Now's the Time to go Camping in the Pacific Northwest

by Wendy Cluse

We are dusting off our camping gear and strategically planning out every trip we hope to squeeze in this year. Now, the nice thing about the Pacific Northwest is that it’s mild enough somewhere nearby to camp year round. But we’re not really those kind of campers. We don’t mind the cold but don’t want to freeze, we are avid tent-only campers so staying relatively dry is important, and we love the long days of summer. Which means now is a great time to pitch our tent and commune with nature.

We both grew up east of the Mississippi and camping was never a big thing for either of us as kids. Sleeping in a tent in the backyard was what was considered camping to us. We didn’t really have an interest in camping until we moved West. I 100% credit that to one thing: bugs. Or, lack thereof. If you’ve ever spent much time anywhere on the East Coast at dusk or later in the summertime, you know what I mean. Yes, the West has bugs. But not in the menacing, fly-up-your-nose kind of way (we lived on a marsh in North Carolina where the mosquitos were as big as hummingbirds. No joke). Sitting around a campfire in the Pacific Northwest after dark is blissful. Just like Sunset magazine.

Besides going DEET-less, we’ve grown to really appreciate what West Coast camping has to offer. Minimal distractions, fresh air, forest smells, and peaceful quiet. We love that we naturally wake up early with the sun and get to see some fantastic scenery during the golden hours of just after sunrise and just before sunset. Some of Lisa’s best nature photography has been taken on camping trips. We can experience the parks, mountains, and beaches we’re visiting at times other than high noon when trails are crowded and parking lots are full. We can go on much longer hikes and take our time, knowing we don’t have to squeeze it in between a 3-hour car trip there and back.

This early morning light at  Timothy Lake  was pure magic.

This early morning light at Timothy Lake was pure magic.

Sunset at  Cascadia State Park , OR

Sunset at Cascadia State Park, OR

Why is now a good time to go camping in the PNW?

So we are officially in the camping calendar sweet spot. It’s warming up nicely but is still cool and crisp in the mornings. We won’t have to worry about the heat just yet — no one wants to be a sweaty mess if showers are not an option. The kids aren’t quite out of school yet, which means our chance of grabbing a camping spot is far greater than in June when everyone is in serious summer vacation mode and campgrounds get booked up months in advance. Plus, it is early enough in the season that wildfires are less likely to ruin your experience by either a) lowering the air quality to that of a smoker’s lounge, b) closing your campground completely, or c) forcing a ban on all campfires. If you can’t have a campfire, there’s no point in camping. QUICK PSA: always follow the rules regarding fire restrictions and precautions. Don’t be the jerk that starts the next Hell Fire.

Our favorite places to camp

There really are so many amazing places to camp, but here’s a short list of places we would go back to (or already have):

  1. Cape Perpetua, OR (Rock Creek Campground)

    This area of the Oregon Coast is stunning. And this little gem of a campground was a great find. It’s small, the campsites sit along a tiny stream, and the pit toilets were the cleanest I’d seen anywhere. Seriously.

  2. Timothy Lake, OR

    There are many amazing campgrounds surrounding this lake, but if you get lucky and snag a late cancellation of one of the few lakeside sites in the Gone Creek loop, you won’t be disappointed.

  3. Mt. Rainier, WA (White River Campground)

    The best jumping-off spot to hike Burroughs Mountain, the most amazing hike we’ve done yet. Plus Mt. Rainier is just incredible the whole way around, so camping or not, get there if you can.

  4. Cascadia State Park, OR

    This is a tiny gem of a park on the South Santiam River. The campground is adequate, but seeing the river at sunrise and sunset made us want to go back.

  5. Lake Quinault, WA (Willaby Campground)

    Right outside of Olympic National Park, this campground does not have one bad site. Some are along the lake, and others are tucked up in the trees. And we’ve yet to see it busy.

This campsite was so huge, we could have had a party.

This campsite was so huge, we could have had a party.

What makes for a good camping experience?

Everyone has their essentials that make their camping trip that much more comfortable and enjoyable. For us, we’re pretty simple and don’t like (read: don’t have) a lot of gear. As long as we bring an extra tarp for when it rains, our camping mats, and a deck of cards, we’re pretty much good. But adding a hammock to the pile has been the cherry on top. We now scour campsites solely on the presence of good hammock hanging trees. A great campfire is of course essential, not just for ambiance but because we don’t have a camp stove. Which leads us to another essential: campfire burritos. Make them ahead of time, wrap them in foil, and freeze them. They’ll keep your cooler cold all day and come dinnertime we just set them on the fire. Easy clean up, too. Of course, we would never forget the beer (or cider). And Lisa will always bring her camera.

We can’t wait to get out and sleep with the stars, wake with the piney morning air, and explore all the beauty that surrounds us here in the Pacific Northwest. We’ll be slightly dirty for a day or two, but it’s worth it.

Don’t forget the homemade scones!

Don’t forget the homemade scones!

All content copyright Lisa Goshe Photography, 2019

7 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Pro Photography

by Wendy Cluse

We’ve worked with a lot of businesses. Many are small family-run operations, and some are just starting out. It can be a tough sell to convince them to invest in professional photography. We totally get it. Money is tight. Things seem uncertain and unpredictable. So many other things are on your to-do list, but getting pro photos of your business is not one of them. We’ve compiled 7 reasons why we believe having pro photos for your business is an investment you really need to make.

Your first impression to your customers often happens online.

Regardless of the type of business, many of your potential customers are checking you out before they even walk through your doors. They may be right outside your door, but they still seek the internet to see what you’re all about. And although a website is great for posting your location and hours of operation, it’s a missed opportunity if you’re not showing them why they should look no further and walk through your door. Having an excellent visual presence online shows off your professionalism, makes your products look inviting, and gives a sense of the atmosphere of your shop. If you’re in the service industry, modern headshots can offer a sense of trust. Customers often want to know who you are and what your business is all about. Photographs can portray that much quicker than words alone.

Take control of how your customers see you online.

Take control of how your customers see you online.

Good photography sells.

There’s a reason advertising uses compelling images to sell stuff. Because it works. Showing off what you have to offer in a creative, flattering way grabs the attention of customers. And these days having a cache of your own pro photos is an incredible tool that can be used in all of your marketing strategies. Social media, website, flyers, menus, pamphlets, email campaigns, you name it. One photo shoot could give you enough content to target all of these areas and really connect with your audience.

You totally want a fancy hot chocolate now, don’t you?

You totally want a fancy hot chocolate now, don’t you?

Your time is valuable.

Running a business takes a lot of work. You wear so many hats already, do you really have time to be your own photographer as well? We live in a DIY society that gets a lot of accomplishment out of figuring things out and going it alone. Believe me, we know (we’ve fixed our dryer, replaced random car parts, and even put on our own roof without the assistance of a professional. Luckily, all turned out great. But I will never put my own roof on again). My point is, doing it yourself can be gratifying, but it is extremely time consuming (and back breaking). Researching how you want your shots to look, what lighting you need, what all the settings are on your camera and how you use them, what size do the files need to be for what they are being used for — not to mention all the details that go into the actual photo shoot. There’s a point where you have to ask yourself if your time is too valuable to be spent this way and it may be more efficient to seek out someone who already knows how to do it.

It takes more than a good camera.

We occasionally hear business owners say that they have a friend that has a good camera and will take pictures for them. I don’t want to discredit that friend and their abilities with a camera, but this scenario can turn out less than desirable results if everyone is relying too heavily on the camera. Having a great camera is a good start, but it is actually a small part of what makes a great photo. Professional photographers are experts at working with light. They know its color, its intensity, and its angle for creating just the right effect. All those camera settings you were thinking of researching (see above)? The pros know what they all mean and what they do. They know just how to adjust them to get the right look. They know about composition and setting up a great shot. They know a thing or two about styling the objects being photographed. And when the shoot is over, they take the time to edit each photo to perfection. Lifting the shadows, enhancing the color, even removing that distracting stray hair on your shirt. You get your money’s worth and then some when you hire a pro.

SIDE NOTE: We had a client who had a friend take the photos for her menu board. Not only was she underwhelmed by the photos, but she felt she had to wait to get the pro photos she wanted for fear of hurting her friend’s feelings. Awkward.

A good pro will help you convey your message.

Make sure any photographer you go with takes the time to listen to you. Who are your customers? What are you trying to tell them? What kind of image or brand does your business have? These types of questions will help a pro photographer know what direction to take in your photo shoot. The images should tell the story that you and your business are telling. You won’t get that from stock photos.

Don’t just tell your customers that your shop is bright and inviting. Show them.

Don’t just tell your customers that your shop is bright and inviting. Show them.

It’s a win-win for small business.

This one is my personal favorite. When we support each other, we create a community and a respect for each other’s stories. We love hearing how our client’s businesses started, and feeling the passion for what they do. We love supporting them and love that they support us. Small businesses are the unique fabric of any community and can make even the largest of urban centers feel like a neighborhood. When you start a relationship with a photographer who gets you and what you are all about, you gain an amazing ally for your business. We love to see our client’s businesses flourish, and when you do well, we do well.

You worked hard for this.

You’ve put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into your business. You’ve perfected your product or skill, spent hours designing your space, were meticulous with the details, hired all the right employees, got your branding and packaging just right. You deserve to show this off in the best possible light. Tell your story to the world through images that are as beautiful and professional as you are. Be proud of what you have achieved. You can do this.

All content copyright Lisa Goshe Photography 2019

A Guide to Pizza in Portland, Oregon

by Wendy Cluse

We love pizza. Lisa especially loves pizza. Luckily in Portland Oregon, pizza comes in all shapes and sizes, with seemingly infinite topping combinations. Wood-fired, deep dish, gluten-free. We have it all and it is impossible to have a favorite. There is a pizza to match your every mood and the moody weather. Not to mention the myriad of beer pairings. It’s good to be alive and hungry in Portland.

48 North Pizzeria, St. John’s

Last week was Pizza Week, where a selection of local pizza shops offer special $2 slices. It’s a great way to try out new places, and just may be Lisa’s favorite week of the year.  If you missed it, don’t fret. Set a reminder to keep a look out for it next spring. And then get ready to eat all of the pizza.

Pizza can also be deceptively hard to photograph.  It’s just a circle, so how do you make it look exciting? How do you get the depth of the crust and the detail of the toppings? How do you not make it look like a shiny orange-red blob?  Lisa’s tips: good natural lighting and proper white balancing will help bring out a pizza’s true to life colors. And don’t worry about getting the whole pizza in frame.

Your homework is to try a new pizza place, maybe one down the road you’ve never tried, or one you’ve heard about across town but crossing the river is just. so. hard. (Really??!!!)

Share a pie with your friends (or not), grab a beer, and enjoy the pizza in Portland. The weather is finally turning around and you may just get to eat outside. Bonus.

Atlas Pizza, Killingsworth and Division

A few more of our favorites:

Tastebud

Apizza Scholls

HOTLIPS Pizza

Check out more food photos here.

All photos copyright Lisa Goshe Photography