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Greg Miller
15-Jan-2018, 07:54
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.

neil poulsen
15-Jan-2018, 08:42
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.

Bart Bart
15-Jan-2018, 14:44
Boring, Oregon of course

Richard Wasserman
15-Jan-2018, 14:58
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.

Peter Lewin
15-Jan-2018, 15:48
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.

Drew Wiley
15-Jan-2018, 18:29
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.

domaz
16-Jan-2018, 10:49
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.

h2oman
16-Jan-2018, 19:51
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...

Jim Galli
17-Jan-2018, 08:38
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.

Drew Wiley
17-Jan-2018, 11:51
Yeah. All the pictures have already been taken everywhere. No more left. Stay home.

Drew Wiley
17-Jan-2018, 11:58
As soon as my soup cools enough to finish it, I'm headed for a fascinating tree I've already made two portfolios of - one in color Ciba, the other b&w prints. Every picture is noticably different and worth the effort.

paulbarden
17-Jan-2018, 12:08
Yeah. All the pictures have already been taken everywhere. No more left. Stay home.

True; nothing left but the dregs. :rolleyes:

paulbarden
17-Jan-2018, 12:16
As soon as my soup cools enough to finish it, I'm headed for a fascinating tree I've already made two portfolios of - one in color Ciba, the other b&w prints. Every picture is noticably different and worth the effort.

I think the truth of the matter is that if you go hunting for subjects in new, unfamiliar locations, the only weapon you bring to the experience - the only one that matters - is your own unique way of seeing whats in front of you. If you go to the west coast and hit the beach/dunes, etc., sure enough you will see the same scenes thousands of others have made photos of. The trick (if you can call it that) is to see something in a scene/place that nobody but you has seen.

Many of the photos I have made in the past five years were made within 3 minutes walk of my front door. If I can't find something to make a photograph of/with within walking distance of home, then I'm just not trying hard enough and I can only pin the blame on the failure of imagination. If you come to Oregon expecting to be confronted with nothing but the same visions thousands have seen already, then you're asking yourself the wrong questions entirely.

Jerry Bodine
17-Jan-2018, 15:11
I think the truth of the matter is that if you go hunting for subjects in new, unfamiliar locations, the only weapon you bring to the experience - the only one that matters - is your own unique way of seeing whats in front of you. If you go to the west coast and hit the beach/dunes, etc., sure enough you will see the same scenes thousands of others have made photos of. The trick (if you can call it that) is to see something in a scene/place that nobody but you has seen.

Many of the photos I have made in the past five years were made within 3 minutes walk of my front door. If I can't find something to make a photograph of/with within walking distance of home, then I'm just not trying hard enough and I can only pin the blame on the failure of imagination. If you come to Oregon expecting to be confronted with nothing but the same visions thousands have seen already, then you're asking yourself the wrong questions entirely.

++

Jim Galli
17-Jan-2018, 15:46
Seems I hit a nerve. The OP asked opinions, I gave one. Right or wrong . . to you, it's exactly that, one valid opinion. The OP and the rest of you can take it or leave it. But it's silly to get worked up about it.

Drew Wiley
17-Jan-2018, 17:16
Oh gosh. Once I basically commuted the Gorge while staying a week at my in-laws, each day hiking a different side canyon. And each afternoon I stopped at Latourelle Falls gauging the light, water spray, and potential tripod positions. It doesn't get tour buses like Multnomah Falls, but does have its own parking lot; and no doubt thousand of pictures a year are taken of it. I took exactly one shot later that week with the 8X10. It doesn't look like any other rendition of that spot I've ever seen, and frankly, looks like a classic in print version. That's a big long Gorge, and I be there again, no doubt.

paulbarden
17-Jan-2018, 17:19
Seems I hit a nerve. The OP asked opinions, I gave one. Right or wrong . . to you, it's exactly that, one valid opinion. The OP and the rest of you can take it or leave it. But it's silly to get worked up about it.

Not at all, Jim! My "rebuttal" wasn't intended to suggest that I thought you were wrong, because you're not wrong, exactly. I've been looking at the hundreds of photos of a certain view of Boardman State Park at the coast, and I think to myself "well, its been done thousands of times, but not by ME, so there's always the chance I will see something different or bring a new treatment to the scene", and I truly believe that. I still want to go to Boardman this year and make some photos. (preferably wet plate collodion, which will help me craft my own interpretation of it) I don't think people should avoid popular vistas just because they've been done by hoards of people. Quite the opposite; I consider it a personal challenge to see something nobody else saw when I go to such places.

So, no - I'm not all worked up about what you said. I understand completely why you would want to warn someone to steer clear of the "same old landscapes", because getting something truly unique in such places is going to be difficult. I think its fair to say that, but I don't happen to share that approach to photographing iconic views. You can be sure that when/if I get a chance to photograph a certain vista at Yosemite that I'm going to do it and (hopefully) enjoy every aspect of the process! :-)

Jim Fitzgerald
17-Jan-2018, 17:47
Having recently moved to this area I have not explored as much as I will. I went to Fort Stevens and shot with the 8x10. A couple of image I really like but when I showed it to the locals they all said "Oh the steps... Ft. Stevens!" Everyone has done that one.... so now I'm the only one with a carbon print of it which they said it does have a different look. I like it and that is all that matters to me. Plus, my steps are backwards!

Paul Cunningham
17-Jan-2018, 22:48
Many good comments here. For my money, if I wanted to do something that hasn't been done _as often_ I would head east.

Peter Lewin
18-Jan-2018, 07:50
...but I don't happen to share that approach to photographing iconic views. You can be sure that when/if I get a chance to photograph a certain vista at Yosemite that I'm going to do it and (hopefully) enjoy every aspect of the process! :-)
This was part of a discussion at my monthly critique meeting, and is relevant to this discussion as well. The consensus was that we can start with the "obvious" (iconic) image (which is still one which we ourselves have not yet made), but remember that it is just a starting point. We should then look for the less iconic, more personal images in the same place. It would be almost self-defeating to not take "the" vista in Yosemite, or "the" church in Taos, or "the" White Castle at Canyon de Chelly, but it would be equally self-defeating to take only that image and then put the camera back in its case. So while just about every scenic area in the Portland vicinity has already been "immortalized," that is no reason not to go there and take both the obvious and then the less-obvious photos.

paulbarden
18-Jan-2018, 08:05
So while just about every scenic area in the Portland vicinity has already been "immortalized," that is no reason not to go there and take both the obvious and then the less-obvious photos.

Well said.
Last spring I went to Silver Falls because itís fairly close to home, and I took my Autocord to test the new Bergger Pancro 400. This is a location that is very difficult to photograph without taking the same photos everyone else has taken, but I prefer to think thereís always something else to be seen, if only I make an effort. Ive has several people say to me that this photo of the main falls is unlike what most people come away with. Iíd like to think itís because I made the effort to try to see it in ways others have not, and I felt pushed to do that precisely because there are millions of photos of it that all look similar.
https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4242/35157048491_a437ff34ba_b.jpg

bob carnie
18-Jan-2018, 08:56
I think the truth of the matter is that if you go hunting for subjects in new, unfamiliar locations, the only weapon you bring to the experience - the only one that matters - is your own unique way of seeing whats in front of you. If you go to the west coast and hit the beach/dunes, etc., sure enough you will see the same scenes thousands of others have made photos of. The trick (if you can call it that) is to see something in a scene/place that nobody but you has seen.

Many of the photos I have made in the past five years were made within 3 minutes walk of my front door. If I can't find something to make a photograph of/with within walking distance of home, then I'm just not trying hard enough and I can only pin the blame on the failure of imagination. If you come to Oregon expecting to be confronted with nothing but the same visions thousands have seen already, then you're asking yourself the wrong questions entirely.

All of my recent photography efforts revolve around this idea.. I do still lifes now with an old studio camera and I have gotten all my objects from stores or shops within two blocks of my studio. I am about to start in July three sets of work, my dogs Bones, Military Helmuts from a store 1/2 block away and the dreaded flowers which have been photographed One Zillion times before, the shop is two doors from me.

I have stopped looking for photographs by walking with a camera and now bring the objects to my camera..

Drew Wiley
18-Jan-2018, 12:00
Such things have already been taken only if you're trying to replicate a stereotype of what they're supposed to look like. Burn all your postcards first; that might help. I too generally concentrate on overlooked things. and I don't like tourists or crowds, so generally go the opposite direction from them. I have exactly one picture of El Capitan in Yosemite, but I'm quite certain it's unique. I've got a Brett Weston book on the shelf with a picture of the Mittens rock formation in Monument Valley taken from the exact turnout as millions of other pictures, including many published LF ones. But it looks distinctly BW and nobody else that's ever lived that I'm aware of. I've even thought of setting up a big 6X7 telephoto right there in the Multnomah Falls parking lot behind six tour buses, and I'm absolutely certain I could bag an image unique to me, especially after I've personally printed it. Go East? Ha. Go anywhere, except to stereotypes of scenery. But if you do need fresh territory per se, there are still plenty of spots in the West view cameras have never been. I've taken hundreds of backpacking trips in the high Sierra, and there are still entire canyon systems and major basins I've never seen. Yosemite Valley is just a tiny percentage of the range.

Vaughn
18-Jan-2018, 13:30
...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....

Sorry, over the last 40 years I have already taken all the redwood images in northern California (there might be a few still down in the redwoods of the central coast of CA...I haven't been down there much.)

But if I am in a new-to-me environment, I do not expect great images. Sometimes I get lucky, but my chances increase greatly as I get to know a place and experience it in different types of light. It is one of the reasons I have been photographing along the same stretch of creek for 40 years. I take my experience from the creek to Death Valley, the Sierras, Dry Falls (WA), and elsewhere...and bring back to the creek my experiences with the light of those places.

A couple images from the Gorge. An 11x14 silver gelatin contact print and a 5x7 carbon print. The 11x14 print does have some subtle detail in the black which got lost in the translation. The 11x14 was along the road, the 5x7 was a bit of a hike, and the area most likely burned in 2017.

Drew Wiley
18-Jan-2018, 16:04
There's an incredible side canyon within walking distance of Multnomah Falls, less than a mile away, that is just outside the burn impact area. I've never seen anyone else there. It's hard to shoot because it's rather dark and windy, so problematic with long exposures. But next time I'm up there, I've gotta try again. There is no lack of potential subject matter. But who is behind the camera is just as important as what's in front of it. I don't see how a defeatist attitude of "someone's photographed it before" does any good.

Greg Miller
22-Mar-2018, 17:25
Thanks for all the input.

And when I said I am not interested in making a photo that's already been made, what I intended to convey is that I normally put a lot of effort into being at the right place at the right time to get the light with the intensity, color , and direction that I want. That usually means several trips at the right time, to get the right weather and conditions. I can do that with my local scenes, but I would just have to be very lucky top get that with a cliche scene while on a road trip where I cannot control when I am there, and with a limited number of days to work. So I choose not to do it. I would prefer to go somewhere else and capture more intimate scenes using the light and weather as they are. So it's more of a stumbling upon an intimate scene that has ideal light and conditions, as opposed to fully planning out the bigger scene.

Jim Graves
22-Mar-2018, 20:20
Greg ... nice website, by the way ... .

I have three suggestions:

1). From Portland head East up the gorge ... stopping at Multnomah Falls ... I know, I know ... heavily photographed BUT ... there is a great old lodge (with a really nice restaurant right next to the falls) and the trails allow you to climb quite high up the gorge side ... with shots of water, stonework, many different types of foliage, and some high-up views. If you have time to make a full day of it ... then proceed East up the gorge to Latourell Falls.

2) From Portland head Southwest to Dundee, Newberg, and McMinnvile ... this is Oregon's renowned wine region ... in May the vines will have leaved out and can make for great photos ... AND, like Mr. Galli suggested earlier, you can taste your way to photographic excellence .... and there are some pretty good restaurants along the way also. The Willamette Valley is gorgeous in the Spring.

3). From Portland head East through Sandy on to Mt Hood up to Timberline Lodge ... a great 1930's lodge ... also with a really nice restaurant. You should still have snow up there and the forest... you'll get some Alpine terrain up near the lodge and a lot of forest on the way there and back. The depression era paintings and murals in the lodge are worth the trip.

Drew Wiley
27-Mar-2018, 09:50
Jim, that entire section of the Gorge catastrophically burned last year (teenagers deliberately tossing firecrackers in a dry side canyon). So the Multnomah
section won't resemble a postcard for the next two hundred years. The lodge barely escaped. Eagle Creek, the crown jewel trail, totally burned. There are still plenty of spots to see that did survive, including Latourelle Falls, and of course,new kinds of picture opportunities of a devastation kind.

kevincook
28-Mar-2018, 03:55
creativity is most