I cannot think of a better way to start a new year of one’s life that to leave town at 0545 – still dark – and drive up the McKenzie River corridor with a goal in mind of photographing Proxy Falls.  Such was the start of my morning.  Driving early I was met with nearly empty roads and a completely empty parking lot.  I loaded up the camera gear and started up the trail for the approximately 20 minute hike into the base of the falls.  I have seen the image below many times as I hiked the trail and I think I have tried to photograph it with little or no success but today I finally saw it in Black and White and that seemed to make all the difference to me.

Root_ball_BWI repacked the camera and headed up the trail when I heard this flurry of wings beside me and a bird – that I have come to understand is a Common Nighthawk (thank you Sally Hill)  – landed right in the middle of the trail in front of me.  It is so well camouflaged – can you find it? – and it just froze as I went about unpacking gear and changing lenses.  The second shot below is after it had flown to a nearby branch and again I was struck with the great camouflage.

Common_nighthawk1Common_nighthawk_branchI had been thinking about the images of Proxy Falls that I wanted to capture on this outing and the main one was a panorama of the whole falls within the deep basin it resides.  I think I got what I came for with the shot below.  Click on the image to get a larger view.  (This is 4 images taken in a portrait orientation and stitched together in Photoshop CS6)

Proxy_Falls_panoTo reassure myself that I got what I wanted I took various combinations but I think the one above best defines the falls.  I moved on to shooting the detail that I find so interesting in not only this waterfall but many that I shoot.  The three images below are of the detail in the waterfall and the outlet stream.

Proxy_Falls_detail2 Proxy_Falls_detail

Submerged_leaf

Going as early as I did found me in the basin with soft light that seemed perfect for waterfalls.  I shot for about an hour and 1/2 and the light started to get a lot harsher – sun was coming up.  I packed up to leave and turned around to find another photographer just coming into the scene.  We chatted, exchanged cards and wished each other well.  I hope that he got what he came for because he was from New York – a teacher out here on summer break.  Sure fun to chat with another photographer who is passionate about the craft and willing to do the work.

Finally to all of you who sent along birthday wishes I send my heartfelt thanks.  It has been a great day so far and your messages helped top it off.  I am now headed off to make the marinade of a chicken BBQ dinner.  Yumm.

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