Guardian Spirit by Tula Top

Tamanawas Falls · Mt. Hood National Forest · Parkdale · Oregon

  • Canon 5DII · 24-70mm f/2.8L · 70mm · CPL · 2- and 3-stop NDs
  • 60mm · f/16 · 8s · ISO 50
  • 2019 views as of 8/12/12
    (Looks better LARGE)

As the trail meanders through a massive rockslide and rounds a bend in the gorge, the constant growl of Cold Spring Creek crescendoes to a thundering roar as 100-foot-tall Tamanawas Falls comes into glorious view. Tamanawas is the Chinook term for friendly or guardian spirit, the cataract ostensibly taking its name for its commanding yet calming presence on Mt. Hood’s eastern flank.

As soon as I laid eyes on the majestic falls and saw the towering plumes of spray produced by the swirling winds in the amphitheater, I resigned myself to a second unsuccessful photographic outting in as many days (at Burnt Lake the day prior)—there was just no getting close enough for an intimate portrait without drenching lens and lederhosen* before you could ever hope to get a shot off. Besides which, sunlight was spotlighting the top of the falls and left everything else in deep shadow, making an attempt at even an HDR composite a dicey proposition at best. This was my second visit to the falls, and I felt like I had some unfinished business (I’d like to think I’m a better photog now than I was this same time last year—tremendous thanks goes to the artists of RB for that), but there was significantly less spray on that day that allowed for a much closer approach and much more intimate studies that I was hoping to have another go at. Disappointing, to say the least.

After a time, however, and just as we were set to embark for the trailhead after a short break, the sun moved on from zenith and began to illuminate the mist in radiant shafts of light as it filtered through the evergreens rimming the amphitheater’s cliff. I saw what was developing and waited until the falls was completely in shade, and this was our reward for lollygagging.

* No, I wasn’t wearing nor have I ever worn lederhosen, but I needed something starting with L for the alliteration. My apologies for the deception.

Physician and passionate nature photographer based out of Portland, Oregon, USA.

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  • AngieDavies
    AngieDaviesover 3 years ago

    Perfect title for this magnificent image! Wow factor here!

  • Aw, thank you, dear Angie. Always very appreciated… :)

    – Tula Top

  • Angela King-Jones
    Angela King-Jonesover 3 years ago

    I can’t get over the lederhosen, sorry my friend. LOL… Your words paint a wonderful picture, complete with all the textures of smell and spray :) Wonderfully composed , the rich lush green framing below the shot is picture perfect!

  • Thank you so much, Ang. Maybe one of these days I’ll don the lederhosen and stand in front of the camera, but then no one would forgive me for that, ever. Myself included!

    – Tula Top

  • Wait, smell? Where did smell come from, lol! Hopefully not the lederhosen!

    – Tula Top

  • Angela King-Jones
    Angela King-Jonesover 3 years ago

    I’m not sure how to cheer in German but I am sure it goes something like " Tula Tula Tula" :) :) Double dog dare you !! You know you can’t say no to this challenge. I am bringing Leasha with me and we’re coming up there to take your new Lederhosen Profile picture. I am sure it will make the HP feature!! :) LOL

  • You leave poor Leasha out of this, or she’ll never come to Portland again! And if that’s what it takes to get a homepage feature, fuggedaboutit.

    – Tula Top

  • Lois  Bryan
    Lois Bryanover 3 years ago

    Let not the merits of lollygagging be lightly dismissed … herein we have the proof!!!! WOWZER!!!!!!!!!

  • Aw, thank you, Lois. Cheers to lollygagging!

    – Tula Top

  • LudaNayvelt
    LudaNayveltover 3 years ago


  • Thank you very much, Luda!

    – Tula Top

  • Jeff VanDyke
    Jeff VanDykeover 3 years ago

    Wow!!! Amazing shot!!

  • Thanks so much, Jeff, appreciate it!

    – Tula Top

  • JoeDavisPhoto
    JoeDavisPhotoover 3 years ago

    Stunning, as usual! I vote for the lederhosen, by the way! If you wear those, I’ll try and borrow a kilt from my relatives! Deal??!! We’ll get banned from Redbubble together! :D

  • Man, I never should’ve mentioned the lederhosen, lol.

    Thanks, Joe. ;)

    – Tula Top

  • Michael Matthews
    Michael Matthewsover 3 years ago

    Awesome lighting Tula. This is a brilliant image.

  • Cheers, Michael, appreciate that immensely!

    – Tula Top

  • carlosramos
    carlosramosover 3 years ago

    Wow,is like a dream, amazing and fabulous image !

  • Thank you so much, Carlos. :)

    – Tula Top

  • Susan Blevins
    Susan Blevinsover 3 years ago

    Definitely spectacular!!!!!…a WOW capture for sure….love it…..I would have waited for the perfect moment too!!!!!!…..Susan

  • Thank you very much, Susan! Appreciate the visit and kind comment. :)

    – Tula Top

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