Pacific Northwest travels Sept-Oct 2010
A landscape photographer’s tour
Keith’s travels in the Pacific Northwest – September-October 2010
Photographs from a tour around Washington and Oregon.
In September and October 2010, Keith and Karen flew out to Seattle and headed south, travelling along the Oregon coast, and then back up into Washington, before spending a few days in Seattle visiting friends.
This photo-blog shows some of Keith’s photos and observations from the trip.
It has been consolidated into one long article with the update of the Northlight site in 2016.
- 26th September 2010: UK to Seattle
- 27th: South to Cannon Beach
- 28th: Cannon Beach/Seaside
- 29th: Ecola
- 30th: Cape Kiwanda / 3 Capes
- 1st October: South to Florence
- 2nd: Florence
- 3rd: Yachats
- 4th: Heading North
- 5th: Long Beach, Washington
- 6th: Cape Disappointment
- 7th: Port Townsend
- 8th: Over to Seattle
- 9th: Beads in Seattle
- 10th: not a lot…
- 11th: in Seattle
- 12th: Flying Home
I’m off to Seattle with Karen again (we were married in March ;-)where we’re going to be driving around and visiting some friends.
As with previous travels, I’m intending to keep this photo-diary, with photos and some of my observations about being in the US
A brief intro today, since we’re in a motel in Seattle and I’ve now been up for 24hrs :-)
We’re flying from Heathrow to Chicago and then on to Seattle.
After a 5:45 start, the roads were pretty clear on a Sunday morning
At Heathrow, Karen is waiting for more breakfast…
A pleasant flight – Note Chicago in the distance
The big building is the Sears Tower
Oh, and it seems my mobile works fine for calling home ;-)
The trip to Seattle was cramped, but with good views… I’ve loads more , but I’m working on a laptop.
A forest fire in Montana/Idaho (not sure of exact flightpath)
And one of Mt. Rainier poking through clouds
Much more to come once we’re rested and travelling
But… today’s Motel Coffee is
Tomorrow – off to Oregon
It’s time to head South on the first part of this US trip. Yesterday’s motel coffee was courtesy of Days Inn – today we’re in Cannon Beach for a few days to have a bit of a rest by the sea.
We also have teabags, a kettle and milk, so a decent cup of tea to kick off the day.
In fact I’m writing this at 7am (Tuesday), since with the time difference, this is the only occasion I’m ever comfortable in getting up for sunrise. That said it seems pretty grey outside this morning.
Anyway back to the day in hand.
The airport we arrived at is called SeaTac – short for Seattle/Tacoma I suppose. However the area around it is, in a fit of original naming also called Seatac.
I’ve noticed this propensity for uncomplicated naming quite often in the US, some of the most unsubtle being towns where roads are names after letters or numbers depending on whether they run east/west or north/south.
I suppose it makes it easier to learn to be a taxi driver than in the UK, and easier for fares to spot if they are being taken on the scenic route.
Setting out from Seatac, we headed south on I-5. Quite a straightforward drive down to Longview and across the Columbia river?
Not so fast – seems we were going past Shipwreck beads, so a detour to the largest bead shop in the world.
Karen makes bridal and sterling silver jewellery, and I’m told that this is a very important place to find interesting beads and other assorted gewgaws.
As you can see, it’s a bit like the bead equivalent of the storage warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark
Meanwhile, as an ex geologist I was wondering how much mercury you could extract from the (supposedly) cinnabar beads, and if various face creams/make-up/scent might speed up the process.
I don’t think I’ve seen beads used like this as a means of dispatching someone? I think I’ve been watching too many crime thrillers…
My own curiosity running low, I settled for a huge coffee.
Of course, this being near Seattle I had to negotiate the choice of milk and minefield of flavourings that can be added.
Then we also have the assortment of cup sizes.
‘Ordinary milk’ and ‘that huge one’ solved most problems, whilst my one previous run-in with ‘Flavors’ led me away from that path.
A perfectly acceptable cup of coffee :-)
However, all good things come to an end, so I found Karen and we headed off.
Time for some lunch, and I remembered a diner at a junction further down I-5
It’s called ‘Spiffy’s’ and is not far from where you turn off to go and look at Mt. St. Helens.
One thing I knew would interest Karen was the huge range of pies.
Then onwards to the big bridge at Longview.
This from the Oregon side, shows just how industrialised some bits of the Columbia river are.
Then along to Astoria, where there is another huge bridge
If you’ve followed some of my travel blogs before, then you’ll notice that the in-car shots (14mm 2.8L II on Canon 1Ds3) are from the passenger side. I’m not now allowed to drive and take pics at the same time, as before ;-) -probably not a bad thing…
Although the weather looks fine in the shot above, by the time we got to Cannon Beach, there was a bit of sea-mist drifting in.
This the view from our room at 5pm
By Sunset (~7pm) there was quite an interesting light.
You can just see 4 pelicans below the sun.
Looking up the beach – quite a few people out taking photos
Or trying to get the light just right
Or just wondering what that huge camera was that I’m using.
Here’s a detailed crop from an image (200mm 1/1250s @f7.1) where I’ve underexposed to catch the slight glimpse of the green flash. sometimes this is clearly visible to the naked eye – not tonight
Or you could just go for a run…
Anyway, darkness settled in so we went round the corner for a meal and a rather good pint of bitter (note for UK beer drinkers – excellent micro brews in the Pacific North West)
That’s it for the 27th. Not sure what we’re doing on the next day yet.
Mostly photos today – we went for a few walks and stopped off briefly in Seaside – just up the coast from Cannon Beach where we’re staying for a few days.
Seaside is just what it says on the tin. It’s the seaside. For UK readers, think of Gt. Yarmouth or ‘Skeggie’, but not quite so tacky.
It’s easy to park – this is our car, a not too small Toyota Camry. I can think of several people back home who would appreciate the size of the parking bays.
Of course, a bead shop…
Mystic bath salts
The house of fun
A creepy clown to welcome you to the carousel
The ride of your life (14mm 1/15th, panned to follow subject)
and a hat emporium
A wide range of snacks for all waist sizes.
There are more, but it’s good to see they only picked the 80 best.
Snacks to take on the beach too.
Note the fried candy bars…
Suddenly I’m in Scotland…
There is the Lewis and Clark statue – to commemorate the end of their long trek in 1805-6
Much easier to visit it by car
Pause a moment or so to consider the trials and difficulties in exploring this huge country…
…and then drive on.
Back at Cannon Beach we just went for a few walks along the beach.
I stopped a while to look at the pelicans.
apart form the odd rough landing
No cloud about, so an uncomplicated sunset
A view of the sun, haystack rock and my feet
Setting over the waves
Looking towards Ecola State park (these are parts of the view from where we are staying)
Once it’s dark, we went off for something to eat.
On our way back i got this shot of the Milky Way – you can just see Haystack Rock in the glow of the few street lights. This shot was a 20 second exposure using a 15mm Fisheye lens.
That’s it for today…
We’re having a few days stopping off at Cannon Beach in Oregon. Today, just a few local travels….
During the early parts of trips like this is the only time I comfortably get to see the dawn.
The colours of the sky opposite the sun are quite muted, but any offshore mist catches the pre-dawn reddish light quite nicely. I’ve tried photographing this, but it’s more often one of those sights that looks great but doesn’t translate to an interesting photo. Of course, in the mountains it can be quite spectacular (the ‘alpenglow’)
Here’s first light catching the Tilamook point lighthouse
Last time we were in the area, Karen found a bead shop in Nehalem, so off we went down the coast – it’s only a few miles and Highway 101 is a great drive.
Unfortunately the shop has turned into a quilting shop, and this is not a hobby that Karen desires to start (that and ‘scrapbooking’, a curious passtime that every time I hear it explained I just keep wondering ‘Why?’)
After a bit more of a drive round we go back to Cannon Beach.
Outside our motel (the Land’s End), I notice that a derelict building has had a car parked in it.
After a bit of lunch and a bead shop visit, we decide to visit the nearby Ecola State Park.
It has some superb views and I want to see where to go later, when the light is warmer.
Clear blue skies may be nice, but I want some decent clouds for some B/W pics.
This is Harold – or so Karen tells me.
A regular visitor outside our room.
The wide view below is a quick stitch of a few shots.
I think I have enough source images for a good 2 foot by 10 foot panoramic print.
You can see Haystack Rock in the distance, just right of centre.
A more detailed single image
That evening a fog bank settles out to sea, so I decide not to go up to Ecola for the sunset.
Just before the sun went behind it I had another look at the pelicans
The cloud is from the mountain just beyond Ecola – you could see it starting to form earlier, and then getting more solid and settling down as a fog bank.
Today’s Haystack Rock picture…
Seems I’m being watched on the beach
However, just round the corner I find out what ‘Fire Training’ entails
Yes, here the fire department will burn your house down for you
Good practice for everyone
A chance to try out breathing aparatus too
No shortage of onlookers
Yes, this could be your house, if you don’t pay your taxes
It burned for quite some time
It seems that if you are demolishing a building, and can get the permits, you can donate it to the fire dept. in lieu of certain property taxes – they also clean up the site.
All good fun – I’ll see what’s left tomorrow (our car was parked 50 yds from this)
We went out for a drive today… Since we’re probably heading north tomorrow, we decided to go for a drive down to Cape Kiwanda for lunch.
I’ve stayed there several times in the past and was keen to see if they’d built over any more of it.
First up we had a spot of breakfast – not on the area outside, since you have to fend off Harold and his friends.
Then a quick look at last night’s entertainment.
Note the iron bath in the middle that survived.
Heading off south, it’s a clear cloudless day – great for the sights, but it rapidly loses my interest in photographing the landscape.
Here’s Tillamook, where my friend Vicky’s favourite cheese is made…
No cheese gift basket on its way this time I’m afraid
Cape Kiwanda on a very pleasant and warm day.
BTW There are lots more pictures of this area in both of my 2007 travel blogs.
And so back to Cannon Beach, where I’m just going to put up a collection of sunset pictures – not for any great reason than I think they look nice, and I like sunsets :-)
Some Pelicans flying South
Reflections in wet sand
First cloud of the day really
I don’t believe this one has a name…
Just after the sun has gone down
A few minutes later
Tomorrow we head off from Canon Beach
Whilst we had intended to head north, we decided to change our minds and head south… So a drive down a rather foggy and cloudy Oregon coast to Florence.
Mostly the cloud was too featureless or the mist too thick to get good views for photos – I find that the weather for my favourite B/W shots treads a fine line between too sunny and too cloudy…
Manzanita beach – near the ex-beadshop of Nehalem
There is of course a bead shop in Florence where we ended up for a few days
Driving down, there is the usual preponderance of Myrtlewood factories and shops
Lincoln City – and I see that the ‘bears shop’ that I noticed last time has gone.
This shows why our Camry can sometimes seem a rather small car.
On to Newport – a working fishing port (fish processing workers having a break)
Fish and lots of seagulls
Stopped off in the excellent ‘The coffeehouse’ for a fish sandwich (think fried fish in a small loaf of bread cut in half) – makes the efforts you see in McDonalds look somewhat feeble.
Also attracted – loads of Californian Sea Lions
Yes, they are all asleep, crammed in that (open) cage.
When we’re back – please feel free to ask Karen to do her most excellent sea lion impression ;-)
Then south along Hwy 101, across the bridge at Newport.
Or you could walk…
And, still cloudy, an evening shot of the jetties at Florence.
Tommorow… not at all sure :-)
After yesterday’s greyness, its a lovely day, with clear blue skies.
A warm and pleasant day, ideal for a visit to… The river for a bit of fishing
Our room at the River House in Florence opens on to the river, and yesterday I noticed quite a few small boats and fish jumping.
Turns out it’s salmon.
Whilst sitting outside with my cup of tea, I spotted that someone had hooked one.
Note the fish jumping in the background.
It’s a fairly powerful fish, it pulls the boat along
Quite a tough one to bring in.
Look carefully in the background – I’ve just happened to get a fish jumping out of the water.
here’s a magnified view – it’s a bit out of focus, since the fish was some distance away and I’m using a 400mm lens (70-200 f/2.8 IS + 2x TC)
Suddenly it’s gone
Another boat passes by and the story of the epic fight grows
Anyway, enough of this. It’s time to visit the bead shop!
Just over the road – a quilting shop, which we didn’t visit
After a while, we walk round the corner from where we are staying, into the main shopping area.
First stop, some coffee (Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters)
OK, some coffee and a bit of cherry pie.
As ever, really good coffee and pies :-)
Lots of people visiting Florence on a Saturday morning
A replacement for the usual Dodge as the ugliest car of the day.
The ‘Cube’ – so awful it left them speachless (almost) on Top Gear.
It’s tricky getting the big story to sell a local newspaper (Siuslaw News)
“OK, move the kitten up to page 1”
This from a nearby shop.
The weather is much more pleasant today
There’s also a farmers market
Excellent bird boxes made from recycled wood.
This is Paul – he sells violins for $100. Today he was including a case and a bow and a DVD on how to play the fiddle. I was unable to convince Karen to buy one for her nephew…
We also payed Curt Peters a visit at Digital Dunes photography.
Some interesting mountings he’s using for the prints behind him. I’ll be doing some experiments once I’m back in the UK and we’ve got our new large format printer.
Tomorrow, the weather will probably be different, so who knows what we’ll do :-)
Before then, it’s a nice night over the river, outside of our room (20s exposure)
A short (25mi) drive up the coast to Yachats and then back to Florence past Heceta lighthouse
Not so many pics today since I took quite a few for processing as B/W and I only have a basic install of photoshop on this laptop.
Yachats still has a bit of its more ‘independent’ past but has a good share of visitor magnets – in this case note the word ‘beads’ at the far side of the near building.
A couple of shots over the small bay
Much better lighting for B/W
One to show the difference between ‘sun behind you’ for colour and ‘sun in front’ for black and white
Karen at Brays Point.
A reason to stop
And what I wanted to photograph
These rocky headlands finish a few miles north of Florence – I briefly looked at the lighthouse at Heceta head, but the lighting just didn’t work so well (it looks best in very low angle sun, or with a very big storm)
Tomorrow, we’re heading north to Washington for a few day before visiting friends near Seattle.
Time to leave Florence and head North to Washington State.
Time to leave… this the view from our room.
Rather than drive up the coast road again, we headed inland to Eugene and the drove up I -5 towards Portland, then across to the coast at Astoria, over the bridge to Washington and on to Long Beach.
Heading out of Florence you cross the coastal mountains – most rivers are used for shipping, so there are a lot of swing/lift bridges, such as this rail bridge.
Cloudy, but no rain
Lots of bridge and tunnel work going on
Heading up I-5 we stopped off at the ‘Country Cottage Restaurant’ at the 271 junction for Woodburn
It’s right by the junction as you come off heading north
Really good food, that puts the nearby chain fast food places to shame
Two ex-cheeseburgers – best I’ve had for a long while
And on to the coast, with only a brief chat to an Oregon State trooper as I’m pulled over for going a tad above the limit on a big sweeping bit of road through the mountains – no ticket though!
At Astoria, there’s a huge cruise ship visiting (not quite sure why) – all pics from the car whilst moving
Karen experiments with a graduated filter for the sky, using the windscreen…
It’s a wide river
Almost in Washington – more bridge work
The green sign says ‘welcome to Washington’
And on to Long Beach, where we’re staying for a few days at a small inn, almost on the beach (I can hear the surf whilst I’m writing this)
And the obligatory sunset view
Next day we have a better look at Long Beach…
A look round the seaside town of Long Beach, Washington
We went for a walk round the are in the morning – here are some of the things I noticed…
There’s a nice boardwalk built over the grassland – that’s where we’re staying, in the distance (Inn at discovery coast)
A whale skeleton – note heavy duty chains
Detail from above
Just up the road from the world kite museum
Horse rides – my mother would like it here.
Note the election poster. With a name like that, you’ve got to play to it… “Heck, I’d vote for him”
BTW no idea what his policies are, who he is standing for, and I can’t vote here anyway :-)
Many of the TV ads for the upcoming elections are, by UK standards, rather negative and all too often directed at saying that the other person sucks. Add to that, ‘adverts’ produced by shady front organisations which come out with nasty stuff that strains credulity, and you have democracy in action – if you have the cash to buy it.
The world’s longest?
No shortage of museums here – a lot has happened since the 1890’s
As you can see, a pleasant day…
Additional information for my quest to find out more about scrapbooking and ‘why?’
Or a spot of quilting…
Get your booze and catfood at the same time
Although if you wanted a cat?
Presumably the not so ‘cute and colorful’ ones are somewhere else?
A good 2nd hand/new book shop is Banana Books on 3rd
You can get anything here
It’s actually a good local shop
More local events – broken cats a specialiy
Meanwhile, the target shop had been sighted
The bead shop
Another vast emporium
Meanwhile, I’m in search of coffee
Found at the bakery
Great sandwiches made to order
Fortunately Karen was in the bead shop – she loves pies.
Nearby, a rather nondescript building
And with an interesting choice of food on Saturday
What did Steve Delzel do?
And from the I haven’t a clue what this is section…
We did go for a drive during the afternoon – clear blue skies everywhere…
here’s the sunset
And the view at night from our room
Tomorrow – another sunny day is forecast :-)
Where we are
A very short drive down from Long Beach takes you to the mouth of the Columbia river.
A rather pleasant day – the North Head lighthouse
A closer view
I went inside to have a look – this is the actual working light – looking north
the view south
A detailed view shows the bulb – 12v and only 35W
If you look at either side of the bulb, you can see the auto replacement unit, which rotates a new bulb into place, when one blows.
Not a difficult place to access, but Karen decided to stay below :-)
The beach in the distance is Long Beach
Later, we returned to Long Beach for coffee
Note the size of this pickup next to the bus
Now compare the pickup to the RV behind it.
The car rather too close to the back of the RV is being towed by it.
just what we need for UK country roads :-)
Whilst I still rate Dodge pickups as the most awful looking vehicle in a rear view mirror, there appears to be a lot of these weird box like vehicles.
Quite dreadful from almost any angle.
Lots of things to do, although we’re going to miss the cranberry festival…
Time for coffee and pie at the deli I visited testerday
A few shots of where we’re staying (Inn at discovery coast)
Very nice views
And the usual sunsets :-)
looking towards Cape Disappointment
just a bit left
Tomorrow we head Northeast from here
Today we headed off from Long Beach towards Port Townsend on the Olympic penisula
Stopping off to fill up with petrol, I noticed this by one pump – something to amuse and educate :-)
For the first time it’s really grey and wet today – not bad for a couple of weeks in the Pacific NW
Going up beside Hood canal, I found the spot where I’d taken one of my favourite shots a few years ago.
This is where I’d stopped before.
…and this the view from the beach in 2004.
Note: I’ve written a longish article about the making of the Hood Canal print, right from the point I stopped the car, to have a look at the view.
A bit further along, the cloud had lifted a bit and I have a number of shots I can work on when home.
I’ve not got a lot of the software I’d use for a large print, but this is a quick sample.
Up at Port Townsend, the cloud was breaking
A walk round the town discovers important shops – note sign near tree.
Here’s the Bishop Victorian hotel where we’re staying – a really nice ‘Victorian’ hotel, but very well modernised
Anyway I’ll just finish with a few street shots to give an idea of the area we’re staying in.
Tomorrow we’re off to Seattle and staying with friends, so the blog may be delayed :-)
Today we headed over to Seattle to visit some friends who live nearby.
Almost perfect clouds for B/W on the way down to Bainbridge Island – but we had a ferry to catch :-(
First up – my new contender for horrid car. It’s called a Scion – we are bereft of them in the UK, apart from a red one driven by a postman and his cat.
Oh to bring them to the UK and have Top Gear trash a few :-)
Anyway, on to the ferry at Bainbridge Island
It’s only 35 minutes, so this is the view at the start of the trip.
Here’s Karen in the wind…
I’ve got some large sets of photos to make up some panoramic prints
Think of a print of this image, where you can see people standing on the observation deck of the Space Needle (left)
Depending on what we end up doing for the next few days I’ll add a few more photos – but it depends… :-)
We went out for a meal – the following pics show what happens when I’m given a really cheapo camera to use. People wonder why I take the 1Ds3 with me…
Karen with Cheescake
It’s raining – this happens quite a bit in this area, so I suppose we’ve been pretty lucky on the trip so far…
Shopping opportunities beckon. A whole load of photos from a trip into Seattle with my friend Al – he had seemingly loaded the car GPS with numerous bead shops…
But first some toast, here in gadgetland.
motorised toast in/out feature and a button that will give you a bit more toasting if it wasn’t dark enough
Time to head off out.
A handy warning from the navigation system when you start up
Heading into Seattle
The big buildings of Seattle City centre
The sliding roof of Safeco field (Seattle Mariners baseball)
Satnav can take you on a bit of a roundabout route sometimes
Past the rail yards
Al has been in the US long enough that the sight of railways and passenger trains is unfamiliar
I’m sure we’d been near here already
On to the elevated road that runs along the waterfront
The pointy building is the Smith building
This from a previous visit, when it was dry.
Pike’s Place market
A bead shop is sighted
Karen and Vicki (Al’s wife)
Al and myself wander off for a coffee…
We’re near the university – a very small art school
The bulding behind the tree is going to be demolished, but unlike Cannon Beach – you cant get the fire brigade to burn it down for you in lieu of taxes (see earlier in blog)
Under a bridge, there is a sculpture of a troll
I feel I’m getting the American approach to visiting attractions.
We slow down enough to get a photo (see earlier visit to Seaside, OR for examples)
A bendy bus, just like the Mayor of London has banished to the provinces
And it’s another bead store!
Then on to another one…
We seem to be in the bead district – near the hammock district (Simpsons 3F23)
So many beads
Anyway, we head off into the rain for some fish at Ivar’s
Ivar’s fish restaurant
Tomorrow – probably more rain….
Since we’re staying with friends – we just went out and did some things that you do when visiting people.
Then we had a meal… Not much to mention today at all I’m afraid :-)
Tomorrow (Monday), the weather looks to be better, so Karen and I will spend some time in Seattle.
A chance to try out my TS-E 17 and 24Mk2 (hand held) with some big buildings.
Anyway, here’s one picture, showing how flexible the concept of a ‘compact’ car is in a car park.
I believe that anything below an F350 pickup is regarded as a ‘compact’ by some.
Our last full day here, so we all spent the day in Seattle.
Since I’m busy packing etc, I’m just putting the photos on the blog with only a few bits of explanation.
I’ll probably take a few pictures on the way back tomorrow, but won’t finish off the blog until I’ve been back for a day or so
Driving into the city…
The Smith Tower
Seattle Art Gallery
We stopped off near Pikes Place market
A ferry arriving (see photos from a few days ago)
No shortage of local flowers
or red snapper
This was how it was when I saw it
New best friend…
The art gallery (most buildings shot hand held with 17 or 24mm TS-E shift lenses)
Some steep hills
Our trip’s come to an end. Just a few of shots from my 6MP Sony S500 – I should get a better point’n’click one day, but this one came free with a projector a few years ago :-)
For some reason the AA departure gate at Seattle airport (SeaTac) has been turned into a castle.
One shot just after take off – the docks at Seattle
And an unknown river valley between Seattle and Chicago (the cliffs looked like limestone)
That’s it for this trip.
Rather too many clear blue skies for my liking, but no complaints from Karen…
This photo-diary covers some of my travel photography from a driving trip starting at Seattle, Washington in September/October 2010. I’ve regularly suggested friends to take their vacations here, or just a road trip along the Pacific coast to photograph some of the scenery. If you’ve any questions about the hotels/inns/motels where I stayed, then please do feel free to drop me a line.
All travel related articles or photo-diaries are listed in the 'Travel' category, and collected together on the 'Keith's Travels' page.
If you want any more information about locations or photos, please do let us know.
Buying anything from Amazon (not just what's listed) via any of the links below helps Keith and Karen keep the site going - thanks if you do! [Amazon UK]