Sunday, May 18, 2014

Blending Blue and Green

The McKenzie River flows past lava fields, dropping over waterfalls and forming the rainbows of my last post.  As it continues downstream, it sinks into the lava, eventually disappearing from the surface for a while, re-emerging in a stunning jewel called Blue Pool.

This very deep, very clear pool rises from the rock and reforms itself into a surface river.

Once on the surface again, it resumes its mad dash west toward the Willamette.

Monday, May 12, 2014


The McKenzie River rises high in the Cascades between Eugene and Bend.It runs south, then west to the Willamette.  On the southbound leg, it reaches a lava flow from Belknap Crater.  The lava flow forces the river into a series of precipitous drops including Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls.

In past years I have photographed this area from the east side of the river.  I decided it was time to check out the other side.  I knew it would be a challenge to photograph.  The sun was strong on the white water, while the forest, wet and cooled by the spray and spring rains was in deep shadow.

The upper falls is Sahalie.  The river splits in two, then drops about 70 feet into the gorge.

I was delighted to find that, with the sun at my back, the mist formed a rainbow.

About a mile to the south, the second major falls is Koosah.

There was a rainbow here too - no, make that a double rainbow.

Well worth a two mile hike...

Friday, May 9, 2014


Six months in arid lands, and now I am once again home in Oregon.  At the moment, I am at the Delta campground, staying under old growth forest between the South Fork of the McKenzie River and the McKenzie River.  It has been raining for two days, and it will be another two days before the rain stops.  That's ok.

When photographers use darkroom techniques to intensify colors, either digitally or chemically, that is called saturation.  In this case, nature has saturated this area, and the intensity of the green is incredible.

First, right outside my door, ferns three feet tall border moss-covered wood.

Heading off on a short hike, I was impressed by the five foot diameter trees that are quite common here.

Streams are filtered by the forest, so the water runs clear.  Back east, after this much rain, most streams would be brown.

The trail continues, passing ferns and moss-draped giants.

So - which trail would YOU take?

I followed the nice, flat, wide trail on the right, but looking at the top surface of the fallen tree where the moss that should be there is not, I am sure that a lot of kids choose the long, cylindrical wooden platform provided by nature.