Faith and I are back from a 10 day vacation in Oregon. We had a great time with her mother Mary and Mary’s husband Skip on this trip. We visited Portland, the Columbia River Gorge, Cannon Beach, Yachats and a lavender farm in the Willamette valley. It was a wonderful trip with mostly good weather days. Oregon has become one of our favorite vacation destinations and we are already dreaming of a return trip out there.

I have hundreds of images to sort through and process, but I’m only home for 24 hours before I’m off again for a week at the corporate office. I thought I would post a quick review of our first day in Oregon as a teaser for more images to come later. We spent our first night in Portland, then 3 nights in Cannon Beach, then 4 nights in Yachats, and finally our last night in Portland again before catching a very early flight home yesterday. It was our first visit to Cannon Beach and our second visit to Yachats. The house we rent in Yachats is by far our favorite, but Cannon Beach was special too. I’ll post more about each of these Oregon destinations as I get a chance to process the images.

For now, here’s a few shots from the few hours we had in Portland after we landed on the afternoon of July 4th.

Our first stop that afternoon was at Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. While the falls are spectacular, dinner at the Multnomah Falls Lodge is one of our favorite destinations. They don’t offer a wide variety on their menu, but the food is excellent and the view from every table is fantastic. The weather was gorgeous and while we dined, they had the windows open so that you could both see and hear the falls. The view was enhanced with Rufous Hummingbirds visiting the blooming flowers and hummingbird feeders stationed outside the windows, as well as visits by Stellar Jays and White-crowned Sparrows. Click the images to view larger.

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Faith at Multnomah Falls

I was able to get the composition of the falls I wanted, and I was also lucky enough to get the shot with no one on the bridge. Usually the bridge is filled with visitors waving to their families down below. It’s a good hike up to the bridge and an even bigger hike up to the top of the falls. The upper falls drop 542 feet while the lower falls drop 69 feet. It’s a steep climb up there, but well worth the effort. Photography in the falls is tough. You want/need cloudy skies to shoot waterfalls, but you want broken clouds to shoot sunsets (see below). In this image, the top half of the upper falls are in full sunlight, but the lower half and the lower falls are in shade. Had I had the time to wait another 30-45 minutes, I could have put the entire falls in shade and had better success with my exposure. But had I done that, I would have missed some of the shots below. As it was, I choose the wrong lens for this shot. My 24-105mm is too much lens. Next time I’ll pull out the 17-40 in order to get more of the falls in the frame.

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge

We were on a tight schedule as we needed to pick up Mary and Skip at the airport, so we headed back west towards Portland and made a stop at the historic Vista House at Crown Point for a quick peek at the Columbia River. The setting sun was creating some wonderful light on the landscape. Mary and Skip’s flight was early and I was really hoping it would be delayed so I could milk the light for everything I could. Oh, well, maybe next time!

Vista House scenic viewpoint, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Vista House scenic viewpoint, Columbia River Gorge

After we left the Vista House, we continued west and stopped at the Portland Women’s Forum scenic viewpoint. This viewpoint gives you a wonderful view of the Columbia River and Crown Point on the southern river bank. The light was just starting to be perfect, but it was time to move on so that we could pick up Mary and Skip at the Portland airport.

Vista House, Oregon
Vista House and Columbia River from the Portland Women’s Forum scenic viewpoint

That’s all I have time for tonight. I’ll put up another post when I get home next weekend.


  • Gary DeFeyter

    July 14, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Great stuff. Waiting for more. We also love Oregon. Headed back next year. Did you get to see the wind surfers in the Gorge. Awesome shots there.

    • Michael

      July 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      Didn’t see any wind surfers, Gary. We were only there about 2-3 hours before we had to move on. Way too short for so many photo ops. The wind wasn’t blowing very hard that day, so it may not have been a good day for the surfers.

  • Jess Yarnell

    July 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Beautiful images, Michael! Oregon looks like a lot of fun. You have a good trip to Atlanta this week. Don’t work too hard after your vacation! 🙂

    • Michael

      July 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      You too, Jess…or should I call you Ms. 2 Weeks! 🙂

  • Debbie Tubridy

    July 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Beautiful! Can’t wait to see more 🙂

  • Cannon Beach, Oregon

    September 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    […] morning in Cannon Beach. If you missed my previous posts on our trip to Oregon, you can view them here, here and here. Thanks for taking time to read about the trip and for your […]