Oregon 2011 Trip

Photo Notes

Prospect Falls

Best shots are from a point that is reached by hiking from the parking lot up the ridge and then out toward the river. You can see an old road that used to lead off from the edge of the parking lot over the ridge and toward the river.

Natural Bridge (Rogue River)

This is much better when the river is lower. In the early spring, the river fills the tube and then overflows so you can't really see what is happening.

Crater Lake

Postcard shot of Wizard Island over the trees can be shot from the rim near the Visitor Center. It's just north a few hundred yards.


This is a great place to explore. Shoot the Mill Shopping Center area with the Deschute River. Cascade Lakes Byway is well worth the time; especially when the lakes aren't covered with snow.

Silver Falls State Park

Because we lacked cell phone coverage, we were only at Silver Falls long enough to do South Falls. There are good spots toward the top of the trail, but the best spot is in the canyon just beyond the bridge on the trail that continues down the canyon. The bridge shot is a good candidate for HDR.

Sahalie Falls

Sahalie Falls is impressive, but the McKenzie River below the falls is beautiful. The bordering brush makes it tough to shoot, but it's worth some time to explore down river.

Proxy Falls

Shoot from upper observation area also. We shot only from base. We shot from a small point to the right and above the plunge pool. We also climbed up the ridge opposite the falls and shot between the trees, but it was tough getting up there through all the bushes, etc. Shoot Upper falls also if doing the long loop. Much shorter to Proxy Falls if you take the trail from the south end of the south-bound parking area. It is not marked. It cuts out about 2/3 of the distance.

Goodpasture Bridge

This covered bridge is worth the stop. There is a big parking lot just up river from the bridge for a side view of this white covered bridge that crosses the McKenzie River. It is one of the longer bridges in the state.

McKenzie River

There is a good place to shoot the river from the McKenzie River Trail on the east side of the road just after the highway crosses the river. A trail bridge crosses the river. There is a good dogwood tree on the opposite side of the river so you can have alder or maple in the foreground, river in the mid-section, and the dogwood in the background.

Check out the McKenzie River trailhead area also. It is several miles before the road crosses the river. The trailhead is on the east side of the road.

Columbia River Falls

The very late afternoon sun will hit several of the waterfalls shortly before sunset. Bridalveil, Elowah, Latourell, Wahkeenah, and Multnomah may all be lit during mid- to late-summer days.

Women's Forum State Park is a good sunset location to shoot Crown Point and the east end of the Columbia River Gorge.

Crown Point Vista is another good sunset location where you can shoot east and west up and down the Columbia River.

Plan to hit Eagle Creek Falls on a weekday. Parking lot fills by 10:00 on sunny weekends.

Be sure to carry everything from a 10-22mm to a zoom up to 105mm to shoot these falls. I used my 16-35 zoom most of the time.

Latourell Falls

Cross the bridge and take the trail up the canyon to the base of the falls. The trail continues past the falls and back up to the parking lot. Shoot from the upper viewpoint above the parking lot also.

Bridalveil Falls

This was one of our favorites. You hike down into a canyon and shoot from a platform. It's a double falls with the final drop and punchbowl falls. This is an excellent early evening shot in the summer. Be sure to shoot the stream below the falls where it goes under the trail.

Shepperd's Dell

This is a difficult place to photograph because of all the vegetation. A viewpoint at the end of the trail provides a shot of the lower falls. You can shoot the upper falls through the trees from near the top of the trail near the parking lot.

Horsetail Falls
This is another early evening shot in the summer. There are good views from plunge pool on the left of the falls for a side view, a straight-on view, and a up-stream view from the right of the waterfall. We took some of our best shots here.

Elowah Falls

Elowah Falls is a little hard to find. You have to drive up the Columbia Gorge Highway until it dead-ends at an entrance ramp to the Interstate. Take the entrance ramp, but then keep right to reach the frontage road that takes you to Elowah. The difficulty is worth it. Elowah is unique with its group of rocks at the base of the falls. There are several good viewpoints for shooting the falls, including up the stream to the left of the falls. Be sure to carry a longer lens here to zoom in on the veils of water hitting the rocks at the base of the falls.

Wahkeena Falls

Wahkeena is another double-drop falls. The stream pin-balls down the side walls during the first drop and then plunges over the final cliff. You can get up "close and personal" to this waterfall, so be sure to bring something to dry your lens.

Trillium Lake

Be sure to look for bald eagles fishing in the early morning and toward sunset. During the day, the bald eagle seemed to prefer the firs on the east side of the lake near the dam. Sunrise is a great time for fog on the lake with Mt. Hood in the background. This is a sunrise shot.

Lost Lake

This is a classic sunset shot of Mt. Hood over Lost Lake. You have to pay at the kiosk to get access to Lost Lake. Park at the parking lot at the end of the road past the Lost Lake Store. The trail drops down toward the lake, but you are never on the beach. You are always above the shoreline and looking for places to shoot between the trees. This provides lots of framing opportunities, but not a lot of clear shots. For a clear shot with little or no foreground, shoot directly below the parking lot.

Boiler Bay

This would be one of my favorite shots of high surf at sunset. It looks like classic wild, Oregon coast, but it's all about the lighting. We didn't have it.

Cape Foulweather

This is still a great view, but the clear-cut mountains and the new resort have spoiled much of the shot. Be sure to shoot behind the gift shop looking north up the coast.

3 Cape Loop

Cape Meares has a lighthouse, a great view south down the coast, and a platform for shooting sea birds; including bald eagles that have discovered easy meals in eating the nesting birds. Nothing is close, but it's a great place to watch the interaction of the birds.

Cape Kiwanda is a dramatic headland with lots to photograph. People can drive right down on the beach to party. A HUGE sand dune is at the north end of the beach that people climb as a rite of passage. If you climb the smaller dune to the left of the main dune, you can reach a ridge above a bay where the waves pound into the sandstone. This is a good spot for sunset because you can shoot south, west, and north for completely different subjects.

Yaquina Point Lighthouse

Plan to spend a couple hours here. The lighthouse is best at sunrise, but it works for sunset also. The rocks surrounding the point are covered with sea birds, and this is supposed to be an excellent place for tide pooling.

Cannon Beach

Ecola State Beach is still THE place to shoot Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach. This is a sunset shot. Don't miss the Tillamook Lighthouse ("Tillie") from the platform viewpoint.

Our favorite spots were Silver Point in the early morning, which is a huge turnout south of town. In fact, the best angle is from the rock wall at the viewpoint. It looks like the hillside across the highway could also be a good place, but it's very steep and difficult to get a long lens up there. We also liked parking at Tolovano Wayside State Park and walking up the beach to Haystack Rock. We were always here for sunset, but it's probably good for early morning also.

Hug Point

This is a nice area, but we had awful light every time we were here. You need warm, sunset light here.

Cape Perpetua

This is the rugged coast I envision when I think of the Oregon Coast. Be sure to photograph from the viewpoint at the top of the ridge above the campground. The highway turn is shared by the campground road.

There are good shots at the Devils Churn and the trail below the parking lot near the bridge. There is a spout that shoots water into the air when the waves get compressed and force the water out the opening in the lava. This is a good sunset spot when the waves crash into the lava shore.

Haceta Head Lighthouse

The classic shot is from the large parking lot just south of the tunnel. There was a whale cavorting in the bay for a couple hours when we were there.

You can also exit the highway north of the tunnel and enter Haceta Head State Park, where you can hike up to the Coast Guard House and the lighthouse. It's worth the short hike.

Seal Rocks

This is one of my new favorite places. You can shoot both north and south from this point. There is a ring of igneous islands offshore for foreground subjects. The islands north of the point seem to catch the waves at just the right angle to create spectacular splashes. This is a great sunset location if the sun can ever get past the clouds on the horizon.

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Don't miss this one. The opportunity to photograph puffins and sea otters up close and personal makes it a "don't miss" location.

Sunset Bay State Park

This is a good base camp for shooting in the area. One of our favorite places was Smelt Bay. Driving north from the park, there is a small parking area on the left with an obvious path toward the beach. If you reach the RV park, you've gone too far. Keep left at all the junctions to reach a view up the coast to a headland and Smelt Bay.

At low tide, there is a way to park at a tiny lot near a stop sign for a side street that leads to residences. Hike down the hill until you can access the beach and then hike down the beach for a close-up shot of Cape Arago Lighthouse.

You can also shoot Cape Arago Lighthouse across a bay by parking in the turnout just south of the Sunset Bay Campground.

Simpsons Reef is a good sunset spot and a reliable place to photograph seals and sea lions. There are also bald eagles that frequent this area.

Shore Acres State Park provides a change-of-pace. This is a beautiful garden that was once owned by a lumber baron.


Coquille Point is a great place to photograph, especially at low tides. From the point, you can look north toward the Coquille River and south down the coast. Best lighting is an early morning shot to light the off-shore formations. Great formations, caves, and arches are south from the point. A large group of seals and sea lions were enjoying the area straight out from the point. There are supposed to be puffins here, but we didn't see any. The rocks straight out from the point are covered with birds, but they are too far out to photograph well.

Ashland Homes

The best homes and bed and breakfasts we saw were the Winchester House on 2nd, McCall House on Oak, some miscellaneous houses on "B" Street between 3rd and Oak, a group of houses on N. Main near the Bard's Inn, and then a whole group of houses around Granite Street above Lithia Park.