Portland Oregon | Mystic Photography Seminars 2016
A few months ago I was perusing through all the beautiful photos on Instagram and came across one just like the first one in this post from the Oneonta Gorge in Portland, Oregon. I live in Hawaii, one of the most beautiful places in the world, so one might wonder why I still find myself drawn to other locations. But that’s just how I was made I guess. My heart wanders. I want to see everything of beauty before my time here is over, and I guess I will always be that way. I took one look at that picture and promised myself that I would see it one day soon. It was exactly the same kind of spirit that took me to Thailand after watching The Beach with Leonardo Dicaprio.
I started doing my normal “talk” on Facebook with my friends. “Who wants to go to Portland?” Nobody ever thinks I’m serious, but I usually am, and I usually always make my dreams happen. Through my discussions I found out about Mystic Seminars. Mystic Seminars is a photography conference that happens annually in Portland. The photographers who were going to be speaking just happened to be all of my favorite photographers with the style that I aspire to. So of course I had to make that happen as well! Kill two birds with one stone as they say.
I booked my flight and made my accommodations almost immediately. It felt good to have such charge over my future adventures. I decided to forego staying in the hotel where the conference would be taking place in exchange for the adventure of a small cabin airbnb located behind a wonderful couples home. Yes it was a pain having to drive back and forth, but I loved the cozy warmth of the place and the connection I made with the couple. I was able to hang out with them some in the evening and have great conversations, which is part of the whole airbnb experience sometimes.
So, without further ado, here is my adventure!
Above is the water I had to walk through. It’s deeper in parts than it looks, and I only had tennis shoes on. I wasn’t aware that I would need water boots, and I wasn’t anywhere near a store to purchase them. I also knew I only had one day for this and because it was the reason I came, I wasn’t going to miss it. At this point though I was starting to loose the feeling in my feet, and despite 3 layers of jackets I was freezing. Below is the massive pile of logs that I saw in the distance and knew I had to get to. They are much larger in person than it appears in this picture, and they have to be crossed to get to the gorge.
This is a cell phone picture of the location I thought I would die in. The logs were wet, slippery, and icy, and the frigid water below it is several feet down. If I fell I would surely not be coming out. It took a great deal of strength (I had to pull up and jump on several of them) and courage. I wanted to turn back but didn’t.
When I made it to the other side I felt relief and fear. Relief because I had done it and fear because I literally couldn’t feel my feet, and I wasn’t sure how I would get back over the logs again without help. Thankfully two young men showed up and helped me when I needed it.
I have to stop for a second and show you what the face of someone coming to Portland from Hawaii in January looks like. COLD and shivering! That’s fear in my eyes guys. I was wondering what I had gotten myself into at this point.
This next part of my journey is another one that has a long story attached to it. I saw this beautiful mountain with gorgeous peaks from several miles away, and I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like up close. So I drove several miles to reach it. Once I got there I realized there was a hiking trail to the top. At first the trail seemed easy, but as I started climbing in elevation the thicker the snow got and the more I felt disoriented. When I reached the top I thought I was going to pass out, and I suddenly realized that being alone, up on a mountain in snow probably wasn’t a great idea. I got even more disoriented trying to come down and almost went off on the wrong trail, leading to who knows where. Thankfully, I lived to tell this tale.
This was a beautiful spot I found just by random exploring. It is actually a little island out in the middle of a large lake. I caught it just in time for sunset which gave me the very pretty natural purple colors in the sky.
Day 2: My hosts talked a lot about Mississipi Avenue being one of their favorite locations in Downtown Portland and it was definitely mine as well. It reminds me a lot of Austin in the look, feel, and style. Everybody was very friendly as well and this is where I was stopped several times and asked about my tan, literally. I was asked where I was from, why was I so tan, and what ethnicity am I that I have a tan and red hair? LOL, people were completely puzzled by me.
I love that bookstores are alive and thriving here. This little bookstore was a gem. Yes, I went to Powell’s and browed extensively, but this bookstore was special to me because the lady who runs it took quite a while to talk with me, get to know me, and then choose a book for me that she thought I’d like. I told her I wanted love, and wonder and pain all in one but without the cheeziness. It’s hard to describe what kind of book you want but that’s what came out. I was really in love with the quotes on the stairwell. I love books, and I sincerely hate reading on my kindle!! The bridge Cathedral in Downtown portland and a picture of me by a passerby.
This is just a cell phone photo, but the first day of Mystic for me comprised of a Callaway Gable workshop. If you don’t know who they are check them out. Their work is phenomenal, and the way they shoot and connect with their clients is inspiring. It was such an honor to get to learn from such talent, and I’m so glad that I added this portion to the trip. I did not take many photos at the workshop because I find that I soak in more knowledge when my full attention is on them and not my camera. I wanted to be able to watch them in action and focus on what they were doing. It was a phenomenal workshop.
On my last night in Portland everybody said I needed to take a trip to Voodoo Donuts, but this is how it looked and I was just not into that. I stopped and asked a local who told me not to waste my time, and so I didn’t. I get very fidgity and frustrated in long lines anyways. Maybe it’s from growing up right next to Disney and being forced to wait in 90 minute lines!
I don’t have many photos from the Mystic Seminar because I wanted to soak up the experience without it. I have a few selfies to prove I was there, but not much else. But it was just such an amazing time with these guys in the second photo. Erika and Lanny Mann of Two Mann Studios are just wonderful people. I enjoyed getting to know them, going bowling with them, and hearing them give an inspiring and awesome presentation. Matt and Grace on the end were my Mystic buddies for the entire week. I truly believe I have made life long friends here. My time at Mystic was just as great as I hoped it would be, and I can’t wait for next year.