Heading To Portland


A few months ago, I tongue-in-cheek wrote Is Portland, Oregon a Vortex For Great Photography? and asked myself... should my next photo trip be to Portland. And now I'm answering myself. Yes, it should.

This weekend I'm off to Portland and my first (real) visit to the Pacific Northwest. Technically speaking, I've set foot in the Seattle airport once. And I spent about 8 hours in the Portland once in the late 1990s. A single day, whirlwind trip of a former life. No camera, no time to see anything but the inside of a building. Neither a real visit. This time, it'll be way different.

I plan my photo trips thoroughly, yet always remember to be fluid throughout the trip. As a landscape photographer, weather conditions may change what I shoot. I might find I am enjoying one location so much, I'll forgo another. I can't worry about missing a shot someplace else – wasted effort, especially when you're in a groove and having fun wherever you are. 

I thought it'd be interesting to share the basics of my itinerary. And then after the trip, I'll share what I actually did.

  • Day 1 / Concrete & Coastlines
    The plan is to drive out 30W along the Columbia River to Fort Stevens State Park, stopping in a few places along the way (Svensen Island, Astoria) and spend mid-day shooting around the park. My two "musts" are the Battery Russell and the Peter Iredale Shipwreck. I know the latter has been shot to death, and I won't be there at a dramatic time of day. But hey, this is my trip and I'll shoot what I want. It's new to me. :)

    From there, it's south on the 101. Depending on timing, I may stop at any interesting vistas along the way, maybe Smugglers Cove. The destination is Oceanside OR to shoot the rocks, cliffs and surf at sunset and dusk. The tide will be pretty low, and I'm planning to get into the surf and close to the rocks.

    If I'm feeling energetic and the skies are clear, I might do some star photography, too. Not holding my breath since I'll have started this day at 4am in California!
  • Day 2 / Waterfalls and a Cityscape
    I love shooting water. The ocean is my go to spot. San Diego is beautiful, but I don't have waterfalls. I'm starting insanely early that day and going to Panther Falls in Washington. Then working my way back to Portland via the Oneonta Gorge and Latourell Falls. Toward the evening, I'll turn my eyes toward architecture in Portland. I'm thinking a view of the Marquam Bridge from Pill Hill.
  • Day 3 / Sunrise and the "Mystery" Shoot
    Early in the morning, I'll take in a sunrise of downtown Portland around the Hawthorne Bridge area. This is one morning where I hope the sky is not completely overcast. Some sunshine on the skyline would be nice.

    After some meetings with my friends at onOne, I'm meeting up with Hudson Henry and Peter Kinnan for some shooting. I am really looking forward to meeting them both. I don't often shoot with other photographers (nobody I know in San Diego likes getting up at 4am on Sunday mornings :), and I always pick up new skills when I do. Where will we go? I don' t know. That's the "mystery" part. 
  • Day 4 / Miscellaneous & Travel
    My final day is very fluid, and will be focused around the immediate Portland area. More architecture than landscape this day – need to stay close to the airport and not lose myself in nature. A few options are the Pioneer Square area, the Japanese Gardens, and a wander through Waterfront Park. Then it's back to San Diego.

So... how far will I drift from this? We shall see. And no matter what, I'm sure i'll have a blast.