While some might feel this is not nature photography because it is arranged, it sold as a stock photo a couple times including a cover. So who cares, right?
Oregon’s McKenzie River flows down the western slope of the Cascade Mountains, heading towards Eugene.
It is a designated Wild and Scenic river that flows through old growth forests, is lined with a series of incredible waterfalls, and is a popular area for kayakers, hikers, and rafters…
…and photographers. Anytime of the year is amazing to photograph along the river but fall is special. The river is lined with a variety of maple trees, river rapids, small cascades, and in the deeper pools of water, the color is a tropical blue.
In celebration of fall here is another image of Multnomah Falls in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge from a few years ago. This image was successful as a stock photo, even earning a calendar cover.
I shot this image around 25 years ago on Mt. Hood, Oregon. Back then I shot mostly film with a 4×5 field view camera. I loved working that way!
This was a lucky day. A storm was pounding the west side of the Cascade Mountains and I was shooting up in the Government Camp area. I have been all around this mountain many times but never had I been in these conditions above the clouds.
As I was set up here, the clouds, once hitting the mountainside, would break up and blow across the pass at the base of the mountain as seen here. I would shoot a frame or two, then the clouds would cover the mountain, so I would wait a little longer until there was a break and the mountain was visible.
When it comes to outdoor photography, many photographs have a star subject in them. It could be anything in the scene and often it is something that caught your eye.
Sometimes the star of the photo is obvious and other times it is not. When I find a star to photograph I often look for other features in the landscape that support the star and when those work well, you have a well composed image.
But in today’s digital world, composing and capturing the star and the supporting elements, is only half the process to a great photo. The other half of the process is in the digital darkroom. That is where you complete what you started in the field and that is the case here with this image.
Scott Lake in the Oregon Cascades is a popular viewpoint for nature photographers. I was up there several times over the last month and captured this image on the first visit in July. We are in a terrible drought so the water was very low. That is of course terrible but also a blessing because this rock is right up close to the shoreline as a result of the low water and makes a great foreground element.
It seems late in the summer, that the world is on fire. That is probably an exaggeration, but in the Western US where I am, there are wildfires everywhere and the forest fire smoke has been thick as fog lately.
While late summer is not the best time to photograph many of the iconic locations around here, the smoke has made it hardly worthwhile to venture out. But yesterday I hooked up with a photographer visiting from the east coast and I wanted him to see our iconic locations.
So we went anyway to Sparks Lake, our most iconic location around here, and sure enough the smoke was thick. I was not motivated to shoot when I got there but then I started to frame some scenes and realized that while this unfortunate smoke was ruining a scene that I have shot countless times, it was creating a whole new view of the mountain and lake reflection, that I never see or photograph.
One of my favorite places to chill is Belknap hot springs in Oregon’s Cascade Mtns, a little over an hour NE of Eugene. This picture is the Secret Garden which is an amazingly beautiful developed garden deep in the forests there.
The hot springs are developed swimming pools with water nice and hot. There are cabins to rent, RV spaces, and lodge rooms. Hiking trails abound right from the springs. The beautiful McKenzie river is great shooting and nearby attractions like Proxy Falls is a favorite for photogs.
Best time to go: October (IMO) when it is cold and rainy. Makes those hot springs feel wonderful after a hike.
I used a Canon 70D with 16-35mm zoom lens and a Induro tripod.
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This is one of my favorite waterfalls. Maybe my favorite period!
Proxy Falls in Oregon is a luscious cascade of mist and moss on a steep hillside.
I first shot here around 25 years ago and few photographers had heard of it. There was a small dirt pull off on the winding mountain hwy. Now a paved parking pull offs, bathrooms, and PAY TO PARK.
Another version of this falls, shot from the other side, is one of my best selling stock photos ever, when you could make money doing this! Well worth the short hike in there.
Canon 5D and 16 – 35mm lens.