Revisting A Favorite Location

I had a day in the field and digital darkroom with a student today. The day begins with an AM shoot at a favorite location of mine, The Columbia River Gorge where the photo opportunities abound. In typical Oregon fashion the weather called for heavy rain. It is a rule of mine that when a shoot is planned, I go, no matter the weather…there have been many times when the weather breaks or never develops in the first place and besides some of my favorite images happen during adverse weather. We arrived at the Womens Forum Lookout shortly before sunrise and were pleasantly surprised by the low lying fog and clouds moving lazily across the landscape. We began shooting and working through metering, depth of field, lens selection, composition, pre-visualizing the end result and how we would finish the image later in the digital darkroom. The landscape had a very monochromatic, moody feel to it and it was my intention to emphasize the feeling using NIK filters when finishing my images later.



The next couple of hours were spent along the historic highway where we stopped at several of the waterfalls. It’s always a challenge to see a familiar location in a new light and come up with something different from the classic view. I’ve always loved the amphitheater of basalt, moss and ferns that are the backdrop for Multnomah falls but have never included it in my photographs. In fact, I have never photographed Multnomah Falls in a horizontal format until today.


I love the charachter of the bridge that takes you up close to the falls and so I used it as the focal point with the falls as a backdrop placing the bridge high in the frame to add to the sense of height. Talk about happy accidents…by now the rain was falling pretty hard and it was a challenge to keep the front of our lenses clear. We would wipe shoot, wipe shoot, wipe shoot. It turns out I wasn’t quick enough on a couple of images and rather than ruining the image, I rather liked the soft focus feel that resulted. This image is straight out of the camera with just a tad of sharpening using NIK Sharpener Pro 3.0


Still in a horizontal kind of mood, I photographed Horsetail falls where the waterfall crashes into the pool sending out shock waves of water from the force creating interesting patterns.


After a delicious Indian lunch we headed back to the office we reviewed our images and selected a couple to finish using the tools in the digital darkroom bringing our memories of the morning to life. My enthusiastic student went home with a couple hundred new images on his hard drive, new knowledge to put to into use both in the field and in the digital darkroom and a 20X30 print under his arm. It was a good day!

Images captured with Nikon D3X, AF-S 24-70mm (falls), 70-300mm (Columbia Gorge) on Lexar Digital Media