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Proxy Falls Trail, Oregon, USA by Steve J Giardini

I spied this scene as I hiked back to the car after photographing Proxy Falls in the Willamette National Forest on the West side of the McKenzie Pass Highway near Belknap Springs, Oregon.

From the trail there was no way to frame the scene without including a bunch of sky above the maple vine. The angle was to steep. Including sky would be a distraction and destroy my concept of the final composition.

Luckily there were several large, tall boulders opposite the scene. The tall boulders gave me a higher perspective, an option to exclude the sky. I worked my way up the boulders. It took bit to anchor the tripod legs which were all adjusted at different lengths.

In my minds eye I saw a nature scene in transition beginning with rugged desaturated volcanic rock at the bottom. From there my eye is drawn to the less harsh and uniquely detailed tree branch. The final transition comes as my eye falls on the soft, colorful, backlit group of maple vine leaves at the top.

I wanted to take full advantage of the design elements offered within the frame. I wanted the natural shapes, forms, patterns and textures to be front and center.

I composed the frame so that when the viewer reaches the top of the frame there is no where to go except back down! This keeps the viewer ‘in-the-frame’ longer.


Camera Nikon D800
Lens Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8
Aperture F/7.1
S/S 1/13sec
ISO 200
Additional Notes Really Right Stuff TVC 34 w/BH 55, F-Stop Gear Tilopa pack
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About Author 

Steve Giardini

Steve J. Giardini is a professional outdoor photographer. He resides in Bend, Oregon, one of the most beautiful places in the USA. An avid outdoorsman, you will often find him high in Cascade Mountain Range or anywhere he can combine his love of hiking, backpacking, kayaking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and bicycling with his passion for landscape and nature photography. Steve sells nature & landscape photo prints, licenses digital files and conducts workshops & private photo tours.

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