Behind the Scenes: Photographing at Rainbow Falls State Park, Washington, 2021

Because I still have a full-time job, I have to fit in my field photography sessions when I can. Often this means stopping for photos during my commute. Unlike most people, my drive to and from work is over 100 miles (I don’t do it every day, I work 24-hour shifts, with days off in-between).

One of my favorite alternate routes home is along State Route 6 between Chehalis and Raymond, Washington. After leaving Interstate 5, it’s all rural country except for a few small towns.

One notable area along this route is Rainbow Falls State Park. This state park along the Chehalis River features a small cascade (Rainbow Falls), an old-growth forest, and miles of hiking trails.


Rainbow Falls, Chehalis River, Washington


On a recent trip home, adequate light and weather lasted late into the morning. I pulled off into the roadside parking area next to the highway. A quick walk led down a slippery road to the rocky river’s edge, where I positioned my camera and tripod in a spot to capture the waterfall.

The river divides into two separate streams as it passes over a section of bedrock, one small and one with the more significant flow. Not having a wide-angle lens with me, I concentrated my attention on the larger of the flows. The constant moisture generated by the waterfall provides an excellent environment for moss and ferns to thrive.


Chehalis River, Rainbow Falls State Park, Washington


After my composition of the waterfalls, I moved my attention to the river above the falls.

This section of the Chehalis River moves slowly before descending the falls. On the calm morning of my visit, the water’s mirror-smooth surface reflected the fresh spring greenery of the trees that line the banks of the river. The filtered sunshine provided a pleasant glow for the foliage lining the river.

Such is the intense green that many people notice on their first visit to the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest.

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