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Two weeks left for May Workshop Signup

April 24, 2009

First Waterfall Photography Workshop of the season kicks off two weeks from Sunday along the Highway 2 corridor. There are four spots left so get your name in quick. Conditions are looking pretty good. We should have fairly high water in the rivers and lots of ephemeral streams to play with. Our tentative itinerary will include stops along the Tye River, Tumwater Canyon and possibly around Lake Wenatchee as well (all depending on the weather).

I'll be Damnationed

April 08, 2009

On tuesday I set out to scout out some locations in the Skagit Valley, but had to bail out early because of soreness in my legs. Before I absconded, however, I managed to scramble my way up the canyon of Damnation Creek and discovered a nice 230 foot+ series of falls and cascades which I've dubbed Purgatory Falls. In true North Cascades fashion, it wasn't a terribly photogenic waterfall, but it turned out to be fairly impressive and about what I expected to find hidden up there. Worth taking a look at for the hardcore bushwhackers out there, but not a Sunday stroll type location.

Spring Conditions Report

April 03, 2009

Gathering a little data from my various querying about where to go (or rather where I can go), I thought I'd toss out an update to the status of some roads used to access some of the major waterfall areas.

In the Olympic National Forest, FR 25 (Hamma Hamma River) is closed just past milepost 10 by a large landslide and, according to the FS website, may never be repaired. Its currently about a mile walk to Lower Hamma Hamma Falls and another two miles to Hamma Hamma Falls. This also makes accessing the waterfalls along Whitehorse Creek and Lake of the Angels longer by almost 2 miles.

In the Baker Snoqualmie area, the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road is closed before the Mailbox Peak trailhead due to dozens of landslides on the county portion of the road. A time table has not been firmly given by the County but it sounds like it should be repaired before summer hits. Initial reports, however, indicate that the road between the Taylor River and Dingford Creek trailhead suffered severe damage. The approach to the bridge over the Taylor River is gone and may take a long time to repair, so for the extended future, the only access to anything in the upper Middle Fork drainage will be via the Middle Fork Trail.

In the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, FR 54 (Canyon Creek) is closed by a large landslide BEFORE FR 57 splits off to the Lower Siouxon Trailhead, so this means not only are the waterfalls in the upper Canyon Creek drainage not accessible, but those along Siouxon Creek can only be accessed from FR 57 by coming in from the Trapper Creek side and that access probably won't be melted out until June at the very earliest.

Those are the big points of order at the moment, everything else is still buried under snow. It even snowed in Seattle the last two mornings. Been too cold this winter.

One last point of contention, the State looking to trim its budget is considering mothballing 35 state parks until the budget crunch is solved. The parks slated for closure include Wallace Falls, so anyone interested in seeing the falls ought to do so sooner rather than later because even though you will still be able to hike to the falls when the park is closed, there won't be anywhere to park, so you'd almost have to park in Gold Bar and bike to the trailhead.

Bring on the Haters

March 20, 2009

Well I apparently have hit the big time - I have haters. Maybe not direct but rather by association. It seems that someone has it out BAD for pro photographer Marc Adamus, who I feel is among the finest photographers alive. They've launched an anti-Adamus website suggesting he is killing the art of landscape photography. Now I posted a couple shots on Flickr (1)(2) where I pointed out I had emulated scenes that Adamus had shot prior. Apparently this is enough to suggest that not only do I not know how to take a picture, but that I am also pretending to be straight while I pursue a homosexual relationship with my friend Trevor Anderson (for those of you who don't know me personally, yes I am straight and not at all offended by this).

This all just made me laugh. Really, whoever this petty, childish and clearly jealous (and probably homophobic) person(s) is, you have only served to promote the very thing you claim to detest. Nothing breeds popularity like controversy, so in that regard, I thank you for the extra traffic I hope you will send my way.

As far as addressing the claims of the hater(s), its really not my place to defend anyone but myself, and as much as I enjoy a good flame war, these particular sorts of "debates" are usually futile because the opposing party will usually think that dropping the "your a fag" line will win them the argument, so its generally not worth the effort. In the mean time, I'm assuming whoever you are you will see this post since you have clearly been lurking my websites and I'll just say that no matter how much you bitch and moan and complain about how Marc Adamus (and myself apparently) is killing landscape photography...your childish attempts to do something about it will be a waste of your time and money. Have a nice day. :o)

Mail Forwarding Issue

February 27, 2009

I may have been having problems with my email routing over the last two weeks, so if anybody has tried to sign up for a workshop any time in the last week and not received a response, email me again about it so I can be sure I've got your name on the list.

Announcing 2009 Photography Workshops

February 20, 2009

I'm officially announcing the preliminary schedule of Waterfall Photography Workshops for the 2009 season. To start the year off, there are five workshops scheduled, one each in May, June, July, August and September (for dates, see Workshops details). By signing up for one of these classes, you'll be exposed to a hands-on classroom environment in the field (but without the tests) and you'll get to see some pretty cool places too. Cost is $150 per person per class and you will be responsible for your own transportation to a central meetup location. Click the above links for further details and to sign up. Email me if you have any questions.

Definitive Guide to Wallace Falls

February 17, 2009

There had been a lot of discussion about the various different hidden waterfalls along the Wallace River over on nwhikers.net, the weather this weekend turned out to be quite nice and I hadn't gotten a good hike in for almost 5 months, so it was time to do some thorough investigating.

What was uncovered wasn't exactly revelatory because I'd seen Beta from a couple of Canyoneers who have descended the whole thing, but I was able to both measure and photograph 11 of the 13 major drops (which group out to only three Waterfalls - Upper, Middle and Lower Wallace) along the main stem of the Wallace River. The very top drop turned out to be better than I thought it would be, though there was no good view to be had, and the two final drops were very nice as well, but quite dangerous to see.

Probably more relevant to the average sunday hiker, though, is that the State Parks Department has done some much needed trimming of the trees within the canyon so that various sections of the falls are no longer obscured. The main fall can now be seen quite easily from the picnic shelter at the Lower Falls and the main falls are now 100% visible from the Middle Falls viewpoint rather than being about 1/3 blocked on the left side. Its too bad the Forest Service can't employee similar practices - there are a ton of places that are suffering because of tree branch encroachment.

Punch Bowl Falls is log-less

January 26, 2009

Finally, after years and years of complaining and threatening to tote a chainsaw up Eagle Creek to remove that eyesore log that obstructed the view up the gorge below Punch Bowl Falls, it has removed itself from view. Presumably this occured during the January floods. If losing Benham Falls was the price to pay for this fantastic turn of events, then I say "bottoms up!"

Benham Falls has been destroyed

January 24, 2009

The aftermath of the January floods is slowly being revealed as the low elevation snow starts to melt off. There was substantial damage to Canyon Creek Road #54 near Chelatchie - several huge landslides took out some really large chunks of the road. I don't know if they were before or after the turnoff to the Siouxon Creek trailhead (I'm assuming after). Roads 21 and 90 also suffered some damage in the GPNF.

But most shockingly was the damage that has been levied on FR 25 at Benham Creek between Randle and Elk Pass. Benham Creek has in the past been a thorn in the sides of the Forest Service maintenance crews. The bridge had completely washed out in 1998 or 1999 (don't remember which exactly) and it took them almost 3 years to rebuild it to a permanent state.

Benham Creek is NOT a large stream either, so for it to do this was an impressive feat. Well the storm in January seems to have thought the first washout wasn't bad enough. This time, the entire hill slid down, over the road, destroying the bridge and completely burying Benham Falls and its small, scenic gorge. You can check out the carnage on the GPNF website if you don't believe me, but if what I'm seeing in this picture is accurate - and based on the angle of the roadbed leading towards the slide, I'd say it is - Benham Falls no longer exists. Its not a huge loss as waterfalls goes, but it was pretty and its a shame to see any waterfall destroyed. I just hope that there isn't a more serious casualty elsewhere.

Waterfall Photography Workshops Poll

January 18, 2009

So I want to gauge interest in my offering of Waterfall Photography workshops this summer. I'm toying with the idea of offering one-day workshops in the Cascades where we will focus on teaching how to photograph streams and waterfalls. The possibility of multiple-day workshops also exists, but that may not happen until next year. You would be responsible for transporting yourself to a predetermined meeting location and we would carpool from there to shooting locations, shoot for most of the day and then discuss some post processing techniques either afterward or during mid day when the light might not be conducive to shooting. These will be paid workshops, but I haven't yet determined what the fee(s) would be. I'd appreciate it if anyone interested in even the slightest would answer the poll question on the home page so I can get an idea of whether this would be worth investing my time in.

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