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.
A summer rain sprinkled across southern Utah, unexpectedly drenching me and the video crew I had dragged out before dawn. We had been out for hours, hiking and shooting.
We were deep into canyon country, the video crew documenting my photography while I documented the countryside.
We had come upon a field of wildflowers just about the time when the rain hit. Soaked, we waited out the showers in the meadow.
The wildflowers glistened, perfect for picking by my camera lens. As I was shooting, I heard a rustling to my right, I glanced over and two magnificent wild horses came bounding out of the woods. Above them, a rainbow painted a swath of color across the sky, forming an arc above us. If telling stories visually is what photography is all about, then I had hit the jackpot.
The photographer’s dilemma…what to shoot. For a photographer, time is everything. And there is precious little of it. Three amazing things happening at once in a hidden meadow and the urgency of capturing it all, not letting a single second slip away into time. I clicked away furiously, capturing all that the afternoon had to offer, an incredible collage of nature.
But, we had to push on. We were losing the day and soon we would be losing the light. We moved on , hoping to make it to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon within the hour.
And the light across the expanse of the canyon was like the glow over Umbria. The rocks. The ledges. The cliffs. All were bathed in a golden wash of light.
Magnificent. Inspiring. Holy.
These are all words I have heard used to describe the Canyon. But, I actually think it defies human description. Only my camera could capture the mystery of it…it’s stone majesty frozen in time.
We shot like crazy before we lost the light and then packed up and headed back to our camp as night was falling, a few early stars in the sky above us.
Stay tuned as the William Carr Gallery rings in our first year at Planet Hollywood with tons of new website editorial features and upcoming gallery events.
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