I set out on my annual Autumn shoot in Oregon last week. It wasn’t my usual Autumn. But rather one with cloudy skies and thunderstorms. But you know, it was perfect in it’s own way. On the third day, it cleared some and I caught the warm days and crisp nights that I know so well…I headed out at sunrise to catch an early shoot at the Falls.
I followed the old road. It’s a winding old wagon road: two narrow lanes the traverse an old lava flow. Along my narrow trail, I knew I would get some of the best views of this amazing terrain. The mountains in Oregon are always favorites of mine. I think it is the challenges they represent. I would drop almost 2000 feet and catch the fantastic waterfalls below. It was warmer this early morning than in past days…fly fisherman were casting on the lakes, hoping to score some of the last of the season’s catch. I see things with the eye of a painter and the fisherman with their forms outlined against the shore and their poles arced, formed a painterly image in my mind.
I stopped for some coffee and to watch their lines dance around the shoreline, feathered flys bobbing in the early morning. My sunny morning had vanished into the clouds so I thought I best be on my way.
I jumped into my 4wd and hit the road for the Falls.
The drive is an easy one mile or so loop that crosses a firey red vine and maple laden ancient lava flow and then passes through an old growth of rain forest. From there, two spectacular waterfalls plunge over immense towering moss covered cliffs. The upper Falls dumps water about a hundred feet into a shallow pool. The water cascades into the pool and then trickles down through the underlying lava beds.
I was set to shoot at the lower Falls. It was very early in the morning so my light was bright. The Lower Falls streams its way down a two hundred foot glacier carved cliff, spreading out into watery ribbons along the way. Words like spectacular and awesome don’t even describe it. I captured my image as a light mist started coming down through the approaching fog.
I left the loop and headed for the River Trail. The Trail is a beautiful path in the Summer but now it was slippery from the mossy dampness. The river was moving fast, swollen from a freak early snow. It was punctuated with vibrant red and yellow leaves skirting down the water like floats in a parade.
It was still early in the day. But the sun was weak, more like an Winter’s afternoon that a blazing Autumn morning. The trail was gloomy and a drizzle helped douse whatever sunlight I had hoped for.
I sat in my 4wd and was happy to finish the last of my coffee as the afternoon chill approached.