I knew the day was going to have a great sunset, so I headed off early to search for a good scene. I intended to try to get to the Willamette River near Newberg, but I soon realized I was running out of time. By the time I would have got there and scouted around the sun would be down and the light already faded.
Initially, in my rush, I drove past where Champoeg Creek crosses the St. Paul Hwy. Then about a half mile down the road, I came to my senses and changed my mind. I turned the car around and drove back. I parked about an eighth of a mile away, and walked to the creek and waited. I'm glad I did.
Here, the sun is just touching the ridge above Champoeg Creek, with its rays shining through the trees. The creek itself was like glass and reflected the sky and clouds perfectly. How could you ask for a better shot?
I decided to use HDR to capture the scene, so I set my camera to bracket my shots by two f-stops. One picture is underexposed by two stops, one is overexposed by two stops, and one is right in the middle. In situations like this, where there is such a wide difference in darks and lights, shadows and sun, I think my decision was the correct one.
This picture, taken a few minutes after the sun went behind the ridge, also HDR, captures the symmetry of the trees and their reflections. I almost titled it "God's Rorschach Test".