Oregon Trip (7/2009)

Photography like other art forms excels in self expression. When artist can not find his emotions  in the image, his work is a mediocre. He may be successful in impressing his audience, but he does not find it self satisfying. Many artist carry such burden on them for one main reason; attempt to impress their critics. Critics means general audience or business partners…who ever he cares to listen from. This distracts and deteriorate the most important thing,  experience of the nature. Your presence in the scene with mind and soul is essential component in photography. That’s one reason I travel at slow pace and spend more time at small areas.

I spend 5 days in Columbia river gorge in Portland, Oregon, hiking and photographing Gorge’s some of beautiful waterfalls in wilderness with famous photographer Marc Adamus. Marc has been my favorite photographers. I like the originality of his images and effort of making them. I witnessed it first hand in this trip.

My first stop was at Burney falls near Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was midday and the falls does not have much shade. Although this waterfall is very wide, its not very photogenic throughout the width. I do took some images, but just a travel documentray purpose only.

My next stop was Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. Crater Lake is amazing lake with great depth and water clarity that results into blue reflection on surface. I went around the lake and scouted out for sunset and sunrise locations. Discovery point is best location for both sunset and sunrise.

Liquid Sapphire

Liquid Sapphire

The problem with Crater lake was that its so vast and my widest lense ( 17mm) could not capture complete lake. I took three images and stitched them up.

I stayed back in Mazama Village for night. I went back to the lake at 5:30AM for sunrise. On this mid-summer morning weatherr was near freezing. I was thrilled to see the patchy cloud formations in the sky and eventually witnessed one of the great sunrises I ever experienced. Unfortunately the location I have  chosen last night (watchman overlook) was not the right one for sunrise. I composed the image with best possible way, but if I get another chance, I’ll try it from discovery point.

Traffic Jam in the Sky

From Crater Lake I drove directly to Cascade Locks, a small town right in the gorge. That evening I thought I’ll stop by Multnomah Falls, the famous classic of columbia river gorge and shoot sunset from Women’s  forum park. But I spent about 4 1/2 hours at the falls, waiting for the good light. Just around the sunset time, a small rainbow appeared in the middle of upper falls. As you can see, its quite insignificant when took full length of the falls. So I composed image with rainbow at the top making flow look like fire and water.

Fire and Water

Multnomah Falls and Benson Bridge

Next two days, Marc and myself hiked up 22 miles in the gorge and surrounding areas and shot some beautiful water falls. I learned many different techniques from Marc. Anticipating lot of wading, I packed my wading shoes and pants, but as we worked on the scene, I never remembered that I need to change. Most of the water falls were taken at thigh level waters. When it comes to water-fall photography, perspective, composition is everything beside exposure and timing, so don’t hesitate to get wet. But need to be very careful with each and every step; one bad move hurts you and your camera.

Exuberant Beauty

Fairy Falls


Pony Tail Falls

Liquid Emerald

Punch Bowl Falls

Punch Bowl Falls

Ramona Falls

Dry Creek Falls

A Mountain Stream

Another Mountain Stream

Water falls in Wildreness

Metlako Falls

One of the very difficult composition that I tried on the entire trip are the following corn-lilies abstracts.  Seeing the lines and placing them at right place and planning the crop is very difficult task. I really found new respect for this kind of abstract images. What I got here are very good, but first one has lot of empty space  in the frame and other one has lot of distractions.

Corn Lilies abstract

Corn Lilies abstract

Last two days, we tried to take sunset images, but clouds are not right.  But thunderstorm was in forecast for next day. Marc suggested me to go Lost Lake to shoot Moonset and sunrise. After two days of work-out, my energy levels were at low to make  1:30 hours trip in early morning at 3:00am to lost lake from Government Camp. So I took extra hour sleep and went to trillium lake at 4AM, its just outside Government Camp town. I shared entire lake with two other people that morning. As you can see in below images, it was gorgeous  morning. As I went well in advanced, I set-up my camera and enjoyed morning as the drama in the sky started to develop. The nice reflection of Mt. Hood in trillium lake and fog rising from water was  just serene. That’s when it just happened. A mother Mallard and its six ducklings dived in to water right before me creating ripples all over. I would have forgotten about reflection and would love to include  the group in composition. But moving objects in such long exposures is tricky. I tried to scare the ducks away, but when ever I through a rock the ducklings were ganged-up on the area thinking it was food. I was literally helpless; with some effort I got-rid of the intruders (infact, its otherway, isn’t it).   Here are Mt. Hood images …

Moment of Serenity

Mt. Hood

From there I went to Painted Hills and waited until later afternoon expecting terrific sunset. I sat and watched as cumulus clouds gathered in the sky. But as evening progressed towards sunset, small wind started to blow the clouds to south. By sunset, I left with bare sky. Even though I haven’t good sunset images, I got good image from late evening.

Painted Hills

I went to Mt. Bachelor and camped over night at sparks lake to shoot sunrise next day before heading back home.

Spark Lake and Mt. Sister

Spark Lake and Mt. Sister

Happy Clicking…


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