David Whitten Photography Blog

David Whitten Photography
P.O. Box 178
Oakridge, OR 97463

phone: (435) 714-1779


Journal (continued)
All photographs copyright David Whitten

August 2012 - Oregon Coast Trail and Lone Ranch Beach from Cape Ferrelo , Samuel H. Boardman State Park, Oregon.

Unique in the nation, the Oregon Coast Trail is a roughly 400-mile border-to-border route that allows you to explore the Oregon coast on short, easy walks or on a long hike. A chief feature of the trail are the public beaches created by 1967's Oregon Beach Bill which formalized the public nature of the coastal beaches. The trail is on the beaches for much of the route but also climbs through the forests over the headlands where there is no beach. The Oregon Coast Trail is not a continuous trail but a described route requiring many river and creek crossings. Some of the rocky headlands are passable on foot at beach level only at low tide. Other headlands are traversed by state park or forest service trails well above the sea. In many other places, the road is the only feasible route, mostly U.S. route 101.

Oregon Coast Trail Southern Oregon Coast Samuel H. Boardman State Park

Beach, flowers and view of the bay at Port Orford Oregon. August 2012.

Wild Flowers Oregon Coast Port Orford Oregon

"Dolly Dock", Port Orford, Oregon.

This is the "port" of Port Orford, it's an open-water dock (no natural protection) and boasts the only drydock port on the West Coast. The fishing boats are lifted in and out of the water by cranes, set on custom-made dollies and parked in rows on the dock. As a result, it is known as a "dolly dock".

Dolly dock Port Orford Oregon

Rogue River Coast Guard, Gold Beach, Oregon. Beautiful view of the mouth of the Rogue river and the highway 101 bridge over the river.

Coast Guard boat rogue river gold beach Oregon

Seagulls, Bandon, Oregon

Seagulls Seastacks Bandon Oregon

August 2012

Fog forms on the coast during the hottest days of summer. Spectacular Southern Oregon Coast. The Oregon coast trail traverses the headlands and accesses many of the beaches on the Southern Oregon coast. It's an easy walk down to beaches like China beach, in this photo. This is midsummer, on the weekend, hottest days of the year and there is no one on the beach. This fits my idea of a paradise, photographing this place from above and below and walking bearfoot on the beautiful beaches. Temperatures never got above 60 f at the coast even though it was the hottest days of the summer, almost 100 degrees in the Willamette Valley.

I think this photo has a softness and painterly quality that is very different than most of my photographs. This is due partly to the moisture in the air, the clearing fog and clouds but also, this is the first HDR photo I've done. HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a way to record a much wider range of light levels than is normally possible in photography, rendering an image that is much more like what the human eye/brain sees. Ansel Adams never pursued color photography because he had no control of the dynamic range, while his control of the black and white medium is lengendary. HDR photography is Ansel Adams' color photography dream come true.

Oregon Coast Beach and cliffs

This is China Beach, the same beach as in the photo above. Samuel H. Boardman State Park. This park was named in honor of the first Oregon Parks superintendent Samuel H. Boardman. He and others of his generation felt this coastline should be saved for the public. The state park encompasses 12 miles of rugged cliffs and beaches of Oregon's coast.

Oregon Coast China Beach, Oregon

This is also China Beach, same afternoon as the one above. China beach is a huge favorite place for me, along with the entire southern Oregon coast. There's this beach, only about a mile walk down from highway 101 and every time I've been there, I've had the place to myself. To me, it's every bit as beautiful as anything in Hawaii. It evokes the Na Pali coast, on Kauai, but the water is considerably colder.

Oregon Coast China Beach, Oregon

Southern Oregon coast trail map. The first time I visited the Southern Oregon Coast, I met a woman who was doing some trail work. She lives in Brookings and she gave me this map that she had made. It seems there is no official map of all the trails, at least none that she found satisfactory, so she made one. This covers the Samuel Boardman State Park area and the stretch of coast just north of Brookings.

Oregon Coast China Beach, Oregon

Low Tide at Meyers Creek Beach, Pistol River State Park, Oregon
Really, I can't say enough about the Oregon State Park system. It's awesome.

Meyers creek beach Pistol River State Park Oregon

Low Tide at Meyers Creek Beach, Pistol River State Park, Oregon

Meyers creek beach Pistol River State Park Oregon

Mussels, barnacles, starfish and seastacks at low tide, Bandon Beach, Oregon

From nearly every viewpoint on the Oregon coast, colossal rocks can be seen jutting out of the Pacific Ocean. Each of these rocks is protected as part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge includes 1,853 rocks, reefs and islands and two headland areas and spans 320 miles of the Oregon coast. Thirteen species of seabirds nest on this refuge, including Common Murres, Tufted Puffins, Leach's and Fork-tailed Storm-petrels, Rhinoceros Auklets, Brandt's, Pelagic and Double-crested cormorants, and Pigeon guillemots. Harbor seals, California sea lions, Steller sea lions and Northern elephant seals use refuge lands for breeding and haulout areas.

Bandon Beach Oregon

Bandon Beach, Oregon

Bandon Beach, Oregon

Bandon Beach, Oregon.

Bandon Beach Oregon Coast

In the summer of 1985, I had just finished my first photography classes at the University of Utah and had an opportunity to work in Cooke City, Montana for the summer at the Beartooth Cafe. Cooke City, population 100, is just a couple of miles from the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone, the Beartooth pass and the road to Sunlight Basin and Cody, Wyoming are in the other direction. Cooke city sits in the valley that we are viewing across in this photograph. The mountains in this picture are the northern end of the Absaroka Mountain Range in Wyoming. This photograph is done from up in what is part of the Beartooth Mountains and in Montana. The town of Cooke City is just out of the picture down in the shadows of the valley and Granite Peak, the highest peak in Montana is about 10 miles behind me as I stand doing this photograph.

This is perhaps the only photograph from that summer, my first summer of pursuing photography, that I've used as a limited edition print and maybe the only photo I did that whole summer that's any good at all. This one is really amazing as a large print in a beautiful frame, if only for me to look at and remember my romps in the Beartooth and Absaroka Mountains and remind me to go back again. I was shooting Kodachrome 25 that summer, which really makes it seem like a whole different era.

Pilot Peak and Index Peak in the center back in dark shadows, Ram Pasture on the left in the sun.
Pilot Peak, Index Peak Cooke City Absaroka Beartooth

June 2012

Stairs, Sweet Creek Trail, Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon.

Sweet Creek Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

The Sweet Creek trail is only about a mile and a half long, but in that short distance, there are hundreds of small waterfalls. It's easy for me to spend hours finding views along the river. Much like Ansel Adams' lifetime affair with Yosemite, going back to a place again and again and spending a lot of time is the often the best way to get good photographs.

Sweet Creek Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

Sweet Creek

Sweet Creek Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

Sweet Creek

Sweet Creek Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

Sweet Creek

Sweet Creek Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

Sweet Creek

Sweet Creek Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

Sweet Creek is in the Oregon Coast Range near the town of Mapleton. I've been over there three different times in the last few weeks, doing photography along Sweet Creek mostly but also to Kentucky Falls up higher in the mountains.

Barn, on the Sweet Creek Road, near Mapleton, Oregon.

Sweet Creek Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

This is Upper Kentucky Falls. The trail to Kentucky falls passes through a few miles of beautiful old growth forest, past the upper falls and to Kentucky Falls proper about two miles in. Getting to Kentucky falls is interesting. The forest roads are not well marked and it's easy to get lost. You can find directions easily: google "kentucky falls directions", or ask me.

Upper Kentucky Falls Smith Fork Trail Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

Upper Kentucky Falls.

Upper Kentucky Falls Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

June, 2012 Kentucky Falls

Kentucky Falls after a good few days of rain. This was a very wet spot to try and stand to do a photograph - in the spray of the falls. I set up the tripod and tried to have everything about the camera set so I could click the camera on and immediately grab a couple of shots. The lens was instantly covered with water so I'd spend a few minutes drying it off, and then repeat. I don't like having water dripping off the front of my lens and getting my camera wet.

The goal of a landscape photographer is usually to try and give some sense of the feeling of being in a place through the photograph. Hopefully this one gives a feeling of a little too wet, cool, lush, springtime in the wilds of Oregon.

kentucky falls Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

Kentucky Falls, about a week later when things dried out a bit.

kentucky falls Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

Smith Fork Barns

After getting lost while trying to find Kentucky Falls, I ended up coming down out of the mountains on the North Fork of the Smith Fork River. It turned out to be a happy accident, along the Smith Fork and then out to Reedsport.

Smith Fork Barns Reedsport Oregon

Roosevelt Elk, near Reedsport, Oregon June, 2012

Roosevelt Elk Reedsport Oregon Coast Range

May 5, 2012 Powder Day, Mt. Bachelor, Oregon

This is the third year that I've bought the "Spring Pass" at Mt. Bachelor. It's very inexpensive, good for the entire months of April and May and it's not unusual to have fresh snow and winter-like conditions. Of course it's even more likely to be beautiful bluebird spring weather, and some nice corn snow.

Mt. Bachelor fresh snow Spring South sister broken top

I try to find good places to do photographs at sunrise and sunset, when the weather is cooperating. In May, Mt. Bachelor is open from only 9 until 2, so I get up on the mountain and look for "midday shots". The views from Mt. Bachelor are spectacular in every direction and after a storm, it can be magical.

Mt. Bachelor fresh snow snowboard skier

Downhill race at Mt, Bachelor, April 2012

Looking up into "The Cirque" Mt. Bachelor is a spectacular place for a downhill. They make going sixty miles an hour on skis look easy.

Mt. Bachelor fresh snow downhill race snowboard skier

Mt. Bachelor fresh snow downhill race snowboard skier

Mt. Bachelor chairlift, May 5th view toward South Sister. The high-speed chairlifts at Mt. Bachelor are really nice and it's one big ski mountain. From the summit lift, you can ski off the top in any direction and if you go all the way down to the Northwest lift, it's about 3300 vertical feet. Non-stop, fall line skiing. All you want and then some.

Mt. Bachelor chairlift South Sister Bend Oregon

From Mt. Bachelor, view toward South Sister.

Mt. Bachelor chairlift South Sister Bend Oregon

April 21, 2012 Mt. Bachelor Summit lift.

Mt. Bachelor tops out at a little over 9,000 ft. and is the highest lift-served skiing in the Northwest. They keep one or two tracks groomed off the top of Mt. Bachelor, and that's the easy way down.

Summit lift, Mt. Bachelor Oregon

Mt. Bachelor from the Sunrise Base, at Sunrise.

Mt. Bachelor chairlift South Sister Bend Oregon skiing ski

April 21, 2012 - Tele skier in "The Cirque" at Mt. Bachelor.

Mt. Bachelor fresh snow snowboard skier the cirque telemark skier

Salt Creek Falls, April 2012

Near Willamette Pass, Salt Creek Falls is about 286 feet tall and is the second highest waterfall in Oregon.

Salt Creek Falls, Oregon

Salmon Creek, April 2012

This officially unnamed waterfall is sometimes called "Squaw Peak Falls" and is located directly across the river from the Salmon Creek Campground, a few miles from Oakridge, Oregon.
Salmon Creek near Oakridge Oregon

Salmon Creek, "Squaw Peak Falls"
Salmon Creek near Oakridge Oregon

Salmon Creek, raging in the winter.

Salmon Creek Falls, Oakridge Oregon

Sweet Creek, near Mapleton, Oregon

In the Oregon Coast Range, Sweet Creek is near Mapleton and Florence, only a few miles inland from the Oregon Coast. A trail through a gorge passes dozens of waterfalls and cascades. It's a hidden gem.

Sweet Creek Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

Sweet Creek. This is in the winter. In the spring and summer, foliage would create a completely different look.

Sweet Creek Oregon Coast Range Mapleton

phone: (971) 762-9139   •  dwhitten@DavidWhittenPhoto.com

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