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Falling Up by Tula Top

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Mossy Grotto Falls (Lower Ruckel Creek Falls) · Ruckel Creek · Columbia River Gorge · Bonneville · Oregon · USA

  • Canon 5DII · 16-35mm f/2.8L II · CPL
  • 16mm · f/14 · 1/80s – 3.2s · ISO 50
  • Seven images layered in CS5
    (Best viewed large)

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

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  • Tula Top
    Tula Topover 2 years ago

    Redemption. A day after one of my more frustrating outings we returned to the eternal wonderland of Mossy Grotto Falls. The previous day’s aftertaste left me with lowered photographic expectations, and I set out just to enjoy the day for what it was: A quick but strenuous jaunt up and then a harrowing scramble down to a place of such intrinsic beauty you return to the car with bruises all over—not from falling (well, not necessarily from falling…) but from repeatedly having to pinch yourself to verify that no, you’re not dreaming, this place is indeed real.

    Whether it was the neutral attitude going in or that the intrinsic beauty of the canyon makes it a near foolproof subject, I felt a certain peace and clarity with the environment and camera that I hadn’t really felt in months. This shot was my first composition of the falls that day and I think ultimately my favorite. As I tripped the shutter for the multiple exposures, I thought to myself this could be something unique and special if only I can bring it together in post-production. Sure enough, it took me hours upon hours to blend together the extremely high-contrast scene, particularly at the dendritic interface between tree and sky—a testament to the power of perception of the human eye if there ever was one. This proved to be by far my most labor-intensive piece to date (see the screencap below showing the palette of layers totaling over 30 strong…I think in more experienced hands this number could’ve been reduced by two-thirds or more), and coupled with the previous day’s misadventures, perhaps I hold the end result in higher esteem than might be warranted.

    But regardless, I think it’s fun to look at while contemplating the feeling of falling up.

  • Mieke Boynton
    Mieke Boyntonover 2 years ago

    Sensational work, Tula!!! Love the POV!!!

  • Thanks, Mieke! Tried to go for something unique on this falls, which is getting more and more exposure (and deservedly so).

    – Tula Top

  • AkaleiKilikina
    AkaleiKilikinaover 2 years ago

    Oh wow this is so beautiful! Excellent shot and everything!!

  • Thanks so much, Ashley! :)

    – Tula Top

  • Larry Trupp
    Larry Truppover 2 years ago

    WONDERFUL work Tula

  • Kind thanks, Larry!

    – Tula Top

    JUSTARTover 2 years ago

    great work

  • Thank you, Sylvia. :)

    – Tula Top

  • debsphotos
    debsphotosover 2 years ago

    What a mind boggling process Tula!! With mind boggling results!!! Awesome…hope I get to ‘fall up’ one day!! *-)

  • Thanks, Deb…though I suspect it was more like building a better mousetrap, lol…hopefully won’t be so complex next time I’m persuaded to try to capture a similarly challenging scene. Cheers!

    – Tula Top

  • pablosvista2
    pablosvista2over 2 years ago

    love this perspective – well done Tula

  • Thanks, man! Tried to be a little different with this one.

    – Tula Top

  • Adam Bykowski
    Adam Bykowskiover 2 years ago

    Looks like a lot of work in Photoshop and wonder if that task was more daunting than the actual photography. A like the “different” approach and appreciate your compositional efforts. Cool shot.

  • It absolutely was, Adam…hopefully I’ve learned enough from this to simplify the process substantially next time. Thanks, my friend, and hope you’re well!

    – Tula Top

  • Candy Gemmill
    Candy Gemmillover 2 years ago

    Very cool angle! Love this!

  • Thank you very much, Candy!

    – Tula Top

  • Cynthia Broomfield
    Cynthia Broomf...over 2 years ago

    Great Capture!!! Love the view!!!

  • Thanks, Cynthia! :)

    – Tula Top

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