Waterfalls, Portland & Santa Barbara

It’s been a pretty jam-packed week, and we’ve covered a lot of ground. We started the week in Portland, Oregon, where we parked the bus after exploring Washington and the Columbia Gorge area. This was our second visit to Portland in less than two months, and Karen and I have been really loving that city. (Of course, we haven’t experienced any of the heavy rains yet!)

I spent the first part of the week  hanging out on the bus and getting a lot of work done. Then we went out shooting a bit, back in the Columbia Gorge area, less than an hour’s drive east of Portland. We had been wanting to hit up Multnomah Falls, which is one of the more spectacular waterfalls in the area. (Of course, it’s also one of the most touristy ones too.) We spent a while shooting there, and then moved on to Wahkeena Falls, which is only a half mile from Multnomah Falls. There are just tons of waterfalls in the area, and if you missed last week’s post, you can check out some more of them HERE.

Me and Karen at Multnomah Falls

Karen’s shot of Multnomah. (I’m still processing mine)

 My circular fisheye shot of Wahkeena Falls.

Later in the week, we packed up and hopped on a flight to Santa Barbara, CA, where my friend Chris and his wife, Tina, were on vacation. I’ve been friends with Chris for a LONG time, starting back when I lived in Minneapolis. It’s been over two years since I’ve seen him and Tina, so it was nice to spend a long weekend with them, catching up and exploring the Santa Barbara area.

Here I am with my friends Chris and Tina, with their adorable little girl, Sophia. We’re doing a tasting at Sunstone Winery.

While in Santa Barbara, we went to a bunch of nice meals and even spent a day touring and tasting at some of the nearby wineries. We didn’t do a ton, but my favorite of the day was called Sunstone. We also explored Solvang, which is a funky little town full of shops, restaurants and winery tasting rooms. What makes the town funky is that all the buildings have a very Dutch style to them. You kind of feel like you step out of the U.S. when you enter the place. It was a great place to hang out with friends and have some wine.

We wrapped up our stay in Santa Barbara with a sunset boat ride on a catamaran called the Double Dolphin. It was timed perfectly, and we got a beautiful sunset. For us, that’s the perfect way to end the day.

Karen and I on our sunset boat ride.

Karen got this shot of me and Chris enjoying the sunset.

After leaving Santa Barbara, we’re heading north to the San Luis Obispo/Los Osos area for the California Photo Festival, where I’ll be teaching several sessions. More to come!

Explorations in Washington & the Columbia Gorge

Hey gang! This past week has been jam-packed with photography, and as a result, this post is going to be very photo-rich. In fact, I’m going to make this more of a “photologue” type of update. Here goes:

In the beginning of the week, we moved on from Seattle and headed toward North Cascades National Park. Now that I’ve knocked off all the 50 states, I’m trying to visit all the national parks as well. North Cascades is just south of the Canadian border and is full of snow-capped mountains. There is one main road that goes right through the park so we took that and made various stops. I’ve got to say, even though the drive was gorgeous, the area didn’t “sing to me” photographically. Now, that’s just me. It could be completely different for you.

I took the above pano from the Washington Pass overlook on the east side of the park. I still have to fine-tune it. We parked the bus a few miles outside the park entrance in a tiny town called Marblemount. From there, we would go exploring. We also attempted to enter the park on a more primitive road, but the washboard bumps ended up being too much for the Mini. It wasn’t a failed journey, though, because we found this nice waterfall on the way (shown below) and we ended up spending a while shooting it.

In the shot below, Karen demonstrates how to shoot a roadside waterfall when it’s cold out. She parked the car next to the falls and is sitting on the heated seats! Her tripod is set up on the ground next to the car.

The next stop in our travels was Ellensburg, WA. I wanted to photograph a vintage gas station there, and we ended up over-nighting in that area as well. The town is really nice. There are lots of old buildings with character that are also well-maintained.  The station I photographed was part of the Red Horse Diner and you can see me shooting there in the photo below.

The Teapot Dome Service Station is another building that’s been on my shooting list for a while, and it’s located in the town of Zillah, WA, which is about an hour south of Ellensburg. When we arrived in Zillah, we literally had to track the building down. When we arrived at the first address, we saw this:

It was as if the darn thing got up and walked away! We later learned that it didn’t actually walk away… it was rolled away, and moved to a new location closer to downtown. We finally found it and spent about an hour shooting this little gem. Karen shot the image below, and she captioned it “Where is Ben?” Can you find me in the shot?

I shot the image below with my new fisheye zoom lens.

We continued south to the border between Washington and Oregon and then spent a few days exploring the Columbia Gorge area. There is lots to shoot in this area and it’s one of those places we’ll probably revisit again and again. During this visit, we focused on waterfalls. Both of the falls we shot were located inside John B. Yeon State Park, which is on the Oregon side of the gorge.

The first of the waterfalls was Wahclella Falls, and it was about a mile hike to get there. The whole area is beautiful, with vibrant foliage and moss-covered trees. Karen shot the pano below of me shooting the falls. Because of her angle, it’s hard to tell how big the waterfall actually is.

In the shot below, I have Karen in the frame to show the scale of the waterfall. In this one, you CAN tell how big it is!

The second waterfall we photographed was Elowah Falls, and it was a .8 mile hike to get there. This one was much taller and narrower, with nice moss-covered rocks to use as a foreground. The fisheye shot below is of Elowah Falls. (As is the header of this blog post)

Finally, we spent a bit of time exploring the towns along the gorge. There are lots of nice little restaurants, wineries and breweries. It was great to wrap up a day of hiking and shooting with a wine tasting or a local beer! Our next stop will be the Portland area, but we’ll most likely be making day trips back to the gorge area to hit some waterfalls we missed, including the spectacular Multnomah Falls. More to come…