You may think that this photo was taken in July but I actually took it in November. You wouldn’t think that the Oregon coast could produce such awesome weather in November but fortunately we are blessed with some pretty amazing weather during Fall and Winter. However, the storms have rumbled back in and we are looking at about 2 to 3 weeks of rainy and unsettling weather. If you’re able to check the weather forecast on a daily basis you might be lucky enough to find that small window of opportunity and find a sunny day along the coast. This would be the best time to get an amazing sunset shot as well as have the ability to stroll along the beach like it was summer. I took this shot while visiting Ecola State Park and I was pleasantly surprised that there was absolutely no wind and no clouds. The temperatures were even descent. However, once the sun started to go down, the temperatures started to drop and the wind picked up. The photo from my previous post is what the sunset looked like. The colder months are much better at producing better sunsets, than at any other time during summer, and I would highly recommend visiting during Fall or Winter since you can also avoid the crowds and get a much better deal on a place to stay.
This photo may be the last clear sunset shot at the Oregon Coast for 2014. Oregonian’s know that Fall and Winter bring the most dynamic and amazing sunsets but unfortunately they are hard to come by and you have to ask for a little luck. One of my favorites reasons for going to the beach, during the cold months, is that sunset is between 4:30 and 5:00 pm but if you go on a day when the skies are clear you will wish that you had more time to explore and take in the sights. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. However, I didn’t bring my ND filter so I wasn’t really able to set the exposure time for more than two seconds. I did attach my CIR PL, warming filter and UV filter in order to take advantage of the warming tones as well as remove any unwanted noise. The one thing to remember is that when you are taking sunset shots, during the month of November, the sunset comes and goes lightning fast so you want to be sure and keep on your feet. Luckily, there are usually less people so you will normally have the opportunity to move about more freely without running into people or finding them standing in your way. The tides are also much more aggressive and the swells move in and out pretty quickly so you will want to keep that in mind since you may find yourself getting caught in a fast moving swell as you take that epic shot. The most important thing to remember is to think outside the box and stay creative since you can sometimes get that perfect shot when you least expect it. I was really impressed with the crashing waves moving left to right once they reached the beach so I waited for the best chance to get this particular shot. I really liked the way the water was dancing just above the beach but at a very fast pace. Even though I couldn’t set my camera to shutter priority, I was able to keep the aperture at only F-4, which allowed me to get the movements of the waves as well as the colors of the skies drenched in reds, yellows and orange. I also made sure to keep the ISO at 100, the WB at 0 and held the shutter speed at 1/60 second. I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 42mm in order to frame each of the rocks in the shot. Since I only shoot in jpeg mode I was able to keep the photo at only 1.67mb, which keeps it from being too big. The next several days is calling for some pretty rainy weather but I would recommend checking the weather for the next sunny days and take advantage of sunset opportunities like this.
Cool shot at Silver Falls State Park, Oregon! Silver Falls State Park is a great place to get some really epic fall shots and it’s just an added bonus that there are 13 waterfalls that you can easily add into your photos. Since the area was carved out from a basalt outcropping, there are hundreds of carved out chasm’s that have several smaller waterfalls and whirl pools that collect leaves as they cling to the edges or get trapped in the swirling pools of water. The best time to visit, during the time the leaves are changing, are during the mid to end of October and towards the middle of November. However, you will want to keep an eye out for any changes of the weather since October can be very dry and unseasonable warm. This will cause the season to start later in the month and once the rains do arrive, your window of opportunity can be very small. The best thing to do is just pay attention to the weather and check the Silver Falls page in order to get any updates on the fall colors. The hikes around the park are amazing but you will want to be sure to bring your tripod, nd filters, remote switch and bubble level. I would also recommend that you bring plenty of food and water since you will find yourself hiking and snapping photos all day and before you know it you will be tired, hungry and very thirsty. If the weather is calling for rain, I would recommend that you bring rain gear since the rain can come without warning. I usually just pack a light rain jacket and extra socks in case I end up getting too close to the water or my shoes get too wet or muddy.
Beautiful photo of downtown Portland, Oregon in early Fall. Portland, Oregon offers some of the best fall colors, weather and temperatures on the planet and if you don’t believe me, check the local weather and you will see that the first week of October offers clear and sunny skies with temperatures reaching the high 70’s to low 80’s. You can almost guarantee some of the best fall weather anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. The awesome fall colors are just an added bonus but also offers visitors some of the most spectacular colors on the planet. I’m beginning to believe that the term “Indian Summer” was started in the Pacific Northwest since we experience that exact type of season perfectly. We experience early frost in the morning with cool temperatures that can dip down into the high 30’s to low 40’s. The morning’s can sometimes be a little foggy but by afternoon, the temperatures reach well into the 70’s with nothing but blue skies overhead. Almost anywhere in the Pacific Northwest offers the same Indian Summer season during September and October. Again, the fall foliage is an added bonus and it can hold it’s own to almost anywhere on the planet. It’s also nice to know that you can have a massive waterfall, river or snow capped mountain as your backdrop. One of the great things about visiting Portland, Oregon during this season, is that the tourists are gone and the days are perfect. There are still several festivals celebrating the fall season and you can get a much cheaper hotel as well as avoid the massive crowds at the best drinking holes and eating establishments. The Willamette Valley also boasts some of the world’s best wineries and wines. You are only a few miles from many of the best wineries, near downtown Portland, and I would recommend that you take advantage of them since the harvest season is at the same time.
The Pittock Mansion is located in Portland, Oregon and is one of the best sites to get some great shots of downtown Portland with Mt. Hood in the background. The Pittock Mansion is a French Renaissance-style Château and it was built in 1909 and sits on 46 acres of beautiful and scenic land. The mansion has gone through many upgrades and renovations but recently the city of Portland took out many of the vegetation around the building. Now you can get a better view of the mansion while standing on the lawn. They city also took out several of the tall trees that blocked the view of downtown Portland. It was kind of a double edged sward since I hated to see the trees taken out but they really blocked the panoramic view of the city. Now you can get the most epic views of the city without having anything blocking your view. However, those of us that had taken photos in the past are pretty much needing to throw most of them out and start taking advantage of the views available now. I’m pretty sure that I recently added a panoramic photo of Portland with the new view. The site surrounding the Pittock mansion is a must stop for travelers or photography junkies visiting the area. There are several hiking trails in the area as well as dozens of flowers and rare vegetation that several volunteers maintain year round. You also have the opportunity to view bald eagles, osprey, hawks, turkey vultures and other birds soaring above. On a clear day you can see Mt. St. Helens, Rainier, Adams, Hood and just the tip of Mt. Jefferson. It’s also a great place to bring a lunch and sit on the manicured lawn or sit along the small bleachers that face towards the city.
The Wallowa mountains are located in the northeastern part of Oregon and are part of the Columbia Plateau. The Wallowa Batholith is formed of granite from a magma upwelling in Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous time. The placement of this rock caused uplift of the surface, which at the time was tropical sea. There is no doubt that the Wallowa mountains offer some of the most amazing scenery anywhere located in the lower 48 states. It has the second largest roadless wilderness in the lower 48 and it boasts 37 peaks over 8,000 feet. There are endless amounts of hiking trails throughout the wilderness and you can expect to see some of the most diverse ecosystems and wildlife anywhere. However, if you want to explore the Wallowa’s, you will want to plan on bringing your A game! The trails are very steep, long and very strenuous. The entire wilderness area is a backpackers dream but if you are only planning a day trip you will want to study your options very carefully since most of the mountain lakes are over a day hike away. You literally will be pushing your athletic limits just to get to your destination and then you have to hike out again. There are some really good books that will show you all of the hundreds of trails available and then you will just need to decide on your route. The most popular place in the wilderness is right near Wallowa lake state park. The park offers one of the best campgrounds and there are several lodges, yurts and cabins. Most of the backpackers start from this spot since there are a lot of parking spots available and it seems to be the most popular place to start. In fact, most of the best trails start from here and when you get back to your car there are plenty of places where you can immediately get some food or find a place to wash up or crash. I’ve camped at the park several times but I have never backpacked so I have spent a lot of time researching the best trails to start from in order to take advantage of the best things to see and do. However, you will want to keep in mind that if you find a trailhead that you want to start from you will want too keep in mind that most of the forest roads that take your desired spot are very rough and you may need a rig that has a high clearance and possibly 4 wheel drive. Again, this is rough country and the only place where you can avoid the need to go off road to find a trail is from the Wallowa lake campground area. The wilderness is like a giant circle of mountains and you can enter from almost anywhere in order to start your hike but you will find that most of the roads leading to your hiking spot is very primitive and hard to get to. The photo that I posted was taken from Aneroid lake and it’s a very difficult 12 mile hike round trip. The elevation gain was 2,950 and you will feel the pain when you get back to your campsite. However, the views are epic and you will come across some of the most amazing scenery that offers too many to list. No matter what trail you decide on, you can pretty much guarantee that your destination will take you to either a lake or a nearby river. This means that you will want to pack a pair of swim trunks and plan on going for a swim if it’s warm enough. However, the rivers can and are pretty treacherous so you will want to be sure that you aren’t swimming anywhere near a waterfall. The rivers are absolutely massive and thunderous and can really ruin your day. However, there are millions of places where the rivers become very slow and calm and will literally be telling you to dawn your swim suite. You will also want to bring as much food as you can possibly carry. You will absolutely burn enough energy to fuel the space shuttle and you won’t want to have to turn around early because your food supply has gotten too low. You also want to be sure and pack a good camera since there are a lot of wildlife that make the Wallow mountains home. Some that you may see are: eagle, hawks, osprey, black bear, elk, deer, moose, fox, coyote and even wolf. I’m sure that I have left some out but you get the picture.
A beautiful picture of Mt. Jefferson at Jefferson Park, Oregon. This photo was taken on October 3rd and you can see all of the Salmon berries in the foreground. They are in abundance throughout the entire Jefferson Park area and if you’re lucky you might stumble on a black bear foraging. I never got a chance to see one but I did notice several bear tracks and scat throughout the park and I did hear some rustling in some brush but I never took the time to find out what it was. September and early October is the best time to visit the park if you want to take advantage of getting the opportunity to see some wildlife like bear, elk or deer. However, the days are much shorter and the snow covered peak of Mt. Jefferson is at it’s lowest point of the year. You will have the opportunity to forage around the salmon berry drenched canvas as well as still have the opportunity to swim in one of the many lakes in the park. The weather can actually be warmer and sunnier during the months of September and October as well as maybe even getting a little of dusting of snow in the early mornings. The crowds are also much smaller then the summer months and this can be critical if you’re planning on back packing or hiking on the weekend. However, the summer months offer longer days and more snow at the higher elevations. Summer also brings out the ever so brilliant alpine flowers that canvas the park. You can literally feel like you could get lost in all of the wildflowers throughout the park. Even the lakes and smaller ponds will be at their highest levels and you can also follow some of the small creeks travelling through the lakes and fusing them into one giant water system. The biggest drawbacks about visiting during the summer months is that if you are planning on visiting during the weekend, you can expect to see hundreds of other hikers and back packers. This can really ruin the alpine experience. However, if you visit during the mid week, you are less likely to see as many people. Another drawback is that sometimes the trail will be covered in snow until August and that can really cause a problem unless you come prepared. The last time I visited was in early July and I couldn’t hike past the 1/2 mile mark without having to put on my snow shoe gear and I eventually ended up just finding a ledge and taking photos from there. I basically ended up losing out on a great hiking trip but at least I brought some snow shoe gear to get me about 3 miles up the trail. You also really want to check the weather and even contact to ranger station to see if the forest road is open. Sometimes it doesn’t open until later in the summer or there may have been a washout or fallen trees blocking the road. This can really ruin your day if you make the 100 plus mile drive and then only find out that the road is closed. You will need to purchase a Northwest Forest pass in order to park at the trail head and I would also recommend that you store your dinner in your car for your return since you will be pretty hungry, thirsty and very tired and dirty once you get back to your car. The hike to the park is 5.1 miles one way and it’s very steep. The elevation gain is 2400 feet and that’s only to the park. There is another 1000 feet of elevation gain available if you decide to continue past the park. That also doesn’t include the 3 or 4 miles of trails that winds it’s way around the area. If you plan on doing a day hike I would plan on hiking over 15 miles round trip since you won’t want to just hike to the park and then sit around. There is way too much to do and see once you get to the park. In fact, the real views and fun doesn’t even start until you get to the entrance of Jefferson Park and believe me you will know when you get there. About a few years ago, I was taking some photos of Mt. Jefferson when all of a sudden a snow owl leaped from a tree branch and quickly flew away. I never had a chance to even take my camera off the tripod to get a shot. There are even some waterfalls that you can take photos of as well as several snow bridges along the higher elevations that you may be able to cross.
Another spectacular shot of Mt. Hood taken from the Fanning, Oregon. Just another example of how photogenic Mt. Hood is when you have a stunning blue sky in the background and snow covered trees in the foreground. It also helps when the mountain is completely white and resembles a giant vanilla snow cone. This photo pretty much sums up that if you want to enjoy an epic snow journey, you only have to drive about 1 hour from downtown Portland, Oregon. However, the best kept secret is to visit one day after a massive snow storm blankets the Cascades and then check the weather and see if Government Camp is expecting sunny skies. Since the forested trees sometimes have a difficult time holding up the weight of the snow, you have to be pretty quick or you may have some spotty snow covered trees. I usually try to get up as early as possible in order to avoid the afternoon sun or the rising of the temperatures. However, even if you can’t get up at the best possible time you are still going to have a great time skiing, snow-boarding, snow-shoeing, cross country skiing, sledding or any other winter activity that you enjoy. Either way, Government Camp is a great place to visit and it’s especially magical during the winter months.
[/caption] Just another beautiful August day in Cannon Beach, Oregon! If you want to know the best times to get the best photos in Cannon Beach I would suggest that you visit between 10:00-11:00am and then again at least 2 hours before sunset. Sunset times can be as late as 9:30pm during the summer and as early as 5:30pm during winter months, so I would suggest that you pay attention to the time of the sunset. The reason for the specific times is that you will have the best chance of being there when the reflection from the rocks are at their best. Also, the sun is still somewhat lower in the sky and the rocks won’t seem as washed out. However, keep in mind that the temperatures can be pretty chilly during the morning, even during the peak summer months. The temperatures will pick up and become pretty warm later in the day but be prepared for the temperatures to drop quickly as the sun begins to set. This is obviously true anytime during winter but even the summer months can drop pretty fast, even after a 75-80 degree day. This particular shot was taken at 6:05pm and the temperatures were around 75 degrees and the water temperatures were even warm enough for me to splash around the low tide pools and small swells in order to look for that perfect shot. Late summer is probably the best time to visit since you’re most likely to experience the most epic day of your life. Warm and tropical weather during the later afternoon and awesome and warm sunsets. Late August and up until the end of September has always been my favorite times to visit and almost all of my best photo days are during these days.
[/caption] Mid summer view of beautiful Mt. Hood and it’s alpine wilderness! Another cool shot of Mt. Hood with a great view of it’s western alpine flanks. The Mazama and Cairn Basin trail travels through the left part of the photo with several great views of Mt. Hood. There are endless amounts of wildflowers growing in the lush green alpine wilderness that spans below the higher elevations and if you decide to hike on Mt. Hood’s western side you will be immersed in several picture perfect spots. Having a tripod will allow you to take the additional effort to get the best shot but you will also find yourself taking a lot less photos and reducing your travel distance by as much as 85%. On hikes like this, I like to ensure that I have the proper settings on my camera and leave the tripod in my car in order to take more photos and hike as far as possible without being bogged down by a tripod. If you have good light, and a steady hand, you can eliminate the chance of ending up with blurry photos or camera shake. I still attach my CIR-PL but I just make sure that I’m always using the histogram and making adjustments as needed.