Tag: Nature

Photography

A Weekend of Photography

Over Memorial Day weekend I was lucky enough to spend the majority of my time out and about in nature with some great friends and other photographers!  Being primarily a landscape photographer, it is always a blast hiking, biking and photographing the beauty nature has to offer.  To end it all, I was able to visit some family and take a few photographs of the newest addition to our family, my niece Kacie.

Being on the coast, I usually have to drive a fair bit to get to the waterfalls and other areas but that’s never a problem since I get to listen to podcasts, audiobooks and music to pass the time and get me pumped up for shooting!

The weekend entailed a few different places…..

  • Opal Creek Wilderness area
  • Scotts Mills Park
  • Abiqua Falls
  • Silver Falls State Park
  • Visiting family! 

Continue on to see my favorite pictures from the trip! Click on each image for a lightbox view for better detail.

Opal Creek Wilderness

 

Opal Creek is an area that I’ve been wanting to visit for a while now. It always sounded so beautiful with a good variety of stuff to shoot.  It was definitely an incredibly beautiful place with some fantastic colors throughout.  To get here, you start with a 3 or so mile hike to a place called Jawbone Flats.  The flats is basically a small area with some cabins that you can rent which will put you much closer to the center of everything around.  You’re not allowed to drive to these cabins, so you have to hike or bike.   

In this case, I met up with a couple friends Saturday morning and we biked in.  Being the out of shape guy I am, it was quite tiring, but a lot faster than hiking in.   We are able to do some short hikes to the beautifully colored water, some great rapids and waterfalls mixed among a beautiful forest area. There is plenty more to see including some old growth forest, more waterfalls and such but those were a bit further than we were wanting to go for this trip, and one of the bridges crossing the creek has been washed out and never replaced to my knowledge.

 Upstream view from atop a bridge that spans Opal Creek.  You can see where the creek gets its name from the beautifully colored water. It's very inviting!

 SawMill Falls along Opal Creek. This waterfall is right where an old saw mill used to operate and one can assume, where its name originated from.

I had a Cokin P series filter set with a few other filters and accessories for it that I lost to the creek while taking the shot above.  I was able to climb up some rocks to get a slightly different vantage point than the easy one with no problem. On the way back down is when the filter holder fell into the water and floated out of reach before I could get down safely with my camera to snatch it.  Luckily, it’s a fairly inexpensive set of items to replace if I choose to do so. Was it worth it to lose that stuff while getting this shot?   I don’t know, it’s a beautiful view, but with a little more care, I probably could have left with everything in my possession. 

Scotts Mills Park

 

Scotts Mills county park was our meeting place before heading up the road to Abiqua Falls.  Marty (one of the friends and photographers) wanted to shoot this park before heading out and thought it would be a good meeting place and he was right!

There’s not much to shoot overall, but there is this pretty cool looking waterfall of sorts with some man-made aspects and interesting rocks all round it.  I arrived earlier than our planned meeting time since I didn’t sleep well the night before and was able to catch just a glimmer of color from the sunrise. 

 Small waterfall at Scotts Mills County Park along Butte Creek with some great and interesting man-made aspects to it.

Abiqua Falls

 

Abiqua Falls is easily one of the best waterfalls I have been to.  The hike through the forest, along the creek bed all to open up in this beautiful area of column rock and a gorgeous waterfall in the middle.  It’s not the easiest to get to, but definitely worth the trip.  It starts with a pretty rough drive down a road for about 2.5 miles or so.  I highly recommend a 4×4 vehicle or at least one that has higher road clearance.

Once you get to the trail head, it’s only 1/2 mile hike or so to the waterfalls, but don’t let the distance fool you. It’s a fairly steep hike through the forest down to the creek bed.  There are plenty of steep areas that have ropes to help you climb up and down.  Once you get to the creek bed, you’ll walk upstream a short distance, but this short distance requires climbing over, under and around numerous fallen trees and over loose rocks. 

As you get closer you hear the waterfall from a good distance, but you can’t see it until you round the last corner and opens up into this amazing area you see below! 

 The beautiful Abiqua Falls showing off a great water flow this time of year.

 Abiqua Falls from a lower perspective showing some of the rocks along the creek.

After leaving Abiqua, we headed for Silver Falls State Park.  We continued down a road passing some great looking forest areas only to come to a locked gate. So we had to turn around and lucky for us, the car leading the way had a photographer in it who convinced the driver to pull over to photograph the forest with some great light and fog throughout. 

 Fog in the forest creating an eerie but beautiful feeling and that's what I wanted to create with this image.

Silver Falls State Park

 

After Abiqua Falls and a quick lunch, we headed over to Silver Falls State Park.   This is a very well known state park that’s home to a lot of waterfalls. Most famously known for 10 or so falls along it’s trails that are pretty easy to access if you’re willing to walk the distance.  One of the unique aspects about this place are a couple of the waterfalls you are able to walk behind which is always an interesting experience if you’ve never done it.

 Double Falls at Silver Falls state park.  Above the big waterfall you can see just a tiny bit of the upper falls.

 A waterfall at Silver Falls state park.

 A view from under some of the rocks that you can get to from walking behind the waterfall.

 A more traditional view of one of the waterfalls at Silver Falls state park.

 A view from directly behind the waterfall. Taken rather quickly to avoid all the spray from the water.

Family to end the weekend

In addition to all the beautiful outdoor nature I was able to photograph this weekend… I was also lucky enough to photograph the newest addition to our family. My niece Kacie!

She was 6 days old when these were taken and really did not want to sleep at all for us while we were trying to do a shoot.  The shot with her eyes closed only lasted a minute or so, but was long enough to capture that pleasant and peaceful look on her face. 

 My niece Kacie having a curious look on her face.

 A very rare moment during our shoot when Kacie had her eyes closed. It didn't last long though!

 Kacie lifting her head on her own with a determined look on her face.


It was definitely a fun filled and busy weekend.  Couldn’t think of a better way to spend a few days, except maybe if there was a Portland Timbers game in there somewhere. Which I was able to watch in my motel the first night. 

Let me know what you think of the photos and these places! Have you been there? want to visit?  Have any stories and places you’d like to share? Post away! 

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Flowers

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

 A panorama crop from a low angle at the top of a row of tulips.

Most of you who follow my work know that landscapes are definitely my go to type of shooting.  I really enjoy doing all types and trying new things, but landscapes are where I’m in my element.  

Every year, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm has a month long festival allowing the public into their tulip fields.  This year was my first time going and it was quite a bit of fun shooting all the beautiful flowers and trying some new things.  Naturally I took some more typical landscape looking shots, but I also tried to go out of my element and shoot some more close-up shots and different compositions than usual.

 A shot before sunrise looking down some rows of various colored tulips.

 A second shot before sunrise from a ground level perspective looking between two rows of tulips.  Some Light painting was used via a flashlight to help lightup the flowers.

The two above images were taken early in the morning about an hour or so before sunrise.  In order to have enough light on the flowers without blowing out the sky, I used a headlamp during the long exposure to provide some light on the flowers.  The beautiful colors in the sky were not the sun rising, they were in fact a great combination of sky, clouds and city lights.  Light painting is a lot of fun to play around with and a new technique I’ve been experimenting with more frequently.

The Hot Air Balloon launch was one of the main reasons we went up so early in the morning.  There were 4-5 balloons there and prepared to go, but only one was successful in launching. The second kept going up, then losing altitude and they said it was a result of to much wind and scrapped the remaining launches.

 The first and only Hot Air Balloon that successfully launched from the tulip farm.

 The second hot air balloon being inflated with a view of some tulips and a tractor.

 Look from down low between two rows of red/white tulips.

 A closer shot of a pink tulip missing a pedal allowing a great view into the middle of it.

 Closer shot of the top of pink tulips on a gray sky background and a shallow depth of field.

I love the simplicity of the one above. I found a great composition with a clean background that focuses on the texture and beautiful color tones.

Lastly, There was this one flower I found that stood out from the rest. Not because of it’s height or color, but because it was taking it’s own path as it grew and not the same path as everyone else.  After getting this one processed, I began thinking that it deserved a great quote to go along with it. Check out the picture then read the quote just below and see if you think it fits as well as I do.

 One tulip leaning sideways, then growing upwards standing out between two rows of only vertical flowers.

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

— Dr. Seuss

The festival closes on May 5th, so if you live in the Oregon/Southern Washington area, it may be worth a visit to see some beautiful tulips.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the pictures and if you have been to a tulip or flower farm and what your experiences were, or stories about shooting new and different things from your usual subjects.