Abiqua Falls · Abiqua Creek · Scotts Mills · Oregon · USA
Photographs can lie; this image is proof of that. Beyond the edges of the frame, a calvacade of weekend revelers and yappy dogs incessantly streamed in and out of Abiqua's increasingly crowded amphitheater. Young girls in bathing suits pranced about while their XY counterparts of all ages flung rock after rock into the plunge pool, trying in vain to hit the distant basalt walls behind the falls. One ambitious (and regrettably ample and shirtless) gentleman even crept around the right side of the shoreline behind the cataract, dove in, and proceeded to swim the length of the frigid pool back to the hordes waiting for him on the shores of the stony beach downstream.
Anymore, a weekend visit to Abiqua is the farthest thing from the peaceful retreat it once was just a couple years ago and beyond. I don't begrudge it's popularity, though...to do so would be incredibly hypocritical of me--after all, I and talented Seattle-based photographer and incredibly amicable gentleman Irfan Soomro were there in the midst of it all, too. In fact, for me, it was my third weekend there in a row, owing to a series of requests by out-of-towners wanting to visit the spectacular waterfall with me after my mom had chosen it as her Mother's Day destination of choice. And while I might have drawn the line at a fourth week in a row had it come up, please don't take this telling with any air of boredom or exasperation with Abiqua herself at all. It's always a fun and rewarding challenge to try to present a familiar (and undeniably beautiful) face in a different light, and above all it's an incredible compliment and privilege to be asked by far-flung visitors to show them around my 'neighborhood.'
To get this particular take, I took my camera off the tripod entirely in order to get the super-low angle needed to fully capture Abiqua and her reflection in a shallow pool just inside the lip of the shoreline. All thoughts of trying to do a focus stack or maximally polarizing in the reflection were abandoned since both the focus ring and circular polarizer on the lens were resting on the pebbles, and twisting them would have shifted the camera unacceptably. So I made do with a shallow-depth-of-field effect, opening up the aperture as far as it would go, and I spent the single 1-minute total exposure tuning out all the man-and dog-made background noise, training my eyes upon the thundering column of water, and reminding myself why I just can't resist coming back to see her.