Mar 012017
Bandon Beach Oregon sea stacks

Sea stacks at dawn from Face Rock State Wayside, Bandon, southern Oregon Coast.

Looking for some inspiration and education this year?  Striving to visit very special locations with someone who can show you both the iconic views and little-known lookouts?  Want to take your photographic skills to a new level? I’m very pleased to offer several photography workshops to fantastic locales in 2017.

Already on tap are the Redwoods in California, the fantastic southern Oregon coast, Red Rock country in southern Utah (Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Escalante National Monument), and a repeat of previously sold-out workshops in Yellowstone National Park.

Check out the details and registration information at

Feb 282017

cover of book "Oregon, A Photographic Journey"

NATJA, the North American Travel Journalists Association, just announced the results of their 2016 travel media awards competition. I’m very happy to share that my newest book, Oregon, A Photographic Journey, won Gold in the Travel Book/Guide category.

In addition to the Gold award, I earned a Silver in the Landscape Photography category for a photo of Smith Rock State Park in Oregon that was published in VIA Magazine, and was cited as a Finalist in the Travel Guide category for my Oregon Coast Photo Guide app for smartphone users.

I’m especially happy with these awards because this means that each of the books and photo guides that I have authored, photographed for, and helped in the design & layout has won an award from a major trade group.

More info and details on purchasing my books and photo guides can be found on my website at

Additional information from the publishers:

I invite you to view all the NATJA Awards at





Jan 102017

cover photo of ONDA 2017 calendar

I am pleased and honored that one of my photos was chosen as the cover image for the 2017 Wild Desert Calendar. This calendar is produced each year by the Oregon Natural Desert Association, and always features outstanding photography of the deserts and wildlands of eastern Oregon.

The photo above was taken from the summit of Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon. Wildhorse Lake is at the bottom right of the photo, and the view extends along the ridge of the Steens to Borax Lake in the Alvord Desert, with the Pueblo Mountains on the Oregon-Nevada border in the distance.

If you’re a desert fan, or if you just want to support the conservation efforts of ONDA, click this link to order a copy of the Wild Desert Calendar.

Jan 052017
Metlako Falls, Eagle Creek Trail, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon.

Metlako Falls, Eagle Creek Trail, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon.

An update to Photographing Oregon, pages 153-155:

In December 2016, a series of slides along the Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge have caused major changes on this popular hike. A bridge washout has closed the trail above Punchbowl Falls, meaning Tunnel Falls is currently inaccessible. It will likely be late summer 2017 at the earliest before repairs are made. More significantly to most photographers, the entire viewpoint for Metlako Falls now rests at the bottom of the canyon, and there is now no place to get a decent photo of this iconic waterfall. Let’s hope that Mount Hood National Forest prioritizes repairs for this location. 

Have you hiked Eagle Creek Trail recently?  Let us know what you find in a Comment below.

Jan 032017
Big Island; Hawaii; National Parks

Lava from Pu’u O’o eruption flowing into ocean, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

2016’s run around the sun turned out to be pretty darn nice for this traveler. Many thanks to all the friends, family, clients, newly met folks, and complete strangers who made it so. I’ve got a huge backlog of images to process from this year’s travels in Oregon, California, Montana, Wyoming, Trinidad & Tobago, and Hawaii. A long overdue return visit to the Big Island and the opportunity to once again witness a live lava flow was a fantastic way to wrap up the year.

2017 looks like it could be even better. Roadtrip in the Westy from Oregon to the tip of Baja Mexico is in the works (something of a repeat of a great journey twenty years ago). I’m thrilled and proud to be a new Muench Workshops Pro, with three Muench Workshops on tap in 2017, plus two photo workshops on the schedule for Yellowstone Forever. A trip to Spain is happening in October (my first visit to Europe), and there will be plenty of Pacific Northwest travel and photography throughout the year.

How was your 2016?  Big hopes and plans for 2017?  Leave a Comment and make me envious.

Jun 092016
Palouse wheat fields from Steptoe Butte, Washington. (Greg Vaughn/© Greg Vaughn)

Palouse wheat fields from Steptoe Butte, Washington.

My photographer friends are reporting that the conditions in the Palouse area of southeast Washington are fantastic right now for photographing the rolling hills of wheat and pea fields.

If you’re up there now or planning to go and are using my book Photographing Washington as a guide, there is an update posted on the publisher’s website at

As noted in that update, a classic old barn on Glendale Road that had been the subject of many photographs collapsed a few years ago.

The update also includes the locations of two more very photogenic barns that are not mentioned in the book: one two miles east of the town of Colfax on Highway 272 (morning light is best) and one on Shawnee Road at Highway 195 south of Colfax (afternoon light).

Photography workshop participants on Steptoe Butte at sunrise, Palouse wheat country, Washington. (Greg Vaughn/© Greg Vaughn)

Dawn patrol on Steptoe Butte. Don’t worry, there is plenty of room for your tripod, too.

Washington photographer Don Geyer of Mountain Scenes Photography just returned from the Palouse and chides me for not singing the praises of Kamiak Butte sufficiently. While it doesn’t offer the expansive views of wheat fields that Steptoe Butte does, the summit of Kamiak Butte is a fantastic location for wildflower photography. In Don’s words, “Kamiak might be one of THE finest flower hikes in all of Eastern Washington!” 

Be sure to also check these previous posts about photographing the Palouse:

Are you there?  Are you going? Let me know what you find and feel free to leave links to your photos in the Comments below.


May 232016

Slideshow Title Slide

Thanks to the King City Camera Club for inviting me to give a presentation on the best locations for nature photography in the Pacific Northwest. Great group and a good Q&A session after the slideshow.

I’m always happy to share my photos and knowledge of the many great photo locations in Oregon and Washington with camera clubs and outdoors organizations. If your group would like to book a presentation, just shoot me an email.

May 202016

Sea stacks at sunset, Bandon Beach, Oregon coast. (Greg Vaughn/© Greg Vaughn)

I super excited to announce that I’ve been invited to join the pros at Muench Workshops and will be co-leading a photo workshop on the Oregon Coast with Marc Muench.

The dates for this workshop are November 9-12, 2016. We’ll base in Brookings, Oregon, with daily photo excursions on the dramatic southern Oregon coast and into the California Redwoods.

Itinerary and details for this all-inclusive photography workshop are available at

Please join us!  Muench Workshops tend to fill up quickly, so don’t delay in registering.

Mar 212016
Waves crashing on cliffs at sunset, Cape Kiwanda, central Oregon Coast. (Greg Vaughn/© Greg Vaughn)

Waves crashing on cliffs at sunset, Cape Kiwanda, central Oregon Coast.

Cape Kiwanda and the beach at Pacific City are unique among locations on the Oregon coast for several reasons. And each of those unique attributes makes an excellent subject for photography.

First, unlike the volcanic rock that forms most headlands on the coast, Cape Kiwanda is largely sandstone. As typical of that soft rock, it gets eroded by water and wind into pleasing formations.

Second, Haystack Rock, a volcanic remnant, is the sole sea stack jutting out of the ocean in this stretch of the coast. The similarly named Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is more well known, but this one is bigger and is one of the largest monoliths in the world.

Third, there is an active fishing fleet based in Pacific City but because there is no safe harbor the fishermen use small, flat-bottomed dories and launch them right from the sandy beach.

Surf crashing on the sandstone bluffs makes for dramatic landscape photography. Try to time your visit for an incoming tide with a good swell to get the best wave action. To get these photos requires climbing up the tall sand dune on the north end of the beach. It’s a steep climb in loose sand, so a bit strenuous when carrying photo gear. Please do not be tempted to get right to the edge of the bluffs for a better photo angle or a daring selfie. The cliffs are fragile, crumbling and slippery, and can be very dangerous. Six people have died here in the past couple of years when they fell into the turbulent waters below. Be smart, stay safe and enjoy the fantastic view.

Haystack Rock and Cape Kiwanda at sunset; Pacific City, Oregon Coast. (Greg Vaughn/© Greg Vaughn)

Haystack Rock and Cape Kiwanda at sunset; Pacific City, Oregon Coast.

Haystack Rock is best photographed with a receding low tide so that the rock is reflected in the shallow water over hard-packed sand. Sunsets will silhouette the big rock; dawn light and sunrise can also work quite nicely here. You may want to walk south on the beach a ways so you can compose a photo that includes both Haystack Rock and Cape Kiwanda.

The fishermen launch their dories early in the morning on the north end of the beach, towards the sand dune. In the afternoon they come roaring in, timing their approach with the waves and gunning the engines in order to run the boats as far up on the beach as possible.

It’s legal to drive on the beach at Pacific City, but if you want to give it a try make sure you know how to drive on sand and don’t get caught by a rising tide! The local towing company does quite a business here.

Cape Kiwanda is at the south end of the Three Capes Scenic Route, which makes a great day trip or even a week-long explore between Lincoln City and Tillamook. Campers will enjoy Cape Lookout State Park a few miles north of Pacific City. The campground has sites for both basic tent camping and full hook-ups for RVers, and there are yurts for rent. Lodging is available in Pacific City, right across the street from the beach, at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda. Pelican Pub offers an oceanfront view and fresh-caught seafood paired with one of their award-winning ales.

If you have any tips to share about visiting and photographing this part of the Oregon Coast, please include them in a Comment below.