|Panther Creek Falls|
One Friday in mid-October, I got my chance. A last-minute cancellation of my hiking partner, (scared off by a rainy forecast) meant I needed a plan B. Pondering rainy-day destinations, I realized this cloudy, rainy day was perfect for waterfall photography. And I had the just the waterfall!
|The entire waterfall|
I got up early, hoping to not only beat the traffic, but also the predicted rainfall. Arriving at the roadside gravel pull-out opposite Panther Creek, I wasted no time scrambling down it's steep bank to reach the upper falls.
|The churning creek below|
An overcast, cloudy day, the light was perfect! And there was just a touch of orange autumn color at the upper fall's very top.
Panther Creek Falls is unique. Instead of one main water stream, it's flow is split into many tiny capillaries, fanning down the face of a steep, basalt cliff. The multitude of small streams make graceful patterns across the rock. Bright green mosses are plentiful, adding a color boost to an already lovely forest scene.
|Mossy fallen logs|
I hung out at the Upper Falls base area for a good two hours, taking my time, trying to capture this waterfall from every conceivable angle.
|A splash of fall color near the top|
It was a tough, steep scramble down a very rugged route (I wouldn't even call it trail) to reach this lovely waterfall, and I was going to make the most of it.
|Lower Panther Creek Falls|
I debated whether to attempt another scramble down to the lower falls. The route to reach it was even more dicey. But in the end, photographic desire won out. Inching along a narrow ledge, I spied such a fabulous view of the lower falls, I set up my tripod right on the ledge and captured the above image.
|Upper and lower falls|
Lower Panther Creek Falls was gushing mightily. Positioning myself as the very edge of it's raging creek, I was able to capture both the lower and upper falls in one frame - just barely!
There was a heavy mist blowing off the lower falls, making up close photographs difficult. It did, however, coat everything with a delightful dusting of water droplets.
|The lovely Lower Falls|
The splash pool at Lower Panther Creek Falls base area was a unique bright blue color.
|Blue splash pool below Lower Falls|
Finishing up at the lower falls, it was barely noon. The predicted rain hadn't yet arrived. I had time for another quick hike.....hmmm....Falls Creek Falls was just up the road.
|Fall color reflections on Falls Creek|
After a small amount of debating, I decided to go check it out. Last spring, bright sunshine had stymied my attempts to capture this grand waterfall. No such problem today!
|Spectacular fall colors on Falls Creek Trail|
Pulling into Falls Creek parking area, I realized I'd hit the autumn color jackpot. The surrounding forest was a sea of bright yellows and oranges.
|Another great view of Falls Creek|
Heading down the trail, it just got better. Bright yellow leaves lined scenic little Falls Creek. So much lovely scenery. I kept stopping to take photographs - at this rate it would take me forever to reach the falls!
|Gorgeous Falls Creek Falls|
It's only a short 1.7 mile romp until Falls Creek Falls comes into view. A tall two-tiered beauty, it's upper fan spreads across a 70-foot cliff before it's lower cascade drops 80 feet into a lovely rock-lined bowl.
|Vine maple beauty|
A short hike to such a stunning waterfall does draw the crowds, and there were plenty of people perched on the opposite side of the canyon taking in the view. Happily, everyone was most accommodating of me and my tripod and didn't mind moving.
|More lovely autumn hues|
After getting skunked by bright sunlight last spring, the cloudy skies couldn't have been more perfect for capturing this waterfall. The overcast conditions were also perfect for photographing the abundance of autumn finery lining this trail.
|Majestic trees line Falls Creek Trail|
About the time I was wrapping up my photo shoot at the waterfall overlook, raindrops began to sprinkle the ground. My good fortune of a dry day was coming to an end. Time to head back to the car.
|Explosion of yellow|
Peak fall colors, gorgeous waterfalls, perfect high overcast light. These are the things we landscape photographers dream of. Another successful day in the great Pacific Northwest!
P.S. I know you've all been patiently waiting, and the time has finally come. Next post, I'll begin recaps of my southern Utah/northern Arizona National Parks trip. It'll be a spectacular series - I promise!
Sharing with: Through My Lens and Our World Tuesday and Photo Friday.