Learning to Get Off Auto

Forest Falls
Getting off “Auto”

I have always used cameras that are set to “Auto” or those without the ability to make setting adjustments. Although some of my “Auto” pictures look great to me, I decided it was time I learned to get the most from my digital camera and use the numerous available settings on a dSLR. So this weekend I drove to a beautiful little waterfall at Forest Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains to try out some different settings on my camera. It was the first time I had tried making changes to the shutter speed and aperture settings. After taking over one hundred shots, I downloaded the pictures and saw how difficult it really is to capture a beautiful image. I knew that if I really wanted to get off “Auto” I was going to need some help. I decided to sign up for the online photography course offered by Nomadic Matt on his website. The price is very reasonable and I think it will be a good start for me. I also found a great step-by-step book titled “The Beginner’s Photography Guide” written by Chris Gatcum. I am currently using a Nikon D3300 that came with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses but have ordered a Tamron 16-300mm lens that will replace these making it easier by not requiring lens changes. My goal someday is to be able to capture star trails using techniques in night photography. I will continue to use my GoPro and IPhone for taking pictures, but am excited to learn a new way to bring life to the joy of my outdoor escapes!

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls
Benson Bridge, Multnomah Falls

I travelled to Oregon last year in search of great American waterfalls. It’s not hard to find beautiful waterfalls throughout the Pacific Northwest but the one I really wanted to see was Multnomah Falls. Once I arrived at the visitors center I walked to see the Falls and take pictures of it and the historic Benson Bridge. I was not aware that there was a trail leading to the top until I passed a group of hikers as I was crossing the bridge. I asked them how to get a closer view of the Falls and they told me the Larch Mountain Trail led to the top and was just around a mile hike. The trail was challenging in places with switchbacks and some fairly steep sections. Along the trail I saw amazing views of the Columbia River Gorge below. At the top portion of the trail it was a bit muddy so I walked along the side of the stream lined with beautiful small waterfalls leading to the main falls. After reaching the end of the trail there was an overlook area with a spectacular view straight down. I later found out there is a longer hike up around Larch Mountain that is not paved and quite strenuous. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to take that hike. The best months to visit Multnomah Falls is September to October after the summer crowds are gone and the fall foliage is at it’s best. In the summer it can be packed full of visitors and the water does not flow as strong. I visited the Falls in June and was very lucky to not have any rain and perfect weather! A hike and journey well worth it!