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Abiqua Falls · Abiqua Creek · Scotts Mills · Oregon · USA

For Portlanders, "The Crystal Ballroom" will conjure images of an intimate but raucous historic venue with a floating dance floor that's played host to such luminaries as James Brown, the Grateful Dead, Marvin Gaye, and Ike & Tina Turner, as well as lesser-known local talents trying to make a name for themselves. I live just a hop, skip, and a jump from there, actually. In relative terms, Abiqua Falls and its otherworldly amphitheater are also located right in my backyard, and the great freeze that's descended upon the area left me licking my chops to see the falls bedecked in ice. Any notion of solitude and originality quickly dissolved, however, when we rounded the bend into the amphitheater and found a handful of photographers already there. My disappointment soon melted away, though, when I discovered that three of them were Michael Bollino, Paul Bowman, and Scott Miller--all fantastic photographers and Facebook friends whose work I've followed and greatly admired for quite some time now. I also had the fine pleasure of meeting new Pacific Northwesterner Paul Didsayabutra, (say THAT one three times fast), whom we happily gave a lift back to his car parked quite some ways away from the trailhead. It was more than a little intimidating, though, knowing that they'd already been here for hours scouring every nook and cranny for compositions--particularly when Bowman decided to enter full-on 'beast mode' and wade into the wine-chilling water...and THEN scale the cliff near the amphitheater's entrance. Insane! No wonder, then, that I gravitated toward this title for this particular piece: Trying to follow in their footsteps I'd imagine wasn't unlike those relative unknowns who tried to command the spotlight soon after all the Browns, Deads, Gayes, and Turners had exited stage right.

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