I think this scene and light is absolutely magical. I mean really, you almost expect to see a unicorn drinking from the sacred pool of life below!
It was a frigid sunrise. I convinced my wife out of bed at a time that began with a 5 - never something someone on "vacation" is thrilled about (unless you're a photographer), and we made the 90-or-so minute drive to Silver Falls State Park southeast of Portland. Everything was frosty and the temperature was in the 20's. For us Maui-folk, that's C O L D . We arrived at the waterfall with the morning light, and I spent 45 minutes or so studying the scene with my camera from various spots, doing my best not to slip and break my butt on the frosty ground. With only so much morning light available, I was considering moving on to another spot. Rebecca had a similar thought, although her motivation had much more to do with the cars heater than the light of our next spot. We began the trail up to the top of the falls, which would then lead us out and back to the car.
As we neared the top of the trail, the sunlight had finally reached a height that allowed its light to come through the trees above, creating stunning god-rays in the fog and mist. I excitedly set up the camera and our thoughts of leaving were quickly abandoned. Within minutes, the camera began recording the event unfolding as we oooh'ed and aaah'ed. The sunlight began to melt the water droplets frozen in the trees above. As the large droplets fell, they reflected the sunlight creating small flashes of light, bringing the beauty of the moment to a crescendo. We giggled with delight and watched in awe.
This show carried on for 20 minutes or more and got better with time. As the sun rose higher, the rays of light were more directed down into this small gorge, becoming more dramatic. The image above was one of the final frames before the light began to break up and the rays became less distinct. I've spent 250-300 sunsets and sunrises in nature and outdoors this year, and over much of the past decade, and this was truly one of the most magical scenes I have witnessed.