Oneonta Gorge, Multnomah and Latourell Falls Photography
The first waterfall on the list is Latourell falls, which is located around a 40 minutes’ drive from Portland. It is an easy to approach waterfall with a small trail leading directly to it. The waterfall is rather tall and with the beautiful basalt rocks on both sides, you get that feeling of something rough and ancient. There are some opportunities for different compositions, but the weather can make it hard, which it did for me with a lot of wind blowing all the water vapor around. This waterfall is turned towards north, which means you will have to visit it early or late in the day to get it lit by the sun. You’ll need a rather wide angle lens to capture the entire waterfall in one shot.
The next waterfall on the list was the world famous Multnomah Falls. I have seen pictures of this place even before I started photographing. The location in my opinion has a very Asian look to it, so I was quite surprised it was located just out of Portland and not high in the mountains within China or Japan. It is safe to say that this double fall is also the most famous in the entire area. The falls are very easy to approach since it’s a big tourist area next to the historic highway.
When we visited Multnomah falls was both a huge experience but also quite frustrating. You may ask why and the answer is because of one single bush. The bush has its branches placed directly in the angle where the two waterfalls line up with the bridge, so you cannot really get the most obvious shot there. Since we visited in November 2016 the bush has been cut down. Multnomah Falls are still a beautiful place. As in really, really beautiful – the bridge in combination with the waterfalls makes the pictures look something out of a fairytale. We got some very beautiful and moody shots, but I have also seen some gorgeous shots from when the fall colors peak!
Further up the historic highway, you’ll find Oneonta Gorge. To get to the gorge park the car and approach the bridge by following the historic highway towards the Oneonta tunnel, do not walk up the hiking trails as we did, to begin with. When you’re at the bridge follow the stair down to the stream. Dependent on the amount of water you’ll have to be careful here – it’s all easier to approach if you bring some wellingtons. When we were there in November 2016 a huge dam of logs had piled up and blocked the way into the gorge. The dam had created a small pond on the other side, which was around a couple of meters deep. I did get up onto the dam and got a few shots into the gorge, but of all the places I’ve been as a landscape photographer I felt that place to be the most unsafe – and that’s considered I’ve stood on the outermost cliffs of some of the largest waterfalls in Europe. The logs were very slippery and you had to look carefully where you placed your arms for support since some logs were just floating freely in the water. If you put your weight on those, you would just fall into the water and have a hard time getting up again. In this case, a telezoom lens will benefit you a lot since you can’t get too close.
If the dam is passable, you can find Lower Oneonta Falls through the gorge.