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Behind the Lens: "Tamanawas Falls"

Finding unexpected beauty in less than ideal conditions.

By: Jason Hatfield + Save to a List

Why did you take this photo?

I captured this image in early spring of 2014 at Tamanawas Falls just as the snow was starting to melt around the falls. I was initially kind of disappointed in the conditions when I arrived. The trail was really icy and snow covered but I wasn't expecting the falls to be so covered as well. I was debating whether I wanted to deal with getting my gear out to shoot in the rain when I saw the two large chunks of ice almost right in the falls. I knew then there was a compelling shot to be found but it wasn't until I saw it on the computer that I realized how unique and incredible the capture really was.

How did you capture the scene?

I took this shot in the afternoon after a morning of trail running in the Columbia River Gorge. I was on my way to Smith Rock State Park and decided to stop for a short hike after seeing a signpost for the falls. It was really overcast when I arrived and the clouds were spitting the occasional rain at me, perfect for waterfalls!  I shot this with a Sony a7R and Zeiss 16-35mm f/2.8 lens. The sky was thick with clouds so I didn't need much to get a long exposure, just a circular polarizing filter, which I spent more time cleaning off rain and mist from than actually shooting with.

What kind of processing did you do?

I edited this image completely in Adobe Lightroom. I processed the shot for greater contrast and a more natural white balance to keep the water or ice from appearing too blue. I made a small increase to overall image saturation as well as small increases to the green/yellow saturation to help the moss and lichen stand out more.

Photography Advice:

Always keep an open mind when photographing a new location. Depending on the time of year it might not look anything like other photos you've seen but you could actually end up with a much more dynamic image as a result.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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