at F-16 and I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -0.7. I spent about 45 minutes in the creek so I had plenty of time to adjust the focal length and the shutter speed and white balance but I was forced to basically just adjust and shoot as quickly as possible. The morning and afternoon was overcast so the sky was perfectly covered and it never even tried to rain. The trees should start blooming within the next week so I hope that my next trip here will offer more color but still plenty of water.

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.