In last week’s post, we had just finished exploring the Columbia Gorge area, which runs along the border between Oregon and Washington. This week, we continued on to Walla Walla, Washington, which also happens to be Washington wine country. Now, if you read this blog regularly, you’re probably thinking, “wait… weren’t you just in wine country a few weeks ago?” And the answer would be yes! Only that was the Willamette Valley in Oregon, which specialized in Pinot Noirs. While Karen and I enjoyed our time in the Willamette Valley, pinots just aren’t our thing. We like BIG reds, and that’s exactly what Walla Walla has to offer. We tried lots of tasty cabernet and syrah there. Before we got to Walla Walla, we contacted our great friend Carl “The Wine Wizard” to ask for recommendations. Carl’s knowledge of (and taste in) wine is just spectacular, and he directed us to many fantastic wineries. Two of our favorites were Pepper Bridge and Woodward Canyon. We also loved Long Shadow, which is kind of an interesting place because they bring in a different wine maker for each wine they offer, so their wines were all very different, but the quality was there in all of them as well.
We also happened to be in Walla Walla for my birthday! It was nice to spend a birthday driving around vineyards and tasting wine! Karen also took me for an hour-long massage at a spa in downtown Walla Walla.
Me and Karen at Pepper Bridge (I’m sporting my new bespoke hat). This may have been my favorite winery in Walla Walla. Their bottles are quite spendy, but I ended up getting one as a birthday present to myself.
After spending three nights in Walla Walla, we continued on to the Palouse area. The Palouse is in Washington as well, and it’s basically a big wheat-producing area. The draw for us as photographers is that the area is covered with green, rolling hills… similar to what you would see in Tuscany. Very beautiful. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate at all while we were in the area, so I really don’t have any photos to show for it. When we saw that the rain and clouds weren’t going to clear up, we took the drive anyway up this tall butte that overlooks the area, just to see what we could see. We saw clouds. The top of the butte was literally IN the clouds. Karen got a kick out of a photo she took that is completely white. Lovely shot of the Palouse, right?! Even though we didn’t get any good images, we could tell how beautiful it was, and how spectacular it must be on a partly cloudy day, with the shadows and sun spots dancing on the hills.
While the bus was parked in the Palouse, I also took a drive to the middle-of-nowhere, Washington to photograph another little gas station. The rain made it tricky here as well, as I was only able to shoot from the car window.
This is the little Texaco I shot in middle-of-nowhere, Washington. It’s just an iPhone shot I snapped while sitting in the car hoping the rain would stop.
While we were driving to the Palouse, I had noticed some transmission issues on the bus. It was acting odd in first gear and I began getting error codes. This made it so that our next stop was Spokane, WA where there is a diesel shop that can work on the kind of transmission that’s in my bus. They concluded that the issue was likely caused by a bad sensor. They replaced the sensor and we were on our way. Before leaving, though, we explored town a bit and paid a visit to the largest wagon in the world! Exciting stuff!
If you look close enough, you can see Karen standing next to the world’s largest wagon.
En route to Spokane, we went a little out of our way so that I could photograph another vintage service station.
Once the bus issue was seemingly fixed, we headed east into Idaho and spent the night in Coeur d’Alene. Our goal is to make it to Glacier National Park as soon as possible, but when we left Coeur d’Alene in the morning, the bus issue came back. It hadn’t been fixed after all. Considering it was a transmission problem, and those can be ugly, we opted to turn around and go back to the diesel shop that had worked on it in Spokane. Bummer, huh? Luckily, they were able to get us in on a Sunday and after a bunch of testing, it turns out that three parts need to be replaced in the transmission. The shop has two of the parts in stock and we hope another shop in town might have the last part needed, but we won’t know until Monday rolls around. Ah, the joys of bus life!
A few more fun things:
I had mentioned in a recent post that I just bought a Brompton folding bike that fits in the bay of the bus. I had been eyeing them up for a while, and I’m really loving it. When I ordered it, I added an after-market electric conversion, which means that I can pedal like normal, I can do a mixture of peddling and electric, or I can just use the trottle on the handlebars to go all electric. Below is a rough iPhone video of me unfolding the bike.
A rough video of my new Brompton folding bike.
Since this post includes a few vintage gas stations, I wanted to throw one more in there. This isn’t a new image, but it’s one I’ve been working on for a while. When it comes to these gas station images, I often end up doing some serious retouching work. Check out the before and after versions of this one by dragging the slider left and right:
If you follow this blog regularly, you know that, while we’ve been doing a lot of air travel, our motorcoach has been parked between Portland and Eugene, Oregon, for quite some time. This is because I’ve been monitoring the progress of my vintage bus project, which has been going on in Eugene. This past week, we nailed down the designs for the interior, so the project can now go on autopilot (meaning the guys at the shop no longer need my input) and we’re free to roam the country again!
First things first, though. I started out the week in Seattle, where I presented my online class on Photoshop retouching & collaging at creativeLIVE. This class is part of a larger “Photoshop Mastery” series that I’ve been teaching once a month for the past few months. Next month, I’ll be returning to teach “Creative Explorations” in Photoshop. If you missed the recent classes, or want to enroll (for free) to the next one, visit my instructor page here.
On the set of my creativeLIVE class.
My friend and fellow photographer Rick Friedman was teaching a creativeLIVE class right after mine, so we got to meet up in Seattle!
After leaving Seattle, we returned to the bus in Eugene, Oregon and spent one night there before hitching up and heading out. We headed north through Portland, where we made a quick stop to pick up my new, custom-made hat! I’ll post pics of that soon. We then headed east along the Columbia Gorge, on the Oregon/Washington border. We had spent several days exploring the gorge area before, but there is lots to see there, so we spent a few nights near the town of Carson, which is right on the gorge, on the Washington side.
This area is just beautiful, and there’s lots to photograph. I am currently working on an e-book for shooting waterfalls, so that’s what we focused on. There are so many waterfalls in this area that you could literally spend weeks shooting them all. We had heard good things about Panther Creek Falls, so that’s the first one we hit up. It was about a 45-minute drive from Carson and a really short, easy hike to the falls. It was pretty spectacular, and we actually returned twice to shoot it in different light.
My shot of Panther Creek Falls. This is just a detail shot. The whole falls is shown below.
Karen got this shot of me near Panther Creek Falls. The red light on my camera looks so bright because it was actually the brightest thing in the scene. This was pushing 8:30 at night and it was actually quite dark.
The entirety of Panther Creek Falls.
Some of the rapids leading up to the waterfall.
I got this shot of Karen shooting near the falls.
We also drove out to see Lower Lewis Creek Falls, which was a longer trip from Carson (1.5 hours) but totally worth it because of the scenic drive and the beautiful weather. The waterfall was great, expanding a wide area. It was, however, in direct sunlight so it was hard to get any really nice shots of it. This is one of those waterfalls you really need to shoot on a cloudy/foggy day. It was still nice to see, though, and we enjoyed the exploring aspect of it. While we were driving to Lower Lewis Creek Falls, we also got several great views of Mount Saint Helen, which was an added bonus.
Karen’s shot of Lower Lewis Creek Falls. It would have been much better on a foggy day, but it was still nice to see.
After exploring the gorge area a bit, we continued eastward toward Walla Walla, Washington. We’ll spend a few days here visiting some vineyards (this is wine country) and celebrating my birthday! More to come.
Here’s a video Karen made from our time near the Columbia Gorge.
Also, click HERE for Karen’s post on the Columbia Gorge area
Two of my favorite topics! This week, I combined the two by lightpainting a vintage truck I had visited a few weeks ago. This truck is located at the Antique Powerland Museum in Salem, Oregon. The museum is full of vintage semis and other vehicles, and back when Karen and I got a tour, I spoke with our guide about returning one night to lightpaint my favorite vehicle. After seeing my work, the guide agreed to meet me after dark one night.
The vehicle is a 1938 Ford COE (cab-over-engine) that has a whopping 85 horsepower (my vintage bus has more like 400 for comparison). It was the first Ford truck to use the COE design. I just love the art deco/streamline moderne design of trucks of that vintage.
If you’re a photographer or photo enthusiast, know that there are only three things preventing you from making an image like this one: 1) time, 2) patience, 3) technical knowledge. I can only help you with #3. If you want to get started painting with light, check out my e-book on the subject. You can even download a free starter/sample pdf to get you started.
This is one of my mega light paintings… I shot no fewer than 120 exposures! But some of those where as short as one second long just to light the hood ornament for example. When it’s a big and complex object like this one, I tend to be excessive with the number of exposures I capture… if I miss something, it’s going to be just a black hole… so I better light be sure to light everything… and often from more then one angle. My main complaint about this image is the lack of shape in the near front fender. The far front fender is lit from light reflecting off the white wall next to the truck. If I were to do it again, I would have lit the ceiling to get some light to reflect into the near front fender.
While I was in the Salem area, I toured Gordon house, which is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s usonian homes. I’ve always been a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, and whenever I’m near one of his buildings, I try to pay a visit.
Outside of lightpainting, I spent a good part of the week between Portland and Eugene, Oregon. My vintage bus is located in Eugene and the progress on the interior has been really consistent. Up until now, the interior of the bus has been a “mockup,” meaning a temporary interior that we would constantly tweak until we liked how everything was set up. Well, we finally got everything how we wanted it, so the mockup was pulled out, and progress has begun with the true materials. The guys started building our cabinets, and we completed the plans for the entryway design. If you’d like to follow the progress of the bus, I post everything on the Creative Cruiser’s Facebook Page.
The constantly-changing blueprint for my vintage bus.
This coming week, I’m heading to Seattle to teach the next segment in my Photoshop Mastery series on creativeLIVE. This class is on retouching and collage, and it’s free to watch while it’s live! Of course, if you like what you see, you can purchase the class for a discounted rate while it’s live. The class is Monday and Tuesday, 9 am – 4 pm PST. Check it out HERE.
Ben: I'm a traveling Photoshop guru who loves to explore everything unique and extraordinary. I'm a photographer, former graphic designer and world traveler. Back on March 14th of 2006, I got sick of sitting still and waiting for my next vacation, so I sold 98% of my material possessions and started living on a tour bus and the rest is history.
Karen: I’m a photographer and graphic designer with an aptitude for anything involving pixels. I love being on the move, exploring the world and capturing it all with my camera. I joined Ben living on the road January 24th, 2010. For more on my work and play, visit my web site.