Five on One
Upper Butte Creek Falls · Butte Creek · Scotts Mills · Oregon · USA
Upper Butte Creek Falls is quickly becoming a local favorite of mine. Sure, it may not possess the intricate grace or complexity of Ramona or Fairy Falls or the sheer thundering wow-power of Falls Creek Falls, but the compositional options seem endless when you factor in the variance of seasonal flow, the shifting streams of spotlit mist as the sun tracks across the sky at different times of day and year, the presence of seasonal vine and bigleaf maple framing the falls, and the wide basin serving as its plunge pool that invites exploration to varying degrees of wet feet.
I had the falls all to myself on this particular Monday morning, so I took some time looking at the area from every angle. Here, I opted for a head-on view, emulating a comp I tried two or three years earlier that ultimately failed due to my ignorance of focus-stacking at the time. I think for the most part I managed to redeem myself, but my one regret was that the 30-second exposure I made for the foreground didn't smooth out the plunge pool as much as I would have liked, and by the time I finished a 5-minute black-glass exposure, the direct light on the foliage above the falls had moved on and attenuated the aureate reflection I wanted to keep. Maybe next time. Of note, the caramel sheen you see here is caused by silt-covered algae covering the rocks below the water's surface.