Stock landscape and outdoor adventure photos from Oregon, Washington, and the Pacific Northwest

Posts Tagged ‘oregon waterfall photos’

Silver Falls State Park Photos from late Autumn

Shamefully I’ve never photographed one of Oregon’s most beautiful locations, Silver Falls State Park, until recently.  As autumn was winding to a halt and snow was falling in Bend, I decided I wasn’t ready for winter and made a trip over Santiam Pass to this gem in the Oregon State Park system.  Silver falls is one of the places that makes Oregon special.  The fact that is not a National Park is a tribute to our states beauty.  It is one of the Oregon State parks, Like Smith Rock State Park and Ecola State Park that would definitely be a national park if they were located in most other states in America.  To view a beautiful fine art photograph of South Falls in Silver Falls State Park, visit  this link, Silver Falls fine art print.

Photo/Picsture of South Falls at Oregon's Silver Falls State Park

Photo/Picsture of South Falls at Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park

Silver Falls is located near Silverton, Oregon and was about a 2.5 hour drive from Bend in good weather.  A great way to explore Silver Falls is to hike the “Trail of Ten Falls”  which has a trailhead at the South Falls parking lot.   At about 8 miles in length, the hike might not be for everybody but it is certainly not a technical hike.  The image above is of South Falls from near the parking lot and visitor center.  South Falls drops 177ft into a beautiful dark pool.

Autumn leaves and South Falls at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon

Autumn leaves and South Falls at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon

South Falls is one of the three waterfalls in the park that you can actually walk behind which is a fun experience for young and old.  Continuing behind the falls will lead you accross an attractive foot bridge across Silver Creek which will connect you with the Trail Of Ten Falls.  If you follow the Trail of ten falls, like I did, you will next stumble upon Lower South Falls which is pictured below.

Photograph of Lower South Falls at Silver Falls State Park

Photograph of Lower South Falls at Silver Falls State Park

There is beauty in every direction on this section of the trail of ten falls.  The outflow from Lower South Falls is particularly beautiful and I was lucky enough to catch some late fall color with the gracefully flowing Silver Creek in the following Image.

Silver Creek and fall color in Oregon's Silver Falls State Park

Silver Creek and fall color in Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park

While continuing along the trail of ten falls, you’ll fight sensory overload for over a mile before hearing the roar of the small but attractive Lower North Falls pictures below.

Lower North Falls framed by autumn foliage

Lower North Falls framed by autumn foliage

The trail throughout this state park is an exceptional tribute to Oregon’s natural beauty that cannot be overstated.  The lush textures of this temperate rain forest combined with the rich earthy aromas of early autumn decay are unforgettable and two of the few things that my home town of Bend, Oregon lacks.  Luckily, this green eden is only 2.5 hours away for a slow driver like myself.  The trail passes a few smaller but still enchanting falls during its next stretch.  Double falls, Drake Falls, and Middle North Falls are all enjoyed in this stretch of the Trail of ten falls.  A side trail off of the trail of ten falls visits the very worth winter falls.  This waterfall relies on heavier waterflows for its elegant form.  If you visit Silver Falls State Park in the heat of summer, you might skip this detour as the falls may be absent.  Below is Winter falls in its autumn glory.

Photo of Oregon's Winter Falls

Photo of Oregon’s Winter Falls

this stunning waterfall does deserve inspection if there is enough water flow.  Below is a closer image of Winter falls.

Winter Falls and fall color at Silver Falls State Park

Winter Falls and fall color at Silver Falls State Park

The trail is laden with life throughout this hike but particularly so between Twin falls and the Jaw Dropping North Falls.  Below is a small bonus I found during this autumn hike.

Mushrooms at Silver Falls State Park

Mushrooms at Silver Falls State Park

In this startlingly beautiful hike, North Falls is truly one of the highlights.  There are many good vantage points from which to view this 136 foot watery beauty.

Picture/photo of North Falls at Silver Falls State Park

Picture/photo of North Falls at Silver Falls State Park

North falls is easily accessible from  the aptly named North Falls Parking lot.  It is not to be missed!  It is one of the waterfalls that you can walk behind if you can negotiate relatively easy sections of mossy lush wooded trail like the one pictured below.

Wooded Trail in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

Wooded Trail in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

One last view of North Falls as seen from near the underpass seems worthy to me.  I was a little late for optimal fall color, but the scenery is stunning at any time of year in this wonderful State Park.

View from behind North Falls at Silver Falls State Park

View from behind North Falls at Silver Falls State Park

This park is just plain amazing and a worthy visit for explorers of any age.  If you are traveling from Central Oregon I would highly recommend leaving early and planning on spending an entire day in this watery wonderland.  One final recommendation.  Stop at Rosie’s Mountain Coffe House in Mill City, Oregon along the way.  The service is great and the food and drinks are even better.  Excellent scones, flavorful coffee and the best cold cut sandwiches outside of Camp Sherman all served in a quaint roadside setting.  It should be part of your Silver Falls State adventure if you are visiting from the Central Oregon area.

More of my great Oregon Waterfall images can be found at my Mike Putnam Photography site which can be visited here, Oregon waterfall photos

Thanks for reading,

Mike Putnam


Autumn Photos from McKenzie Pass and Proxy Falls: Another Epic Day in Central Oregon

This autumn, Central Oregon has had some of the craziest weather patterns that I have ever seen.In just a few days, we went from sweating in 90 degree heat to sweating while shoveling 6 inches of fresh snow.That huge early season snow storm was quickly followed by even bigger thunderstorms (which are unusual for this region), and then finally, we made it back to our typical sunny, 70 degree days and cool, clear nights.All of that rapidly-changing weather wreaked havoc on my fall-time photography plans for a while there, but things seem to be settling down now, and I was recently able to get out and do some exploring around the McKenzie Pass and Proxy Falls areas.

For those who aren’t familiar with McKenzie Pass, it’s one of the most beautiful drives in the lower 48 states.The narrow winding two-lane road follows an old wagon route through an ancient 65-square-mile lava flow with up close views of the Three Sisters Mountains, Mount Washington, and Belknap Crater before finally plummeting 1,200 vertical feet through a series of paved switchbacks and past a number of stunning waterfalls.My morning drive over McKenzie Pass was a bit too sunny to allow for good waterfall photography, so I decided to take a pit-stop at one of the high alpine lakes to do some fly fishing.

Fly fishing near the Three Sisters Wilderness Area, just outside of Sisters Oregon. Photo available from Pacific Crest Stock Photography

Fly fishing near the Three Sisters Wilderness Area, just outside of Sisters Oregon. Photo available from Pacific Crest Stock Photography

After an hour or so of fishing my way around the shoreline, I noticed that a good collection of clouds had started rolling in, so I got back in the Jeep and continued down the highway with the hopes of hiking into the waterfalls above Linton Lake.The hike into Linton Lake was bursting with color, but unfortunately the creeks feeding the lake were swollen from our recent snowmelt, which made the unmarked hike to the falls much more difficult than I had anticipated.I could have crossed the knee-deep creeks and made it to the waterfalls, but in the end, I thought it might be best if I saved that adventure for a different day.

As I was hiking out from Linton Lake, I remembered that the Proxy Falls Loop was just a few miles down the road.The Proxy Falls Loop is an easy 1-mile loop that crosses a fiery-red, vine-maple-laden lava flow and then passes through a great old-growth rainforest featuring two spectacular waterfalls that plunge over towering moss-covered cliffs.Upper Proxy Falls drops about 100-feet into a shallow pool that oddly enough has no outlet stream.The water cascades into the pool and then percolates its way down through the underlying lava beds.It’s a very odd sight.

 Photo from one of the upper sections of Oregon’s Upper Proxy Falls near McKenzie Pass. Photo available from Pacific Crest Stock Photography.

Photo from one of the upper sections of Oregon’s Upper Proxy Falls near McKenzie Pass. Photo available from Pacific Crest Stock Photography.

As if Upper Proxy Falls wasn’t enough of a destination by itself, the other waterfall on the loop (Lower Proxy Falls) is even better.Lower Proxy Falls streams its way down a 200-foot glacier-carved cliff, spreading out into a collection of silky bands along the way.This is the type of waterfall that landscape photographers dream about.

To see some beautiful fine art Photos of Proxy Falls, please visit Bend,Oregon landscape photographer, Mike Putnam’s website. Proxy Falls Photos.

Photo of Oregon’s Lower Proxy Falls in Autumn. Photo available from Pacific Crest Stock Photography.

Photo of Oregon’s Lower Proxy Falls in Autumn. Photo available from Pacific Crest Stock Photography.

Lower Proxy Falls is a real jaw-dropper when you’re standing below it, but honestly, I have yet to see a photograph that really does justice to its mammoth size.It’s hard to fight the temptation to photograph the waterfall from its base (as I did above), but that vantage point has a way of fore-shortening the actual drop.After taking the photo above, I decided to try to a new angle and photograph the falls from the side.In the photograph below, you can see that Lower Proxy Falls absolutely dwarfs me standing there in the lower right corner. I feel like this perspective finally begins to capture the size of the waterfall.This is definitely one of my new favorite photographs from the year, and I’m really, really hoping that our good friends who publish the local tourism guides will eventually feel the same way J

The author, Troy McMullin, dwarfed by the size of Lower Proxy Falls. Photo available from Pacific Crest Stock Photography.

The author, Troy McMullin, dwarfed by the size of Lower Proxy Falls. Photo available from Pacific Crest Stock Photography.

After leaving the Proxy Falls Loop, I drove a few more miles and then parked my Jeep and jumped on my mountain bike for a quick ride along the McKenzie River Trail.There aren’t enough adjectives in the English language to describe the way I feel about the McKenzie River Trail, but suffice it to say that I think this is probably one of the best mountain biking trails in the entire world.OK, I might be stretching it a bit there, but honestly, if you live in the area, you have to go ride the McKenzie River Trail at least once in your life.It is just about the most scenic ride you could ever hope for, especially in mid-to-late October when the riverbed and forest are overflowing with red, orange, and yellow leaves.Just be careful though because it’s also a very technical ride, especially when the lava rocks and roots are wet and slippery.

I stopped by the McKenzie River Trail because I was hoping to capture some mountain bike photos along the way.Unfortunately, the sun was beginning to set low on the horizon by the time I arrived and there was very little light making its way onto the heavily forested trail.Since the lighting conditions weren’t cooperating with my plans, I just sat back and enjoyed an epic ride and another epic end to a wonderful day in Central Oregon.Mountains, lakes, lava flows, rivers, rainforests and waterfalls all surrounded in awesome fall color and all just a short drive from home.Are you kidding me?How lucky are we?

Posted by Troy McMullin.

NOTE: These photos and hundreds more are available for licensing from Pacific Crest Stock Photography.


Photos of Oregon’s Salt Creek Falls and The Boys’ Big Birthday Bash

I will be celebrating the 24-month anniversary of my 39th birthday in the coming days. Reflecting on this past year reminded me of last year’s big birthday bash when our families and friends threw a surprise party for Mike Putnam (who also turned 40) and me. Looking back now, there were numerous hints that should have clued me in to the fact that everyone around me was planning a party, but like a pawn in a game, I just went blindly through the day enjoying what I thought was a routine day in the life of a lucky man.

For example, I remember waking up that morning and having Julie (my wife) encourage me to go take some photographs. Now bless her heart, my wife has always been very supportive of my photography hobby/habit, but on this particular day, she actually seemed to be pushing me out of the door. That should have been my first clue that something strange was happening, but to be honest, it never even dawned on me. Instead, I hurriedly packed up my camera gear and headed out of the house before she could change her mind. I didn’t even know where I was going when I left the house. I just knew that Julie was giving me a hall pass, and that I wasn’t about to pass that up. Within a few minutes of pulling out of the driveway, I decided that I would drive south to see if there was any fall color around Salt Creek Falls, which at almost 300-feet tall, is the second tallest waterfall in Oregon.

Vine maples at Oregon’s Salt Creek Falls.  Photo available at Pacific Crest Stock Photography.

Vine maples at Oregon’s Salt Creek Falls. Photo available at Pacific Crest Stock Photography.

When I first arrived at Salt Creek Falls, the sun was shining through the trees and directly into my eyes. Shooting waterfalls on sunny days is not exactly ideal photography conditions, and having the sun pointed directly into the lens of the camera is about as bad as it gets, so rather than setting up the camera, I decided to scout around the area for awhile in hopes that some clouds would eventually roll in. I fought my way through a thicket of dense trees and found a good location along the slope at the bottom of Salt Creek Falls, but every time that the sun would move behind a cloud, a small breeze would blow up from the base of the waterfall and shake all of the leaves in my foreground (which makes them appear blurry in timed-release waterfall photographs). I played this little game with the sun and wind for more than hour before finally deciding that this just wasn’t my day, and that it would probably be better for me to start heading back home so that I could help my wife with our kids. I hiked out of the woods and started driving over Willamette Pass when I realized that I had lost my sunglasses somewhere along the way. Then, as I was mentally re-tracing my steps, I remembered that I had actually lost my sunglasses the week before at the coast, which meant that today, I had actually managed to lose my WIFE’S sunglasses!

I called Julie and explained that I was going to be running later than expected because I needed to backtrack to find her sunglasses. Julie seemed almost relieved to hear the news, and she encouraged me to take as much time as I needed. That should have been my second clue that something strange was happening, but I didn’t get it because at the time, I was just feeling kind of bad for losing her sunglasses, and my mind was frantically trying to piece together all of the places that I had gone that day. I turned the Jeep around and started driving back toward the trailhead. I wasn’t exactly sure where Julie’s sunglasses might be, but I figured they were probably laying somewhere on that steep slippery slope near the base of the waterfall. I fought my way through the trees again, and as I popped out onto the slope, I noticed that the lighting conditions had improved considerably since I was there earlier in the day. A thick fog bank had moved into the valley, which created nice soft light on the foreground and waterfall. I quickly set up my tripod and composed a few shots. Then I looked down at my feet, and saw that I was standing about 4 feet away from a nice shiny black pair of Oakley’s. Sweet! I re-packed the camera and stuffed the sunglasses inside my backpack and then hiked back up to the parking lot at the top of Salt Creek Falls.

Autumn fog at Oregon’s Salt Creek Falls.  Photo available at Pacific Crest Stock Photography.

Autumn fog at Oregon’s Salt Creek Falls. Photo available at Pacific Crest Stock Photography.

When I got home, Julie told me that Jake Bell (one my best friends) had called to see if I wanted to go have a few beers at Deschutes Brewery and then go back to his house to watch a football game. Apparently, two other good friends (Mike Putnam, My partner in Pacific Crest Stock and Max Reitz) had already agreed to go and Julie had told them that it was OK for me to go along too. I told Julie that it was nice for her to let me go, but that I didn’t really feel the need to go, especially since she already let me have the whole day off for picture-taking. I told her that I would be more than happy to watch the kids for awhile if she wanted to take a break, but she insisted that it was alright with her—and since I’ve never been one to turn down a little beer and football, off I went . . . completely clueless again.

Autumn color covers the flanks of Central Oregon’s Three Fingered Jack mountain.

Autumn color covers the flanks of Central Oregon’s Three Fingered Jack mountain.

At the pub that night, I learned that Max (who lives in Hood River) and Mike had spent all day hiking around Three Fingered Jack. We had a couple of beers and shared some photography stories, and all the while, Jake kept looking at his watch. Jake seemed nervous as a cat, and he kept prodding us along so that we could get up to his house before the game started. At one point, Mike left the table and Max asked Jake what time we all needed to be up at his house. I had just lifted my pint glass to take another drink, but out of the corner of my eye, I could see Jake immediately making some sort of awkward hand gestures to Max. Again, that probably should have been a clue . . . . but it wasn’t, at least at the time.

When Mike got back, Jake and Max immediately herded us out of the door and up to Jake’s house. Jake pulled into his driveway, and then he got out of the truck and started acting like he was getting something out of the back, knowing full well that Mike and I wouldn’t wait or offer to help him, but that instead we would head directly for his front door (and his fridge) and make ourselves at home. When Mike and I opened Jake’s door, we were immediately greeted with a big “Surprise!” . . . and then whole day began to a make a little more sense.

Debbie, Mike, Troy, and Julie posing in front of the "Beer Cake" at their 40th Birthday Bash.

Pacific Crest Stock Family: Debbie, Mike, Troy, and Julie posing in front of the "Beer Cake" at their 40th Birthday Bash.

Posted by Troy McMullin


Photos of Tumalo Falls and the Waterfalls of the Tumalo Creek Basin

We at Pacific Crest Stock have always considered ourselves fortunate to live in Central Oregon where it is beautiful and where there is immense environmental diversity.  From the badlands east of Bend to the rainforests west of Bend with old growth Ponderosa forests and snow capped volcanoes in between.   Bend, Oregon is on the edge of the high desert which is considered to extend from the Cascade Mountain Range to the Rocky Mountain Range.  Perhaps, the important thing to remember is that we are on the edge of the high desert and not in the middle of it.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t have huge trees and many waterfalls near our fair city.  We had lots of hits on our website looking for waterfalls and specifically waterfalls of Central Oregon, so finally we’re going to give a little information and several photos of some of those waterfalls.  We have great photographs of some of these waterfalls and others, well, we know we need to go back to at some point! Arguably, the foremost waterfall in the minds of most Central Oregonians is the majestic Tumalo Falls.   Tumalo Falls is no stranger to visitors and it shouldn’t be as it is quite awe inspiring and very visitor friendly.  Located only 10 miles west of Bend, on Skyliners road which is a westward extension of Galveston Road.
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In the winter, the road to Tumalo Falls is closed for the last 2.5 miles and a snow park is located at the closure.  In Summer, the road is open all the way to the falls where there is parking, a restroom, and some informational kiosks about the 1979 Bridge Creek Fire which raged through the area. Additionally, Bend’s famed water source Bridge Creek, is nearby.

Photo/picture of Central Oregon's Tumalo Falls in autumn

Photo/picture of Central Oregon's Tumalo Falls in autumn

This photo of Tumalo Falls was taken in autumn several years ago during a driving rain at the height of fall color.  In other words, don’t expect the Tumalo Falls area to be this colorful when you visit, because in the hundreds of times I’ve visited it’s only looked this good once!  Below is another photo of Tumalo Falls that I captured in summer requiring a long exposure and a total absence of wind in order to keep the purple lupines in the foreground from fluttering about.

Picture of Tumalo Falls and Purple Lupine in Central Oregon

Picture of Tumalo Falls and Purple Lupine in Central Oregon

I re-visited this site this summer and noticed that most of the purple lupine in this photo have been replaced by native grasses which is too bad for photography purposes.  Tumalo has several possible name derivations, one of which is from the Klamath Indian word “Tumallowa”  meaning icy water.  This is appropriate as Tumalo Creek is largely composed of glacial melt from high off of the Central Oregon Cascade Range.  This waterfall has one 97 foot  drop and two great viewing points.  The lower view point is obvious but the upper viewpoint is a real gem as it gives a real sense of the flow and power of this particular waterfall, making it worth the short 1/4 mile climb to the top of the falls.

Below is an image of Bridge Creek Falls which is located near to Tumalo Falls and is along the aptly named Bridge Creek Trail.

Photo of Bridge Creek falls in Central Oregon.

Photo of Bridge Creek falls in Central Oregon.

The exact location where I shot this image of Bridge creek Falls was quite scary to get to and , frankly, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.  I had to carefully balance on a slick, wet log while Bridge Creek raged below.  This waterfall  is located about one mile from the Tumalo Falls trail head.  To get there, start climbing the trail to the top of Tumalo Falls and take a left onto the Bridge Creek Trail and proceed about one mile where Bridge Creek will be raging on the left side of the trail.

The following waterfall, “Double Falls” is located above Tumalo Falls on Tumalo Creek.  It is one of many attractive waterfalls that are upstream of the the more well known Tumalo Falls.  Double Falls is located about 1.25 miles up stream  along the North Fork Trail which for Mt. Biking purposes is up hill only.  It is a relatively easy hike but beware of mosquitoes in summer.

Photo of Double Falls located above Tumalo Falls on Tumalo Creek.

Photo of Double Falls located above Tumalo Falls on Tumalo Creek.

If you continue hiking or biking uphill on the North Fork Trail for 3.5 miles, you will pass several other impressive waterfalls.   The next waterfall is about a mile above Double Falls.  You will then cross a bridge about half-mile later, at which point you almost get bombarded with waterfalls.  There are least 5 more waterfalls within a half-mile of the bridge.  Keep hiking because the last waterfall is probably the best.

 The grand finale waterfall on the North Fork Trail above Tumalo Falls.

The grand finale waterfall on the North Fork Trail above Tumalo Falls.

We plan on some more waterfall blog entries in the near future so stay tuned!  If you have an interest in licensing these or any of our other Central Oregon waterfall images, please visit our stock photography website at Pacific Crest Stock.

by Mike Putnam