If you have never been to the forests of Oregon, be prepared for some of the densest, darkest woods imaginable—something right out of Jurassic Park. These are old-growth forests with towering canopies. Even at high noon on a clear day, the forest floor receives only tiny amounts of diffused sunlight through the foliage above. This is all great news for photographers, since there is very little sunlight to cause problems of harsh light contrast during the day.
A thick hairy moss covers nearly everything on the ground, including most of the trunks and lower-level branches. Many of the saplings have been completely entombed in moss, standing now as lifeless skeletons for thick blankets of the stuff.
Highway 138 through Umpqua National Forest is the road we took west from Diamond Lake back to Interstate 5. Along that route runs the Umpqua River, with a complicated network of offshoot streams, as well as several waterfalls (marked and unmarked). The four of us (Ben, Lori, Leo, and I) visited a few of the most accessible waterfalls on our way “home” to Beaverton.
I had brought along several neutral-density (ND) filters for waterfall shots, but most were so dark, shrouded by the canopy above, that I never had to use one of them. The two or so stops offered by my polarizing filter were plenty for shutter times of four seconds or more, sometimes as much as fifteen seconds. The results are below.