Growing up in the Carolina's meant the importance of the outdoors was imprinted in me early. This deep love for nature was the very first motivation for me to pursue photography. Exploring areas around the mountains of North Carolina I would find places of beauty that seemed to be calling to me. At the time I was too young to understand the why and meaning of this. Later in life I would learn those beautiful places that called to me were wanting to be 'captured' and their beauty shared.
There is a great thrill from searching and exploring for that beautiful spot and waiting for or even finding the light. You begin your search months before, researching beauty's favorite spots. Then the hunt continues in person, and not just discovering beauty but showing it through your eyes. The high volume of landscape work today makes this more and more difficult, but the challenge makes the capture of a unique piece of beauty that much more thrilling.
Thirty years ago just being in a remote location with a view camera was enough to make unique and captivating images. Now with the easy access to pro equipment and the attractiveness of capturing one of those images, photographers are pushed like never before to become more artistic and ultimately is a good thing for the medium. Every day millions of images are created, just being there is no longer enough.
This challenge is something I relish and makes the art form of landscape photography one that has uniquely evolved in both creative pressure and competition. Two factors that ultimately can have amazing results.
A tiny creek makes its small yet beautiful contribution to the flow as it makes its way to the Pacific. The light playing through the branches make this image special to me.
Lower Proxy Falls cascades down columns of basalt and felled giant trees all covered with moss and plant life. I got very close to this log to show the amazing detail with the overall context of this stunning waterfall.
Sahalie in the Chinook language means a ‘high and lofty place’. Not the tallest waterfall in Oregon but when emerging from the darkness of the forest this open area seems to be a high and lofty place. The vibrant blue of the river paired with the lush green is what entranced me about this spot.
A walkway behind Middle North Falls leads to this perspective looking out onto the descending canyon. So vibrant and lush on this rainy day conditions were perfect for an Oregon rainforest.
The word Lemolo in the Chinook language means wild or untamed, that is a good way to describe the trek down to the falls and the area in general. The sun beginning to fall below the ridge gave some nice texture and highlights to the falls and river.
Fairy Falls is one of the lesser visited waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge. Perhaps it is its more difficult path or less impressive size compared to some of the 600 foot behemoths. However for me the appeal of this sanctuary was a gentle, intimate feeling of pureness.
To capture this image I had to cross a snow melt fueled Watson Creek barefoot. Standing a few feet from where the plummeting water landed, it felt as though the snow had melted only seconds before. I went barefoot because I wanted to feel the creek and surrounding earth in order to get myself in the proper mindset, also the human foot is much kinder to the delicate plants present in the watery environment. However the low temps meant I only got to capture for about 10 minutes or so before I had to relinquish to the stabbing cold in my feet.
The Punch Bowl falls just up stream of Toketee Falls before the canyon narrows and sheer cliffs greet the grinding river. A trapped log shows the power this river can churn out when full.
Koosah in the Chinook language means ‘sky’, an obvious reference to the sky blue hue the water has after being oxygenated from its fall. Wet conditions combined with a steep, crumbling slope meant a cautious descent for set-up. Yet at the bottom a vivid display of life and color made it beyond worthwhile.
A trek through the woods surrounding Detroit Reservoir lead me to this clearing. Here a cut remnant opens to a desolate scene where a forest was deemed inadequate in comparison to an artificial lake. The desolation is compounded by the fact that the lake is largely empty magnifying the scarring normally hidden by water. Despite this tragedy life covered this stump in defiance as it sought to recover and replenish.
Throughout Oregon the evidence of a chaotic history born from lava is scattered yet obvious. Traveling through the rainforest of Willamette National Forest, I would come upon these open spots where the volcanic rock is so prolific that the dominant life is in the form of mosses, succulents and other plant life who thrive on a medium yet to be eroded. These volcanic islands harbored a distinct ecosystem encircled by the forest whose border is held in check by the earth itself.
A more intimate view of the softness and detail these lava fields possess. Stunted tree growth makes for much brighter conditions and the ground has these thick patches of abundant moss make you almost forget you are in a lava field.
One of the seven wonders of Oregon the Painted Hills are layered remnants from when this was a vast river flood plain over the eons of geological time. The vibrant hills are very brittle and easily sculpted by downpours and other factors, this results in a very textured surface.
Unbeleivably beautiful, Hells Canyon along the Imnaha River is one of those magical places you find from time to time. After a day of traveling I was fortuitous that a golden haze greeted me with the setting sun. Rain showers hung heavy above rolling green hills.
A rising moon created the angle and drama of lighting I was looking for in the amazing wall carved by the Imnaha River. These small clusters of flowers in the foreground soften this ominous wall.
Sunset in the high country of Hells Canyon National Recreation Area looking south to the Wallowa Mountains still snow capped in early June. Just over a months after the snow melt, flowers take advantage of the opening en masse resulting in this great display of life.
A soft green hill guides you to the distance where golden ridges are cloaked with a radiant mist from moisture that is hanging in the air. These conditions were absolutely spectacular and would only happen this one afternoon.
After the sun sets these flowers bend their necks so that the petals face down and appear to go to sleep, waiting for the return of the sun and with it, pollinators.
Mt Hood as it looks out onto the Columbia River and The Dalles. The Columbia River reflects the streaks from the highway that shares its name, while the stars trek across the sky of a hot summer night.
I captured this image over the span of about 3 hours, using the simplicity of a sihoulette enhances the namesake of this formation, Whales Head Rock. Its easy to visualize a whale doing a spy hop. The brightest trail is Venus as it makes its standard early evening exit.
These blooms from a thriving succulent along this rocky cliff lend a beautiful note for this sunset. Humbug Mountain in the distance has a halo of burning orange clouds hovering above, as the sea mist fills in-between.
The last night of my first foray into Oregon resulted in this stellar event. A lighting storm came off the land and worked its way out over the Pacific. With Sisters Rock in the foreground this was one of my favorite places and events that happened on this voyage.