Sunday, March 25, 2012

Moving Day!

No, I haven't left Oregon, but the Wahkeena Exposures website has not only moved on to it's own domain, but, to a fancy new layout and design!

Special thanks to my friend Sarah at Sarah Bee Designs for creating such a beautiful new home for both my photography and stories. If you are in need of web design services, or some of her great soap, pay her a visit!

The new website, is the place to follow along with my family's photography adventures. We will see you there!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Seeing the Light at Cape Meares

Remember my friend Sarah? She comes out to the Pacific Northwest a couple times a year to visit. When she does, I "kidnap" her for a day or two, and take that time to introduce her to some things she can't see back home in North Carolina. Like the time I took her for her first foray into the Columbia River Gorge... Or the time I took her to the Hood River Valley to try some barbeque, Oregon style and then we watched the alpenglow on Mount Hood reflected in Trillium Lake... Or the time I took her hiking at Wahclella Falls

Part of the fun of kidnapping Sarah is she never has a clue where we are going. I plot for weeks beforehand, somehow managing to never drop a hint and keeping the secret not only from her, but from most of our mutual friends as well.

Sarah had mentioned on several occasions that seeing the Pacific Ocean is on her "bucket list" and in her previous visits was a little disappointed she hadn't made it over to see "our" coast yet. As our jaunts through the Columbia River Gorge were becoming almost predictable, I opted for something a little less expected to surprise her with - an overnight visit to the Oregon Coast.
After visits to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for squeaky cheese samples and ice cream, and the Blue Heron French Cheese Company for "provisions" (including her first tastes of brie!) we headed out along the Three Capes Scenic Route for our next destination - Cape Meares State Park.

At the first viewpoint, one could see Sarah was immediately in awe of the scene in front of her. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen anyone pull out a camera so fast and start snapping away (and that is coming from a photographer).

We were blessed with a rare winter day - blue skies, calm winds and not a storm in sight. I am certain if you squinted your eyes just right, you coul make Japan out on the horizon - the sky was just that clear.

The real attraction here is the historic lighthouse. Measuring only 38 feet tall, it is the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. In 2010, vandals shot out the Fresnel lens, which had been created in Paris in 1888 and survived a trip around the tip of South America to Oregon. Sadly, due to estimates ranging from $50,000 to $500,000, the damage to the lends has not been repaired and is still clearly visible. You may make a contribution to Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse, who are collecting donations to repair the lens.

Unfortunately, the interior of the lighthouse is not accessible to the public during the winter. While it would have been fun to climb the stairs to the top of the light, not being able to do so did not diminish our visit in the least. The ocean views. along with the surrounding grounds and nature trails still make a stop here worth your while.

If you are planning a visit for yourself, the interior of the lighthouse and its gift shop are open to the public from April through October, and admission is FREE. Make sure to bring your camera. As Sarah can tell you, the views are picture postcard perfect.

Speaking of light, we were burning the daytime variety and it was time to head to our destination for the night - Oceanside.

Plan Your Own Visit:

Tillamook Cheese Factory
Blue Heron French Cheese Company
Three Capes Scenic Drive
Cape Meares State Park
Cape Meares Lighthouse

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Waterfall Wanderlust: Bridal Veil Falls

The Friends of the Columbia River Gorge have started their annual hiking challenge aptly named Waterfall Wanderlust. The challenge is to visit 25 waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge between now and October 31 for both fun and prizes. I have decided to take a crack at it, and you can track my progress here on the blog.

My first waterfall, and also coincidentally first on their list, is Bridal Veil Falls. Located about 15 minutes east of Troutdale via Interstate 84 and the historic highway, I visited here late last Thursday afternoon.

It's a relatively easy hike, even for those not in the best of shape, and is one of my favorites to embark on with my kids.

According to the sign at the trailhead, it's a 2/3 mile roundtrip. At the bottom of the trail you are greeted by a rippling creek and a beautiful falls that, yes, do resemble a bride's veil.

Would you like to try this challenge for yourself? You can sign up here on the Friends of the Columbia Gorge website. If you are not up to the challenge, the website includes detailed information on each waterfall featured. Why not go visit one or two for yourself?

One waterfall down. Only 24 more to go!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Random Photo: Ready for Departure

This past Saturday night I enjoyed a rare ladies night out on the town with some great friends. One of our stops that night was for drinks at Departure, on the 15th floor of The Nines Hotel/Macy's in downtown Portland. I captured this view of Pioneer Square with my iPhone camera while we laughed and enjoyed a cocktail.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Photo of the Day: Ominous Sandy River Delta Sky

Today I took my girls (including the dog) hiking at Sandy River Delta, just east of Troutdale. A huge off leash area, it's a great place to let your furry (and not so furry) children run off some energy on miles of trails.

The weather has been typical late winter/early spring: clouds, rain, hail, snow, sun and repeat. We got lucky and were able to squeeze our hike in during one of the sun breaks. However, ominous skies approached as we neared the trailhead, as you can see in the photo below.

Note: My friend Sarah loves sky pictures. I thought of her when I snapped this with my iPhone.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Photo of the Day: Bridge of the Gods View

The Bridge of the Gods crosses the Columbia River at Cascade Locks. This image was captured mid-span, looking east towards Hood River.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Photo of the Day: Frosty Ferns

When the east wind blows through the Columbia River Gorge during the winter months, it sometimes freezes everything in it's path. That was the case this past December when I was hiking along the Eagle Creek trail near Cascade Locks.