ARRIVAL — OCTOBER 24TH 2017
We arrived in Portland on Tuesday, the 24th of October. As soon as we left the airport we were immediately greeted by an Autumnal spectrum that we have never seen before. True Fall was alive and well in this magnificent city. In awe, we were completely silent during our Uber ride to pick-up our car rental. Like children, we gazed out the windows taking in the natural beauty that is Portland, Oregon for the very first time. After a quick lunch, and our first pit stop at the infamous Good Coffee, we made our way to our beautifully handcrafted Tiny-Home in the Alberta Arts District (NE Portland).
As we settled in, unpacked, and made ourselves at home it was time to begin our in-depth exploration of the infamous PDX. We began by leisurely driving throughout the city, trying to get a feel for the neighborhoods, and where we could potentially envision ourselves living permanently. We stumbled upon what seemed like an abandoned school straight out of an 80’s cult classic. We couldn’t help but play in the leaves and break out our newly rented gear for some shots. We were completely enamored by the colors of Portland’s Autumn.
The rest of our day was spent driving aimlessly around NE & SE Portland. Imagining ourselves as transplants, we picked houses and created storylines for our future lives. Daydreaming our day away, wandering through the streets, and eating an excessive amount of Sizzle Pie’s Vegan Buffalo 666. Which was the best pizza I have ever eaten, hands down (both as a vegan and non-vegan).
JOURNEY TO THE COAST — OCTOBER 25TH 2017
I will forever regret not taking the time to appreciate our first venture to the Oregon Coastline. As anxious and eager as I typically am on trips like this, I set a very strict schedule to follow in order to visit all of the places I want to photograph. When people often say it’s about the destination rather the journey, this was one of those instances. As I look back, the journey from Portland to the coast was one of the most spectacular drives I have witnessed. But, I wanted to get us to Cannon Beach + Cape Kiwanda as quickly as possible to view the sights and capture as much as humanly possible. What I should’ve done was pull over about 100x more than I did to truly appreciate these roads. But, per usual, I was too fixated on the destination at hand rather than the adventure of the journey…
Upon our arrival to the Oregon Coast we originally planned to start our venture at Ecola State Park, a missed exit set us back 45mins that we just couldn’t get back. With multiple stops down the coast, we weren’t able to double back for the park. So we settled for the infamous Haystack Rock. We were immediately greeted by some of the moodiest weather, with little to no other visitors in the town or even on the beach. It felt like we were finally alone. The quiet and the calm of this afternoon will stay with me for some time. It seemed as if we had entered into a new realm of existence on this ominous beach. As the mist and fog crept in, you very quickly lost all sense of direction. It was beautiful and mysterious all at once.
As we explored the beach, capturing as much as we possibly could, I decided to finish up with some short video sequences. Getting closer and closer to the encroaching tide, I just couldn’t get the correct angle. After focusing a little too hard on the shot, it happened… Soaked my boots, socks, and pants up to my shins. It’s not a true coastal adventure until you get your feet wet (see what I did there?) So we made our way back to the car, drying off my socks and boots as well as I could, we made our way south. Cape Kiwanda was the destination. Overlooking the mileage between these two beautiful spots took a toll on us. Ignoring the exhaustion, we ventured onward.
Cape Kiwanda. What a magnificent name for such an interesting place. You know when you see places so much in photograph’s, on the internet, or in videos so often you begin to create your own sense of what it looks like in your mind? This was Cape Kiwanda for me. I have been wanting to photograph here for years now. This place did not disappoint, obviously I would’ve loved for a patchy cloud golden hour. But experiencing this place on a famously gloomy day was special in its own way. Hailey and I explored the beach, hiked the dune, and ventured across the “danger” fences that seemed to be stopping no one.
Exhausted, we made our way back to the car. This is where my regret of not photographing more really sets in. Perfectly gloomy, moody, autumnal spectrums lined the windy roads through the Tillamook Forest on our way back to Portland. But, I didn’t stop. Not even once. I had this perfect shot in my mind, I figured it would just be around the next corner, and the next, so on and so forth. Eventually, we were back in Portland. Being so damn focused on getting that one “shot” resulted in me not being able to get any. What I am getting at is this, trying to search for that perfect road with just the right amount of light, fog, clouds, and autumn leaves isn’t waiting around the next corner. Perfection doesn’t exist in the real world, take it as it is and pull over whenever you get the chance. That one great and amazing photograph will never be waiting for you. I now realize that seizing the moment rather than holding out for that perfect shot is much more valuable.
CAFFEINE DAYDREAM — OCTOBER 26TH 2017
Our third day in Portland consisted of consuming copious amounts of caffeinated beverages. We started off at one of Portland’s newest shops Oracle Coffee Co, an all Vegan café. Serving up only plant-based milk options and some of the best Vegan pastries Hailey and I have come across since our transition. Upon recommendation, we decided to try the specialty coffee industry’s newest plant-based milk option, Oat Milk. Surprisingly enough, it had a very similar texture to whole milk, but with a much more pleasing taste. Overall, a wonderful experience, I would highly recommend putting this shop on your list next time you’re in the area.
After finishing up 2 delicious pour-overs, a cortado, apple cider donut, and an orange-cranberry scone, we were off to the Arboretum. What I had heard about that place was similar to what I heard about San Diego’s Balboa Park. It was near the zoo, typically overrun by tourists and field trips, but we decided to check it out otherwise. I am so glad we made that decision. This was by far top 3 destinations for our entire trip. They explain that this park is essentially a living museum of tree species that can only be found at this destination. Within a 0.5 mile walk, we saw cedar, pine, redwood, and numerous Maple’s that we have never seen living in Southern California. These extreme variations in foliage created the most beautiful backdrops for portraits. We clearly took full advantage.
After a few hours of geeking out over the gorgeous fall foliage, it was time for some grub, more coffee, and a little bit of shopping. We had received word from some locals that the best food you will find in Portland is most often times located at bars. Because in Portland, Oregon you cannot operate a bar without a full-service kitchen, so we decided to try out a well known Vegan joint called Sweet Hereafter. As a huge buffalo sauce addict and even bigger sandwich/sub guy, I had to order their buffalo sub. DAMN. They do not mess around. One of the best vegan meals I’ve had, not too mention the best buffalo dish I’ve ever eaten.
One of the last stops on our list for the day was the well-curated WM Goods, Fully stocked with the latest Kinfolk, women’s threads, and some wonderfully handmade ceramic housewares designed by the talented Mica DeMarquez. Of course, located just across the street, was the infamous and well-known Heart Roasters Westside café. Overly indulging ourselves we ordered a pour-over, shot of espresso, cortado, and a bag of their newest Guatemalan roast.
That evening was particularly special due to the fact we were seeing one of our favorite bands Slowdive at the Crystal Ballroom. It was an unbelievable set, with a ridiculous 3 song encore. Never in my life have I seen a more beautiful show, the visuals, the performance, it still leaves me speechless. I wish I could’ve captured some better video but I decided to be 100% present at this amazing show and I am very glad I only took out my phone for a couple of minutes to save some memories.
PORTLANDIA — OCTOBER 27TH 2017
We knew when we woke up on Friday morning our trip was coming to a rapid close. This day was filled with excitement as I had an engagement session scheduled for the early afternoon (check out the full set on Brea + Dexter’s post). An urgent sense came over both Hailey and I knowing we only had 1 day remaining. This city felt almost like some hip Utopia, I now fully understand the nickname. Both saddened and overjoyed that we were able to make the short trip up to the northwest, we knew we had to cut down our list of destinations to visit. So, what better way than to start at Portland’s very own Barista, better known by the locals, as “practically Starbucks” since there are so many locations throughout the city. Regardless, we wanted to stop by and create our own opinion of the PDX chain. Of course, like most rumors, that Starbucks comment was nowhere near the truth. Barista stands firmly alongside Portland’s specialty coffee elite delivering a wonderful experience, and excellent coffee craftsmanship.
Immediately following our Barista experience we had quite a few shops Downtown to cross off our list. Number 1: Hailey’s favorite, Dr. Martens. Next, was a place that I had found quite a few years back and I was so stoked to finally be able to visit their Flagship, Poler Stuff. They created an entirely new niche of “modern camp” apparel, gear, and in my opinion heightened the camping experience. As a total fanboy of the brand, I did my best to keep my camera latched onto my backpack and carefully peruse their amazing selection.
Making our way over to Sizzle Pie for another wonderful experience, we doubled back for the Hoyt Arboretum to shoot with Brea + Dexter. After an amazing engagement session, it was time to refuel our tanks with some caffeine provided by none other than Portland’s own Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Yes, we did make a stop by the Ace just to take a peek inside… The remaining hours were spent wandering through the beautiful Union Way that houses some incredible makers + doers, including the Danner Boots Flagship!
DEPARTURE — OCTOBER 28TH 2017
Our last day started off at Upper Left Roasters, one of my favorite shops in Portland. Their aesthetics, to their hospitality, vegan menu options, to their branding. They’re just doing everything right and I have nothing but good things to say about them. I ordered (can you guess it?) an almond milk cortado + their Spelt Toast (housemade macadamia nut butter, banana, and sea salt). Hailey ordered a pour-over + their Vegan open-faced sandwich. After our delicious breakfast, we met up with the amazingly friendly Dallas + Stephanie, the power couple behind @cedarandswoon. We met up to get acquainted and hopefully befriend this rad couple! They allowed Hailey and I to snap a few shots of them while we all enjoyed coffee and the falling leaves together (check out Dallas + Stephanie’s set in my previous post!)
As we finished up our coffee and said our farewells to this wonderful duo, we knew our time was running out. So we decided to make one final stop before having to return the rental and hightail it to the airport. Our last and final stop was the beautiful Coava Coffee Roasters Grand Ave. location. We set up our laptops, began our editing process, and soaked up our last remaining hours in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon.
This trip was one of the most influential yet. Not only did it spark all kinds of creativity and inspiration, but it also pushed Hailey and me into overdrive to try and make this dream of moving to the Pacific Northwest a true reality. We could most certainly see ourselves calling PDX our new home away from home. It’s going to take some serious grinding and hustling, but we hope to begin our moving process by late 2018. Only time will tell if we ever do leave Southern California for good. This won’t be the last time you see me blogging about this crazy + beautiful city. Until next time, thank you for stopping by and checking out this travel post.