Perhaps my favorite Central Oregon waterfall photo subject is Proxy Falls. It can be found off the McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway at the base of the "Deadhorse Grade" in the heart of the Willamette National Forest. The drive itself is spectacular, transiting massive lava fields with impressive views of the snow-capped "Three Sisters" mountains (traditionally named Faith, Hope and Charity.)
I've been to Proxy Falls multiple times and have enjoyed getting familiar with its intricacies. I make a specific point to visit it during each fall season due to the prolific color that bursts forth in the surrounding old-growth forest.
A particularly interesting aspect of these falls is that after tumbling the 226-foot height of the falls and finding its way through the rocks below, the water simply disappears into the porous lava of the narrow valley at its base. Having now photographed it multiple times, I feel "freed up" to explore new compositions and approaches.
This shot was taken while positioned within the fall outflow. I selected a narrow aperture (f/20) for depth of field, an ISO of 200 and a 2-second exposure to provide some texture to the flowing water. While the shot was taken after sunrise, the sun had not yet risen above the crest of the ridge of columnar basalt that forms the face which Proxy Creek "falls" down. The indirect light provided a nice glow to the water and green moss covering the dark lava boulders throughout the frame.
Satisfied that I had captured the image I envisioned, I hopped out of the creek and spent the rest of the early morning capturing dramatic images of the red, orange and yellow vine maple leaves seemingly ablaze in the forest around me. A beautiful morning indeed!
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor