Much of nature is too random and cluttered for well composed photographs. Good nature photography thrives on simplicity with poor photos usually including too much information. The floods of February 1996 were rough on waterfalls and streams in the Northwest - and on photographers. Large volumes of logs, debris and ugly clutter were washed into pristine appearing streams - ruining many potential photos. Gradual changes in the natural landscape usually are better for photographers. Rainstorms and floods usually seem to adversely affect photo opportunities. Lower Proxy Falls was no exception. Before the floods, beautiful moss-covered rocks filled the stream descending away from the falls. This provided a perfect leading line type of foreground. After the floods it was a visual disaster, with the foreground covered with huge logs sticking out every which way. I'm normally one who thinks nature should take it's course, but I found myself wishing the Forest Service would remove the huge log debris in a manner similar to helicopter logging.
This never happened and I didn't visit Proxy Falls for about ten years. I had photographed the falls in it's previous appearance back in the 80's - but these images were on 35mm film - not the format I want for making large prints. I finally returned in 2006. The logs covering the foreground had decomposed somewhat and they have a nice layer of moss, but this lower view of the falls still looked better before 1996. In this image I climbed up on the right side of the falls and shot across it avoiding the lower foreground. I will return to Lower Proxy in another few years to see if the logs further decompose and blend better into the foreground.
WILLAMETTE NATIONAL FOREST, OREGON
Toyo 45AII camera with Schneider APO 150/5.6 lens on Fuji Velvia 50 film - 10 sec at f/32