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Oregon Wonders - by Greg Vaughn

NOTE: this exhibit appeared in October 1999. Click here to visit the current showcase.

All other exhibits: Click here to access

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Big Lake, Cascade Mountains

Sunrise at Big Lake, Cascade Mountains

The larger lakes in the Cascades are usually windy during the day, but small coves and inlets are often glassy at sunrise. Even when you don't get a great sky, there can be nice reflections of the trees in the water.

parks Lake and South Sister, Cascade Mountains

Sparks Lake and South Sister, Cascade Mountains

The Three Sisters are a distinctive set of volcanic peaks visible from a variety of places around the central part of the state. A memorial to the late Ray Atkeson, sometimes referred to as the photographer laureate of Oregon, has been erected at the site where this photo was taken, as it was one of his favorite views.

South Falls, Silver Falls State Park

South Falls, Silver Falls State Park

Not only are the waterfalls great in this park, it is one of the best places for Fall color in Oregon. In a good year the Big Leaf Maple turn deep yellow.

Lower Proxy Falls, Cascade Mountains

Lower Proxy Falls, Cascade Mountains

One of many spectacular waterfalls in Oregon, these are just a short hike into the Three Sisters Wilderness in the Willamette National Forest.

Wizard Island, Crater Lake National Park

Wizard Island, Crater Lake Natl' Park

Soon after I moved to Oregon, I received several requests for photos of Crater Lake. I knew that it was difficult to get a photo that showed the bowl-like appearance of the lake in its volcanic crater, so I chartered a little Cessna to try for some aerials. There had been an early-winter snowstorm at Crater Lake the day before, and with near-perfect weather I was able to frame Wizard Island - a volcanic cinder cone peak within the crater.

Crater Lake at sunrise

Crater Lake at sunrise

There are many breathtaking scenes at Crater Lake, and a variety of viewpoints for photographing Wizard Island. I scouted this one during the day on a previous trip, hoping to find a vantage point where I could capture all of Wizard Island surrounded by water, and to get the sunrise sky reflected in the lake.

Proxy Falls, Three Sisters Wilderness

Proxy Falls, Three Sisters Wilderness, Cascade Mtns

A small stream cascading over a moss-covered columnar basalt formation makes this one of Oregon's most beautiful waterfalls.

Salt Creek Falls, Willamette Natl' Forest

Salt Creek Falls, Willamette Natl' Forest

One of the tallest falls in the Oregon Cascades. Easy to photograph from the viewpoint above, but the spray is often so heavy from lower vantage points that your lens gets wet before you can get your picture.

Snow Storm, Mt. Hood Natl' Forest

Snow Storm, Mt. Hood Natl' Forest

At the higher elevations in the Cascade Mountains, snowstorms can happen most any time of year (several inches fell in the central Cascades this past August!). I managed to capture this one as blowing snow was just starting to cling to the hemlock and fir trees.

Spotted Owl

Northern Spotted Owl, Willamette Natl' Forest

This is the little critter that caused such a big stink in the northwest a few years ago. The old-growth forests that it inhabits have been so decimated that the species has become endangered. I came upon this one just by chance at the trailhead for Iron Mountain, and he was patient enough to let me make a nice portrait.

Yellow Flower Spider on Blueberries, Willamette Valley

Yellow Flower Spider on Blueberries, Willamette Valley

Summertime is berry time in the Pacific Northwest, and a favorite activity is going to a U-Pick farm and getting them right off the bushes and vines. This spider appeared as we were waiting for the bucket of berries to be weighed.

Smith Rock State Park, Central Oregon

Smith Rock State Park, Central Oregon

A mecca for rock climbers, Smith Rock also provides great opportunities for photography and wildlife viewing. This view of the main rock-climbing area, with the Crooked River running through it, was taken at sunrise after a late-spring snow storm.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, North central Oregon

In May yellow wildflowers bloom in the folds of the Painted Hills area, making the color and shape of the volcanic ash formations even more remarkable. There are three units of this national monument, each with unique and spectacular geological formations.

Harris Beach State Park

Harris Beach State Park, Southern Oregon coast

There were no clouds to make a nice sunset view this evening, but seaspray from stormy surf picked up some late color and helped to separate the rocks and headlands in this telephoto view of the coast.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse, Central Oregon Coast

One of the most photographed, and photogenic, lighthouses in the country, if not the world. This view taken in early morning, just after the sun topped the Coast Range mountains.

Garibaldi Harbor

Garibaldi Harbor, Northern Oregon Coast

There are several small harbors up and down the Oregon coast with fleets of commercial fishing boats. I think maybe the reason I like photos like this is because of all the jigsaw puzzles with similar scenes we did at family gatherings when I was a kid.

Cascade Head Natural Area

Cascade Head Natural Area, Oregon Coast

The headlands here are one of the Nature Conservancy's many preserves in Oregon, and the setting here is quite spectacular, particularly in the spring and early summer when wildflowers bloom on the rolling hills overlooking the coast.

Oregon Dunes

Pussy Willows on sand dune. Oregon Dunes NRA

Much of the dunes are overgrown with introduced beach grass, and/or are less than pristine due to ATV tracks, but the Umpqua Dunes area is off-limits to motorized travel and has some great dune formations.

Harris Beach State Park

Sunset, Harris Beach State Park

Just north of the California border, this park is a favorite for many with its combination of sandy beaches, tide-pools and rock formations. This was one of those days when the prospects for a colorful sunset didn't look very good in the late afternoon, but I stuck around and there was a break in the clouds just as the sun went down. As the saying goes, f/8 and be there!

Note: For best viewing, set your monitor to High Color or True Color. These images have been prepared with a Gamma of 2.2, which is typical of Windows monitor. If you are a Macintosh user, use the sRGB calibrated profile in the Color section of your Monitors & Sounds control panel.

Copyright Notice: All photos featured in this showcase are Copyright © 1999 Greg Vaughn, all rights reserved. These images are protected by United States and international copyright laws and may not be used or reproduced without permission in writing.

About the Exhibit:

This month's PhotoTripUSA Showcase features Guest Photographer Greg Vaughn, presenting a wonderful portfolio on OREGON.

I had long wanted to do a Showcase on Oregon and Greg's work was the perfect medium to introduce the diversity of this State. I also wanted to premiere Greg's awsome talent on the web.

Although his images and stories have graced the pages of many travel publications including the Compass Guide to OREGON, Greg had been too busy to give much thought to the web... until now.

Selecting and preparing Greg's work was not easy because Greg had so many incredible shots to choose from. I believe this final selection provides a good overview of Oregon. After seeing this Showcase, you may well be tempted to pack your camera and go.

Laurent Martres

About the Photographer:

Greg Vaughn is a freelance photographer specializing in travel and nature. His photos have earned awards from PRINT Magazine, The Guilfoyle Report, Fujifilm, and the Hawaii Visitors Bureau, and have been published in a wide variety of magazines, books and calendars as well as ads and brochures for commercial use.

He produced the photography for Compass American Guides' OREGON and PACIFIC NORTHWEST books, and has been a major contributor to several other books on the Northwest and Hawaii, his former home.

Recent assignments and personal projects have also taken him to Micronesia, Tahiti, New Zealand, Baja and a cross-country trip tracing the route of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. You can contact Greg at and visit his web page at

Find photos of the Colorado Plateau in Land of the Canyons, the Photo Trip USA landscape photography guide book.  


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