Tag Archives: waterfalls in the Northwest

Trail of Ten Falls, OR

[/caption] The Trail of Ten Falls is found within Silver Creek Falls Sate Park and is the primary draw to the park. The Park offers 10 spectacular waterfalls as well as a journey to some of the most awesome geological wonders. This is Oregon’s largest State Park and offers over 9,000 acres of wilderness as well as over 8 miles of hiking trails that takes you near each of the falls. Upper North Falls is one of the most spectacular but it is also one of the least known since it’s on a hiking trail that is split from the main trail. The waterfall is also the end of the trail head since the massive basalt cliff meets you head on as the waterfall spills over its edge. Getting to the head of the waterfall can also be very difficult since the constant spray of the waterfall creates a very slippery and slimy descent towards the creeks edge. In order to get a good photo without ending up with a soaked lens you must hike down the creek a bit and take your chances on the slippery basalt rocks. Only then can you set up your tripod and try to take a photo before your lens becomes soaked. Upper North Falls may only be 65 feet tall but if the water level is high the waterfall can grow in lateral size while it spans the length of the basalt cliff just before it spills over the edge. In order to take advantage of the stark green vegetation and high water levels you are best advised to visit in either late May or early June. If Spring is getting a late start you may find your best time to visit the park during the last weeks of June. It is a very sensitive timing issue since you want to be there when the vegetation is at its peak but also when the water level is at its highest. Visit too early and the vegetation will still be brown and lack most color and if you wait too long the water level will be low and the waterfalls will be reduced to a small trickle as well as the creek itself. You also want to make sure you visit on a very cloudy and possibly rainy day in order to avoid too much overexposure. I took this photo on June 10th and it was a very overcast and rainy day. It was about 10:10am and the sun was almost directly behind the waterfall. Luckily the overcast sky’s hid the sun but still created somewhat of a hue. I set the shutter speed at 6 seconds in order to get the stop look from the waterfall and creek. To do this I made sure to attach my ND4, CIR-PL and warming filter. I also set up my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I had to carefully place the tripod along the edge of the rocks and since the rocks were slippery than snot I pretty much held my breath that I wasn’t going to lose my footing and fall in the water. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 17mm in order to maximize the field of view and create a panoramic view. The aperture was at F-10 and I set the ISO at 100 and kept the white balance at 0. Due to the constant spray from the waterfall and the rain coming down I had a hard time increasing the shutter speed to over 6 seconds.

Waterfall, OR

[/caption] Silver Falls State Park or also known as Silver Creek Falls State Park is Oregon’s largest State Park. As far as I’m concerned it should be designated a National Park. I took this photo on 5/7/10 and you can read my extensive article about the Park which I posted on 5/10/10. There are so many awesome waterfalls which are all accessible from the trail head that you could easily spend the entire day photographing them. Normally I will go back to some of the same waterfalls as the sun and shade moves about throughout the day. This is especially true if you are a serious waterfall photographer. This photo was taken around 8:30 am just as the sun was beginning to rise above the forest directly behind the falls. I wanted to have some light in the photo but without washing out the waterfall. However, I was only able to set the shutter priority to .8 seconds due to the intensity of the light. As you can see there was almost no movement showing in the foliage. Normally it can be pretty windy near the falls and the trail head due to the intense force created by the water thundering over the falls. The noise pierces your ears as the water crashes on the massive basalt rocks below. It literally sounds like a constant chain reaction of cars crashing into one another. I tried to keep the glare down as much as possible so I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -2. I also used my ND4 filter as well as my warming filter. You could never get this type of shot without either using an ND filter or at least a CIR-PL. I find that using an ND filter when photographing waterfalls is usually the best choice. I was also using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. These are also a necessity when photographing waterfalls since you will want to get the blur effect while using your shutter mode. I find that the best time to visit Silver Falls State Park is during Spring and Early Fall. I would also recommend visiting during a weekday since the weekends can get pretty busy. This is especially true if you are wanting to get some photos without people in your waterfall shots as well as having the opportunity to set up your tripod without other hikers having to walk around you.