Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Exploration in the Columbia Gorge I Workshop

Amazing and unusually warm spring weather was the theme of our waterfall exploration on Saturday. Starting at Woman's Forum Overlook, the morning clouds and changing light to the east gave us an opportunity to check our camera settings and create some files to later check histograms and blinkies. We also tried a few shots with a graduated ND filter to even out the exposure.

Light on the Columbia from Woman's Forum. ©Suzanne Michalik
The sun was breaking through the clouds as we began our hike to lovely Wahclella Falls. It was also warming up quite a bit. There were not too many visitors, but the harsh light was challenging to get quality images, so we discussed various strategies with shutter speed and also use of depth of field. We also watched as the light and shadows changed dramatically on the falls.

The challenges of strong light
After lunch and a review session at Skamania Lodge, we headed to our second falls of the day, Elowah Falls. Strong light was still around, but it was fading as the end of the day approached. Elowah Falls is a high falls with lovely ribbon and curtain-like cascades of water. Various angles and formations were explored. There were also lovely ferns and reflected light in McCord Creek.
Gathering at the base of Elowah Falls. Thanks, John.

We arrived back at Women's Forum a bit tired after a solid day of learning and enjoying this treasure right at our doorstep here in Portland. You can view participant photographs here>>

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Racing Clouds and Tides on Olympic Beaches

 Life in profusion drapes the rocks at Shi Shi Beach. Heavy layers of mussels await the returning tide. Shi Shi is a cacophony of beautifully sculpted rocks and a steep shoreline that the sea nests against when the tide returns. To the south, a wide crescent beach sweeps to the distant and rugged Point of the Arches.

Spring Blooms
Due to a number of very dedicated people, these areas are set aside for posterity and saved from the continued taming of the wildness of our coasts. There are few visitors here for much of the year, but as the weather moderates, these beaches are greatly enjoyed by many. It's heartening to see many families backpacking here to enjoy this heritage. 

Wind and Sea
In spring, the weather changes daily, often hourly. One need only wait for change from sun to rain, with rainbows seemingly pressed against the cliffs towards evening. An eagle glides by. The rapid and humorous call of two oystercatchers landing.

Sweeping Waves
Another long beach expands to the south at Second Beach. A simple name for a magic place. The Quileute name is Quateata. The hillsides along the beach show the difficulties of winter, with offset and jumbled trees from land sliding toward the sea. This day was restful and calm.