created ‘Dogwood and Alders’ along the
banks of the North Umpqua River in the spring of 2000.
The North Umpqua contains gorgeous water and is one
of the premier fly fishing rivers in America. Zane Gray,
famed author of the American western, fly fished here
for the famous North Umpqua steelhead.
Before leaving on this photography trip, one of my stated
goals was to create an image combining the dogwoods
that grow along the banks of the river, backed by the
beautiful color of the river itself. When photographing
images along rivers, overcast skies are most often preferred.
The soft even lighting provides good shadow detail and
rich deep color rendition of the foliage and water.
I explored and photographed the river for three days
under mostly sunny skies, before finally coming to this
view in late afternoon of my final day. The sky was
mostly cloudy, providing soft filtered light. I was
most enthralled by the way the trees were positioned
directly in front of this beautiful section of rapid
free water. The camera position required was very awkward
and most challenging but, I was not to be denied.
I scrambled to set up my camera, as the sun was dipping
low in the west. My exposure time for this image was
twelve seconds. The long exposure blurred the water
in the background, which explains the mystical feel.
Because of wind moving some of the leaves, only one
of my original transparencies was printable.
For me, spending time on the North Umpqua is a ‘Zen-like’
experience. I feel ‘Dogwood and Alders’
captures this feeling, similar to the feeling of traditional