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Thread: Landscape Photography in the Portland Oregon area?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Landscape Photography in the Portland Oregon area?

    I'll be in Portland, OR in late May this year, and will have a few days starting May 24 to dedicate to landscape photography. I have never spent any time in this area and am curious about suggestions on where I can go within a 2 - 3 hour drive. I don't like crowds, and I'm not interested in re-making photos that someone else has already made. So I think that rules out Columbia River Gorge and the Oregon Coast. The thought of wandering around a redwood forest appeals to me, but I don;t think there are any close enough to Portland.

    I appreciate any ideas, or if anyone wants to dispel my preconceived notion of CRG and the coast that's good too.

  2. #2

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    Re: Landscape Photography in the Portland Oregon area?

    There's always the coast, which is accessible from different routes.

    Towards Astoria, there's Fort Stevens and a smaller Batter Russell. A little further south of Cannon Beach is Oswald West. A bit of a hike in (1 mile), but some nice rocks, etc., to photograph at lower tides. Astoria itself has some very nice, historic architecture. One would take Highway 26 to these locations. Once arriving at the coast, Astoria is a right to the north, and Cannon Beach is a left to the south.

    Another nice area for forests is to proceed as if going to Astoria, and then to drop towards the S.W. on Highway 6 on the way to Tillamook. Along the way is the Tillamook Forest Interpretive Center, whith has some nice views on the Wilson River. Oceanside is neat with architecture embedded in craggy hills there.

    Perhaps more fruitful than the above, but a longer drive (up to three hours) would be to take 99W, connect with Highway 18 at McMinnville, drive to Lincoln City, and then drive south along the Coast. Just south of Depoe Bay is the Otter Crest Loop, which has some nice photographic views. Depoe Bay, and Newport further south have some excellent harbor scenes. Seal Rock south of Newport is a much photographed rock area. Along the way are some lighthouses that might be interesting.

    Basically, just drive south from Lincoln City and see what's of interest. Driving all the way to Florence brings you to the Oregon sand dunes and a state park by that name. This is just about three hours south of Portland along the coast. Another 1.5 hours south is Shore Acres, where there are some nice, craggy coastal scenes. But, that's a bit beyond your anticipated range.

    All this would be during May in Oregon. So, one would take their chances of encountering rain, especially along the Oregon coast.

  3. #3

    Re: Landscape Photography in the Portland Oregon area?

    Boring, Oregon of course

  4. #4

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    Re: Landscape Photography in the Portland Oregon area?

    You could also head east along the Columbia River past the gorge and watch the climate and terrain change. Depending on how far you go it becomes desert.

    However, if this is your first trip I suggest following Neil's advice and go to the coast. It's quite wonderful. Prepare for the possibility of rain and wind.

  5. #5

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    Re: Landscape Photography in the Portland Oregon area?

    You are also about 80 miles from Mt. Hood and the Mt. Hood National Forest. Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood is a National Landmark structure.

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Landscape Photography in the Portland Oregon area?

    There was a huge fire in one of the most scenic parts of the Gorge last year (idiots & firecrackers - a bad mix). But it would still be worthwhile to drive through the Gorge to Hood River Valley. Remember a waterproof darkcloth anywhere in that area. I spent some summers with my Grandma in Tillamook, and recall only 3 days that it DIDN’T rain. Portland isn't that wet, but Astoria is worse. But I love Astoria too.

  7. #7

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    Re: Landscape Photography in the Portland Oregon area?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lewin View Post
    You are also about 80 miles from Mt. Hood and the Mt. Hood National Forest. Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood is a National Landmark structure.
    Mt Hood would be a worthy destination if the weather was good, if the weather is bad I would skip the mountains this time of year. Also the Cascades are full of snow this time of year and you would need to carry tire chains in the vehicle to get up there.

  8. #8

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    Re: Landscape Photography in the Portland Oregon area?

    It has been a terrible year for snow (as in we haven't had any to speak of) here in southern Oregon. I'm not sure about the Mt Hood area, but if more doesn't come soon, snow may be a non-issue in May. Mt. St. Helens might be an option - you'd have to check the distance...

    You might consider checking out some of the rivers. Rivers in the northwest are beautiful. Near Portland there is the Sandy, a small section of the Bull Run, and the Clackamas. Not far north in Washington, the Lewis River is pretty nice, with a couple of interesting waterfalls. For pastoral scenes you could venture south on backroads of the Willamette Valley, but I think you'd see what you see (and have nicely photographed) in the northeast, but not as nice!

    A valuable resource for me is any of the guidebooks to Oregon written by William L. Sullivan. There is one for northwest Oregon, which includes the Portland area. There is also one for the coast and one for the Gorge. He will stray a bit into surrounding states so, for example, the northwest Oregon book covers the Lewis River. The books are oriented toward hiking, but are helpful for directions to trailheads and figuring out what an area might be like. Some of the hikes are short, 1-2 miles.

    Austin has made some nice images on Sauvie Island. When I search for images of it on Google I'm not impressed, but maybe if you go the right part of it...

  9. #9

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    Re: Landscape Photography in the Portland Oregon area?

    Here's the best plan. Take the camera along, so it's there "if needed". Go up the gorge and stop at a whole bunch of the different wineries along both sides once you get into drier terrain. Taste, taste, taste . . . The pictures will take care of themselves.

    Skip the coast. It's like Bodie Ghost town. You can't take a picture that hasn't already been done better.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    Re: Landscape Photography in the Portland Oregon area?

    Yeah. All the pictures have already been taken everywhere. No more left. Stay home.

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