I am profiling great photographic trips based out of the Portland area that have an approximate two hour driving radius. They are in no particular order.
1. Waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge
On any given day you can bag several waterfalls in any season of the year. Many waterfalls are located within short mileage of the trailheads. I suggest making a detailed itinerary of you’re day and be conservative with you’re expectations. Remember that there is always tomorrow and you may get fatigued much sooner than it may look on paper. I research and then make list complete within good directions before leaving. I then pack the photo bag with only what will be needed for that day. As a resource I use
The Northwest Waterfall Survey
2. Rowena Plateau
If you are going for wild flowers late April to mid May is you’re best bet. The Rowena Plateau is Located at exit #76 off of I-84 the exit sates Rowena/Mosier. There are grand vistas that overlook the Gorge below as well as very unique and photogenic
roads. Other options for this outing include photographing wind surfers out of the Hood River area. You may also cross the Hood River Bridge or the Bridge Of The Gods (toll Bridge) out of Cascade Locks and Visit the Columbia Hills and Then Beacon Rock on the Washington side.
3. Clackamas Whitewater Events
Grab you’re long glass and practice honing various sport photography techniques. Any event on the upper Clackamas or nearby river will do; however the annual
Clackamas Whitewater Festival is the best. For a sample of what you may find click
here. The festivals website.
4. Wild Horses On The Warm Spring Reservation
This should rank as one of the top outings and is really enjoyable. There are many wild horses on the Reservation but you will probably want to find the large herd. It may be difficult to locate the herd at first but if you are lucky they will be located near the north Kah-Nee-Ta entrance. Mt Hood and Mt Jefferson serve as incredible backdrops for horse photography in this location of the reservation. You can go any time of year and in fact snow on the ground really adds a great element. The horses are quite skiddish and I would recommend working with a partner to really get great shots.
Here are a few shots I took from some past trips.
5. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens
Many of you local Oregonians living near Portland may be unaware of the beautiful park that we have right in our midst.
I'm talking about the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens located across from Reed College and adjacent to East Moreland Golf course. For you photographers there are many prospects here. This is a romantic park with many trails and water features. Free admission awaits those that can visit any Tuesday or Wednesday. For more information here is the website.
6. The City of Roses
What a magnificent city we have in terms of photography; from many unique bridges to uncompromising architecture, a mountain backdrop city fountains and of course the Willamette river. Morning is the ideal time from my perspective as the water is often calm and the sun illuminates the city from the east. Once the sweet light has faded you are now ready to get up close and personal with fountains, people, architecture and art.
7. The Annual Tigard Balloon Festival
Launched out of Cook Park In Tigard this annual event draws large crowds. The great thing is that you can get really close to the action, which makes up for the dismal landscape and venue. I suggest a fast 2.8 lens as the first launch takes place in the pre dawn hours. More info can be found here.
8. Covered Bridge Tour Of Cottage Grove
Truth be told I personally wasn’t that inspired the one and only time I took this tour; however I have seen some magnificent photography out of this area and think it deserves a spot on the list. Fall is the ideal time to visit these historic and preserved covered bridges from Oregon’s past. For more info on details about this tour click here.