Monday, December 7, 2015

Return of Waterfall Friday

Last spring I discovered my very favorite waterfall.  It took a bit of detective work and a lot of scrambling, but I was able to find and photograph spectacular Panther Creek Falls.  The only drawback - I'd picked a partially sunny day for my visit, and the cascade was in partial sun - not ideal photographic conditions.  Right then and there I vowed to return on a cloudy day, preferably when autumn colors were at their peak.

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.

Cascade close-up

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!

Rain-speckled leaf

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.


  1. What a glorious post the waterfalls and autumn colours are stunning.

  2. Beautiful captures of the falls and trails.
    Great post!

  3. Waterfalls and autumn scenes. Beautiful!

  4. Oh my! What fabulous shots.

  5. What a wonderful looking place - the combination of waterfalls and colours is great.

    I have to say the walk up Mt. Gower was one of the best day walks I have done - even in the rain!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  6. Love all the waterfalls and the trails you wandered.
    Great post!
    (I left a prior comment but it showed error, so I'm trying again)

  7. Lovely photos Linda! The work it took to get into there was well worth it. Thank you for sharing a piece of your autumn with us.

  8. Good morning, your images are always spectacular. Gorgeous series on the waterfalls, trail and the beautiful leaves. Fantastic post. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  9. Well, i can certainly understand how that's your favourite waterfalls! It's amazingly beautiful divided into all those streams of water. And you do an amazing job of getting yourself in there with a tripod to get the pictures too! Inspiring.

  10. Ah! How I wish I lived closer to a few waterfalls! I must plan to take some day trips to a few this coming spring and/or fall. I'd love to take waterfall photos as beautiful as yours here.

  11. You are SO right that is a perfect waterfall to photograph! I am totally jealous but must say even your non waterfall shots are spectacular! So wish I lived closer! :)

  12. What a special day on the trail! It's amazing what the lure of a good angle will entice a photographer to do!

    Looking forward to your trip photos, I KNOW they will be fabulous!

  13. Love all your fall color and like you I am a waterfall junkie. I would have spent the whole day there if possible.

  14. Awesome photos of some complicated falls.

  15. If you ever decide to go to Iceland, you'd be in waterfall heaven!

    1. Now that sounds like a vacation I could get behind.

  16. What a fabulous hike both for water and fall colors. You would have had to rope me to you so I wouldn't break my neck and go cascading with the water!

  17. Soooo awesome, Linda! I love these falls. You were lucky to go on such a great day!

  18. Beautiful waterfalls. Having an outdoor destination at weekends to make the heart beat faster and the mind sparkle in anticipation is what life is all about.

  19. As expected, fabulous pictures! Such a plethora of waterfalls, I was ecstatic to see them all. :-)

  20. Your images blew me away. What a gorgeous waterfall! Great to know you had the chance to photograph in ideal conditions. Cheers!

  21. Que maravilha belas fotografias.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

  22. Very pretty! I live next to a miniature of this...

  23. Incredible images, especially the waterfalls. Very magical!

  24. AW, been looking for a blog like this! Thank God i found it! :P These are really cool images you got!

  25. breathtaking -- I would be so thrilled to hang out with you and learn a few things or so... I just can't decide which shot I like best.. all perfect in my eyes.!!!!!!

  26. I keep saying to my friends, we can't let the weather forecast stop our plans. Your hike here is a perfect example of this. Truly beautiful photography, as always.

  27. Wow! Amaing falls and the Autumn colours are gorgeous. Well worth the effort to take these photos.

  28. What a fantastically beautiful waterfall - great shots of it!

  29. Linda, these are amazing. I could learn a lot about photographing waterfalls from you! It looks like autumn is a great time to hike to these two waterfalls. Not only the falls to photograph, but all the fall colors, too.

  30. The waterfall photos almost seem surreal... I wish my computer was up and running, even an iPad doesn't do the justice...

  31. Hi! Nice collection of beautiful waterfalls! I felt your dream came true to take perfect waterfall shots and autumn color scenery ones. Thanks for sharing.

  32. What incredibly amazing photos! You've captured each of them so beautifully -I can't decide which one I like best. Thank you for sharing such beauty with us at Photo Friday!

  33. I've heard of both of these falls, but am going to have to look them up to see where they are.
    Beautiful shots.
    Another beautiful waterfall is Butte Creek falls just out of Scotts Mill.

  34. Wow, these are spectacular shots. I enjoyed these very much - the waterfalls are just stunning.

  35. Such an amazing water falls, and love the shutter speed you did on these. Beautiful shots in a beautiful spot

  36. Lovely!! I love waterfalls, would love to get the opportunity to photograph waterfalls some time. I love longer exposure photos of flowing water.

  37. Stunning photos of Panther Creek Falls (Upper and Lower and both)! Good job.

  38. Wow, the waterfalls are stunning! I love the green moss and the colourful autumn leaves.

  39. I can't believe I've never asked you, but what tripod are you lugging around? I'm looking for something lighter that I won't mind taking along for situations like these. Shoot me an email please!! Gorgeous waterfall shots, as usual.


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