As noted in an earlier post, I flew from Chicago to Portland, Oregon on May 3 and drove from the Portland area to Gold Beach, on Oregon’s far south coast, the following day. Thus began my most recent photo excursion: a week on the southern Oregon Coast, followed by parts of four days based in Crescent City, California, to photograph the redwoods, and finally parts of two days at Silver Falls State Park, about an hour’s drive southeast of Portland. I returned to the Chicago area on the evening of Saturday, May 16, and have spent the time since then recuperating. I was bushed when I got back.
I’ve scarcely had time to do any image editing since returning to the home base. I’ve processed perhaps 20 images and have more or less randomly selected a half-dozen, just to give readers a taste of the subject matter, to accompany this post. As was the case when I returned from my time in the Canadian Rockies last fall, it’s going to take quite some time for me to work through all of this material. I spent something on the order of 10 weeks processing images from the Rockies last year and I suspect it will require a comparable amount of time to complete work on the Oregon/California photographs.
I spent a few days on the Oregon Coast as part of my extended trip to the Pacific Northwest in July, 2009, just a couple of months before I started this blog. On that occasion, I was frustrated by the incessant presence of the Pacific marine layer, which blotted out potentially epic sunsets on beaches in Washington and Oregon. For a variety of reasons I was led to believe that mid-spring would produce more favorable conditions for coastal shooting and that turned out to be the case. While the marine layer wasn’t a complete non-factor, as I will detail in coming installments chronicling the photo experience, it wasn’t the omnipresent force that it was during my time on the coast in 2009.
My time in far northern California marked my first visit to the coastal redwood forests of the region. (I’ve seen redwood groves before during several visits to Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.) This part of the trip was my biggest disappointment, for two reasons. First, I had hoped–though not expected–to be in the area during the rhododendron bloom. Since the bloom usually peaks some time during a roughly four-week period from mid-May to mid-June, I figured to be a bit early, and so I was. Despite much searching on my part, through three state parks and one national park, I found only a handful of rhododendron bushes flowering. More surprising was the near complete absence of fog, which I had been told was a daily occurrence, morning and evening, in the groves. I saw almost literally no fog during my time in the area, which was unfortunate, because its such a huge aesthetic and technical asset to forest photography.
Still, despite these discouraging conditional developments, as those of you have been fortunate enough to experience redwood forests know, the coastal redwood environments are awe-inspiring places and I’m not at all sorry I made the short journey from southern Oregon to northern California to see them. In addition, the rather unusual weather developments gave me the opportunity to photograph some subjects in and around Crescent City that I hadn’t anticipated being able to do, and I think that time was spent productively.
I had only one afternoon and one full day at Silver Falls State Park, about 12 miles east of Silverton and 25-30 miles east of Salem, but the weather conditions when I was there were absolutely perfect for waterfall photography–mostly cloudy and very light winds. Despite only a few available hours on May 14 and the full day of May 15, I spent roughly 14 hours photographing in the park, along the famous Trail of Ten Falls (so named because each of the park’s 10 waterfalls can be seen from the trail, which runs nearly nine miles). Because the conditions were ideal, I was able to photograph all of the subject matter that I’d hoped to experience. Additionally, wildflowers were ubiquitous in the park and I spent some time working these subjects as well.
As I did with the Rockies imagery last year, I’ll provide a chronological reporting of the trip and will periodically interrupt the narrative with some thematic thoughts, based on my experiences during this trip and topics that those experiences engendered. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
Hi, my name is Kerry Leibowitz. I’m a Midwest-based (I split my time between the Chicago and Indianapolis areas) photographer with a particular propensity for the landscape.
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