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

Work obligations and a mid-week Christmas meant being unable to join my family up north near the Canadian border to celebrate the season. So I did the next best thing: rack up 300-plus miles driving madly all over the place chasing tantalizing weather conditions. A muted and chilly sunrise greeted me at Trout Lake, but Mt. Adams refused to light up like a proverbial Christmas tree despite the occasion. I gave her another shot at sunset from Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge based on on-the-fly weather forecasts and satellite maps, but other than a curvaceous lenticular hovering a bit too far off the mountain to really make things interesting, the cloud action I was hoping for again eluded me.

In between, with an air stagnation advisory and dense fog predicted for the Willamette Valley, I visited Abiqua Falls, a favorite stomping ground for many a Pacific Northwest photographer besides myself. If you recall, a cold snap brought both breathtaking ice formations and droves of photographers to the falls a few weeks earlier, but on this day I had the vast amphitheater all to myself. I was disappointed to find the fog had lifted by the time I arrived, so I walked around contemplating a comp I could confidently say I'd not yet seen before--a tough thing to do as oft-visited as this place is. It was a nicely meditative time, unhurried as I was by the sometimes futile effort of trying to stay out of other people's viewfinders. I settled on this single composition before packing up, breathing some heat and life back into my clumsily numbed fingers, and heading back out in my unending quest to capture Earth's beauty in two dimensions.

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