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Professional
3-Sep-2013, 17:30
Hi all,

I am planning if can get my vacation from work as soon as possible to visit USA again, and i decided i will take that direct flight to Seattle so i ca be on the North/West states there, i am thinking i would like to have about 18 days up to 3 weeks if possible, so my few questions:

- Which areas i should be around there for photography?
- How much is the transport if available to national parks around there?
- Can i get some restaurants with international cuisine because i am not much with meat food specially with forbidden meat and trying to have very very similar food to what i eat in my country [Arabian, indian, middle eastern or turkish...etc]

- If you can help or give some guides, are there some cheapo hotels there so i can move around as cheap as possible?

I am thinking to be in Oregon and Washington states and not planning to go to another many states very far, even California i m not looking for to visit which is not that much far by flight, but i am thinking to use buses or trains and those lands transports than air.

I appreciate any help here to plan my trip at best i can.

Brian C. Miller
3-Sep-2013, 20:15
Let's see: You can rent a car, and drive all over the place. There's nothing for public transportation out to the parks, though. The US really stinks for public transportation, and out west here it's abysmal, but just look at the wide open spaces! You can go north to Mt. Baker, south to Mt. Rainier, there's the Cascades Loop highway circuit, there's the Olympic peninsula with the old forts out there, all of eastern Washington, and of course plenty in Oregon.

For restaurants, there's plenty of choices. You can probably walk down the street in Seattle and just ask one of the Muslims strolling the sidewalk for recommendations. We do have a very good selection of restaurants. The local population has Iranians, Iraqis, Arabs, all the countries of Africa, Egyptians, and on. I eat occasionally at a local place that serves halal food and part of the menu is in Arabic, and I live out in the "wilderness" of Everett.

The cheaper hotels (motels) are a bit outside of Seattle, though. Cheap is as cheap is found. You may not want to go totally cheap, but opt for something a bit better.

Peter De Smidt
3-Sep-2013, 20:24
We really enjoyed the Olympic Peninsula, especially the pacific beaches, such as Rialto. Hurricane Ridge has some terrific alpine views. The Hoh rainforest was a letdown. Orca watching off of San Juan Island was a neat experience. Mt. Rainer is also not that far from Seattle.

You might check out some of the photo guides at: http://www.photographamerica.com/

Professional
3-Sep-2013, 20:36
Cool, i know those places, i asked this on different sites and got many answers, but it is all coming to the point that i must rent a car to enjoy the trip, then i have to add that renting expense as well.

I am not keen in driving overseas, but i will see if i can do it at the end when i arrive there, but from where should i rent a car? and where i can get a cheap hotel say for the first 2-3 days until i sort out my things then i can change anytime?

Keith Fleming
3-Sep-2013, 21:00
The biggest question is "When are you visiting the Pacific Northwest?" The summers are generally dry, but by mid-October things will start to get rainy. November is the wettest month, and then the number of rainy days gradually tapers off until mid-July when the skies clear and the dry season begins.

Your preferred foods will be easy to find in large cities such as Seattle or Portland. It will be much more difficult out in the smaller towns. However, it may be manageable by reading the menus carefully and asking questions of the waiter or waitress in a restaurant.

Do a Google search on the American Automobile Association in Washington State or Oregon. You will see the name abbreviated as AAA, and often pronounced "Triple A." AAA members can order free travel guides that include approved hotels and motels, along with prices. AAA also will provide you with maps of the roads and highways.

The previous advice about renting an automobile is good, but you will need an international drivers license. The UAE's embassy also may be of help, and UAE consulates out here on the West Coast are an obvious source of information and help.

Have a great visit!

Keith

Jac@stafford.net
3-Sep-2013, 21:07
The US really stinks for public transportation, and out west here it's abysmal

While not Washington state I find Portland, Sea Side and Canon Beach, Oregon to have AMAZINGLY good, economical and sometimes free public transportation. Is it that different in Seattle? In Sea Side my wife became ill and a trolly-like bus went out of its way to take us to the nearest hospital for treatment, waited for us, and returned us.

To Professional, there are some very good internet resources that automatically map out facilities (lodging, auto rentals, restaurants) based upon where you are (using radio-tower and GPS). They can compare and direct you to what you wish. I will leave it to the more traveled to recommend some and can follow up if nobody else does. For an auto rental, all major airports have such facilities on site. You can reserve an auto before you leave A.E., or even from the aircraft.

Brian C. Miller
3-Sep-2013, 21:16
For cars, there's Avis (http://www.avis.com), Hertz (http://www.hertz.com), and a bunch of others (https://www.google.com/search?q=seattle+car+rental). Actually, I wonder if you could hook up with somebody and go all over the place. Huh: from a Google search (https://www.google.com/search?q=seattle+arab+community), I got the Arab Center of Washington (http://arabcenterwa.org/). (I didn't know there was going to be an Arab festival this weekend!) Anyways, I bet you could find a fellow countryman who would drive you around for cheaper than a rental would cost.

There are actually a lot of cheap places to stay, but you find them by driving up old Highway 99. Before the freeways were built, that was the only road from Portland, through Seattle, to Canada. There are lots of cheap places to stay along that route. Otherwise, there's Expedia (http://www.expedia.com), and other travel sites.

Just realized: what kind of camera are you bringing? LF? MF? B&W film can be processed locally, both in Seattle and Portland.

Brian C. Miller
3-Sep-2013, 21:20
While not Washington state I find Portland, Sea Side and Canon Beach, Oregon to have AMAZINGLY good, economical and sometimes free public transportation. Is it that different in Seattle?

There is no public transportation out to any of the national parks, so yeah, it stinks for that. Otherwise the local transport around the place is pretty good, and I use it all the time. That's what I figured that Professional wanted. The Seattle bus system, King County Metro (http://metro.kingcounty.gov/), even has a smart phone app that tracks the buses in real time.

Professional
3-Sep-2013, 22:36
The biggest question is "When are you visiting the Pacific Northwest?" The summers are generally dry, but by mid-October things will start to get rainy. November is the wettest month, and then the number of rainy days gradually tapers off until mid-July when the skies clear and the dry season begins.

Your preferred foods will be easy to find in large cities such as Seattle or Portland. It will be much more difficult out in the smaller towns. However, it may be manageable by reading the menus carefully and asking questions of the waiter or waitress in a restaurant.

Do a Google search on the American Automobile Association in Washington State or Oregon. You will see the name abbreviated as AAA, and often pronounced "Triple A." AAA members can order free travel guides that include approved hotels and motels, along with prices. AAA also will provide you with maps of the roads and highways.

The previous advice about renting an automobile is good, but you will need an international drivers license. The UAE's embassy also may be of help, and UAE consulates out here on the West Coast are an obvious source of information and help.

Have a great visit!

Keith

Thanks Keith!

I hope i can do it, if not it is not a big deal, maybe another time, who knows.

The time or period i want to come is all the key, if i can get my vacation from work on time then i am planning to arrive there either 16 or 17 Sept 2013 until say 06 Oct 2013, so i think i will be at late fall and almost beginning of winter, i like to have rains time to time, also sunshine, whatever the weather it will be it is ok for me, i have been to NYC and LA back in 2009 October and it was changing between sunshine to rainy days, same in Scotland and New Zealand before in the past, so i am aware of the weather and i can do in those conditions.

I will not worry much about food as i was in difficult situations before when i traveled to Scotland and NZ before, so i am more experienced about what kind of food to find over there, i just asked because it will make it easier for me to know before i arrive there if so.



While not Washington state I find Portland, Sea Side and Canon Beach, Oregon to have AMAZINGLY good, economical and sometimes free public transportation. Is it that different in Seattle? In Sea Side my wife became ill and a trolly-like bus went out of its way to take us to the nearest hospital for treatment, waited for us, and returned us.

To Professional, there are some very good internet resources that automatically map out facilities (lodging, auto rentals, restaurants) based upon where you are (using radio-tower and GPS). They can compare and direct you to what you wish. I will leave it to the more traveled to recommend some and can follow up if nobody else does. For an auto rental, all major airports have such facilities on site. You can reserve an auto before you leave A.E., or even from the aircraft.

Thank you very much!

I will give that a look and see which company to rent from and what prices i can get, in all cases even if expensive i want to make this trip as good as possible.


For cars, there's Avis (http://www.avis.com), Hertz (http://www.hertz.com), and a bunch of others (https://www.google.com/search?q=seattle+car+rental). Actually, I wonder if you could hook up with somebody and go all over the place. Huh: from a Google search (https://www.google.com/search?q=seattle+arab+community), I got the Arab Center of Washington (http://arabcenterwa.org/). (I didn't know there was going to be an Arab festival this weekend!) Anyways, I bet you could find a fellow countryman who would drive you around for cheaper than a rental would cost.

There are actually a lot of cheap places to stay, but you find them by driving up old Highway 99. Before the freeways were built, that was the only road from Portland, through Seattle, to Canada. There are lots of cheap places to stay along that route. Otherwise, there's Expedia (http://www.expedia.com), and other travel sites.

Just realized: what kind of camera are you bringing? LF? MF? B&W film can be processed locally, both in Seattle and Portland.

Thanks for the links.

I hope to find cheap accommodations to save little for my entire trip, few bucks saved here and there could help me to move more, but who knows what i may find or get when i arrive there, in all cases, i will have enough budget and little more room for safe side of any additional costs/fees here and there.

Well, i really would like to bring my LF to use it for first time in travel and outdoor, i used my LF only for 5 sheets so far back in 2011 i think then never used it, but i bought a new lens for LF this year, and i have that lightweight folding camera, but the problem is that i will carry a lot of digital gear as well, and if i know a friend there who can take me around then definitely i can bring my LF gear, about MF also i am not sure which body to bring out of 5 cameras i have, and also i have digital MF which is something unmatched in digital and it is one must to use for outdoor then comparing to 35mm DSLRs. If i bring film gear then i will buy film from there in PNW and process it locally there, i can't trust the X-Ray checking systems in the airports even it will be fine for some films, just i didn't decide yet on film gear to bring.



There is no public transportation out to any of the national parks, so yeah, it stinks for that. Otherwise the local transport around the place is pretty good, and I use it all the time. That's what I figured that Professional wanted. The Seattle bus system, King County Metro (http://metro.kingcounty.gov/), even has a smart phone app that tracks the buses in real time.

Yes, i want to access to NPs and getting to wilderness, this is my main purpose/goal of my trip to PNW.

Brian Ellis
4-Sep-2013, 06:51
I lived in central Oregon (about 4 hours east of the Pacific coast). Also photographed in Washington. I can't imagine how you'll get around those two States without renting a car. As for food, you can find that kind of food in any major or medium-sized city in Oregon (Portland, Salem, Eugene, etc.). For smaller areas, which is what most of Oregon consists of, it might be a problem.

As for areas to photograph in those two States, they're too numerous to list. For Oregon I'd suggest buying the book "Photographing Oregon" by Greg Vaughn. If you can't order it from where you live order it when you arrive and have it delivered to your hotel. There's another book that's also good, "The Photographer's Guide to the Oregon Coast" by David Middleton. But if you can buy only one I'd get the Vaughn book because it isn't limited to the Pacific coast.

You more or less dismissed California but if you're in the southern part of Oregon on the Pacific coast - e.g. Gold Beach area - which is where some of the best coastal photography in Oregon is located - you're only a relatively short distance from the California redwood parks in northern California and they'd be worth at least a day or so I would think.

I'm not sure about "wilderness." Unless you really know a particular wilderness area well I would think you could spend a lot of time just wandering around looking for something to photograph. But I'm not an expert on true wilderness photography.

John Kasaian
4-Sep-2013, 07:29
The Pacific Northwest is famous for salmon and halibut---seafood of all kinds. And there is always vegetarian pizza.
You'll definately need to rent a car unless you want to stay put. Distances are far and public transportation is non-existent in the wilderness.
Camping is cheap---for about the cost of one night at a Motel 6 you can get a cheap tent and sleeping bag on sale from a Big Five and there are plenty of campgrounds around the places most people find photogenic. Safe travels.

Peter Gomena
4-Sep-2013, 08:06
The Pacific Northwest has a huge diversity of environments. The Cascade Mountains divide the region into wet and dry climates. The coastal ranges are home to rainforests. Driving from the western metropolitan areas to the far eastern borders of Oregon and Washington can take up to 7 hours depending on your route. Plan carefully or you'll spend more time in your car than you will taking pictures.

The Olympic Peninsula in Washington has some unbeatable beaches and forests. This time of year, the forests are pretty dry, so the spectacular rainforest environments are at the ebb. The beaches are always good for exploring.

I live in Oregon, and have photographed extensively in the Columbia River Gorge and on the coast. Favorite locations include the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway (Highway 30) on the Oregon side of the river, the Painted Hills National Monument in Central Oregon, and Seal Rocks, Hug Point, Fogarty Creek State Park, Ecola State Park on the coast. Coastal scenery runs the gamut from rocky shores to miles and miles of sand dunes. Again, plan carefully, or you'll spend a lot of time driving and not much with a camera on a tripod.

Have a great trip!

Heroique
4-Sep-2013, 11:07
Another strategic idea to share:

If you rent a car out of Seattle, drive SE into the Cascades and find a hotel in, say, Ashford, Morton, or Randle – and stay there for several days. You will have Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens, and Mount Adams all relatively close by. Plus plenty of fun Forest Service roads, esp. south of Randle, all the way down to the Columbia River and into Oregon.

So much to do, so little time!

Don’t even get me started on the Olympics... ;^)

Professional
4-Sep-2013, 11:13
Well, it is always the issue if i am not aware to drive overseas and then it is my first time in the area/region it will be always time for only driving around, and even in 3 weeks or little less i can't cover many areas even if i move everyday, so it will be like i may end up to 3 or 4 famous photographic spots and the rest it will be just quick pass or maybe shooting on wrong time or maybe unlucky and have few raining days that will keep me always indoors than outdoors, i can't guarantee i can visit most of the locations you mentioned here and also others mentioned, and also not guarantee i will stop in all of them to photograph that if i arrive them on right time and right condition.

It is good for plan carefully, but if i have over 50 spots to photograph and all are the ones i look for it will be difficult what to choose and what to skip, that is why i made my plan for almost 3 weeks so i can get most of what i can, but again, because i am not good and never drive overseas before so it may end up as you said Peter, just driving more, and also i am not very keep on the areas there even you all gave me the names, i may stop a lot here and there and not getting to right best spot places i should stop in, i know myself i want to stop every 1-2kms/mi here and there and that may waste my time.

I was thinking to do one thing i did in New Zealand before but it may not work in USA PNW.

Professional
4-Sep-2013, 11:17
Another strategic idea to share:

If you rent a car out of Seattle, drive SE into the Cascades and find a hotel in, say, Ashford, Morton, or Randle – and stay there for several days. You will have Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens, and Mount Adams all relatively close by. Plus plenty of fun Forest Service roads, esp. south of Randle, all the way down to the Columbia River and into Oregon.

So much to do, so little time!

Don’t even get me started on the Olympics... ;^)

I was thinking if i stay for example in Seattle for 4-5 days and get to Olympics for example and San Juan Island and few closer areas, then after those days i go to Cascades for another 4-6 days and do hiking around there, then almost the last week i may go by coastal sides and also keep walking in the big cities for 1 day or half day at all.

In fact i was hoping if someone can put a days guide for 3 weeks or say roughly 18 days, 2 or 3 guides options will keep me busy and then i can go for the best option i can do.

Kevin Crisp
4-Sep-2013, 11:37
What do you want to see and photograph? Personally I am drawn to central Oregon but then I can't get enough of small towns and abandoned farms.

Professional
4-Sep-2013, 12:09
What do you want to see and photograph? Personally I am drawn to central Oregon but then I can't get enough of small towns and abandoned farms.

Let's say three main things:

Waterscapes [sea coast/beaches, lakes, rivers, waterfalls]
Mountains [either from lakes or river views or even just a vary scene with flowers and greens and whatever with a mount peak in background.
Desert or open space land [such as normal usual desert or death valley or Painted Hill or Zion or whatever of that category]

Professional
4-Sep-2013, 12:13
Rainforest and cityscape or nightscape can be done here and there when i have time, but they are not my top priority against to my first 3 points i mentioned, there is also macro and portraiture too, so many things to do for sure, but have to focus on the best part or type of photography i like and can do better.

tgtaylor
4-Sep-2013, 19:01
You're not going to do this but one Labor day (ca 2005) I flew to Seattle with my bicycle and bicycled from SEATAC through Seattle, up Whidbey Island to Anacortes, Island hopped the San Juans' on the ferry, across the Haro Strait to British Columbia, Canada, down to Victoria where I took the ferry across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Port Angeles, Washington and back to SEATAC. Great TRIP! It started drizzling (it doesn't rain in that part of the country during rainy season but drizzles 24/7) about 15 minutes before the ferry reached the Seattle port and continued for about 15 minutes more but then stopped and allowed me to continue to the airport where I slept on the floor in the passenger waiting room on my air mattress for my 6am flight back.

Except for the San Juan Islands where I tent camped in hiker/biker campgrounds, I stayed in motels I came across at the end of the day. These were local family run motels and were priced in the mid @20 range but all where clean with color TV and shower, etc.

I recommend getting some travel guides and road maps and planning a trip.

Thomas

Professional
4-Sep-2013, 21:35
Thanks Thomas!

This trip giving me confused mixed feeling, one way i feel so excited and can't wait to do it, another way i feel very worry and mysterious feeling that it may not go fine as i look for.

I will try to search about some photography meetup groups/clubs from Washington/Oregon who can help to show around and not minding someone to join in, i can help in tutoring if needed.

Doug Herta
5-Sep-2013, 00:18
Hello Professional!

You have a set of folks here who live and photograph throughout the region you are coming to. If you are coming and going from Seattle you are welcome to meet up with me, borrow a tripod, get some pointers, etc. I can point you to some options to stay in Seattle - PM me for some options.

Seattle is close to the Cascades and Mt. Rainier. There are a few places I can direct you to that are day trips from Seattle. The Olympic mountains, and San Juan Islands could all be visited from Seattle, but it would be a lot of driving to make them day trips. You would be better served to station yourself near where you want to photograph.

The heart of the matter is this: there is SO MUCH to see, and if you try to see everything you are going to be spending a lot of time on the road. I know it is hard to do from half a world away, but read up some more about what you want to see and we can probably give some more concrete suggestions.

Professional
5-Sep-2013, 01:19
Hello Professional!

You have a set of folks here who live and photograph throughout the region you are coming to. If you are coming and going from Seattle you are welcome to meet up with me, borrow a tripod, get some pointers, etc. I can point you to some options to stay in Seattle - PM me for some options.

Seattle is close to the Cascades and Mt. Rainier. There are a few places I can direct you to that are day trips from Seattle. The Olympic mountains, and San Juan Islands could all be visited from Seattle, but it would be a lot of driving to make them day trips. You would be better served to station yourself near where you want to photograph.

The heart of the matter is this: there is SO MUCH to see, and if you try to see everything you are going to be spending a lot of time on the road. I know it is hard to do from half a world away, but read up some more about what you want to see and we can probably give some more concrete suggestions.

Hello Doug!

Than you very much for your reply.

I was thinking to divide my trip into 2 periods or say 2 stages or whatever its called, 12-14 days in Washington and another 12-14 days in Oregon, then i try to be back to Seattle last 1-3 days if left. The flight i will book go direct to Seattle as a destination, so it will be my start point, it is not my main place, but from Seattle i will try to go all around to NPs and landscapes i want if possible.

I was thinking about 3 main things to photograph as landscapes:

1. Waterscapes [beaches, lakes, rivers,...etc]
2. Mountains and surround of it
3. Desert or Open era and such

If i can do those 3 above or say the first two within 2 weeks then i can try to do something else as addition the remaining days, such as cityscape or night shots or portraits, i know i can't do or see everything even if i stay longer and trying harder, i have been to some beautiful places in Europe and New Zealand and still didn't see everything or many things yet, so i know i can't in PNW alone.

It will be great to meet you somewhere, i was thinking to stay first 2 nights in Seattle to manage/arrange my plan better then i get busy in move, i don't want to keep driving if i will drive and not shooting much enough, but i know i don't know anybody there and i never drove overseas before, so maybe the first few days will be hard for me trying to arrange a place and a car and whatever else, so that i asked about this trip on many sites in advanced to gather enough details and information before i fly, whatever i can get it will help, but i also don't hold a big hope i can do a lot there, if i can't find helpful people and no one care to help and guide there then i can't do much alone by myself, i will try to have my list ready before i travel about few locations i want to visit, but there are many things can play a rule, the weather itself is a big factor may change my plan time to time, and if i will be fit and in good health too and not getting flu or cold, so, i hope in those 18 days or up to 3 weeks i can have locations to visit and no need to visit all of them, i will be very happy if everyday i choose one place to visit and spend my time there, each day in each location.

Any recommendations/suggestions/opinions will help for sure.

John Kasaian
5-Sep-2013, 07:21
Perhaps drive down the coast starting with Olympic Peninsula down to the Columbia River (if you are head of schedule consider exploring the beaches in Oregon too) then East through The Dalles, then South through desert to Pendleton, then West to the mountains--Crater Lake, Bend,
The North again following the Cascades back to Seattle. Sort of a figure "8"
Just a thought. Rent a van and sleep in the (dry) back most nights to save some loot. Disguise your photo equipment well to thwart the bandits.
Have fun!

Professional
5-Sep-2013, 14:35
Perhaps drive down the coast starting with Olympic Peninsula down to the Columbia River (if you are head of schedule consider exploring the beaches in Oregon too) then East through The Dalles, then South through desert to Pendleton, then West to the mountains--Crater Lake, Bend,
The North again following the Cascades back to Seattle. Sort of a figure "8"
Just a thought. Rent a van and sleep in the (dry) back most nights to save some loot. Disguise your photo equipment well to thwart the bandits.
Have fun!

That will be a great idea, i will write down and consider it for sure, van may be a better idea than the small car, i can carry heavy load with me on move too, but it is all coming if i will drive or can drive overseas without fear.

Thanks again!

tautatis
6-Sep-2013, 18:30
I just came back from a trip in Canada. Rented a car in Calgary and drove all the way to Victoria and Vancouver (Western Canada) before boarding a bus to Seattle to visit family. As some have mentioned, renting a car is the best option - you can go anywhere you want at anytime. There are no buses nor trains to take to most if not all the National or State Parks. We have always camped during our road trips. Alternatively, if you had a photo guide who drives it could minimize the hassle or renting a car as foreigner with no US address etc. Renting a small car within a state for may cost you relatively little. compared to what you would pay to travel on train or bus from one town to another including hotel/motel. 2 years ago I did LA to Seattle and a year before Santa Fe to Seattle. 3 weeks is a lot of time to really enjoy the country and do great photography. You may consider staying in motels such as Super 8, Days Inn, Ramada and or camping if the weather is good. Northwest is great for photography. Enjoy your visit.

Kuzano
6-Sep-2013, 19:30
Look Professor, I'm just going to say this.

I live in Central Oregon and am also quite familiar with the coastlines of both Oregon (down to California) and Washington (up to Canada). I also have spent much time in the Central High Desert of Oregon and the farmlands/Coulee Grand Canyon areas of Eastern Washington. There is a lifetime of shooting without leaving the Pacific NorthWest, and you've received a great sampling in all your posts.

Now, what I have to say.... Pack and travel for survival. Forget any comments in these posts about wandering down lonely forest service roads unless you are with a guide.

Here's why. I am an inveterate follower of the Farmers Almanac, the most routinely accurate of weather patterns for months and years at a time.

The time you are choosing has some surprises very often, so here is a link on the Farmers Almanac for Sept/October 2013:

http://www.farmersalmanac.com/long-range-weather-forecast/northwest-us/

I would probably not venture into the mountains during this time. If I did, I would make sure I carried appropriate maps, all readily available at parks, ranger stations and Sporting Goods stores. Not a winter goes by in this part of the country without someone or family diverting from a known highway and thinking they know a shortcut to Granny's house. A sudden unexpected storm hits and they are often found on some lightly traveled forest road, snowed in and about two weeks too late. It happens.

Not trying to scare you into not coming. But be careful. Always have two to three days of food in your car, adequate layered clothing for such an event, water for a week. If you do bet bogged down, stuck or lost. STAY WITH YOUR CAR, and have a full charge on your cell phone. An extra charged battery would be a plus.

That's why I don't hit the mountains during or shortly before winter. Another consideration is that many such roads are closed (locked) to winter travel late in September and particularly October.

This will usually not happen on the West side of I5 running through Washington and Oregon. You will be in rain country for the most part, near the Coast or the Coastal mountain range.

As I recall we lost 3 if not 4 families in Oregon alone last winter when they took of on less traveled roads.

Now again, I am not purposely trying to deter you from having a good time. I am just suggesting you travel with caution and plan your trips safely. Also, if you go past park or ranger stations, it's a good idea to post an itinerary.

Again, I don't think I can add to the suggestions. One thing to remember if you follow a Coastal Route down through the two states, there are only about a dozen lighthouses still commissioned and in operation. Lighthouses are being decommissioned and often turned into tourist attractions at a growing rate. Lighthouse were often placed at very scenic Ocean overviews, many jutting out over the Ocean at large land heads. I have a plan in the next year or so, to travel that route and capture all the Lighthouses I can from the central Washington coast, down to Bandon near California.

Enjoy your trip. Sorry if this darkens the mood... not trying to do that... trying to make your trip as exciting as it should be.

Professional
6-Sep-2013, 21:01
I just came back from a trip in Canada. Rented a car in Calgary and drove all the way to Victoria and Vancouver (Western Canada) before boarding a bus to Seattle to visit family. As some have mentioned, renting a car is the best option - you can go anywhere you want at anytime. There are no buses nor trains to take to most if not all the National or State Parks. We have always camped during our road trips. Alternatively, if you had a photo guide who drives it could minimize the hassle or renting a car as foreigner with no US address etc. Renting a small car within a state for may cost you relatively little. compared to what you would pay to travel on train or bus from one town to another including hotel/motel. 2 years ago I did LA to Seattle and a year before Santa Fe to Seattle. 3 weeks is a lot of time to really enjoy the country and do great photography. You may consider staying in motels such as Super 8, Days Inn, Ramada and or camping if the weather is good. Northwest is great for photography. Enjoy your visit.


Look Professor, I'm just going to say this.

I live in Central Oregon and am also quite familiar with the coastlines of both Oregon (down to California) and Washington (up to Canada). I also have spent much time in the Central High Desert of Oregon and the farmlands/Coulee Grand Canyon areas of Eastern Washington. There is a lifetime of shooting without leaving the Pacific NorthWest, and you've received a great sampling in all your posts.

Now, what I have to say.... Pack and travel for survival. Forget any comments in these posts about wandering down lonely forest service roads unless you are with a guide.

Here's why. I am an inveterate follower of the Farmers Almanac, the most routinely accurate of weather patterns for months and years at a time.

The time you are choosing has some surprises very often, so here is a link on the Farmers Almanac for Sept/October 2013:

http://www.farmersalmanac.com/long-range-weather-forecast/northwest-us/

I would probably not venture into the mountains during this time. If I did, I would make sure I carried appropriate maps, all readily available at parks, ranger stations and Sporting Goods stores. Not a winter goes by in this part of the country without someone or family diverting from a known highway and thinking they know a shortcut to Granny's house. A sudden unexpected storm hits and they are often found on some lightly traveled forest road, snowed in and about two weeks too late. It happens.

Not trying to scare you into not coming. But be careful. Always have two to three days of food in your car, adequate layered clothing for such an event, water for a week. If you do bet bogged down, stuck or lost. STAY WITH YOUR CAR, and have a full charge on your cell phone. An extra charged battery would be a plus.

That's why I don't hit the mountains during or shortly before winter. Another consideration is that many such roads are closed (locked) to winter travel late in September and particularly October.

This will usually not happen on the West side of I5 running through Washington and Oregon. You will be in rain country for the most part, near the Coast or the Coastal mountain range.

As I recall we lost 3 if not 4 families in Oregon alone last winter when they took of on less traveled roads.

Now again, I am not purposely trying to deter you from having a good time. I am just suggesting you travel with caution and plan your trips safely. Also, if you go past park or ranger stations, it's a good idea to post an itinerary.

Again, I don't think I can add to the suggestions. One thing to remember if you follow a Coastal Route down through the two states, there are only about a dozen lighthouses still commissioned and in operation. Lighthouses are being decommissioned and often turned into tourist attractions at a growing rate. Lighthouse were often placed at very scenic Ocean overviews, many jutting out over the Ocean at large land heads. I have a plan in the next year or so, to travel that route and capture all the Lighthouses I can from the central Washington coast, down to Bandon near California.

Enjoy your trip. Sorry if this darkens the mood... not trying to do that... trying to make your trip as exciting as it should be.

hmmmmmmm, i feel i may not able to do it properly then, i am not good in planning trips, and i don't have enough time to arrange/manage everything on time, i only have this week and i will get busy in this week a lot and i will find myself of next week that i have the tickets and have nothing planned yet.

In all cases, i want to travel because i didn't do since last time back in 2009, so at least i want to refresh my mind, i am not sure i can do everything alone, and renting a car for me need a lot of cautions, it is not my country and i may take long time to read maps and directions and i may waste money here and there trying to find the right ways to anywhere, so i will choose at least 4 main locations i want to visit and focus to visit them, maybe after those 4 places i may feel more relaxed and comfortable and then i can add more 2-3 locations when i have enough time and budget to go for it.

Kuzano, there are no those kind of photography groups or meetups who like to go around for photograph over there so i can join them? All what i need is to get to those locations taking some shots and go away back to motels or whatever accommodations, can't i get to those places without i drive by myself? Aren't there buses stopping on main roads very near to NPs then i can rent the car for few hours until i am done and then i return the car if they are still open and going by bus back to my hotel/motel? I am this kind of guy who can't do many things as planned, all what i got from all the posts are the name of places and name of roads and some restaurants and motel names, i can get those by search if i did that from google, but sounds like the only thing i can do is trying to get out of Seattle and Portland and trying to be near mountains and the coats to find most of what i look for.

I will search any workshops available that time i arrive there for those areas and see if one of them can satisfy me, or i hope to find a nice person who wouldn't mind me joining him to go around and i will pay him fuel and not asking him food for myself.

Thanks for all answers.

John Kasaian
7-Sep-2013, 07:33
What is your time frame for this trip? I agree that Winter in the mountains can be very treacherous (weather in the mountains is as unpredictable as a baby's bottom) While winter weather along the Pacific Coast is often quite nice (at least in California---Washingtonians and Oregonians would know what's the norm farther North)

Professional
7-Sep-2013, 11:19
What is your time frame for this trip? I agree that Winter in the mountains can be very treacherous (weather in the mountains is as unpredictable as a baby's bottom) While winter weather along the Pacific Coast is often quite nice (at least in California---Washingtonians and Oregonians would know what's the norm farther North)

Mid September to first week of October.

Kuzano
9-Sep-2013, 13:30
Kuzano, there are no those kind of photography groups or meetups who like to go around for photograph over there so i can join them? All what i need is to get to those locations taking some shots and go away back to motels or whatever accommodations, can't i get to those places without i drive by myself? Aren't there buses stopping on main roads very near to NPs then i can rent the car for few hours until i am done and then i return the car if they are still open and going by bus back to my hotel/motel? I am this kind of guy who can't do many things as planned, all what i got from all the posts are the name of places and name of roads and some restaurants and motel names, i can get those by search if i did that from google, but sounds like the only thing i can do is trying to get out of Seattle and Portland and trying to be near mountains and the coats to find most of what i look for.

I will search any workshops available that time i arrive there for those areas and see if one of them can satisfy me, or i hope to find a nice person who wouldn't mind me joining him to go around and i will pay him fuel and not asking him food for myself.

Thanks for all answers.

Not likely to be able to use public transportation outside major metropolitan areas, ie Portland and Seattle. That kind of transportation is generally inner city and outlying to the city limits and satellite towns. Other bus type transportation would be city to city, and if passing National Parks may stop for you to let you off the the problem would be the schedule back. If it's a non scheduled stop to drop you off, there would be no stop coming back. Furthermore, none of those locations would have car rental agencies. I don't think I've ever noticed car rentals at state park, but more often at nearby town.

Your best bet on transportation- would be to get the best rate at a car rental agency to pick up and keep a car for the three weeks, and drop off at the same company in another town if need be. That would be the most expedient use of your time, otherwise you would spend your vacation on buses or waiting for them. The schedules of such transportation is in no way conducive to your needs.

You might get on the internet and search for Camera Clubs in Portland or Seattle and communicate there. Here are a quick few:

http://www.seattlephotographyclub.com/

http://www.seattlephotographic.com/

http://www.meetup.com/Seattle-Photography-Club/

http://www.sunnywalter.com/Photo-Clubs-Regional.htm

That last link is a list of links of camera clubs through out Washington... very large list.

What would be perfect would be if you could just hire some photographer familiar with the areas you want to photogaph, who has a car and would be your guide for a couple of weeks for expenses and some per diem. Might be a bit expensive, but hey... solve all your problems. Ask for character references please.

Brian C. Miller
9-Sep-2013, 20:16
Kuzano, there are no those kind of photography groups or meetups who like to go around for photograph over there so i can join them? All what i need is to get to those locations taking some shots and go away back to motels or whatever accommodations, can't i get to those places without i drive by myself? Aren't there buses stopping on main roads very near to NPs ...

Oh, you mean tour buses (https://www.google.com/search?q=mt+rainier+tour+bus)! (head slap) Yeah, there's definitely national park tours going up to Rainier all the time. The place is thick with them.

If you want to go nuts on a weekend, I could rent something and haul you all over to the pretty spots here and there. We could even get into Idaho a little bit. After being with me, though, you'll be exhausted. A friend of mine went out with me once, and made the comment that I really work at it. Then you could spend a few days recuperating around Seattle before going down to Oregon.

Professional
9-Sep-2013, 21:11
Thank you very much for your replies.

Well, i have very bad news which is that i canceled my trip to USA, i had some issues at work and i think i may apply by November instead of Sept-Oct, and almost many told me it is colder and more wet by November and less sunshine and more cloudy/overcasting days, so it will be a waste as someone told me, but good i gathered a lot of information and details needed, so i hope maybe next time i arrange it better and know what i should expect and i can apply earlier too.

Brian C. Miller
9-Sep-2013, 21:33
So go visit California! Actually, there's a lot if you want to brave a bit of snow in the mountains, and you're into fog and rain shots.

Professional
9-Sep-2013, 22:08
So go visit California! Actually, there's a lot if you want to brave a bit of snow in the mountains, and you're into fog and rain shots.

I have been to California [Only LA] before and i am not planning to visit same states again even another locations, and honestly speaking only Western states are what i look for and i was thinking to exclude California, but i was thinking about only PNW if i visit USA again this time, so maybe i should make it another year [maybe next year], i may include Canada and i may have more days too, now i have no time to re-arrange my new time plan now and there are another places in the world could be great for landscapes too, i have been to 2 of them before, so looking for new one now by November if i do.

munz6869
9-Sep-2013, 22:11
It's all good research and info for anyone else thinking of going too! Thanks for prompting it all!

Marc!

Professional
9-Sep-2013, 22:55
It's all good research and info for anyone else thinking of going too! Thanks for prompting it all!

Marc!

True!!!

Jim Andrada
15-Sep-2013, 20:52
Arizona is beautiful in November.

Professional
16-Sep-2013, 02:49
Arizona is beautiful in November.

Too bad i canceled my plan to PNW because i couldn't have my vacation by Sept or October.

I may like Arizona, but i like to have many different outdoor landscapes shots, mostly i like those of lakes/mountains reflections and seascape[beaches, sunset], can i get those in Arizona enough? Also how is the weather by November in Arizona?