Abiqua Falls · Abiqua Creek · Scotts Mills · Oregon · USA
A week after joining the circus at Abiqua on Mother's Day, I had no idea I'd be back at it here again quite so soon. But here I was...and happy to be. As I've commented in my other recent images from here, Abiqua always shows a subtly different face to me each time I visit, and the weather and light are constantly changing variables that are worth capturing if the spirit and moment sufficiently move me. Compositionally this admittedly isn't much different from my much earlier portrait-oriented piece "Ready for the Fall", but the light and resulting mood on this occasion were pretty special, with the mid-afternoon sun breaking through the rim of trees above the amphitheater just enough to illuminate a swath of the plunge pool and the small collection of bubbles swirling lazily therein.
But above all, it's evidence that Abiqua has become a major draw...and a bigger and bigger one as time goes on, not just for photographers like me but for families and people of all ages who can withstand the initial ligament-straining descent down to the gentler creekside trail. And on this day I had the privilege of accompanying photographers Susan Holt and Rob Redziniak, who felt the pull of Abiqua from over 500 miles away and managed to squeeze in a visit at the tail end of their packed Pacific Northwest road trip. I was thankful and honored they tabbed me to accompany them on their last day in the area before beating a path along the coast and then back to the comforts of their Sacramento-area home. They'd apparently had some pretty terrific luck shooting the Columbia River Gorge throughout the week and at odd hours of the day, because while the crowd at Abiqua on this day was perhaps a mere third the size of the one I'd encountered a week before, Susan remarked that she'd never seen so many people on any of their previous hikes. But we persisted, trudging through bone-chilling water and outlasting the majority of the crowd before Rob and Susan headed for the coast and I struck out for home to prepare for another grinding work week.
In the end I think they got the shots they wanted, and I think I got mine: a simple and centered composition to help convey a sense of balance. Perhaps it's a subliminal commentary on the disconcerting direction life's taken as of late that I seem to be gravitating more towards capturing scenes of simplicity and equilibrium in favor of incorporating the compositional tension and asymmetry I slavishly use to think were vital in attracting people's attention. Or maybe I'm feeling like such fleeting glances are a bit too much like candy...transiently gratifying but ultimately just empty and unsatisfying calories. Garnering attention...well, there's nothing wrong with that, I suppose. Even the shyest of us likes and even needs it sometimes. But I try to strive for something different with my work...something more...to not only grab the attention but to hold it and forge it into a connection on some deeper level. Something that stands a chance to resonate long after the image has left your field of vision.
And truth be told, maybe it's not all that subliminal at all.