Tag: Waterfalls

Landscape

Spirit Falls

What do photographers do when every agency in the state is saying not to drive? We all drive to the gorge to photograph waterfalls in a unique state.  Majeed, Cody, Christian and I took a trip up to Spirit Falls.

The roads for most of the trip weren’t as bad as one would believe from what everyone was saying, but it was still a time to drive slow and cautiously.  After getting onto i84 and into the gorge, as usual, the wind picked up and created some moments of pure white out  conditions which luckily only lasted a couple seconds each time.  We drove out to Hood River, crossed over to Washington then headed up to Spirit Falls.

We put some chains on in Hood River since out there the roads were really slick and there were lots of hills, and knowing we’d need them heading up the hill to Spirit Falls. 

After arriving at what we believed was the parking spot (aka side of road), had a hard time deciding the best route down since there isn’t really a trail and the snow was knee to waist deep at the top.  We finally picked a spot and started out descent.

I’m not sure how far of a hike or what kind of elevation loss/gain there was, but we trekked down in near waist deep snow over the loose rocks and moss.  We all took a few slips and such, but no major injuries except for Christian who hit his knee pretty good and nearly slid into the river!! Was able to brace against a tree and use a tripod to help pull him back to more stable ground.

The waterfall has a very nice coloring to it which contrasted well with the snow and icicles all around.  

Then comes the trek back up……… It was slow and extremely tiring.  Stopped several times for breaks to drink and eat for a boost of energy.  It took us maybe 20 minutes to get down and just over an hour to climb back up.

Driving back, the winds had picked up, we swung into Multnomah Falls again to debate trying some darker shots. As soon as a door opened it was like getting sand blasted in the face with the wind and snow. Quickly decided to keep moving.  It was dark by this point.

All in all, Spirit Falls is a beautiful place with just a couple of different vantage points (one in which I didn’t get to because I chickened out.) I haven’t ever made a trek quite like this one in the snow, but it was fun and with good company.

It was a good 18 hour day and only to get 5 shots, all with similar compositions and of one waterfall. We left at 7AM from Newport, and didn’t get home until about 1:15 or so this morning.  Was it worth it? Maybe not photographically, but it was still an enjoyable time and one heck of a workout. Thank goodness for dressing appropriately, toe warmers and hand-warmers.  I do need some warmer boots and some gaiters though.

Here’s one of 2 shots I got from Spirit Falls, which has been on my want to see list for quite some time. Be sure to click on each one to view in a larger lightbox view.

Here’s a few shots  Cody Cha took with his phone on our descent to the falls.

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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