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September 27, 2015

Upper Butte Creek Falls

by Jim

Upper Butte Creek Falls
This is Upper Butte Creek Falls.

(Click here to view the interactive picture in a new tab. When it opens, click and drag to look around.)

This is Upper Butte Creek Falls. It is the smaller of two waterfalls on Butte Creek, and the easiest one to visit. Although the other is just a short hike away, you can only see it from a distance because of the terrain. This smaller waterfall, though, is much easier to explore around. You can walk behind it for quite a ways, because the undercut is very deep.

This picture was my entry for the World Wide Panorama “Peace” project, in fall 2015.

Oregon is known for its many and diverse waterfalls, and it’s common to encounter crowds at the more popular ones. However, this one is away from the main roads and so gets fewer visitors. This picture was taken on a holiday weekend, and it was still very quiet.

I chose this for the “Peace” project because it nicely typifies the peaceful, calm nature of many smaller waterfalls. After taking this picture I sat quietly for a while, enjoying the beauty and serenity of the spot. The soft sound of the low water flow and the chirping birds in the bushes next to me, all contributed to the special nature of the moment.

Photography Notes
This picture was made from a single set of exposures, with no bracketing. The lighting was nice enough, due to the overcast weather, to make HDR unnecessary. It might have helped a little with the shadows under the falls and the bright sky, but it didn’t seem worth the effort this time. I think the exposure time is off a little, in that the aperture should be closed one more stop. That would have made the exposure time slightly longer, and the water slightly smoother. Just an excuse for another future visit! 🙂

For this shot, I actually took a picture pointing down, in order to fix the nadir. Wasn’t sure Photoshop could fix it with the complex ground, and didn’t want to just use viewpoint correction since it wasn’t really flat. Those might have worked, but I decided to actually take a separate downward shot and stitch it in.

Spiritual Notes
An unfortunate aspect of this VR was the large log behind me. Although natural, it still seemed to mar the overall beauty of the scene. In contemplating these things, they seemed to mirror the conflict of peace and turbulence we experience throughout life.

In the case of this photograph, we can avoid the ugliness by keeping our gaze on the water, but in life we can’t always control what intrudes on our field of view. How does one find peace then? The answer lies in keeping one’s focus on something that transcends the unfortunate things that can’t be ignored. Ultimately, this line of thought leads to spiritual matters, which in my opinion, is the only real answer to finding peace. Further reflections along these lines can be found here.

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