This is the second of two parts on what regions to visit and when in the Pacific Northwest. The recommendations are particularly relevant for nature and landscape photographers, but anyone who plans to visit during spring or early summer will find it useful. Since I’m going to just jump in where I left off, it’s best to check out Part I first.
Speaking of spring flowers (I was actually speaking of them in the 1st part!), let’s not forget the gardens and cultivated areas through the western valleys and cities of the Pacific Northwest. The tulips bloom starting in April and there are several farms that welcome visitors. The area around Woodburn is very popular; so popular with photogs. in fact, that I’ve stubbornly avoided taking one picture there! I do love tulips, and there are plenty around town to photograph. The roses for which Portland is famous bloom about the time of the city’s signature event, Rose Festival (go figure!). This is late May into June. A visit to Portland’s Rose Garden during a cloudy day right after rainfall can yield amazing flower pictures.
For people pictures, head down to the waterfront for the Rose Festival itself, or to one of the street fairs such as Last Thursday (Alberta Street, last Thursday of every month, May – October). Or just go to one of our “hip” neighborhoods and hang out. There is always something going on in this town.
At some point in springtime, hopefully during the kind of off and on weather that the season is known for around here, you’ll want to visit the coast. The greening up does not skip this part of Oregon, and spring storms can bring great wave action as well. Extra-low tides are great for exploring (and photographing) the fascinating sea life in tidal pools. The Oregon Coast is simply one of those places you should try your level best to see at some point.
And while you’re at it do the northern California coast and/or the Olympic Coast in Washington. These are just as beautiful as Oregon, since it’s really just a continuation. Have to admit I’m partial to our coast though. For one thing, you’ll see no private property signs or fences blocking access to a beach in Oregon. That would be against the law, since every bit of coast up to high-tide line is public property. For another, the whole coast is beautiful, from one end to the other. It’s one long continuous stretch of pretty little towns, capes and sea stacks. The Olympic Coast is wilder though, being in a National Park.
Spring used to not be my favorite season around these parts. I still don’t really like how long it can be. Enough already! But with the flowers and generally good weather conditions for photography, with the lush green forest and filled-to-the-brim waterfalls, with all the days conducive to rainbows, I’ve come around to liking this season..a lot. There must be some reason I tend to stick around the Northwest during this time of year.
Of course we have beautiful (but much shorter) autumns. And summer is filled with near-perfect days and breezy nights (generally too clear for a photographer’s liking though). Come November now, I’ll be itching to get out of Dodge. But spring and early summer are really when the Pacific Northwest shines. The only problem? There is much too much to do, and with the year’s longest days to do it in. Spring is also the time to kayak and raft the whitewater on the smaller, undammed rivers. It’s the time to climb (and ski down) the snow-clad volcanoes. It’s time to join in the fun of outdoor festivals and outings. It’s a time when you wonder if sleep really is overrated.
Thanks for looking!