Columbia River Gorge

December 05, 2016


Multfalls641c_26oct16 December 2016 Viewer's ChoicePhotographer: Ray Boren
Summary Author: Ray Boren

Aided by catastrophic events, the Columbia River has been diligently slicing through the Northwest’s Cascade Range — part of the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire — since the mountains began building about 35 million years ago as a result of the tectonic collision of the oceanic Juan de Fuca plate and the continental North American plate. The result today is deeply carved, waterfall-tressed Columbia River Gorge; the only sea-level pass through the range, and a magnet for those who relish scenic beauty.

In the photograph above, taken looking upriver on a rainy autumn day, Oct. 26, 2016, from Chanticleer Point, the wide Columbia separates the U.S. states of Washington, on the left (north), and Oregon, to the right (south). Railroad tracks and I-84 follow the river’s south shore below, while Oregon’s serpentine Columbia River Scenic Highway — first envisioned and built 100 years ago, at the dawn of the automobile touring age — winds from waterfall to waterfall, and to a series of high bluff-top viewpoints. Vista House, on Crown Point to the east, offers the most architecturally elegant view. The monolith across the river to the north is Washington’s Beacon Rock, an 848-foot (258 m) basalt plug, hardened magma that formed in an ancient volcano vent.

Tributaries of the Columbia here dramatically plunge off the bordering cliffs, giving us cascades like beautiful, 620-foot (189 m) Multnomah Falls (inset at left), one of 77 waterfalls just on the Oregon side of the river, in the 292,000 acre Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Photo Details: Top - Camera: NIKON D3200; Lens: AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED; Focal Length: 110mm (35mm equivalent: 165mm); Aperture: ƒ/9.0; Exposure Time: 0.0063 s (1/160); ISO equiv: 400. Bottom - same except: Lens: Tokina AT-X 124 AF PRO DX II (AF 12-24mm f/4); Focal Length: 22mm (35mm equivalent: 33mm); Aperture: ƒ/4.0; Exposure Time: 0.025 s (1/40); ISO equiv: 180.