Latourell Falls: The story behind the picture

Thousands of people have photographed this famous 250′ waterfall along the Columbia River in Corbett Oregon. It’s spectacular and it’s just a short walk from the parking lot to get to the base of the falls. But it’s one of those places that takes your breath away. The last time I was at this location it was raining off and on and my boys and I made a quick trip down the path and I photographed them standing near it with only about 100′ showing. It shows great scale as you can see. It was made with the 50mm Summilux on the Leica M9. I love it and the print is spectacular. This was in the spring so the water was flowing heavily and made for a really great image. So when I went back this year I was concerned as the drought is bad in Oregon just like everywhere else. So the water flow was not going to be anywhere near what it was back in 2014.


When we got to the falls I could see right away that it was no where near what it is like in the spring. It was just a fraction of what the photo above shows. So I decided that the only way to shoot it was to show the whole thing and maybe we could get some kind of way to show scale. I decided to use the Leica 21mm Super Elmar as it is a superb lens and would give me the grand scale I was hoping for. I also decided to put on a three stop ND filter to slow down the meager water flowing from the top. The lightweight Feisol tripod added some nice stability and I was ready. Small problem – no people to show scale. So I waited a bit and two girls decided to venture up near the falls well past where my boys had gone. I had it, some scale right where I needed it.


If you look closely to the right of the falls you can make out these tiny figures dwarfed by the 250′ falls coming over the cliff. I still think the image needs a little increase in exposure in Lightroom but it has exceeded my expectations. The two girls make the photo!



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