Apr 132017

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has closed the road to Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach on the northern Oregon coast due to slipping and sinking pavement. Fortunately, it looks like repairs will be made quickly and the park should re-open on April 20. Check for status updates at Ecola and other parks on the Oregon State Parks Website.

View of Crescent Beach, Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock and coast to Hug Point from Ecola State Park at sunrise; Oregon. (Greg Vaughn/© Greg Vaughn)

Crescent Beach, Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock and coast to Hug Point from Ecola State Park. © Greg Vaughn

Apr 072017
close-up of Pink Fawn Lily blossom

Pink Fawn Lily (Erythronium revolutum)

Spring has definitely (and finally!) arrived in western Oregon, with wildflowers and gardens bursting into bloom. Mount Pisgah Arboretum and surrounding Howard Buford Recreation Area is an excellent place to see and photograph a good variety of native plants.

As usual, Osoberry and Spring Beauty were among the very first to bloom, soon to be followed by the Trilliums, always a northwest favorite.

Close-up of Trillum flower.

Trillium or Giant White Wakerobin (Trillium albidum).

Two species of Trillium are found at Mt. Pisgah: Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) is common throughout the Pacific Northwest, while Trillium albidum, also known as Giant White Wakerobin, is only locally common.

The delicate white blossoms of the lovely Oregon Fawn Lily are popping up all over the forest right now, and in the Arboretum’s Patricia Baker Wildflower Garden there is a small patch of striking Pink Fawn Lily (photo at the top of this post).

Tall Camas blossom

Tall Camas, AKA Great Camas (Camassia leichtlinii).

The Oak Savanna of Mount Pisgah is prime habitat for Camas. In most areas of the Willamette Valley, the Common Camas is more prevalent and camas bulbs were a staple of the Native American diet at the time of Lewis & Clark’s expedition. Along the Arboretum’s South Boundary Trail, the many multi-flowered tall stalks of Great Camas are just beginning to open.

Young leaves of Poison Oak with reddish edges.

Spring growth leaves of Poison Oak.

Spring is also the time when Poison Oak resurges, with reddish-tinged young leaves emerging from the winter’s bare branches. So stay on trail, watch your step, and remember “Leaves of three, let them be”.

This is just the start of wildflower season in Oregon, with many more species soon to bloom throughout the state. Mount Pisgah is a fantastic place to view and photograph native wildflowers, with miles of trails, no tripod restrictions, and only a small daily parking fee. The Arboretum’s annual Wildflower & Music Festival happens this year on May 21, 1917. Click the link for more info on the Arboretum and the festival.

Photographer Gary Randall has a great post about wildflowers in the Columbia River Gorge on his blog here. Dedicated wildflower enthusiasts will want to check out Greg Lief’s Oregon Wildflowers website. For help in identifying wildflowers, go to www.pnwflowers.com (and get the book!)

For other areas in the Pacific Northwest to photograph wildflowers check my Photographing Oregon and Photographing Washington guidebooks.

Where have you been recently, and what did you find?

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 www.gregvaughn.photoshelter.com/p/workshops

UPDATE: The Redwoods workshop in May is sold out.

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 www.GregVaughn.com/books.html.

Additional information from the publishers:




I invite you to view all the NATJA Awards at http://www.natja.org/2016-natja-awards-competition-winners





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 www.phototripusa.com/updates/index.htm#link6.

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.