A Bench to the Left of Me, A Waterfall to the Right

A horizontal view of Latourell Falls through the forest

I was heading up the loop trail around Latourell Falls when I saw a bench beside the trail and I wondered why it was there, when I looked to the right and all became clear as I saw the waterfall plunging over the basalt cliff. You have a lot of choices when photographing this waterfall, there’s a spot right near the parking lot with a nice distant view of the falls through the forest, you can go right to the base of the falls with a clear (and maybe wet) view of the falls, or you can photograph it here as a view through the woods. I like them all. You can clearly see the yellow lichen that drew me to the falls, although from his high vantage point you can only see a bit of the columnar basalt that also caught my eye.

There are other choices too, such as the classic choice of horizontal or portrait orientation. I like the horizontal picture best for this shot, even though my framing choice leaves out most of the blue wildflowers (delphinium?) blooming below, as I liked the symmetry of the leaves at the top and bottom. With the waterfall I also had to choose a fast shutter speed or a slow shutter speed to either freeze or blur the movement of the water. I prefer some waterfalls one way or the other but I think this one looks good both ways. I prefer the frozen shot as it shows how the shapes the water takes change as it plunges down the long cliff face, and although the picture has more noise due to the much shorter exposure, modern cameras handle this amazingly well (in previous years I would have been more inclined for the slower exposure to minimize color noise).

But it’s the 4K video that really shines. It was hiking in the Columbia River Gorge many years ago that almost convinced me to buy a video camera, solely for the purpose of having long videos of mountain streams that I could play in the background. I’d really like to figure out if there’s an automated program that could find a good place to start and end a track so it would play naturally on an endless loop, as that’s what I’d really like, to be able to just loop the video on the TV and have endless hours of waterfalls as a soothing background.

A vertical view of Latourell Falls through the forest

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