Not long after, he posted photos from that location on his Facebook page, and I complimented him on the photos. He said he wanted to lead a Meetup group there, and preferably into the hours of darkness. I said that was a great idea--you could take photos of the sunset, and then after dark, of the moon and/or stars, potentially through the holes in the roof of the dilapidated building.
Well, shortly after that, I received an invitation to a Meetup outing to White River Falls State Park, and when I looked at the date, it was for the coming Wednesday, planning to arrive back in Bend around midnight. Yikes! I was thinking he meant a little later toward/into fall, when darkness would come a little earlier, plus on a weekend night. But since it had been my idea, and I'd agreed to his proposal so readily, I felt obligated to RSVP "Yes" to the outing, and did.
Yesterday was that Wednesday, so I arrived at Starbucks at 4:30, where I met up with Tom, who I know from quite a few Meetups (and the leader of this outing), and two people I hadn't met before--Ginger and Donita. I had originally offered to drive, but Tom said I was off the hook since the other two ladies were friends and planned to ride together, so I'd ride with him, and we'd stop in Redmond to pick up the fifth member of our party (who turned out to be ill, so it was just the four of us for the whole outing after all).
After the junction with 197, I mentioned to Tom that I loved the view that would be coming up soon, and sure enough, when we arrived at that location, there was some really cool sunlight fighting its way through the smoky haze (there are forest fires started from a recent lightning storm).
We got to the state park, got our gear organized, and I set off to look for a geocache near the overlook of the top of the fall. I was unsuccessful (but the third person in a row to post a Did Not Find, so it may be missing), but shot this photo from the upper overlook.
About halfway down, there was another good spot for photos. Here's Donita (left) and Tom (right) taking photos of their own.
I didn't bring a tripod, so I was hand-holding my camera through some longish exposures, plus my gear is WAY below the others' in quality, so my photos aren't as stunning as theirs, but here they are anyway. :-)
It's a bit of a hike down to this abandoned power plant, which allows for some good views of it from above while hiking down.
Not sure what this little structure is for, but it was near the second geocache, which I DID find. Yay!
I don't see a Keep Out sign, do you? (I digitally removed it from the photo)
Since I didn't see the Keep Out sign, I went ahead and went into the building and took some photos.
|Through the roof|
Then I headed outside of the building, and found my way to a decent viewpoint of the waterfalls.
I settled in here until dusk. You'll notice the photos get progressively darker (and blurrier).
|Tom is the little blue dot on the right hand side|
|The successful photo hunter returns (to move along to a different viewpoint to await the sunset)|
Eventually, we packed it in and headed back up to the cars to eat a little snack and wait for it to be truly dark, in order to attempt star photos. Donita and Tom at the top, Ginger at the bottom.
After eating our snack dinners, the others headed down the hill again to take star photos down there. My camera doesn't take great star photos anyway, and I didn't have a tripod or a remote release, so I just stayed up in the established State Park area, so I could sit at a picnic table and hold my camera relatively steady while holding the shutter button down. None of my star photos turned out, but here's a long-shutter shot of a car driving past on the main road.
Tom and I left the state park around 10:15, but the other ladies stayed longer. I wonder how late they were there? Tom played me some interesting English and Scottish music (he's Scottish), some Irish music I recognized (The Cranberries), and some other songs both familiar and unfamiliar to me, and two hours later, we pulled into the Starbucks once again. I got home at about 12:20, and was asleep by 12:45.