The Columbia Gorge, just east of Portland, Oregon, is known for its beauty. You can’t go wrong with a winding river through a lush green gorge. It’s also known for it’s numerous waterfalls that pour off the canyon walls along Scenic Route 30.
I was in the zone, setting up a shot of another beautiful waterfall. Imagine my surprise, when a gentlemen approached me as I was shooting. “A tripod, now that’s planning ahead.” I assessed the high-end camera gear he was carrying and pondered his comment, and I couldn’t figure out why he would be out there shooting the waterfall without a tripod. Perhaps, this was a photography pick-up line?
If you are a novice at photography or like to use your cell phone to capture a shot, you may realize the photo you capture of a waterfall doesn’t look like the ones you see in a magazine. A long exposure is needed to “smooth” out the water and give it that silky effect. Hand holding a long exposure will almost always insure the whole photo is blurry (water, rocks and trees) as very few of us can keep completely still for that length of time. Hence, the need for the assistance of a tripod.
Below is Latourell Falls, it is the first waterfall encountered along the gorge. It plunges 224 feet over a massive wall of columnar basalt covered in green lichen.
“Carbon fiber?” he asked. He really needs to tune his approach.
Yes, I replied.
“My wife said she buy me a new tripod for my birthday, what’s that run, a couple of hundred?”
Focusing on my shot, I jacked my thumb upward.
Wiping the waterfall spray off my lens, I politely informed him that a top of the line tripod was over $1000 and a comparable ball-head would set him back another $500+.
It was here his demeanor changed ever so slightly, as if he were thinking, “she’s young and blond, she doesn’t really know what she’s talking about. Glad my pickup lines failed”. Or maybe he realized that his wife who was not young and blond would rule out the purchase of his new tripod.
Needless to say, there were many other subjects in the gorge where a tripod was not needed. Perhaps, he would do just fine without.