Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Silver Falls Autumn Photo Extravaganza

Who's a fan of fall colors?  And who doesn't love waterfalls?  Together these two create breathtaking subjects for photographers everywhere.  The best place to capture such scenes - Oregon's lovely Silver Falls State Park.  When mid-October weather turns the leaves orange and gold, I plan my annual autumn photo extravaganza.

Oodles of colorful leaves

My neighbor Cheri is an amazing photographer.  I've admired her work for years.  We've always talked about getting together for a photo shoot, but our schedules never aligned.  Then I invited her to join me on my yearly Silver Falls autumn trip and happily, she accepted.

Lone leaf

Our chosen day arrived, cloudy and rainy.  Although Cheri had her doubts about avoiding the showers, I was happy as a clam.  Overcast wet weather makes for perfect waterfall photography conditions.

Scenic footbridge

Waterfall lovers, Silver Falls State Park is the place for you!  Boasting ten magnificent cascades, a 7-mile loop takes you past each one (and even behind some of them).  Not only that, the trail winds through beautiful, mossy old-growth forests.  A true gem of the Oregon state park system, this lovely area attracts visitors far and wide.

Path to South Falls

Being photographers, Cheri and I are both used to early morning starts.  Arriving at the park a half hour before it's 8 am opening, we busied ourselves with a quick shakedown photo session near North Falls Trailhead.  Cheri showed me some custom landscape settings on my camera and then we both unfurled tripods and got to work, capturing a few images of lovely Silver Creek.

South Falls

Arriving at the South Falls parking area, we'd barely left my car when both of us became distracted by some vibrant red vine maple leaves lining the parking lot.  Then Cheri spotted a scenic footbridge near the bathrooms.  Too many beautiful subjects!

South Falls again

But never fear.....we didn't forget our objective.  After a small delay, Cheri and I arrived at the viewpoint overlooking our first subject - mighty South Falls.  Dropping 177 feet off a basalt cliff into a forested pond below, this grand cascade was surrounded by vibrant yellows and greens.

Cool mossy tree

Naturally, a small shower greeted us upon our arrival.  I tried to trip the shutter while balancing an umbrella over my tripod, while Cheri, wiser and more experienced, simply placed a plastic cover over her camera and lens.  (I need to bookmark this tip for the next rainy day!)

Lower South Falls

After a lengthy session capturing South Falls and the beautiful, mossy forest that surrounds it, we decided to trek the half mile to check out Lower South Falls.  Cheri headed straight for the waterfall, while I sauntered through the forest, capturing the creek and it's spectacular autumn scenery.

My fave view of Lower South Falls

Finally arriving at Lower South Falls, I spotted Cheri near it's base.  The trail here leads visitors directly behind this waterfall's white curtain.  I followed Cheri to the opposite side, where I pointed out my favorite photography spot.  It was here that I captured this image that won second place in a local photo contest.

More mossy loveliness

Dodging raindrops and waterfall spray, we proceeded to capture this beautiful cascade from every conceivable angle.  I even slipped in a few shots of the creek below lined with moss-covered trees.

Backlit yellow leaves

Although I was up for hiking to more waterfalls, Cheri was ready to return.  So we retraced our steps back to South Falls.  Trekking back out of the canyon, I spied one more nice view of this regal cascade.  Too lazy to put up my tripod, I instead used a fast shutter speed to capture it's rushing water hurtling over the cliff.

South Falls - with a fast shutter speed

And I also caught a group of hikers admiring the view.

Lots of admirers

Our path to the parking lot took us past rustic Silver Falls Lodge, where I couldn't resist just a few more pics of this impressive structure lined with autumn's finest color.  (I'm sure I capture this same image every year!)

Silver Falls Lodge

Since North Falls and it's parking area were on our way out of the park, we decided to make a quick stop.

Behind North Falls

Only a quarter mile from the parking lot, Cheri was up for checking out this one final waterfall.  And we were both glad we did!  Situated in a beautiful green canyon, North Falls shot out of a crevice, dropping 136 feet into a rocky splash pool.  The trail took visitors into a huge cavern behind the falls, providing unique views of this churning cascade (plus shelter from the rain).

North Falls

Following the trail around to the opposite side of North Falls provided one final photo op of the white water washing over the rocks below.  The autumn colors in this canyon were especially nice.  Both Cheri and I agreed this was our favorite waterfall of all.

Cheri in her element

On our way out, Cheri stopped to capture the creek above North Falls.  The leaf-covered creek banks and white rapids were especially scenic.  Some final images to end what had been a wonderful (although sometimes rainy) day of photography.

Beautiful creek above North Falls

So much fun to share the day with someone who loves photography as much as I do!  And I was honored to shadow such a great photographer.  Hope some of Cheri's talent rubs off on me!  :) 

Great day with a fellow photographer!

Cheri specializes in bird and wildlife photography (every image she produces is amazing!)  To see more of Cheri's work, please visit her website here.


  1. Would liked to have seen the rest of that trail. Seven miles of more glorious sights would be like manna from heaven.Your photos are majestic. I would love to visit your part of the world. Who knows, maybe one day.

  2. Love your long exposure shots of the waterfalls. Amazing deep nature that is just relaxing and soothing. It's nice to see other hikers along the way as well.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  3. ...those falls are gorgeous.

  4. Hello, if I am ever in Oregon again, this park and seeing the waterfalls will be on my list on places to visit. Your photos are lovely. Beautiful waterfalls. The third photo down is a favorite too, very pretty. Thanks for sharing your visit. enjoy your day!

  5. I think this photo extravaganza is the best I've seen of this year's fall colors. And those waterfalls are incredible. Thank you so much for sharing these with me, Linda. :-)

  6. Amazing waterfalls, autumn and photography! Thanks for the link to Cheri's brilliant photography. Another blog to prevent me from getting chores done

  7. Wow, what a cool hike! I definitely need to add this one to my list!

  8. Yes, fall colors and waterfalls, they're perfect together. You got some great shots here!

  9. Lovely elegant waterfalls there with a single cascade. Must be the rock type as ours are rarely that compact- more spread out into random sized fingers wherever the water finds a weakness. Had a look at your friends wildlife photography. Excellent range of pin sharp images over a wide selection of subjects.

  10. Me me me! I'm a fan of fall colours and waterfalls. And your photos! Which are always beautiful. What a gorgeous area.

  11. Amazing walk through Silver Creek Falls. So pretty and the colors look great too. I popped over to Cheri's site and enjoyed her solar eclipse photos! Glad you had fun with your photographer friend. Happy trekking!

  12. Great set of colours - got to love a waterfall.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  13. Waterfalls and fall color go perfect together. Gorgeous images, Linda!

  14. Waterfalls! Just love 'em!

  15. Awesome photos despite the rain! I bet the crowds weren't too bad thanks to the rain.

  16. Fabulous waterfall shots, as always!

  17. Both beautiful autumn colors and waterfalls. I'd love to visit that lodge!

  18. Oh my, breathtaking Linda! You have such wonderful photography skills!

  19. Hello Linda,
    this is the autumn of its most beautiful side, plus the great waterfall
    a perfect day
    Greetings Frank

  20. Ohh how wonderful for you both to share your passion & knowledge. Such a scenic walk. The waterfall photos are spectacular.

  21. Those waterfalls are beautiful! I have two tripods, one I wrapped with the grey stuff that you use to insulate pipes with and then I hold it on with some vet wrap...makes it much warmer to lug around on a cold day. I have a plastic bag in my camera bag...you deal with more rain that I do...and take way more beautiful photos:)

  22. What a super hike this must be. I didn't know there were that many different waterfalls in the area. I've only visited a few along the trip to the OR coast. - They are beautiful. How fun to take the hike with a fellow friend and photographer. Your pictures were wonderful. I'll be sure to check out the link to your friends sight as well.

  23. What a beautiful place to rest and relax!No words to express the beauty of the place.

  24. Wow! Do you ever stop going to incredible places? Love the shining bridge and the waterfall.


Don't be shy! Please leave a comment.