[/caption] A great hike deep within the Mt. Hood National Forest that offers spectacular views of Ramona Falls, the Sandy river, Mt. Hood as well as Ramona creek and several granite cliffs is the Ramona Falls trail. The trail to the waterfall is a moderate 7 mile hike that offers a loop so you don’t have to double back. There are also some awesome views of the forest as you wind along the Sandy river. I took this shot last September near the end of our hike. It was about 5:35pm and I believe the sun set around 7:00pm. The sun was at about a 90 degree angle in the upper left and there was several sun spots shining through the clouds above. I waited for a few minutes to get just the right amount of sunlight creasing through the clouds as it shined below. I chose this photo since you can see the silhouette of the trees as well as the forest. The rolling foothills in the background offer a nice added feature. The clouds were moving pretty fast so I took as many photos as I could hoping to capture the sun piercing through the clouds. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm kit lens. I attached my CIR-PL and my warming filter in order to saturate the sky and warm the clouds. I was using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch since the lighting was so low that there was no way to avoid camera shake or blur from the movement of the camera. The camera was in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-8 and the shutter speed at 1/160 second. I set the ISO to 100 and kept the white balance at 0 due to the low light.
[/caption] Ramona Falls is a great 7.1 mile hike within the Mt. Hood National Forest. I have meant to hike this trail for several years but I always chose to hike in an area that gave me a grand view of Mt. Hood. I finally chose to hike to Ramona Falls on one of the busiest days of the year…Labor Day! However, it was a great time to hike to the falls since it was overcast and rather chilly. You couldn’t see the mountain so the hike made perfect sense. However, the water level was rather low and all of the summer flowers were long gone at this point. The Ramona Falls loop is about 7.1 miles and the elevation gain is about 1,000 feet. The trail starts out through a mossy forest of small alders and hemlocks and parallels the Sandy river and Ramona Creek. The most scenic of the trail loop follows the mossy bank of Ramona Creek which also passes the huge granite cliffs just east of the trail. You can jump across the creek and look up at the immense granite facade and walk along the many fallen granite rocks resting on the floor of the cliffs. Most of them are covered by moss but many seem to have just broken from the cliffs and tumbled near your feet. This is a great spot to take some photos of the granite rock wall and the trees hanging along the cliff edge. There are many spots to take of the creek’s many small water falls that parallel the trail. The forest floor is teaming with mossy areas that create a very scenic and tranquil setting. Though my main goal was to photograph the falls, most of my photos that I took were mostly from the forest, the cliff’s, the creek and the forest high above the Sandy River. However, I was able to take several photos of the falls since it’s a very photogenic waterfall. However, I could only imagine how much water passes down the waterfall in early Spring. To get this shot, I was using my 18-55mm canon lens and had the focal length at 24mm. I was using my tripod along with my bubble level and remote switch. I was using the shutter mode and had the shutter at 3.22 seconds. The glare was too intense to increase the shutter time. The ISO was at 100 and the White Balance was at -2 due to the glare from the waterfall. The lens aperture was at F-22 since I was using my CIR-PL and my warming filter. I would highly recommend this trail since it’s a great area to get several different types of photos as well as offering a very scenic and calming environment.