April 28 thru May 1st 2011 – I drove down directly from work Thursday evening, I arrived at the Windmill Hotel I-5 exit 125 around 6:30pm. The room was nice but located right next to the stairs. Time will tell if this will be a noisy place. I had my Nikon D700 body, 50f1.4, 105f2.8 Macro, and my 24-70f2.8 lens.
I left the Windmill early friday morning the 29th around 7:30. The weather did not look very nice but as long as it didn’t rain too much I would be ok. On the way out Hwy 138 I noticed an Abby’s Famous Pizza restaurant, I thought to myself I might just have to visit.
1st Stop – Colliding Rivers Viewpoint – It was wet and gloomy. There is a fairly large island like boulder sitting in the middle where the two rivers collide, The water was swift but the only spot where any really exciting water action was happening was in the middle where the two rivers met. I was able to find a spot to the left of the viewpoint on a small path that offered a good vantage point. I took several pictures from there. I also explored down under the bridge and along the bank but I didn’t have a long enough lens and the vantage point wasn’t as good. After getting back in my car I went back over the bridge to see if I could find a better location that looked straight at one of the rivers. I did find a turnout right on the west side of the bridge that had a small path going down the side of the hill towards the river, it was wet and rock filled and while I did go part way down I didn’t want to push my luck and risk falling in the water or simply falling with my gear. If it wasn’t so wet I might have tried although looking back at the colliding point I didn’t have enough lens to make this vantage point a tight shot.
2nd Stop – Just past Idleyld Park, Oregon there is Narrows County Park. This is located just above a spot on the Umpqua River that has a decent little rapid. I tried going down to the right but it was steep and the vantage point wasn’t great. Over to the left by the bathrooms is an easier path that led right down next to the rapid. I took several shots from different locations.
3rd Stop – Right near the Mill Creek Bridge (although the sign said Rock Creek Bridge) there is a fairly large parking lot that turns into rock and gravel as you get closer to the river. I noticed a small set of trees that where growing right out of the river water. I thought this looked really cool and so I setup along the bank and shot a few pictures.
4th Stop – Lower Deadline Falls – I went down to the bank just after the bridge and shot a boulder out in the middle of the river. Not really the falls but near it. At this point it really began to rain. I waited in my car for about 30 minutes and finally decided to call it a day. I had saturday and sunday so I had plenty of time. I wanted to also find a camera store and purchase an ND and/or Polarizer, I did find a Kodak camera store, he only had a polarizer thou. I was going to go purchase it but at the last minute decided not too, one I didn’t really know or trust this store and I didn’t have any idea of what brand names to look for. I also figured it would be overcast the rest of the weekend and that I should be fine. In the end It was a beautiful day both saturday and sunday and I could have really used the polarizer. I will be purchasing these items before my next trip. I spent the rest of friday reading an Adobe Photoshop book and practicing. It rained almost the entire day.
Saturday Apr 30th
1st Stop – Deadline Falls – I started once again around 7:30 in the morning. I headed straight for Deadline Falls where I left off yesterday. Since the rains had stopped I was able to get out onto some of the shore rocks. I have a series of photos where I’m right at the edge of the rocks where a massive wall of water slopes down and through the falls opening. I also got some other shots from farther down looking up at the river. Not a spectacular falls but interesting none the less.
2nd Stop – Susan Creek Falls – A nice hike up to the falls, it is wheel chair accessible. I had a little confusion as at one point the path goes back and down to the left or goes right. I choose right and it was the correct choice. The falls was running swiftly and there was some water spray coming off of it. I was able to get on the right hand side and get a few good shots. I also went more toward the middle almost in the river and took a couple straight on. I saw a couple of ladies on the walk back down, I would see them again at Toketee Falls later today.
3rd Stop – Falls Creek Falls – A vigorous walk, the river is on the left side as you walk and there are many little rapids and mini falls along the way. It was very scenic and peaceful. The falls itself is beautiful. I was able to shoot from two different vantage points but I really wanted to get across the river to a small flat spot where I think I could have gotten the upper falls and the lower falls in one shot. From the locations I shot I didn’t really get the entire falls. The water was about 2-3 feet high by my estimation and it can be hard to tell. I didn’t want to be wet the rest of the day and if the water was deeper I might have gotten completely soaked. On the way back to my car I stopped at several locations and took some other pictures. There is just so many spots on this river that you are tempted to go over the bank, however as wet as it still was I shot from the path.
4th Stop – Toketee Falls – This was a popular spot even this early in the morning. The parking lot has a large wooden water pipe that apparently takes water from the river and powers some hydro plants for Douglas County. When I say this is large I mean it is 12 feet high or something. The hike was a little strenuous and I still had my winter jacket on, I should have switched to my lighter one. The trail is well maintained and it needs to be, you are walking right on the end of a very step hill. When I came around the last corner and saw the end point I wasn’t sure I was going to be ok. My fear of heights kicked in about have way around the 180 degree curved path. The viewpoint is very high up and you are looking out over a canyon. It is amazing and breath taking but a little nerve racking for me. The platform is resting on a very large boulder or rock with a large maybe 4-5 foot tree right up through the middle of it. Picture a donut. I was feeling uncomfortable but there is a bench resting against the tree and I was able to setup my camera and tripod away from the end. I carefully setup my camera at the edge and began shooting. The clouds had all but disappeared and I had wished I had gotten there earlier. I took many shots at different exposures trying to find one that worked. I was able to but I really wished either the clouds would cover the sun or I had the ND and Polarizer. I took a break and rested on the bench for about 20 minutes hoping some of the remaining clouds would cover the sun for just a little bit but it never happened. I want to come back and try to get another picture. The hike back was uneventful except for seeing the two ladies I saw at Susan Creek Falls. Apparently we where on the same plan.
5th Stop – Watson Creek Falls – I was getting a little tired at this point even though it was only like 1pm. I hiked across the road and into the woods and saw what I thought was Watson Creek Falls, I did take some shots at the top and at the bottom, but I didn’t hike in far enough as this falls is suppose to be like 270 feet. I will have to circle back and try this one again, probably when I do Toketee again.
At this point I headed back west towards Roseburg calling it a day. I did stop at Abby’s Pizza and grab some lunch. Their pizza is just so good. I spent the rest of the day in the hotel working with the pictures I had shot and uploading them to Facebook and Meetup. I then relaxed and watched TV the rest of the day.
Sunday May 1st
I got on the road around 7am, I didn’t want to just go back down hwy 138 again, so I decided to drive down I-5 to Exit 98 Canyonville and go out Hwy 227. As I headed south on I-5 toward Canyonville I hit an amazing looking fog bank. If I would have been there at sunrise I bet I could have gotten some very neat diffused and filtered looks. As it was the fog stayed around for several miles. After passing through Drew the road gets torn up and you can see logging activity everywhere. The top seems to be around mile post 41. At the intersection with Hwy 62 I went north towards Diamond Lake and Crater Lake.
1st Stop – Mill Creek Falls/Barr Creek Falls – A very isolated parking lot, my photography book warned of break-ins and the parking lot did appear to be a party location. The hike to the falls area was quick, the area doesn’t look like it is being taken care of anymore. I saw what looked like old signage locations but no signs. However once I got to the falls area it was quite spectacular. The view points for both Mill Creek Falls and Barr Creek falls are to say the least right at the side of a cliff. You need to be very careful and I was once again a little nervous. To shoot Mill Creek I was at the edge of the cliff with little room for mistakes. To say I got the shot and left is an understatement. A little further down the path to the right and you come to Barr Creek Falls. This too was on the cliff edge however there seemed to be a little more room and some rocky areas that I was able to shoot at. Both of these are well worth the hike.
2nd Stop – Pearsoney Falls – Just a short distance down towards Prospect is the Pearsoney Trail Head. This is a short slightly downhill walk. It is a little misleading as you are walking along the rivers edge and you can hear the falls but it doesn’t appear to be the correct area. You basically walk right up on the upper section of the left hand falls. It is quite interesting. There are plenty of locations along the bank on this side of the river to take pictures from. My 24-70 just didn’t go wide enough and it was the first time I wish I had a wider lens. I then looked for a way to get across the river to shoot from different angles. I saw a flattened large log that appeared to be either worn down flat or someone had flattened it, either way it maked a small narrow bridge out of the log. It was a little wet but I crossed and took some pictures from the other side of the river. I didn’t have to go completely up the bank and back down as there where several little paths along the river bank that you could take. I did go up the bank to see if any vantage point looked interesting but didn’t take any pictures.
After getting back to my car I checked my next stop and it was going to be awhile, so I went across the street as there was a gas station and general store. The gas station wasn’t open yet but the nice guy opened it up anyway. We chatted. I also went into the store and got some road goodies. I headed back to Hwy 62 and headed north.
3rd Stop – Rogue Gorge Viewpoint. This is a well maintained stop with fencing and placards. It is a very quick stop if you don’t do the longer hike. I took a couple of shots as the water squeezes through some very narrow portions of rock. I really needed an ND as the sun was bright and it was almost noon.
4th Stop – FR 6530 – National Creek Falls – This road was closed by about 5 feet of snow.
At this point I decided to just head home but I didn’t want to just go north to Hwy 138 back to roseburg, so I went Hwy 138 East to Hwy 97 North, then onto Hwy 58 to Eugene. I didn’t make anymore stops along the way but Hwy 138 East after the Hwy 62 junction is so straight it looks like you are driving to the end of the world. If it was cloudy, or maybe sunset/sunrise I bet this would be a very cool picture.