- Where to fly into: The Tri-Cities Airport (PSC) in Pasco, Washington is well-located for starting your photography adventure in Oregon.
- Best luggage: For a trip of this length, the Nomatic Check-In roller bag is the ideal choice. It offers polycarbonate construction that stands up to the rigors of travel, silent wheels, low-profile handles, and a three-stage aluminum handle to fit your height. With space for 78 liters of gear, this bag has plenty of room for a 5-day trip or longer.
- Attractions & Things to Do: The Tri-Cities area is home to many wineries you can explore. The Wahluke Slope is a must-see for wildlife enthusiasts. For history buffs, consider a stop by the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
- Best Time of Year to Visit: Late spring and early fall are ideal times to visit Western and Eastern Oregon. Late spring is after the rainy season ends and early fall is before it begins.
- Check the weather in the Tri-Cities area right now.
Traveling through Oregon is like traveling through two completely different states.
On the western side are the better-known vistas - the snow-capped volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range, the soaring trees in the thick rainforests, and the rugged Pacific coastline.
On the eastern side are much different, though equally breathtaking landscapes - the high desert plateaus, mountains covered with pine and juniper forests, and open basins that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Whether you head to Oregon to get a taste of it all or spend your time in one particular area, you’re in for a treat with landscapes that delight in every direction.
Let’s explore four reasons why Oregon should be at the top of your list of photography destinations.
Oregon is Home to Beautifully Varied Landscapes
Photo by Scott Setterberg
I’ve already hit on this point, but it’s worth exploring it even further.
Though many states have widely varied terrain, the contrast between east and west in Oregon is among the most significant.
Rainfall on the Eastern Slope measures just a couple of inches a year thanks to the rain shadow caused by the Cascades.
Above, you can see this dry landscape surrounding White River Falls. The arid, sagebrush-covered earth is precisely what you think of when you think of the Oregon Trail, which cut through this area and brought settlers west in the mid-1800s.
On the western side of the Cascades, the story is much, much different.
Photo by Nick Wiltgen via iStock
Places like Trillium Lake, shown above reflecting Mount Hood, are quintessential Western Oregon.
This particular spot is especially beautiful in the evening when the colors of the sunset provide an ideal backdrop to the scene of the perfectly-still lake and symmetrical shape of the mountain.
In Western Oregon, you’ll find more of the same - alpine lakes, rivers, glacier-covered mountains, fields of wildflowers, and dozens of waterfalls (more on that in a moment…).
What’s so interesting about these varied landscapes is that they are separated by just a few miles. White River Falls is barely more than 50 miles from Trillium Lake. Yet, these locations might as well be on different planets!
Oregon Waterfalls are a Must-See
If you love to photograph waterfalls, Oregon is your dream playland…
Waterfalls can be found throughout the state, but the largest concentration of them is in the Cascades. In some instances, you can find groupings of waterfalls in a relatively small area, like Silver Falls State Park.
The photo above shows just one of ten waterfalls in the park, each of which has its own unique personality. You could spend all day in this one park and never tire of the endless beauty of its waterfalls.
One of Oregon’s most spectacular waterfalls is Abiqua Falls, located northeast of Silver Falls State Park.
This 92-foot waterfall certainly isn’t Oregon’s tallest (that distinction goes to the 620-foot Multnomah Falls), but what it lacks in height it makes up for with its location.
The falls is surrounded by a basalt amphitheater that has spectacular texture. But when you add in the gorgeous greenery of mosses, lichens, and ferns that cover the basalt columns, the scene takes on an added layer of visual interest.
This waterfall can be a little difficult to find, but that makes it all the more rewarding because the crowds here are a fraction of what you’ll find at many other waterfalls in Oregon.
Many Photography Sites are Easily Accessible
When you think of the most epic landscapes in Oregon, many of them are easy to get to.
Smith Rock State Park, shown above, has an expansive network of well-maintained trails you can use to explore the park. Many of the trails are classified as easy or moderate, so you can concentrate more on finding the perfect spot to take photos and less on your fitness level!
Starvation Creek, shown above, sits at the bottom of Columbia River Gorge, just a stone’s throw from Interstate-84.
Again, you’ll find well-maintained trails that you can take for short or long distances to explore the beauty that this tiny state park has to offer.
Whether you’re in Western Oregon, Eastern Oregon, or points in between, there is no shortage of epic landscapes that you can photograph just steps from where you park your car.
You Can Experience It All on a Photography Tour
For my money, the best way to experience all the beauty that Oregon has to offer is with a photography tour.
Think about it...why stress yourself out deciding where to go and when? Why spend your time behind the wheel paying attention to the road when you could enjoy the view out the window of your private transport? Why eat fast food along the interstate when you could stay in luxurious accommodations and eat gourmet meals?
Sounds nice, right?
You’ll get to experience each location I discussed above (and many others, too!) while on the 6-day, 5-night, all-inclusive trip that bridges Western and Eastern Oregon.
You’ll spend your days exploring the beauty Oregon has to offer while also getting personalized instruction from Scott that will help you elevate your photography skills. Additionally, you’ll get to participate in workshops that focus on improving your digital workflow in Lightroom.
The private transportation that’s part of the package means you can sit back, relax, and spend your time on the road checking out the scenery, comparing shots with your tour-mates, and enjoying the company of other photography enthusiasts.
When it’s time to hit the sack, you’ll do so in luxurious, stylish, and award-winning hotels. You can even pamper yourself with a nice massage courtesy of ColorTexturePhotoTours!
You can bet that if I head to Oregon with my camera, I’m calling up Scott. There is simply too much to see and do, and I’d rather rely on someone that knows Oregon like the back of his hand to lead me from one spectacular location to the next.
If you’re ready to pack your gear and head to Oregon, check out the Awe-Inspiring Oregon Photo Tours Scott has planned for May 2020 and June 2020. There’s also Oregon Fall Colors Photo Tours this October if that’s more your style. Either way, a trip to Oregon will leave you blown away with its beauty and your memory card full of spectacular photos!
Other Tips for Planning an Oregon Photography Trip