It seems that at least once a year I get together with Deigh to venture out with cameras in hand. Yesterday was such a day. We had a general plan of attack for the day… visit Rowena Crest to see if the flowers wanted portraits made, then to Panther Creek Falls north of Carson, Washington and finally a hike into Elowah Falls. Well, the wind was strong on the Rowena plateau so we looked around for some calmer areas in the lee of a ridge and timed shots to minimize movement as best we could. The sun was BRIGHT and the clouds were absent. My original thoughts of making portraits of balsam root and lupine against a white background using a “field studio” vanished as we drove to Rowena and I saw the wind working on the trees. I settled for wandering and grabbing images that appealed to me.
I happened on an unusual plant growing out of a pile of basalt. While I have no idea what this plant is, it reminded me of some exotic trees I saw on the Art Wolfe video about Madagascar. Strange and intriguing pattern in this plant.
We headed for Panther Creek Falls and found the trail after a short stop in Carson, WA to get some water and a snack. The last time I was at the falls was years ago and I’d heard that the Forest Service had developed a platform to view the falls. Previously, I scaled down a small cliff using a rope that had been left by a generous person(s) to access the creek and a view up into the falls. The viewing platform provides a good view and I was really pleased to see that the trail into the area had not been upgraded and enlarged. I did not venture out to see if the rope was still in place.
Part of my intent on this trip was to gain experience with a new travel tripod and head that will go to Iceland with us. Since I will be carrying all the needed gear on my back each day in Iceland I’m semi-determined to figure out how to pack the gear and to work out any wrinkles prior to the trip. I found a few wrinkles yesterday. Once I got set up on the platform I found I could not pan the ballhead. Say what? It worked just fine on the desk at home. I compromised my tripod placement to get the rough framing I wanted but I was mentally planning how to return the head back in Portland. As we left I found that I had tightened the head too tightly onto the tripod legs and that once loosened a bit the head panned just fine. Of course this was after the session. I also learned that the little carbon fiber legs shake at the least disturbance. I forgot the cable release that will be essential equipment in Iceland if we want sharp images.
Our plans to visit Elowah Falls disappeared when I turned right instead of left. After driving a few miles in the wrong direction we opted to just keep going and I suggested Ponytail Falls near Multnomah Falls. I’d been there the week before as part of my hike to Triple Falls and I knew that the hike in was fairly short but uphill. I was most interested in the exercise and some more experience with the pack, tripod and ballhead. Everything worked much better than it did at Panther Creek. Without the cable release I was using the self-timer in the camera and even then I was getting enough vibration to know that I am going to have to be very deliberate with the setup once in Iceland.
On the way out to the car Deigh had the misfortune to have his camera and 16-35 lens eject from his pack and land on rock. Tore the lens right off the camera. YIKES. I took away a lesson from this unfortunate event… if a pack has two zipper pulls it is probably safer to zip them to the bottom of the pack rather than to the top. I think that Deigh’s pack had weakened over time and the zippers worked their way down as he walked and bounced down the trail. Gravity and physics at work. He has a new pack now and the lens is in for a hopeful repair. Not the way either of us wanted to end a nice day.