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.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Photo of the Day: Sunset at Three Arch Rocks

As some of you may know, my friend Sarah came to visit again recently. This time I took her for an adventure along the northern Oregon Coast. We were lucky enough to see this sunset from the porch of our cabin in Oceanside.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Photo of the Day: Making Friends

My family met this little guy at Bonneville Fish Hatchery yesterday.

I guess you can say we had him eating out of the palm of our hand.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Photo of the Day: Tulum Beach

Oh baby! It's cold outside. Snow is in the forecast, the east wind is blowing, and everyone has been pulling out the hat and gloves to bundle up now that winter has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest!

In an attempt to warm everyone up, here's a image captured on my honeymoon to Mexico. The beach in Tulum was warm, the palm trees were swaying, and as I recall I was clamoring for shade as I took this picture.

Feeling warm yet?

Photo of the Day: Ladybug in the Hand

A ladybug in the hand is worth how many in the bush?
My oldest daughter captured this one in the gardens behind the Gorge White House near Hood River, Oregon. She wanted to bring it home as a pet, but I told her she had to fly away and take care of her children, who were surely missing her!!

Photo of the Day: Strutting Pelicans

These pelicans were certainly strutting their stuff. Captured on the beach near Pacific City, Oregon. What song do you think they were hearing in their heads? I am thinking something from the Bee Gees...

Why I...

...take pictures.

I suppose you could say "Why I am a photographer." Regardless of what people tell me, sometimes I am a little insecure about my abilities. "Photographer" seems like a term to be only used by professionals -- people that do it as their job and depend on the income they receive from practicing their craft. While I sell a print here and there, I don't consider myself a "professional" by any means. As someone that is completely self taught, there are so many things I still have to learn. Every once and a while, however, I get lucky and capture something that amazes even me.

So why do I take pictures?

I take pictures to share the beautiful things I see when hiking the trails of the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood National Forest because there are people that will never be lucky enough to see the part of the world I am lucky enough to live in and photograph, but I can show it to them through my camera lens:

To make a record of the adventures experienced with my family on one of our crazy road trips around my beautiful state of Oregon and beyond, so we can remember them together at a later date:

So when my two sweet little girls become surly teenagers, I can remember their smiles when they thought mommy was the coolest person in the world:

Last, but not least, simply because I like it. It brings me joy and peace as I literally bring the world before me into focus:

My favorite capture!

That is why I take pictures!!

This post is part of my friend Sarah Bee's blog carnival today. To check out the posts of others participating, head over to her blog

P.S. She also makes pretty awesome soap and candles. Check out her wares at

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Photo of the Day: Frozen Horsetail Falls

When the east winds blow (also known as Hurricane Columbia Gorge) blow, they freeze everything in their path. Waterfalls are not immune to this.

Horsetail Falls is both easily viewed and accessed from the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway. In fact, is sits so close to the highway, the winds blow the freezing mist on to the roadway. This image was captured last winter on an excursion to view the frozen waterfalls during an especially prolonged cold snap.

Photo of the Day: Wahkeena Falls

The new year is bringing a new feature to the Wahkeena Exposures blog: Photo of the Day. Yes - all the cool kids are doing it and now so am I.

It may not be a true "Photo of the Day" feature, as many of you that follow me know that I am often out and about, adventuring around Oregon. Time and internet access may not always make it possible. However, several times a week I hope to feature photos here - whether captured with my DSLR out on a hiking trail or with my iPhone while battling the urban jungle on my way to the office. Expect landscapes, still lifes, and anything else that may happen to catch my eye. WARNING: This may include photos of pork products.

To kick it all off, the waterfall that inspired the name for this blog and all things related to my photography: Wahkeena Falls.

I hope you enjoy viewing my images as much as I loved capturing them!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ringing in 2012: Tubing at Hoodoo

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Years Day." - Edith Lovejoy Pierce

New Year's Day is my reward for surviving Christmas. After spending most of the past month stressed out with THAT holiday and everything that comes with it, I spend the first day of the new year outside, getting back to nature, and just taking a moment to say "Ahhhhh!!"

This year my family traveled to Central Oregon to ring in 2012, and luckily the rain turned to snow just in time for our arrival. Of course, we took full advantage.

Hoodoo Ski Area is located at the summit of Santiam Pass, along Highway 20, just a short drive west of Sisters, Oregon. The tubing park there, called the Autobahn, was our destination for the afternoon.

We procured our passes at the yurt in the tubing area, and went to select our tubes and stand in line for our turn to ride up the hill on the tow rope.

Ready to hit the hill!

I have to admit, this was my favorite part of the day. Kicked back in a cushy tube and leisurely drug up the hill I enjoyed both the scenery and the ride.

The view from the top of the tubing hill was spectacular. Unfortunately, due to a lack of snow we were unable to slide from the top and ended up having to walk back down the hill a bit.

At the top of the tubing hill, Three Fingered Jack in the distance.

The ride down, all dozen or so times, was an absolute thrill.

What were first screams of fear as we zoomed down the hill, turned to shrills of absolute excitement.

Her first time tubing? You think she liked it?

My family rang in 2012 outdoors with a thrill and a "YEAH!!! WOO HOO!!" rather than our traditional "Ahhhh!"

That is, unless you count hot chocolate in the lodge after a hard day on the slopes!

Enjoying a hot chocolate with my cousin.

Plan your own trip:

Hoodoo Ski Area

Autobahn Tubing Park