Sunday was the last day of our waterfall hunting trip and we had three falls on the agenda. Our plan was to get up early, stop by Multnomah Falls before the crowds arrived, and then hike out to Wahclella Falls. After that we would take Matt to the airport and Alejandro and I would drive to Abiqua Falls for one last adventure before we went home.
Multnomah Falls is probably the most famous waterfall in Oregon and it is easy to see why. It is over 600 feet tall with two drops and a picturesque bridge in the middle. It is also right next to the highway and easily visible, making it very crowded! Arriving early we are able grab some shots with a mostly empty bridge (a little Photoshop work took care of the rest). I decided to frame the waterfall with the green plants and flowers in front of the viewing area so I took a shot focused on the waterfall and then another, faster shot focused on the plants. The fast shutter speed allowed me to freeze their motion and keep them sharp.
Next up was Wahclella Falls. This is a relatively easy two mile roundtrip hike through a beautiful canyon, ending at the waterfall. I took the shot below from a small hill next to the trail looking toward the waterfall. Once again, we beat the crowds and were able to spend some time having this scene to ourselves.
The view below was taken from the bridge across the trail. I didn’t like how the rocks obscured the base of the waterfall so I knew I needed to get closer.
Once again (I don’t think I was dry all weekend) I took off my boots and put on my SCUBA booties – I was headed into the water. I tried some compositions with the creek and rocks in the foreground, but I didn’t like the fallen trees along the shoreline. They made the scene look messy. I worked my way upstream, eventually reaching some great rocks covered in green with the water rushing between them. This is possibly my favorite shot from the whole trip (a landscape version is at the top of this post) with the combination of rushing water, a powerful waterfall, and a beautiful canyon scene.
The last waterfall for the day, and the trip, was Abiqua Falls. Abiqua isn’t in the Columbia Gorge and we drove about an hour south of Portland to reach it. I knew from my research that once again we’d have to work our way down a steep, wet trail before making our way upstream to the waterfall itself. Soon after heading down the trail we reached a fork. Not having been there before, we weren’t sure which way to go and eventually selected the right fork, since it looked more well traveled. We soon reached a very steep section (steeper than I was ready for) but saw a rope tied off to a tree. People were making their way up the rope so it looked like the right way to go. Another couple joined us while we were waiting.
Eventually the way was clear and the people climbing up confirmed that this was the way to the falls and that it was worth the effort. Alejandro went first, starting down the rope and then having to do some quick scrambling as his feet slipped. The other couple then started down the rope and things took a turn for the worse. They knocked some large rocks loose and Alejandro had to run for cover to avoid the resulting rock fall. The couple climbed back up, deciding the rope was too risky. At this point I decided I’d had enough and figured I’d wait by the car. On my way back, I ran into some people familiar with the area that recommended we head down the other fork in the trail. It turns out that was the right way to go – while it was muddy the trail was in reasonable shape and there were ropes the whole way down. I ran into Alejandro at the bottom and all was good!
Once again I waded into the creek, starting with the scene above trying to get a good reflection of the waterfall and basalt amphitheater that surrounded it (above). The reflection wasn’t as nice as I liked so I made my way around some rocks to get the rushing water in the foreground (below).
Heading back upstream I found a nice composition with the water and some nice plants in the foreground (below). This was another time when I had to combine exposures, using a fast shutter speed at a high ISO to freeze the plants in the foreground and a slower shutter speed to get the nice motion in the water..
At this point I had enough of sloshing around in the water and took some shots of the waterfall from the beach. I set up my shot and waited to get some blue sky above the falls. While not my favorite composition, I like the wide view of the basalt amphitheater and the water below the falls.
On the way out we found a nice tree next to the creek and decided to stop for one last shot. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this 3-part journey – I’d love to hear which picture is your favorite!