Columbian River Gorge
West Quest Date: May - 2008
Equipment: Canon Rebel XTI 10 MP
Wide Angle 18-55mm; Bogen Tripod
In researching possible waterfall photo opportunities for this West Quest I came across a photo of an interesting Falls that looked like it belonged somewhere in China with its oriental-looking bridge. I just figured someday I would be fortunate enough to travel to the Far East again to check it out. Then I saw that the picture said "Oregon" and was completely surprised! What was THIS doing in America?
Bridge Of Sighs
Multnomah Falls immediately made its way onto the West Quest itinerary.
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area protects the spectacular canyon where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade mountains - with cliffs and overlooks of Washington to the North and Oregon's mountains and waterfalls to the South. The Gorge is unique in its natural and cultural history, as well as its designation as a Nat'l Scenic Area.
It's convenient that Multnomah Falls is just a 30- minute drive outside of Portland. Along the way you'll see cool windsurfers on the river! Visiting the 611-foot-tall roaring cascade of clear icy water lets you experience the power and beauty of nature up close and with ease. From the parking area off of I-84, a 5-minute walk is all that separates you from the exhilarating spray at the base of the falls.
Welcome To The Jungle!
I arrived pretty late and had just enough daylight left to grab the camera and tripod and capture "Bridge Of Sighs." Multnomah Falls really is spectacular, and I was right up at the base to shoot it as you are actually sandwiched
between the Falls and the Restaurant/Park Office building!
Beware of lots of people and photographers who will block your shots. Just be patient and keep waiting. To get the smooth water effect you'll have to wait until almost dark and shoot on a tripod with a long exposure time. Also beware of the mist and wind at the base of the falls drifting moisture onto your lens while shooting!
I set up camp and got to sleep after a nice steak dinner at the Lodge Restaurant. Early morning came quick and I made my way onto one of several trails that are available. Talk about Welcome To The Jungle! Ha! I couldn't believe the lime green moss on everything blended with lush fern plants and algae covered stones. And the streams and mini falls were everywhere! I captured both "Jungle Love" and "Descending" on this nice, relaxing trail. But, one important item you must bring on these trails - Rain Clothing and Gear!
Banana Slugs Are Everywhere!
It's a good thing I had bought a complete rain gear outfit with jacket and hood to help combat the constant rain and drizzle over the next couple of days. Also I kept my camera bag wrapped in a Hefty for good measure. The only downfall (pun intended) of the rain gear was it was a bright yellow, so I stuck out
like a huge school bus in an ocean of lime green. At least I matched the hundreds of banana slugs that were crawling around everywhere! lol
To be honest I wasn't prepared for how lush and green everything was here. I thought I would have to wait until my next leg of this West Quest when I would hit Olympic National Park up in Washington to get the really cool green colors. But I got a gift here instead. And it's a good thing, because Olympic ended up having a really bad dry season which affected that photo shoot!
You could literally spend at least a week in the fantastic Columbian River Gorge! I found it very relaxing and, maybe because of all the rain and green flora, I also felt I could truly breathe here. The constant rain made it easy to sleep, and of course, the banana slugs kept me warm at night!