The Waterfalls of Umpqua National Forest

Toketee Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon

Toketee Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. Two-shot vertical panorama, each at f/11, 1 sec, ISO 100, 50mm focal length.

If you have never been to the forests of Oregon, be prepared for some of the densest, darkest woods imaginable—something right out of Jurassic Park. These are old-growth forests with towering canopies. Even at high noon on a clear day, the forest floor receives only tiny amounts of diffused sunlight through the foliage above. This is all great news for photographers, since there is very little sunlight to cause problems of harsh light contrast during the day.

A thick hairy moss covers nearly everything on the ground, including most of the trunks and lower-level branches. Many of the saplings have been completely entombed in moss, standing now as lifeless skeletons for thick blankets of the stuff.

Highway 138 through Umpqua National Forest is the road we took west from Diamond Lake back to Interstate 5. Along that route runs the Umpqua River, with a complicated network of offshoot streams, as well as several waterfalls (marked and unmarked). The four of us (Ben, Lori, Leo, and I) visited a few of the most accessible waterfalls on our way “home” to Beaverton.

I had brought along several neutral-density (ND) filters for waterfall shots, but most were so dark, shrouded by the canopy above, that I never had to use one of them. The two or so stops offered by my polarizing filter were plenty for shutter times of four seconds or more, sometimes as much as fifteen seconds. The results are below.

Whitehorse Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon

Whitehorse Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. f/16, 5 sec, ISO 100, 17mm focal length.

Whitehorse Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon

Whitehorse Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. f/16, 4 sec, ISO 100, 17mm focal length.

Whitehorse Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon

Whitehorse Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. f/16, 3.2 sec, ISO 100, 17mm focal length.

Along Umpqua River, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon

Along Umpqua River, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. f/22, 0.4 sec, ISO 100, 183mm focal length.

Pots upstream of Toketee Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon

Pots upstream of Toketee Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. f/16, 5 sec, ISO 100, 32mm focal length.

Near Watson Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon

Near Watson Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. f/16, 13 sec, ISO 100, 41mm focal length.

Near Watson Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon

Near Watson Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. f/16, 10 sec, ISO 100, 17mm focal length.

Along Umpqua River, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon

Along Umpqua River, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. f/32, 0.6 sec, ISO 100, 175mm focal length.

  • Angela C - Buck! these are MAGNIFICENT. i love how they look 3D. i can imagine the water moving. great post!ReplyCancel

  • Gardner - Hi there!
    My name is Gardner and I’m the director of a museum here in the Umpqua Valley.
    We are running an ad in an upcoming issue of 1859 regarding the National Forest Service’s 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
    I saw your Whitehorse Falls shots and thought that this might be a good fit for the ad.
    Would you please contact me regarding if we could do so?

    Thanks!ReplyCancel

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