Abiqua Falls · Abiqua Creek · Scotts Mills · Oregon · USA
Let's get the techy stuff out of the way: Two exposures here, one for the background with reflections polarized out, the other for the foreground with the reflections polarized in. I think us photographers (myself included) sometimes get lulled into the habit of minimizing waterborne reflections, but here it was the sinuous sheen and contours of the water gliding over the rocky streambed that really drew my eye to the scene, and without them I don't think this composition would have worked nearly as well.
On to the story: The days when the wonderland of Abiqua Fall's vast amphitheater was privy to but a few hardy individuals who first braved the slick and crumbly path down the namesake creek's ravine and wet-footed it up the stream have probably long been gone, but never was this more emphatically illustrated to me than on this 2015 Mother's Day when everybody and (wait for it...) their mother was there. I knew we were in for a bit of company when I, my mom (natch!), Dana, and Terence Lee endured the ever-worsening rocky and rutted road and drove past several high-clearance vehicles parked well before the unofficial trailhead, but I think we all were still caught off guard by the veritable carnival we encountered at the falls.
Such is the nature of things in this crazy, interconnected E-world we all occupy, I suppose, with photo-sharing sites, social networks, and online hiking and travel guides all conspiring to keep the notion of photographic exclusivity to the intrepid and envelope-pushing Marc Adamuses, Andrew Waddingtons, Mark Metterniches, and Erin Babniks of this world. But lest I make it sound like I haven't had a hand in this, I fully acknowledge that I do: More than a few people have inquired about Abiqua with me and how to access it, and truth be told I'm more than happy to help people out and share what I know. Other than making photography a bit more of a challenge--both in terms of originality (not a bad thing at all) and trying to keep human elements out of the scene (super eagle-eyed viewers will actually find a fisherman somewhere in this image...but much easier to see at high-res)--the only real downside to this is that it opens the door to the riffraff minority who don't share the same imperative to leave no trace of their presence behind.
But even then, there are few places I'd rather be, even if I might have to share it with 50-plus other people. Because while the majority of them were strangers, there was one amongst the crowd who not only gave me life, but gave me every chance in this rough-and-tumble world to succeed in it.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom. Thanks for being the most entertaining hiking partner a guy could ask for, caterpillar phobia and all.