Summer in Portland

It might rain most of the year in Portland, Oregon, but the weather is beautiful in July and August, so this is when we decided to visit. I have a lot of friends and business relationships in Portland, and we had a couple surprise meetups as well.

My friend Diane (a Maui local) was visiting Portland the same time as we were, and since we happen to both know some of the folks who work at Wacom, we decided to tour their facilities together. Wacom makes pressure-sensitive pen tablets that many people feel are essential for working in Photoshop. We were given a great tour of their building and I got to test drive their new Cintiq 24HD Touch, which serves as a touch screen while simultaneously allowing you to use the pen. Pretty cool, eh?

I got a chance to meet up with Chris Hurtt who is a photographer and educator. I taught with him a few times in Dubai and hadn’t gotten a chance to really catch up in quite a while. He filled us in on life in Portland and learned how many people grow their own vegetables have have chickens in their back yards so they have fresh eggs for breakfast.

Kristen from Lensbaby, Chris, Karen and that Ben Dude.

Tuesday was Karen’s birthday, and she unfortunately had to spend part of it on a last-minute flight to her family’s home in New Jersey. Her doggy (who lives with her parents) had to undergo some MAJOR surgery and she wanted to be there to help with the recovery. Her grandmother is also not doing well and she felt she should be there to help out and spend time with her. Luckily, before she flew out that night, we were able to do some fun things. I took her to one of the many McMenamins around Portland. Each one has a different theme and the one we went to was called The Baghdad Theater & Pub. It’s an old movie theater, restored with a funky vibe, a pub and a backstage bar. It’s a very unique place and we’d recommend checking it out if you’re ever in town.

It was also on Tuesday that we discovered that our great friend Judy Host was in town giving a seminar that day. None of us knew that our paths were going to cross in Portland, and we just happened to discover it through a facebook post. What a surprise! We went to the hotel where their event was to hang out with her for a bit. What’s even funnier is that there was another seminar the following day, and the presenter was Colin Smith PhotoshopCAFE, who was staying at the same hotel. So not only did we get a surprise visit with Judy, but we got to hang out for a bit with Colin too. We see a lot of coincidences in our lifestyle!

Our surprise Portland meetup. From left is Diane, Judy, Bron (Diane’s husband), me and Karen.

I mentioned above that I went on a tour of the Wacom facility, but Wacom isn’t the only photography-oriented business in Portland. I was also lucky enough to visit the headquarters of OnOne Software, makers of the Perfect Photo Suite 6 and a whole series of plugins geared specifically toward photographers. I usually only see these guys at events so it was fun to catch up with them in their home town.

At left, I’m trying out the new 24″ touch-screen Cintiq at Wacom. On the right, I’m out to dinner with the gang from OnOne Software. (It was dark in the restaurant, so we “attempted” to light ourselves with our iPhones)

To mix things up a little more, I visited the Lensbaby mothership, also conveniently located in Portland. I was given a tour of their place and introduced to all the new lenses in their growing product line. If you’re not familiar with Lensbaby, they make a series of creative effects lenses for digital SLRs. Definitely check them out. They’re a blast, and an excellent way to explore your creativity. (On a recent Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, I shot the entire day with one Lensbaby and nothing else!)

An iPhone shot from the place where Lensbabies are born!

Some old trucks shot with a Lensbaby

Before leaving the city, I spent some time with my friend Chris Lang and she introduced me to the funky little shop she owns called Wells & Verne. It features a lot of steampunk and goth merchandise. Pretty fun stuff!

An iPhone shot of Chris’ store, Wells & Verne in Portland.

Near the end of the week, I left Portland and headed north in the bus. My next location will be the Seattle area, but I’m making a few stops along the way. At one of my stops, I found some funky old trucks and buildings to photograph. Of course, I couldn’t resist doing some lightpainting! Check out the shots below. (The Lensbaby truck shot above was also from this location)

Above are two scenes I lightpainted at a stop in southern Washington. If you’re interested in lightpainting, check out my upcoming 1-day online class at It’s Aug. 25th, and if you watch it live, it’s free!

 From here, I’ll be heading a bit further north to the Seattle area, where I’ll be presenting two online courses at creativeLIVE. The first is a 3-day class on Photoshop for Photographers and the second is a 1-day class on Aug. 25th on Lightpainting. Check them out at

Oregon: Portland, friends & Vintage Bus Stuff

In my last post, I mentioned that we were staying at Paradise Coach, in Coberg, Oregon. Paradise Coach does bus restoration projects, and I had them in mind for doing the interior of my vintage bus, a 1963 Flxible Starliner. While we were there, they did some work on my current bus, and not only was I happy with that work, but I was extremely impressed by the work they were doing on other coaches in their shop. To make a long story short, I decided that they would be the right people to work on the interior of my bus. If you’re not familiar with this story (“saga” might be more appropriate), check out my detailed post about this on the Creative Cruiser’s site.

After we left Coburg, we headed north to Portland, Oregon. I have a lot of friends in Portland, and Karen has never been there, so we were both psyched to be able to spend some time there. On our way north, we stopped at a few wineries south of the city (wineries are always fun) and then ended up parking the bus just east of downtown. On Saturday, we explored the “Portland Saturday Market” which was absolutely huge. I then took Karen to Powell’s City of Books, which literally takes up an entire city block! It was just a coincidence that my great friend Diane and her husband, Bron, were visiting the city while we were there, so we got to meet up with them one night at a place called McMenamins Kennedy School. If you’ve never been to  Portland before, you’ve got to check this place out. It’s an old elementary school that has been converted into an awesome establishment featuring a restaurant, a bar, a hotel, a soaking pool, and a movie theater, amongst other things. The overall style of the place is a lot of fun. We went to see the movie Men in Black III (which is great – better that the first two, in my opinion) and then had some dinner.

We eventually moved the bus to Hayden Island, which is north of Portland, just south of the Washington border. I’ll be parked here for the remainder of the week. Karen’s birthday is Tuesday, so we’ll celebrate here in Portland, and then she’s making a last-minute trip to her family’s home in south Jersey. (Things are not good on the home front and she needs to be there.) After leaving Portland, I’m going to head north to Seattle (Karen will fly back and meet me there).

Just as a reminder, I’m going to be teaching two classes at CreativeLIVE this month, and while they’re live, they’re absolutely free! After we’ve finished recording the events, they’ll be available for purchase on the CreativeLIVE site. I hope you’ll be able to join me for one of the classes! The first is Photoshop for Photographers, and it will be live from Aug. 22-24 and the second is a one-day course on Lightpainting and it will be on Sat. Aug. 25. It should be a great program and I hope to see you there!

Exploring Oregon

In my last post, I talked about our stay at Crater Lake National Park. When we left Crater Lake, we moved on to explore more of Oregon. The first place we hit was Toketee Falls, which is in the Southern Cascades/southwest part of the state. It’s an extremely photogenic waterfall, and it’s located in an incredibly lush, wooded area. The hike to the falls from the trail head is about 15-20 minutes, and includes a bunch of stairs.

Me and Karen at the lookout to Toketee Falls

Karen’s shot of Toketee falls (I’m still editing mine!). To get the water to look this silky during a somewhat bright day, we had to use neutral density filters to cut out some of the light.

Our next stop was the town of Medford, Oregon, and we stayed there for two nights. We searched for stuff to photograph there, but nothing really spoke to us so instead we explored the cute downtown area of Ashland. We did a wine tasting at a place called Edenvale Enoteca and then met up with my friend and digital print-making pioneer Mac Holbert. He just happens to live in the area, and we had dinner at a great place called Dragonfly.

After leaving Medford, we headed toward the coast and spent three nights in Coos Bay. We parked at a casino/RV park that was right on the water. While we were there, we explored the nearby town of Bandon and did a bit of shooting there. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with us, but we still had fun experiencing the Oregon coast.

One of Karen’s shots from Bandon Beach

Our final location of the week was Winchester Bay, where we stayed at an RV park/marina. The parking spot is great because we have water all around us. Unfortunately, we didn’t have great shooting karma here either. We drove up and down the beach, checking out the lighthouse and enjoying the views, but nothing really grabbed our photographic eyes. Sometimes, that happens. We weren’t overly bummed about it. What WAS frustrating, was our waterfall wild goose chase. We knew of two waterfalls that were within two hours of us, but when we went to seek them out, we got pretty lost on a series of gravel mountain roads. Five hours later, and after asking for help twice, we arrived back at the bus with empty memory cards. *sigh*

Anyway, from here we move on to Eugene, Oregon. We’ll explore a bit of that area and also get some minor work done on the bus. More to come…

This was our most exciting encounter during our 5-hour waterfall hunt.