The Story

Ahhhh, the gorgeous landscape and waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge. Today was the first time since returning from Cambodia that I had a chance to get out and shoot the falls that I’d missed so much. Of all the places and things that I’ve shot in my life, nothing brings me more joy than the scenery of the Pacific Northwest. Nothing.

So, when I whimsically reached out to Brian Bonham and asked if he wanted to shoot a few falls with me just to dust the cobwebs off, he was game to join and a plan was formed. We didn’t have much of an agenda. I knew that Latourell Falls was open again after being closed for several months due to reconstructions so getting reacquainted with the place was in order. Before before that, we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls – a waterfall that I had never been to despite my numerous trips into the Gorge. Both places were splendid and perfectly devoid of people.

Now, anyone who has shot at this particular spot at Latourell Falls undoubtedly knows how easily the front of the lens gets saturated with water being cast off the falls, so a diligent routine has to be put in place. First, wipe the lens. Next, compose, focus and get your exposure settings. Wipe again. Turn on the two second delay while keeping the lens covered with a cloth. Press the shutter button. Count. One. Two. Remove the cloth and let the camera do its business.

It’s a frustrating process but when it works, you get to walk away with some pretty beautiful shots. No one said that landscape photography is easy. :)

In terms of processing

First off, getting the correct white balance was key here. I had my 105mm Sigma Circular Polarizer filter on to help cut the reflection but it also adds a slight blue cast to the image.

Next, I stylized in Perfect Effects 4 by onOne Software. I created my own custom Green Enhancer and masked it onto the appropriate areas. I also masked in a touch of Blue onto the water. Next, I applied Magic Ocean and a custom Tonal Contrast effect.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.3 RC.

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