I’ve been very busy with various other aspects of life lately (no shortage of outside time though!), but finally had the chance to get out to take some new photos. I spent the past week in Hawaii enjoying the warm reprieve from the Seattle “summer” with my parents (and got some images I’m very excited to share with you), but first I’ll share a few images from the waterfalls in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. I met up with my good friend and photographer Colleen to share a few beers and sangria, and in between laughs we even managed to take a few photos! This first one is a self portrait I took at the end of Oneonta Gorge, which is a fun but short walk (perhaps I should call it a “wade”, as you do get a bit wet) through a deep mossy green canyon. I was fascinated by the round red rocks found throughout the gorge, and made a little arrangement in the rapids below the falls to accent my (coincidentally) red shirt.

"Oneonta Falls, Self Portrait" ~ Columbia River Gorge, OR
The Tech: Canon 5D2, 16-35mm mkII, polarizer, tripod, remote
Exposure: iso 100, f/16, 1.6 sec

All throughout the gorge were lots of flowering Common Foxgloves (though I prefer one of it’s alternate names, Lady’s Glove). These beautiful pink flowers also have a variety of medical and scientific uses. When used in the appropriate dosage the cardiac glycosides digitoxin and digoxin present in the leaves, flowers, and seeds can be used to increase the strength of the heart beat, but eat just a little too much and it can be fatal. Also contained in these flowers is a steroid Digoxigenin, which is used as a molecular probe to detect DNA and RNA. You can of course go to the wikipedia article to learn more about both: Digitalis purpurea.

Common Foxglove

"Cover me with Kisses" ~ Columbia River Gorge, OR
The Tech: Canon 5D2, 100mm macro, polarizer, tripod, plamp
Exposure: iso 100, f/4, 1/13th sec

For me, the real interest in this particular flower was the sensual shape of subtle curves that (with much imagination) resemble the shape of a dancing woman, composed of flowers in the form of kissing lips. Apparently in describing my perhaps unique vision to Colleen I have forever tainted (in a positive way, I like to think) how she sees flowers. This is of critical concern to her, as she is in the business of photographing flowers, and has a book coming out later this year on photographing wildflowers in Arizona: Wild in Arizona. If you live in Arizona, or have plans to visit someday, I highly recommend putting this on your wishlist – the previews I’ve seen looked very helpful and informative.

Recently I have become fascinated with backlit greenery. Perhaps that’s a result of living in the pacific northwest; it seems like it’s our equivalent to the reflected light of the canyons in the southwest. Upon arriving at Ponytail Falls I was immediately drawn to a stand of (what I later learned was) Devil’s Club. These broad leafed plants are covered in sharp (and mildly poisonous) spines, which made working in close quarters with them a little tricky.

Ponytail Falls in the Columbia River Gorge

"Secret Paradise" ~ Columbia River Gorge, OR
The Tech: Canon 5D2, 16-35mm mkII, polarizer, tripod, plamp
Exposure: iso 100, f/18, 0.5 sec

Processing: I used selective masks to increase the luminance of the leaves relative to the background

7 Comments to “Waterfall Paradise : Columbia River Gorge”

  1. Excellent blog and awesome pictures Floris.
    Maybe the first one, the self portrait with he waterfall, needed you wore another t-Shirt color (yellow for instance) but the shapness and the color saturation is simply astonishing.

    Greetings from Catalonia (Spain)

  2. Ben Glatt says:

    Wonderful images. Very unique. Love the shot of the foxgloves and all the interesting background info.

  3. Great pics, Floris! And yes, you’ve certainly swayed how I see flowers forever. Who knew photographing them could be so entertaining? Thanks for the laughs then and now! And for the plug for our upcoming book too. Keep up the inspiring work! ~Colleen

  4. Thanks folks!

    Daniel – a yellow shirt would indeed have stood out more, however, I do like the color matching between the rocks and the red in the shirt.

  5. Jim says:


    Inspiring images! I’m particularly impressed with the sharpness and the depth of field on the flowers with f/4. Makes me want to plan a trip to the Great Northwest. I always look forward to your images!

  6. Boyan says:

    When does the water level drop low enough to make it safe to wade? Besides being bitterly cold, I would imagine that the water level prior to June may make it difficult if not impossible to reach the falls.

  7. It depends on how much you like to swim! There are no strong currents in Oneonta. When I went I managed to only get my calves wet by clinging to the gorge walls through the deep part. The guy after me slipped in and was in to his chest, along with his camera bag.