Mossy Grotto Falls (Lower Ruckel Creek Falls) · Ruckel Creek · Columbia River Gorge · Bonneville · Oregon · USA
Redemption. A day after one of my more frustrating outings we returned to the eternal wonderland of Mossy Grotto Falls. The previous day’s aftertaste left me with lowered photographic expectations, and I set out just to enjoy the day for what it was: A quick but strenuous jaunt up and then a harrowing scramble down to a place of such intrinsic beauty you return to the car with bruises all over—not from falling (well, not necessarily from falling…) but from repeatedly having to pinch yourself to verify that no, you’re not dreaming, this place is indeed real.
Whether it was the neutral attitude going in or that the intrinsic beauty of the canyon makes it a near foolproof subject, I felt a certain peace and clarity with the environment and camera that I hadn’t really felt in months. This shot was my first composition of the falls that day and I think ultimately my favorite. As I tripped the shutter for the multiple exposures, I thought to myself this could be something unique and special if only I can bring it together in post-production. Sure enough, it took me hours upon hours to blend together the extremely high-contrast scene, particularly at the dendritic interface between tree and sky—a testament to the power of perception of the human eye if there ever was one. This proved to be by far my most labor-intensive piece to date, and coupled with the previous day’s misadventures, perhaps I hold the end result in higher esteem than might be warranted.
But regardless, I think it’s fun to look at while contemplating the feeling of falling up.