Alex Mody Photography



  • Oregon, United States, Washington

    Wildflower Season in the Columbia Hills, Oregon/Washington, USA

    05.15.12 | Permalink | 71 Comments

    Each year, from the end of April, through the middle of May, an amazing springtime bloom occurs alongside Oregon and Washington’s Columbia River. Brilliant yellow Balsam root and blue-purple lupine blossom for miles across the meadows, hillsides, and oak-dotted ravines of the Columbia Hills. Being a somewhat recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest, I was very eager to try my hand at capturing these vast, beautiful scenes that did not occur during last year’s very odd spring season.

    Springtime on the Dalles Mountain : Prints Available

    This month, I was fortunate enough to spend a week or so photographing these areas by myself, with friends, and with a few private workshop clients as well. The wildflowers were amazing this year – with balsam root blooming in slightly higher numbers than the lupine – in the areas I managed to visit, at least. Unfortunately, favorable conditions seemed hard to come by. For all but a handful of shooting sessions, the wind was very intense, with sustained speeds of 15-25 MPH. To my dismay, these windy days happened to coincide with much of the better light, which made for some very challenging focus bracketing and depth of field blending.


    Dalles Mountain Morning : Prints Available

    Out of all the areas I scouted, I found the most profuse blooms within Dalles Mountain Ranch State Park, and Columbia Hills State Park, both near Dallesport, Washington. Due to this, as well as the oak-decorated ravines I came across, I chose to focus the majority of my efforts on these two locales.


  • -Articles-, Oregon

    Temperate Rainforests of the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, USA

    03.11.12 | Permalink | 4 Comments

    Spring is just around the corner, and I can’t help but catch myself drooling yet again over the endless photographic possibilities that will soon unfold within Oregon and Washington’s Columbia River Gorge. Home to 115 officially named waterfalls – and many more unnamed, off trail, and/or ephemeral falls, this 85-mile stretch of river boasts the highest concentration of waterfalls in the world!

    The area boasts an impressive average of 70-90 inches of rainfall a year, and some pretty hefty snowmelt to boot. All of that water has to drain somewhere, though. Thanks to gravity, and an average wall height of 1500-3000 feet on the south side of the gorge, that water has cut dozens and dozens of deep valleys, gorges, and streams into the walls of the gorge. Thanks to historical volcanic activity in the area, these slopes consist of basalt, a rock that is not easily eroded by water. As the area’s many streams and creeks try to erode their way into the gorge, they are forced to flow over the basalt they cannot effectively erode, thus creating a enormous quantity of tall and spectacular waterfalls.

    Thanks to the damp and cool weather of the Pacific Northwest, there is no shortage of moisture in the area, making for an impossibly lush and beautiful temperate rainforest ecosystem in the gorge. You can’t beat that setting – each and every stream or waterfall is strikingly gorgeous. With vegetation covering everything in sight, this place truly feels like a scene out of a dream. Spruce and Fir trees tower hundreds of feet above, vine maples sprawl across the forest floor, five-foot-tall ferns evoke a prehistoric, primordial feeling, and the thick coats of moss and epiphytes covering every possible surface bring about a certain feeling I can’t say I have found anywhere else.

    From a photographer’s standpoint, this place is almost as good as they get! Photographing picturesque streams, huge waterfalls, insanely lush greenery, and a host of amazing birds and mammals, one could keep busy for days on end in the gorge, as I know I have.

    Information regarding access to the many waterfalls of the gorge is very readily available, by a quick Google search and/or purchase of an area guidebook, such as Waterfall Lover’s Guide: Pacific Northwest, by Gregory A. Plumb, or Day Hiking Columbia River Gorge, by Craig Romano. Most areas in the gorge may be accessed without any visitor fees, but some locations require purchase of a NW Forest Pass to park at the trailheads.


  • Oregon, United States, Washington

    Snowy Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, USA

    02.07.12 | Permalink | 2 Comments

    The grey, drizzly skies of the winter season here rarely loosen their grip upon us Northwesterners. The sun remains hidden behind the clouds, and temperatures are generally not cold enough for much snowfall to accumulate in the lowlands.

    Just two weeks ago, however, a blast of arctic air made its way down into the region, and along with it came a massive low-pressure system. Depositing over a foot of snow in Olympia, this storm quickly shut down much of Western Washington – I had no electricity in my home for five days! So, with classes canceled for the week, I set out to make some wintry images of some generally not-so-snowy locales. Braving the downright terrible roads, I headed to the first area that came to mind – the Columbia River Gorge, along the Oregon/Washington border.

    The Columbia River Gorge is an area renowned across the globe for having one of, if not the highest concentration of beautiful, photogenic waterfalls in such a small area. Most images one might see of waterfalls in the gorge are typically taken in spring, summer, and now and then, fall, but wintry images are quite uncommon, because wintry conditions rarely occur there.


    Frigid Spirit : Prints Available

    To make this image, I slowly trudged for two steep miles off-trail, with 12 inches of snow underfoot until reaching these incredibly picturesque falls. It was fairly difficult terrain, with rope being a necessity in one particular location, and a lot more slipping and sliding than I would like to admit. After far too long spent perched atop mossy, slippery rocks, struggling to find the right composition while managing to keep my front element dry in the snow and sleet, I came away with this photo.


    Dry Creek Winter : Prints Available

    These falls are located at the end of a steep and narrow 4×4 track, which was a total blast maneuvering in the snow. Photographing image, I chose a simple approach. I set up a very similar composition to the one I had shot last time I visited these falls, but this time around, the fresh snow brought out an entirely different dimension to the photo, and I am quite pleased with the end result.

    I’m not sharing any particularly groundbreaking advice here, but I’d just like to remind you all that when abnormal or unseasonal conditions occur, it can be pertinent to use them to your advantage – because you never know what new photographic opportunities they may afford. So, next time you’re thinking of going out to shoot in the snow, and that little, lazy voice in your head suggests otherwise, ignore it!

  • Oregon

    Autumn Elowah Falls, John B. Yeon State Park, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, USA

    10.29.10 | Permalink | 7 Comments

    It has definitely been a while since my last post here! Hopefully some people are still checking this blog, haha… I plan to update it regularly from this point. I have been keeping quite busy lately… I moved to Olympia, WA in September to attend classes at the Evergreen State College, and have been preoccupied with moving in, getting unpacked, and adapting to my new schedule.

    I just recently got out to shoot for the first time in a loooooong while, and I’m very happy I did so! It was the first of many trips I’ll be taking to Oregon’s rugged coast and Columbia River Gorge. The fall foliage is just getting good down around the streams and waterfalls of the gorge, and I’ll be going back as much as possible in the next week or two. Below is an image from the popular 289-foot Elowah Falls.