Posted by: kerryl29 | May 19, 2015

Setting the Stage

As noted in an earlier post, I flew from Chicago to Portland, Oregon on May 3 and drove from the Portland area to Gold Beach, on Oregon’s far south coast, the following day.  Thus began my most recent photo excursion:  a week on the southern Oregon Coast, followed by parts of four days based in Crescent City, California, to photograph the redwoods, and finally parts of two days at Silver Falls State Park, about an hour’s drive southeast of Portland.  I returned to the Chicago area on the evening of Saturday, May 16, and have spent the time since then recuperating.  I was bushed when I got back.

China Creek Beach from Spruce Creek Viewpoint, Samuel H. Boardman State Park, Oregon

China Creek Beach from Spruce Creek Viewpoint, Samuel H. Boardman State Park, Oregon

I’ve scarcely had time to do any image editing since returning to the home base.  I’ve processed perhaps 20 images and have more or less randomly selected a half-dozen, just to give readers a taste of the subject matter, to accompany this post.  As was the case when I returned from my trip to the Canadian Rockies last fall, it’s going to take quite some time for me to work through all of this material.  I spent something on the order of 10 weeks processing images from the Rockies last year and I suspect it will require a comparable amount of time to complete work on the Oregon/California photographs.

Myers Beach Sunset, Pistol River State Park, Oregon

Myers Beach Sunset, Pistol River State Park, Oregon

I spent a few days on the Oregon Coast as part of my extended trip to the Pacific Northwest in July, 2009, just a couple of months before I started this blog.  On that occasion, I was frustrated by the incessant presence of the Pacific marine layer, which blotted out potentially epic sunsets on beaches in Washington and Oregon.  For a variety of reasons I was led to believe that mid-spring would produce more favorable conditions for coastal shooting and that turned out to be the case.  While the marine layer wasn’t a complete non-factor, as I will detail in coming installments chronicling the photo experience, it wasn’t the omnipresent force that it was during my time on the coast in 2009.

Rhododendron Trail, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

Rhododendron Trail, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

My time in far northern California marked my first visit to the coastal redwood forests of the region.  (I’ve seen redwood groves before during several visits to Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.)  This part of the trip was my biggest disappointment, for two reasons.  First, I had hoped–though not expected–to be in the area during the rhododendron bloom.  Since the bloom usually peaks some time during a roughly four-week period from mid-May to mid-June, I figured to be a bit early, and so I was.  Despite much searching on my part, through three state parks and one national park, I found only a handful of rhododendron bushes flowering.  More surprising was the near complete absence of fog, which I had been told was a daily occurrence, morning and evening, in the groves.  I saw almost literally no fog during my time in the area, which was unfortunate, because it’s such a huge aesthetic and technical asset to forest photography.

Coastal Trail, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California

Coastal Trail, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California

Still, despite these discouraging conditional developments, as those of you have been fortunate enough to experience redwood forests know, the coastal redwood environments are awe-inspiring places and I’m not at all sorry I made the short journey from southern Oregon to northern California to see them.  In addition, the rather unusual weather developments gave me the opportunity to photograph some subjects in and around Crescent City that I hadn’t anticipated being able to do, and I think that time was spent productively.

South Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

South Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

I had only one afternoon and one full day at Silver Falls State Park, about 12 miles east of Silverton and 25-30 miles east of Salem, but the weather conditions when I was there were absolutely perfect for waterfall photography–mostly cloudy and very light winds.  Despite only a few available hours on May 14 and the full day of May 15, I spent roughly 14 hours photographing in the park, along the famous Trail of Ten Falls (so named because each of the park’s 10 waterfalls can be seen from the trail, which runs nearly nine miles).  Because the conditions were ideal, I was able to photograph all of the subject matter that I’d hoped to experience.  Additionally, wildflowers were ubiquitous in the park and I spent some time working these subjects as well.

Upper North Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

Upper North Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

As I did with the Rockies imagery last year, I’ll provide a chronological reporting of the trip and will periodically interrupt the narrative with some thematic thoughts, based on my experiences during this trip and topics that those experiences engendered.  I hope you’ll come along for the ride.



  1. Love your Myers Beach Sunset!

  2. You have a good eye. AP

    • Thanks very much!

  3. While you might have been disappointed, you still came back with some really nice pictures. So give yourself a break and enjoy what you did. Not that I’d ever complain about the same thing 🙂

    Remember this trip to Maine? I griped about the incessant rain and clouds, then realized I’d gotten some great ocean shots with big billowing clouds. I did much better than I expected.


    • The only real disappointment I had on the trip was being unable to see the coastal redwood forests at their best. Other than that, things went pretty well.

      In any event, thanks for commiserating. 🙂

  4. Your talents for seeing the shot in the first place, capturing it with the camera, then bringing it to life are unequalled in my opinion! Your landscapes look real and natural, but as if you captured each scene at its very best.

    • Thanks very much!

  5. We all know and understand we must take what we have to shoot with. But your shots still portray the essence of the area of the northern east coast area. I wish I was able to go to that area for one of my many photographic safaris. Besides, the sign of a true professional photographer is in the capturing of that moment and atmosphere of which he is in at that moment.

    • Agreed, working with what you’re given is definitely the right attitude to have. And I do try to do so. But I still can’t help but be disappointed when the weather (etc.) conditions don’t cooperate. 🙂

  6. The Pacific northwest is surely one of our prime natural resources. I have not (yet) had the chance to explore it in person, but it’s a real treat to see it through your capable eyes.

    • Thanks very much!

  7. I’ll be along for the ride and looking forward to more great photos. No I don’t see any objectionable over sharpening/compression at all
    on my screen.

    • Thanks! And, thanks for letting me know re the sharpening/compression issue; I can’t see a problem either, on any of the displays I’ve used to view the post. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone else reports a problem.

  8. Looking forward to the play-by-play of your trip. This teaser just heightens the anticipation!

  9. Magnificent photos! I love your way of showing us the beauty of the world with your pictures! Thanks!
    And if I may, I’d like to ask just one question. From July 15th to September 10th I will be in Seattle, Washington – (I live in Poland, so that would be the journey of my life) – would you be able to recomend some nice places to shot pictures in the area?
    I would be very grateful, but of course it’s not a must 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words.

      Re your request for Seattle area suggestions for photography, I’ll try to answer, with a couple of caveats. First, note that I’m not a resident of the area by any means (hardly–I’m a solid 4+ hour plane ride away) and that I’ve spent time in the Seattle area only a couple of times, most recently six years ago. Second, my recommendations are largely limited to landscape photography opportunities because, frankly, it’s just about all I know. 🙂

      With that in mind, in Seattle, you are a relatively short car ride away from two areas of almost indescribable beauty–Mt. Rainier National Park, to the southeast, and Olympic National Park to the west.

      I’ve only been to Mt. Rainier once, and it was almost 25 years ago, but I’ve always wanted to go back and spend more time there. Your time in the area will coincide nicely with the summer wildflower season when the park is, arguably, at its best.

      I’ve spent more time at Olympic. It’s a marvelously diverse park, with scenery ranging from high country mountain photography (that’s remarkably easily accessed via the Hurricane Ridge area), waterfalls, streams, lakes, temperate rainforests (especially the Hoh rainforest) and wild, undeveloped Pacific Coast beaches. By all means, try to check it out if you get half a chance.

      There are, of course, numerous other things to photograph in the northwest Washington area, but that should get you started. Further, I can recommend this book as a useful guide. I used it to good advantage myself when I was photographing on the Olympic Peninsula in 2009. This one also may be of value. I have this author’s book for Oregon and found it useful, though I don’t have any personal experience with the Washington book (as it was published after I was in the area).

      Hope that’s of at least minimal help. Feel free to ask further questions and if you’re really after something more intense I’ll try to put you in touch with a photographer who’s far more knowledgeable about the area than I am.

      • Thank you so much! Your answer is great help and the books look very interesting to me.
        Thanks a lot and I’m looking forward to enjoy your next posts with more of your wonderful pictures 🙂

        • Happy to help. I hope you have a great time in the Pacific Northwest later this year!

  10. Kerry: Another great start with top draw images. I look forward to there rest of the series

    • Thanks very much. Hopefully the wait will be worth it. 🙂

  11. I look forward to you future posts because I was in the area a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. The only photo that looks overprocessed to me is the first one. All edges are overly sharp.

    • Thanks for letting me know. I use a Photoshop action that I created to apply sharpening to the images that accompany these posts, as part of a batch job. This applies a one-size-fits-all approach, which works without issue for the vast majority of images, but for those with very high contrast edges–like this one–problems can occasionally creep in. When I get a chance, I’ll take another look and apply selective, manual sharpening on that image and see how if I can’t cook up an improvement.

  12. Great photos!

  13. I’m thrilled to see my home territory as seen through your lens. Anxiously awaiting more!

    Have to agree with Pat. The edges look a bit “off” in the first shot and the edges of the cliffs in the second one seem to have a thin light outline (is that what’s called chromatic aberration?)

    • Thanks for the feedback. I’ll look into reprocessing these images (and perhaps the others as well).

      BTW, what you’re seeing with the Myers Beach image is haloing–a result of oversharpening (which itself is revealed to a greater or lesser degree–or not at all–depending upon the display you’re using to view the images). If it was CA (chromatic aberration) it would be revealed in the form of a multi-colored outline around the edges (exactly which colors? variable, depending on which light wavelengths were impacted).

      • Just went back for another look and the haloing is gone from the Myers Beach image. I think the other shot may be improved, too, but the effect in that one was so subtle I can’t be sure.

        • Excellent eye, Gunta! I reprocessed the first two images and reposted them. (I left the other four unaltered.)

          In the case of the Myers Beach photo, I applied the same amount of sharpening as was the case the first time around, but did so selectively. I masked out the sky and the high contrast edges of the seastacks.

          In the first image–the photograph of China Creek Beach from the Spruce Creek Viewpoint–I dialed the amount of sharpening back on a global basis; I’d estimate the newer version is roughly 60-65% that of what was there originally.

  14. […] I was reading Kerry Mark Leibowitz’s blog, LIGHTSCAPES NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY, his first post about a trip that he had just returned from along the Oregon coast. Along with his […]

  15. Beautiful pictures. What a neat experience to be able to capture all.

  16. stunning vista of stone Guardians protecting the coast

  17. Beautiful !!!

    • Thanks very much!

  18. Oh Kerry, the greens! Stunning images; I especially love the Rhododendron Trail shot with the delicate greenery in front of the huge redwoods (in spite of the lack of fog). So great to get back to looking at your images and reading of your travels.

    • Thanks, Lynn–glad to see you back.

      And, yes…the coastal redwood groves are incredibly lush.

  19. […] I mentioned in my previous post, I last spent time on the Oregon coast in July, 2009, during an extended trip to the Pacific […]

  20. […] Park last fall–trips to more obviously breathtaking places like the Canadian Rockies or the Oregon Coast haven’t blinded me to that […]

  21. […] of inadequate time and subpar conditions by rescheduling a trip–limited entirely to the southern coast area–in 2015, I was absolutely committed to the idea of learning from my earlier […]

  22. […] truly crowded, and for its plethora of interestingly shaped offshore rocks and seastacks.  When I returned to the Oregon coast–this time for a full week–in May of 2015, I based myself in Gold Beach, a solid […]

  23. […] the spring of 2015, I took a trip to the West Coast.  The principal destination was the southern Oregon coast, where I spent a week.  (The Bandon Beach image that was the subject of a recent Story Behind the […]

  24. […] years ago I paid a return visit to the Oregon Coast.  The hope on that trip was that I’d be able to avoid the occasionally persistent marine […]

  25. […] Coast during my time in Washington and Oregon in 2009–the year I began this blog. When I returned to the Oregon Coast in the spring of 2015, it was with the hope that things would be different, because I hoped to do […]

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