During April 2018, we continued our travels to explore the Western part of the United States.
Our first stop was Oregon for 3 days, where we spent time networking and having an all around good time with a bunch of other photographers from around the country. It was our first time doing anything quite like this, and really eye opening as we reflect on it being one of those moments where we said to each other…”this is how I want to live my life!”
Meeting others with a passion for photography, and having the opportunity to explore a good taste of what Oregon has to offer both travel enthusiasts and photographers was excellent. We are happy to have walked away with many beautiful photos as we participated in several styled shoots while there.
Unlike our Traveling Iceland series, our travels through Oregon will be summed up in one post here. Iceland was beautiful and widely diverse, and every day traveling along the Ring Road by campervan was filled to the brim with completely unique and new experiences. The ecosystem there alone is incredibly diverse, it’s really hard to compare. For Oregon, things are not quite as diverse as a place like that, but still incomparably beautiful in it’s own way. We’ll talk more about that soon! 🙂
day 1: arrival in portland and cannon beach
Our flight from Newark, NJ to Portland, OR went fairly quick – or as quick as a 6 hour flight can go. We arrived in the middle of the day, and quickly got through the airport and to our rental car. First stop from the airport was a quick exploration of Portland as we had some time to ourselves before trekking a few hours towards Cannon Beach along the Oregon Coast.
We loved roaming around the city streets of Portland. For many, this is area viewed as the hipster capital of the world, and based on our observations we would have to agree. To say the least, it felt like home for us. The artistic vibes were felt, and the city on the whole felt very laid back. Surprisingly, as not big fans of large cities, we came to really appreciate and enjoy our time in Portland – much like we learned while visiting Reykjavik in Iceland just last year.
Of course, no visit to a city would be worth much without stopping for some food. Initially, we had some trouble choosing a place, as the options are endless. We found a nice spot at the modern Mexican restaurant Taqueria Villanueva. The food was excellent, and we were pretty amused when we looked out the window and realized the Portland Church of Scientology was right next door. From there, we got back to our car and began the drive to our B&B lodging in Arch Cape, met up with our newfound photographer friends, and went to visit Cannon Beach & Hug Point for an ethereal styled shoot.
Before we go deeper into the thrill of photographing in this sort of environment, let’s take a step back and chat about the beauty of Oregon.
From the moment we left the airport, the vividness of the greenery in this place is stunning. It felt like someone ran the place through Lightroom and increased the saturation on the greens heavily. It’s hard to describe, as Pennsylvania is a green enough place during the summer, but this was different – borderline fluorescent at times. Not to mention, the incredible and tall pine trees paired with misty fog made for an undeniably moody and haunting place that feels plucked straight out of Twin Peaks (one of our favorite shows). We’ve seen and read much about the Pacific Northwest, and it certainly lived up to our expectations and blew them away at points. It was especially interesting to see the environment where audio podcast shows of Pacific Northwest Stories (a great series of mystery podcasts we enjoy) would have occurred in, helping even a dose of fantasy come to life.
That quick side rant done…onto Cannon Beach!!
Cannon Beach is probably the most photographed place in the United States. Aside from it’s feature in The Goonies back in the day, for landscape photographers, Haystack Rock (the obvious rock formation that lures people here) is stunning. It’s hard to really fathom something like this existing. While photographing here, we were aware that there isn’t much room for individuality in a place that sees professional photographers visiting on the daily. But, of course, we still think the photos we captured are beautiful, thanks in heavy part to the lovely husband & wife modeling team who came from Seattle to work with us. Not to mention, the rough weather conditions they put up with. It all added up to one huge adventure!
While on Cannon Beach, we got a real kick out of watching the sand aggressively blowing across the shore. It was pretty surreal to watch, and in some of our photos we even captured some of this movement if you look carefully. With the high winds and rough conditions, we opted to move our shoot elsewhere after about 20 minutes, to try and get a break from the wind and more thinking space. We headed back up the road to Hug Point, where some uniquely Oregon landscape features were on display.
Hug Point turned out to be one of the surprising places we visited on our trip. Maybe influenced by the beautiful images we captured there, Hug Point has the really unique feature of a waterfall that flows out to the ocean. This may have been the first time we saw something quite like this. The natural cave along the coast also added another element to the landscape. There is not much to say that can describe this location – and while small, it is easy for exploring (even in the wind and rain as we have learned).
After Cannon Beach and Hug Point exploration & photo shoots, we returned to the B&B and relaxed. It had been a long day anyways!!
If you’d like to see more from this photo shoot, check out Natalia & David’s blog post.
day 2: exploring portland and photography at multnomah falls/latoural falls
We got off to a slow start on our 2nd day in Oregon – it was too comfortable and relaxing, probably the ultimate first-world problem. In retrospect, we wish we had more days like this, and have come to appreciate it – especially during our trips, where we tend to overexert ourselves (“do it while you’re young” is what a lot of people say to us!). Anyways, by mid-day we were back on the road and returned to visit Portland. We checked out the farmer’s market at the University of Portland, and ultimately found ourselves at Blue Star Donuts for a quick bite. Mmm…donuts…
From there, we returned to the airport to pick up our lovely model for the day, Cierra. She was definitely a trooper for handling some of the shooting environments we subjected her too, including practically standing under a waterfall. More on that soon. 🙂 Still, with a mind for adventure and getting some beautiful shots, we headed off from there.
The first stop was Multnomah Falls. This is probably one of the most popular waterfalls in all of Oregon, and for good reason. There is a beautiful bridge right before the falls, giving it a very Lord of the Rings vibe. The location was packed with people, and admittedly we didn’t do much photography there for this reason. Still, a handful of shots we did capture turned out to be stunning. It is an interesting location, as a wide lens (we used a 24mm) is suitable for capturing a good deal of the falls and surrounding environment and a larger focal length such as a 50mm serves a good purpose of making the bridge the focal point of the shot. Judge for yourself which one you prefer!!
From there, we moved on to Latoural Falls. While still popular, it is not nearly the same and requires more of a walk to get too. In so many ways, due to the basalt columns surrounding the waterfall, this one reminded us of Iceland. It has many similar characteristics to Svartifoss. Happily, we also explored the surrounding forest of this state park, and really enjoyed the dense foliage and many photography opportunities it provided us. Later in the day, we were met by another modeling couple, and had a great time shooting with them, too!
For the remainder of this day, we’ll let the photos do the talking.
day 3: exploring oregon’s coast and flight to las vegas
After eating breakfast and saying “goodbye” to our new found friends, we packed the car and set out for some more exploration on our own of Oregon’s coast. We had booked our flight to Las Vegas for 9:30pm so we could spend this extra time getting to know Oregon more for ourselves.
Due to the weather from our first day in Oregon, we decided to return to Cannon Beach to explore more. In particular, we wanted to capture a full shot of the coast that we had seen through other landscape photographers. After a little bit of research, we decided to head up the coast a little bit to Ecola State Park, which has the ideal vantage of the coastline – allowing us to capture a shot with Haystack Rock and other beautiful features. Though the weather was rainy, it lends the perfect moodiness one might expect from an average day on the coast.
From there, the bulk of our exploration led us to Oswald West State Park. We wanted to find a place where we could explore more of the coast, and take in the intoxicating greenery that comes from these ancient forests littered with giant trees and moss. As with so many other things, it is hard to describe the impressive nature on display, so we will let the photos do the talking.
By the end of our time there, we decided to make the multi-hour trek back to the airport, and fly out to Las Vegas in the evening – then quickly get some sleep to wake up early and head out to Zion National Park in Utah.