Wahclella Falls

Recently my friend Deigh suggested that we hike into Wahclella Falls.  As I did a quick recon of the falls I was astonished that I had not been there before. Say what?  I browsed my image catalogs and came to the same conclusion… no files.  Well, it turns out that Deigh was not able to make the trip we had planned so I decided to go out today and make a day of it.

As I was sipping the last of a cup of coffee in the parking lot I looked around and found some wonderful digitalis sitting right in front of the car.  It was overcast and had just finished raining.  The flowers were covered by soft, uniform light.  I took several shots of this bloom with varying compositions.  This closeup is my favorite and is made from 8 stacked images to get sharpness throughout the bloom.

There’s just something about water drops and wonderful light that rings my bell.

I headed into the falls after chatting briefly with some other folks who were leaving and some who were heading in as well.  No rain.  Overcast.  Perfect for the falls if the clouds stay in place during the short hike.

Getting to falls is an easy hike of about a mile. The waterfall book I have said to take the trail to the right when I encountered a fork… “easier” the author said.  I went left… go figure. The view from the left (east, high) trail was compromised by a huge boulder that blocked the pool below the falls.  I found a decent vantage to get the whole falls and pool into the frame but was unwilling to get soaked by spray.  I backed off and found an opening in the boulders so that at least some of the pool is visible.

This view means that you lose the upper falls but gain some visibility of falls coming in from the side… a reasonable compromise I think.

I headed down a small trail to join in with the other (the one to the right) at the base of the falls.  Again, I hunted for places where I could see the pool among the huge boulders in the area.  I opted to shoot from the footbridge crossing the creek.  Those massive boulders will be in the view until I bring some waders in to shoot this site.

I started to head out on the other trail and thought that maybe I could climb up along the large boulder at the end of the bridge.  If I could get high I might have a decent view into the pool after all.  Most of the way up I decided that it was not a good idea since I had to somehow find my way down too.  Too many reports of silly accidents in the Gorge and I sure did not want to add to that collection.  I worked my way down and headed out.  A few feet down the trail I saw a talus slope that looked very climbable.  I headed up again… this time successfully.  The shot still did not allow a good view of the pool but it did provide a nice context for the falls among the bridge, trees and rock walls.  I’m thinking that Fall may be a good time to see that big maple tree color up to add to the scene.

I waited patiently for the people on the bridge to move into place.  I used to resist this type of shot all together and tried for no sign of man-made stuff or people in nature shots.  India taught me that having people in the frame can be a good thing.  Of course I took a few shots without the people and bridge too.

After working my way down to the trail I headed out to the car.  I stopped at the smaller trailside falls near the parking lot and played a bit with contrast and movement.

The rest of the trip was just casual walking and enjoying the area full of flowers and birds and water and clean air.  Lots of bird songs filled the air as I drove out.  Not a bad way to spend a morning.


3 thoughts on “Wahclella Falls

  1. The digitalis shot is wonderful – must have been dead still to be able to blend 8 images like that. Really adds some great depth. The images I have seen of the falls were shot further away or something was different – perhaps it was just the water levels. A trip this autumn is sure called for as it looks like a great place. Glad you had a good trip

  2. The digitalis is a special shot. I also liked the textures in the last shot. The scene actually reminds me of the Sweet Creek Falls area where Deigh once took me (and I think he said you may have gone there once, yourself). Just be careful with this hipwader idea!!! 🙂

  3. I’m want to go with you one of these days. I’ve never been interested in landscape photography as I am when I see your images. I’d love to hear about the Bell flower picture – what lens? Are you using a macro?

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