Pacific Northwest Trip 2017

Pacific Northwest Trip 2017


I recently returned from a whirlwind three day trip to the PNW. I was initially planning on heading to the coast for some seascape shooting, but the weather was not cooperating. With that in mind, I spent a night in Seattle so I could finally get a few shots of downtown from the Kerry Park viewpoint. Blue hour on Thursday night was uneventful, but there were a few nice clouds. In the morning I tried again, and there were some fantastic breaks in the clouds which added a nice contrast to the scene. 

After grabbing some breakfast, I hit the road. There is a waterfall, deep in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, that I have been wanting to find for about a year now. The road to the waterfall hiking point is about 4 hours from Seattle. Everything was going well until I was 15 miles out and the road was closed! As I sat there, I decided I wasn’t going to let this mess up my plans. I rerouted down to Portland, over to Carson and then north, which was about a 2 hour delay. The temperature was about 50 in the gorge, but as I drove north, it plummeted to about 30. I then realized that there was still over 2 feet of snow that far north. This hike was going to be interesting! I finally made it to the parking lot for a nearby overlook after a 6 hour drive and suited up. It was raining and sleeting, but I was determined. In warmer months there is supposed to be a faint boot trail to the falls, but needless to say the 2 feet of snow made that impossible to find. I turned on my GPS and set off into the woods. After about an hour of scrambling through the snow, I realized I was way off and needed to head north. I stumbled and scrambled my way north for another hour and then I finally heard the sound of the falls. I found a suitable route down and as it came into view I was absolutely amazed. The waterfall was like something out of Jurassic Park! It was monstrous, with a heavy flow sending billowing clouds of steam into the air, as small side falls descended on one side. What a sight! The snow was completely melted around the falls due to the constant spray from the falls. 

I was shooting solo, so I didn’t want to take too many chances down by the surging creek. I got a few different comps, sat and watched the falls for a bit and then decided to head back to the car. It was another long slog through the snow, and by the end I was covered in mud and my hiking boots were soaked. It was worth it! Drove back to Washougal to my awesome AirBNB for the night, and wow, it felt good to have a shower and bed versus the back of a van like I usually do. The next day I hit about 5 different waterfalls. I wanted to visit more obscure falls this time, and some required more bushwacking and scrambling through the woods. I always like the feeling of exploration and trying to find something new, so it was a great day! The last falls was Upper Bridal Veil, and it was stunning. When I envision a perfect waterfall, that is what I think of! 

After grabbing some dinner, I was almost too tired to shoot sunset. However, the sky was starting to lighten up after the passing storm, and sunset was looking promising. I drove up to the Portland Women’s Forum Scenic Overlook and setup. Right as I got there an awesome rainbow appeared, and then after another half hour the sky lit up with nice warm light. It was a great way to end the day! The next day I took it easy, visited the Portland Japanese Garden (beautiful!) and then headed back home on a late flight. It was a crazy few days, but so much fun. 


This entry was posted in Landscape Photography Tutorials, Trip Reports and tagged , , , .


  1. Jennifer J. Trego September 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    Hey Max,
    Awesome story dude. And pictures captured perfectly. Thanks for the sharing.

    • maxfoster September 26, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

      Hey thanks a lot Jennifer! Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. John Wills October 2, 2017 at 4:44 am #

    Great story! I really enjoyed a lot. and also stunning pictures.

    • maxfoster October 3, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

      Thanks a lot, John! I appreciate it!

  3. marco baldini October 7, 2018 at 6:52 am #

    Your photos look amazing. I would love to go here after reading your post. Thanks for some great tips on where to go

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