And Now for Something Completely Different

It’s April. The Washington State Spring Fair was last week. We usually go on the last day to help take down the Photo Salon which is managed by Tacoma Photographic Society

One of the things I like to do at the fair is to look for photo opportunities. This one of Gummy Bears all piled onto each other makes a great macro shot.

Handheld – 1/165th of a second at ISO 4000 – f/5.6 135mm – just a fun capture! (Would have been better with a polarizer)

Spring Blossoms

It’s spring and the blossoms are being shot out of the trees like confetti from a cannon

So a few days ago, Liddy and I were out for our daily constitutional. We like to go over to South Prairie and walk the Foothills Trail towards Buckley.

There are two major attractions for us. Both bridges over South Prairie Creek.

The first bridge is a small one but there is access down to the creek where Liddy loves to jump into the water (she could have been a water dog.)

The second bridge is a beautiful arched structure made with laminated beams that spans the creek, a country road, and a small farm. A very nice place to walk to and enjoy the scene.

On this day, the spring rains and snow melt have filled South Prairie Creek to a point where there is no beach under bridge number 1, and the stream is too strong. As good a swimmer as Liddy is, there are limits. So, we continued up to the second bridge.

The height of the roadbed on this bridge is such that you are almost at the top of the trees. This day, the timing was right that they were showing their flowers and new foliage. And wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t have my Canon. Bummer!

We repeated the walk on the following day and this is what I came home with. Spring is such a special time.


Burn Out


Surviving firs stand in stark shilouette above Multnomah Falls. The Eagle Creek wildfire 2 years previous almost claimed all of the forest around the falls. You can see some people standing on an overlook to the left where scorched trees are standing. This cleared area is where the dead ones have been removed.

Why do we have to be so stupid? And why do we have to be so irresponsible in our youth?

Here it is, noon on a March, Monday, and the parking lot is full. The Historic Columbia River Highway is blocked by stupid people waiting to get a parking lot – took me over half an hour to get by. Came back to the parking off of the interstate and had no problem.

People just don’t think!

So… my advice. If you want to shoot Multnomah Falls, get there early and approach from the interstate. Or better yet, by bus or on foot. As a Gentleman of Lesiure, I can plan to visit on a week day.

Liddy at Multnoma Falls. We moved higher up the path to shoot this portrait and get the full falls in.

Liddy and I walked up over the bridge looking for an interesting compostion. Because the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge is always in shadow, lighting is either even, or black. The even light is great for waterfalls because you are less likely to blow out the highlights.

Do take a moment to visit if you are near Portland. Even with the crowds, the drive along the Gorge is always rewarding. Even in the rain.


So this was our last stop on our March Columbia Gorge adventure. I hope you enjoyed taking a moment to look as much as we enjoyed the moments it took to take them.

Bridal Veil Creek

Bridal Veil Falls is a popular stop along the Historic Columbia River Highway. There is a B&B on the high side of the highway, opposite the parking lot provided by Oregon Parks.

At the risk of being called a heretic, I am going to say the falls were not impressive on this day. It was spring. Lots of water falling over the edge.

Doesn’t make for a veil in my humble opinion.

The creek however…

I love the lines leading us up the cascade. The tree leaning over the creek frames the bank. By flipping the image horizontally, (yes, I did that) it all works to bring our eye into the shot and up the creek towards the bowl at the base of the falls. This is hidden behind the gap at the top.

Latourell Falls

Driving east from Vista House along the Historic Columbia River Highway, Latourell Falls deservers your time.

From the parking lot, take a moment to struggle up the steep path to the overlook. It’s not hard you will be rewarded by this view.

As I stated in the caption here, the moss that clings too the cliff beside the fall is always an eye catcher.

Once you have enjoyed this view, return to the parking lot and turn left. Follow the path along the creek to the base of the falls. There is a foot bridge over the creek. Follow that path and look back to see more photo opportunities.

Latourell Falls cascades into a pool before draing off into the Columbia River

This shot of the bowl at the bottom of the falls is cool, I think, because of the way the exposure has caused the cascade to mist over.

I keep going back to the log lying in the creek like a lazy crocodile. I find it peaceful and relaxing.

(Yes, I did flip this image horizontally – it feels better to me and it is my moment 😉)

Vista House

Any trip to the Columbia Gorge must include a moment at the Vista House.

This unique building is perched atop the southern bluffs of the Columbia Gorge like a sentinel. The views are amazing as you can see from my previous post, and almost any reference on the internet.

Only a few minutes drive from the Portland Women’s Forum Viewpoint so it was a natural that Liddy and I stop for some portraits.

At 7:30 on a Monday morning, you don’t have much of a crowd to compete with.

Columbia Gorge in the Morning

This is the classic view of the Columbia Gorge from the Portland Women’s Forum Viewpoint. Vista House sits high above the river with the colors of sunrise drawing your eye into the frame.

Liddy and I spent the night in our Prius so we could be here for sunrise. And while I don’t think the composition is very remarkable, the opportunity to watch the changing light was more than worth the price.

This is a shot that took some planning. I knew ahead of time that I wanted to capture this view, at this time of day. I looked at the weather and also checked when sunrise would occur. I used an app called PlanIt!

PlanIt! is a great app that is available on Android and IOS. It has a bunch of features and compares well with PhotoPills. I also use The Photographer’s Ephermis which is available as a web app. I mentioned it when i was whining about our lack of planning at Palouse Falls.

Anyone of these apps could be used to plan this shot.

The trick is knowing where the sun will rise and if it will be in the frame when you plant your tripod. In this case, PlanIt! showed me that at sunrise, 7:00 am, the sun would be above right of Vista House. Being at the park at 6:00 gave me plenty of time to get set up.

Next time, I will use a longer lens. This shot is cropped in to the max. There were a lot of pixels that ended in the bit bucket this time. Good enough for posting to the web like this, but not for a print.

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Day is Done

A lone fishing boat motors south towards the mouth of the Columbia River. Out to sea there is a squall threatening, but the ocean is calm. Should be an easy run up the river to its home port.

This was shot from the path leading down to the North Head Lighthouse.

The view up and down the coast is fantastic here. You are several hundred feet above the waves and on a day like this, you can see forever.

That squall my not have been a hazard to my fishboat here, but it sure messed up what was looking to be a great sunset.

Oh well – another day.

North Head Lighthouse

North Head Lighthouse get’s short-changed in my opinion. The light sits atop tall cliffs where it can be seen by ships navigating through the treacherous mouth of the Columbia River.

The light is still active, but like most light stations, it has been automated.

On this visit, the building was being renovated. Normally you can go inside the light for a small fee.

As there was a fence placed around the building, I could not find a satisfying composition until I saw this one.

In my previous post about Cape Disappointment and Liddy, I mentioned the weather and its lack of drama. Well, this shot was on the same day, not a lot of clouds in the sky.

Cape Disappointment

Towards the end of February, I was getting a bit of cabin fever. I needed to get away. Get out. Go shoot something.

I studied the weather and it looked like there might be some dramatic weather down towards the mouth of the Columbia River. We had been to the South Jetty before, so perhaps this time we would visit the North Jetty.

The North Jetty is located in Cape Disappointment State Park. The Jetty was closed for maintenance on this occasion, so we didn’t attempt to hike out along it.

We did, however, take a moment to capture Liddy posing on a log above Waikiki Beach with the Cape Disappointment Light in the background. As you can see, the weather wasn’t very dramatic. When the tide and winds are right, the waves roll in against the cliffs forming huge splashes that can reach high into the sky.

Liddy would not be sitting still, posing on a log like this, on one of those days I can assure you.