Our Favorite American West Photography Locations

Posted on 29 June 2017

photography locations
Landscapes of the United States are incredibly diverse. American West Coast photography locations are busy year-round with tourists drawn to the unique ecosystems, national parks, and stunning geographic formations. Here are a few of our favorites on the West Coast:  

Oregon Coast, Oregon

A haystack adjacent to Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, OR provides a lovely reflection at sunset.

A haystack adjacent to Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, OR provides a lovely reflection at sunset.

The Oregon Coast Trail is a great way to holistically experience the Oregon coast. It stretches from northern Oregon and the mouth of the Columbia River 380 miles down to the California border. The coast boasts multiple state parks, the famous shipwreck at Fort Stevens State Park, the Devil’s Churn, incredible rock formations, expansive sand dunes and amazingly fresh seafood to please your palate and fill your stomach.  

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Late afternoon light engulfs the Columbia River Gorge and illuminates the trees and cliffs on which Vista House is situated onthe right.

Late afternoon light engulfs the Columbia River Gorge and illuminates the trees and cliffs on which Vista House is situated on the right.

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area spans nearly 3,000 acres across Washington and Oregon. It runs approximately 80 miles long carving deeply through the picturesque mountains of the Cascade Range. The Gorge runs nearly 4000 feet deep at some points, with many side canyons and numerous waterfalls crashing across the eroded basalt formations in some areas, especially closer to Portland.  The most famous of these is Multnomah Falls, the largest waterfall in Oregon at 620 feet.  

Big Sur, California

Sunset flames along the California coast north of Big Sur at the Andrew Molera State Park in Monterey County. The mixed skies include cirrostratus fibratus, stratocumulus undulatus & altocumulus duplicatus clouds.

Sunset flames along the California coast north of Big Sur at the Andrew Molera State Park in Monterey County. The mixed skies include cirrostratus fibratus, stratocumulus undulatus & altocumulus duplicatus clouds.

Big Sur is a major draw for people interested in photography locations in the American West. It is home to the southern limit of Redwood trees, and features a long rocky ridge that abruptly drops off into the Pacific. Dramatic clouds due to precipitation and picturesque sea stacks make it a must-see location. Be aware that due to heavy rains and resulting landslides this past winter that the main road, Cal Hwy 1, is still not yet open and may not be for several more months.  

Redwood National and State Parks, California

The Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail winds an easy mile and a half through upland stands of old-growth redwood, Douglas fir, and tanoak. It ends at the site where Lady Bird Johnson dedicated Redwood National Park in 1968.

The Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail winds an easy mile and a half through upland stands of
old-growth redwood, Douglas fir, and tanoak. It ends at the site where Lady Bird Johnson dedicated Redwood National Park in 1968.

The Redwood trees are surreal in their size and beauty. Redwood National and State Parks during the summertime are particularly mesmerizing as the fog builds up and billows across the terrain. The trees, fog, and streams make for magical landscape photos.  

Olympic National Park, Washington

The sun rises over Mt. Baker and the Cascade Mountains with Puget Sound under a layer of marine fog. From Hurricane Ridge Road, Olympic National Park, Washington.

The sun rises over Mt. Baker and the Cascade Mountains with Puget Sound under a layer of marine fog. From Hurricane Ridge Road, Olympic National Park, Washington.

The famous Olympic National Park is an ideal shooting location for landscape photographers as it encompasses some of the most diverse terrain in the National Park system. The park includes beaches, meadows, mountains, and part of the Pacific coastline.  It also includes the only temperate rain forests in the United States. A visit here from May-September will reward the photographer with unlimited opportunities.  

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Climbers relax on a slack line over the Paradise River after a day of mountaineering on Mount Rainier and enjoy the beauty and cooling mist of a waterfall in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

Climbers relax on a slack line over the Paradise River after a day of mountaineering on Mount Rainier and enjoy the beauty and cooling mist of a waterfall in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

Located only 65 miles southeast of Seattle, the 236,381 acres of Mt. Rainier National Park offer a dazzling array of opportunities for the photographer.  With its vast sub-alpine meadows, old growth forests, more than 25 glaciers and extensive network of hiking trails it is impossible not to create wonderful images, unless of course, everything is shrouded in the famous Rainier fog (sometimes, rain, sleet, snow, etc.)  

Take Your Landscape Photography to the Next Level

  Interested in visiting any of these amazing photography locations? Steinberg Photography offers workshops and tours to help photographers improve their skills. These sessions are suitable for everyone from beginners to professionals. Visit our website to learn more!
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