|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.
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.
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.
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).
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.