2021 was a banner year for fall foliage in Oregon, about town and out in the forests. I had been watching the trees slowly start to turn various shades of yellow, gold, red and orange as Fall slowly transitioned to Winter. I kept my camera batteries charged in anticipation of the peak color time, knowing I would want to jump out as soon as the color said it was the "right" time.
One morning I awoke to overcast and dark skies. The weather forecast for the coming days said that a storm was moving in with winds and rain, which I knew would knock the leaves off the trees, so if I was going to shoot, today was the day. There are many areas around Oregon and SW Washington that are great for Fall color, but on this day, I decided to head back to familiar ground in to the Columbia River Gorge.
I arrived in the Gorge about 7:00am, knowing that I had time before the sun rose above the surrounding mountains and before many of the leaf-peeping locals and tourists arrived. When I got there, I saw the mother-load of color in this location and knew I had timed it right. I had many of the waterfalls to myself and was able to spend as much time as I wanted to compose my autumn images.
I photographed all of the popular waterfalls surrounded by vibrant colors, but it was this shot that has really grown on me and is one of my favorites from the day. This is a small creek that runs below the road and is not evident to folks driving the old highway. There is a small pull out big enough for only one car, for those who know about this "secret" shot. I walked out on to the bridge and set up my tripod, only having to pick it up and move against the barrier a couple times to let cars pass. Down below the forest was a riot of color and texture! With my circular polarizer screwed on the lens (almost required in Oregon during the Fall) I shot this in both landscape and portrait orientation and would decide which I liked best when I got home. In the end, I chose the landscape orientation as the breadth of the forest really encompasses what it feels like to be in the Gorge in Autumn.
Alas though, this year, we are not having any Fall color in Oregon. With no appreciable rainfall since the summer, the trees are moving from green to brown quickly with no color in between. I will have to rely on last years images to scratch my itch for Fall colors.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor