Proxy Falls from Two Perspectives

My first trip to Proxy Falls occurred in late June, fresh after the heavy rains of Spring. The trailhead is directly on highway 242 in the Oregon Cascades so you can’t miss it. The trail is short and sweet, winding through lava fields and lush forest. You come upon the falls at elevation and from a distance, staring straight into its face. The gorgeous waterfall, arguably Oregon’s finest, divides itself into two distinct cascading sections before converging into a creek below. I donned my water shoes and approached the falls from the creek. The intensity of the spray forced me along the right bank where I traveled up to the face of the most beautiful section without a drop of water coming my way. It was amazing to witness such a powerful spray directed in such a predictable fashion. Proxy Falls can be a difficult subject to photograph when the afternoon light strikes the falls. On this occasion, I was lucky to have the rare treat of a splendid rainbow perched directly over my subject. The resultant image is one of my best, “Proxy Falls Rainbow”.

After feeling good about the shoot, I headed to the bottom and attempted to brave the spray. It was just too intense, I couldn’t get the image I wanted without drenching my camera. It was right then and there that I knew I had a scheduled art show in Bend in September and I would revisit the falls then.

Fast forward two months and I found myself approaching the falls once again. This time with the added bonus of gorgeous fall color. See my previous blog post for more on the vine maples of the Oregon Cascades. The spray was, let’s just say less intense, but still a major issue. I wasn’t going to leave without the image I had envisioned, and used the wipe and shoot technique to photograph Proxy Falls from below.

A couple of notes on this image:

I used the viewfinder to frame the scene and find the ideal polarization. From there I switched to live view to focus. Using a remote trigger, I fired off shots in burst mode while periodically wiping the lens with a microfiber cloth. In the many frames that result from this technique you are bound to have images without spray. Another possible option would be to combine multiple images in Photoshop and simple mask the water droplets with frames that were free of droplets in those particular locations. I was lucky enough to have a frame come out just the way I wanted without further processing needed.

I highly recommend a visit to Proxy Falls, my favorite waterfall in the cascade rich state of Oregon.

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