[/caption] Fast moving Tanner Creek carves its way through the moss covered basalt boulders that line the Gorge! Tanner Creek offers one of the most scenic and easiest 2 mile round trip hiking trails in the Gorge. The entire trail parallels the creek with several opportunities to photograph the fast moving creek as well as stop to admire some of the waterfalls. The trail ends at the foot of Wahclella Falls and then makes a short little loop before catching up to the same trail that you came in on. If you like to scramble up basalt rocks that are fairly steep, you can hike up about 500 feet to get a more panoramic view of the steep and intimate gorge that engulfs the area. There literally is no way out of this part of the gorge without turning back and returning the same way you came. I took this shot by making a short hike from the trail and set up my tripod just above the creek. I set the shutter priority at 4 seconds and made sure to attach my warming and ND4 filter.
[/caption] Every time I visit the Gorge, I always look for ways to get a different perspective of the many waterfalls in the area. Wile visiting Wahclella falls I decided to take my chances and leap to a rock in order to get this photograph. It was a little sketchy since the water level was at it’s absolute highest level that I had ever seen and the rocks were pretty slippery. However, I decided to chance it even though I was carrying my tripod and all of my lenses. The rock that I was standing on was big enough to allow me to set up my tripod with all three legs extended and I was able to move around as I looked for different photo opportunities. This shot was especially interesting since the perfectly round boulder was pretty much directly centered in my photo with Wahclella falls just above it. The creek was completely surrounding the boulder as well as the massive walls that created the waterfall. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I attached my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic shot as possible. However, since I had attached my ND4, CIR-PL and warming filter there was some vignetting so I had to crop parts of the edges out. I had the camera in shutter priority and set the shutter speed at 4 seconds in order to get the right amount of ghosting from the fast and swollen creek. The aperture was automatically set at F-11 since the ISO was at 100 and the white balance was at -1. I used photoshop to increase the saturation of the vegetation and removed some of the glare from the water.
[/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.