Waterfall

El-o-wah Mess

El-o-wah Mess

Pretty much everything at Elowah Falls on this morning was a mess. The hike down to the waterfall was a mess. The colors near the falls were a mess. The branches stuck in the stream, the leaves fallen in random places, the complaints from Willie and Alan, and the rain trickling down on us all made for quite the messy scene. We had hoped for some beautiful fall colors for our long weekend in the Columbia River Gorge but most of the colors hadnt peaked yet or just died out into dead, brown leaves.

Elowah Falls is pretty majestic and our first inclination was to get close to it. Unfortunately, there werent any fall colors and we found ourselves slightly down stream. Elowah became blocked by some trees but we did finally find some autumn color to include in our photos. Leaves fell on top of the rocks near us, ripped off their trees by the rain from earlier in the morning. We tried a number of compositions before lining up in a row and settling on this little cascade here.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/10, 1.6 sec, ISO 250

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Logan’s Frustration

Logan's Frustration

The first photo I saw that made me want to go to Glacier National Park was of Triple Falls in Logan Pass. Once I booked a flight and started to do some research I found I was more excited to shoot the rivers and streams in Logan Pass than Triple Falls. Before Willie, Alan, and I arrived at Glacier National Park the forecast looked good for some beautiful sunsets. Unfortunately that never happened — on nights just like this, we watched the clouds disappear right before our eyes just minutes before sunset. 15 minutes after I took this photo the clouds were completely gone. So frustrating

Logan Pass is known for its rivers, streams, and wild flowers. Due to a dry winter the flowers werent in bloom as we had expected. In fact, there were hardly any flowers around. Thanks to 2 days of rain, though, the streams were gushing quite well. Logan Pass sits in between 2 mountains: Mt. Reynolds and Mt. Clements. I find Mt. Clements to be the more photogenic mountain and I knew I wanted to find a waterfall with Mt. Clements in the background. I feel like I hiked around forever trying to find the perfect spot. I found this spot midway through my wandering and when Alan came around and showed me that he had also found this spot, I knew it was where I wanted to be during sunset.

I got partially into the stream to get the angle that I wanted on the waterfalls. I then used a 4 image focus stack to ensure sharpness throughout the photo and a 5th photo exposed for the sky. I only wish the clouds here had lit up with some color but I cant complain. It was such a beautiful way to spend the afternoon that I didnt even mind my feet were soaked (I would have felt bad that Alan and Willie had to endure my wet feet but luckily Alans feet were even worse. It wasnt until later on in the trip that I got my shoes so wet they had to be scanned multiple times at the airport).

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/11, 1/6 sec, ISO 160

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Arky

Arky

Archangel Falls, or Archy for short, are the cascading falls along the Subway hike section of the Virgin River. Willie, Yan and I woke up early on our 2nd day in Zion and thought we were getting an early start to the hike. When we arrived at the parking lot we found that a large number of other cars had already beaten us here We decided to see if we could pass them all and practically ran the first 4 miles of the 5 mile Subway hike. We got to Archangel Falls thinking that we really were the first group to arrive. Nope. A man and woman had beaten us there.

Willie and I setup closer to the falls so that we could use the largest section of the waterfall as our foreground element. We both use the same Feisol tripod and had ordered the short column for our tripods so we could get lower to the ground. Unfortunately my regular tripod column was screwed so tight onto my tripod that I was never able to get the short column on. If I had been able to get lower you would see more autumn color and a larger portion of the beautiful red rock canyon walls.

I really liked how the water was splashing off the rock on the middle left of this photo, creating an almost fountain like section of spray. I placed the red rock in the lower center to help draw the eye through.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
24mm, f/18, 1 sec, ISO 50
BW Circular Polarizer

Dinah, Won’t You Blow

Dinah, Won't You Blow

The entire walk to Mossbrae Falls I kept having the song Ive Been Working on the Railroad stuck in my head. … All the livelong day … To get to this waterfall you have to walk just over a mile along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Due to a couple accidents in 2011 the town of Dunsmuir began to discourage people from visiting the waterfalls. We went anyways. A couple trains passed by but we were safely out of the way when they did.

Willie and I left early Friday morning, spent the night in Shasta County, took some early morning photos and drove home. I think we spent more time driving than we did shooting and sleeping. We visited Burney Falls the evening before, had a surprisingly delicious meal (in which the waiter served us a number of free tasty treats … personally I think he was hitting on Willie) and found our way to Mossbrae Falls.

Compared to the gigantic Burney Falls, Mossbrae seems almost like a trickle. Theres no real defined waterfall but rather its more of a weeping wall. A number of other photographers will prob. agree with me that this section of the wall is the most photogenic of the entire set of falls here. I tried a number of angles from various spots and ultimately decided I liked this composition the best. I just love how the green moss grows all over the walls and goes perfectly with the waterfall.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
32mm, f/9, 13 sec, ISO 100

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Logan’s Bat Call

Logan's Bat Call

A year or two ago Willie and I saw our first photo of Triple Falls and immediately said ”we have to go there!” Alan joined in and the 3 of us flew down to Glacier National Park for what we hoped would be a great weekend. Our first stop: Logan Pass and Triple Falls. We were in for a lot of surprises, and most of them not what we wanted.

Our first surprise came as we drove into the park. A giant sign stated ”Road construction: Going-to-the-Sun Road Closed 9pm to 7am” between Logan Pass and our cabin. Well that put a kink on photographing Logan Pass for sunset and sunrise! It turns out that at 2am a pilot car would come by and take anyone that was ”stuck” through the road closure. Our plan of attack became ”shoot sunset, sleep in the car till 1:45am, take the 2am pilot car, get an hour of sleep in the hotel, then wake-up for sunrise.” We did this on several occasions. It might explain why we became nocturnal.

Another surprise was the weather. We watched what we had hoped would be perfect clouds disappear right before our eyes, just minutes before sunset. For 2 days it rained so hard and was so foggy we could barely see our feet. In the end we made the best of the situation and came home with 3 or 4 keeper shots and one morning of great light.

On our last day in the park the thunderstorms finally started to clear and we raced to Logan Pass in hopes of a nice sunset. With plenty of time before the sun went down we played around, shooting wildflowers, running around from waterfall to waterfall, and trying our hand at some long exposures with the Lee Big Stopper. In this 75 second exposure I was able to capture some of the last of the fleeting clouds as they streaked over the mountain peaks. The shadows created from the clouds left a ”batman” symbol on Piegan Mountain. About 15 minutes later it was clear blue skies again. I’m glad I managed to get this in before the clouds were gone!

I also worked a version in color. Which do you like better?

Logan's Bat Call, Color Version

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/20, 75 sec, ISO 80

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Splishy Splash

Splishy Splash

On our first full day in Zion we hiked into one of the most amazing slot canyons in the world: The Narrows. We rented drysuit pants, neoprene socks, canyoneering shoes, and a walking stick and trudged 9 miles up and down the Virgin River. Some times the water was almost up to our thighs but mostly it was knee to ankle deep.

One of the photographs on our bucket-list was a photo of flowing water captured with the sunrise reflecting back in the water. As we hiked towards the Wall Street section of the Narrows we kept an eye on the color of the water. About 45 minutes into the hike we finally spotted the beautiful color reflecting in the water. I found a slightly shorter shutter speed brought out more of the color and definition in the water. I liked this particular spot because water was bouncing off one of the rocks in the river.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
48mm, f/7.1, 1/15 sec, ISO 640
BW Circular Polarizer