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Western Railroad Discussion > Columbia River photography advice sought


Date: 08/12/19 18:15
Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: Trolleysteve

Soon I will be traveling out west and have scheduled 1 day to railfan the Columbia River area. I will be starting out from Portland, Oregon. What I am seeking is any advice on favorite photo locations, traveling in this area, etc. I am not familiar with the area and have never been here before. My goal is to get some great images that have trains in them that showcase the grandeur of this river basin. I can get all the roster shots and 3/4 wedge pictures of BNSF and UP power in Ohio! Any advice one can offer would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Steve



Date: 08/12/19 18:40
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: funnelfan

It's pretty easy, Drive Hwy 14 on the Washington Side from the Bridge of the Gods east to the Stonehenge replica at Maryhill for some best railfanning spots you've ever seen. In particular pace a train through the tunnel district between Cooks and Hood for a thrilling railfan experiance. In the afternoon you can chase westbound UP trains on I-84. There are just so many good spots, it's hard to just pick a few.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA








Date: 08/12/19 18:46
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: funnelfan

I've always had good luck chasing westbound UP trains in the afternoon using I-84 to jump ahead and using various exits for images.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA








Date: 08/12/19 19:45
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: SD45X

Rest area on BN side overlooks three tunnels in that area Ted speaks of. 
SP&S(painted) F unit on display at Stevenson?
Steam engine in a coffin at Wishram.
You will be like a kid in a candy store picking spots.



Date: 08/12/19 20:18
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: TCnR

Two suggestions:

Be mindful of the Portland Commute, suggest staying at the edge of town or out at 'The Dalles'. There's also bridges to deal with getting from one side to the other, the two lane road on west end of the Washington side is time consuming. Maybe find a way to limit driving back and forth looking for photo spots or chasing, maybe a big mark on the map so that you know when to turn around.

Take a little extra time to understand where the light will be during your trip, some of the photos are best near summer solstice, some photos can be had early in the day or late in the day. Maybe have a list of morning spots and a list of afternoon spots. Then try to avoid driving all over the Gorge burning up daylight. It also gets very windy so the reflections might work in the morning but not so much in the afternoon.

Let us know how it works out.



Date: 08/12/19 21:10
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: Jeff

One additional point.  Have a couple of dollar bills handy.  Many of the bridges charge a toll.  Not much but it keeps them painted.  Jeff



Date: 08/12/19 21:57
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: zfan

Without a doubt, check out Multnomah Falls on UP side.  I absolutely guarantee you will not be disappointed



Date: 08/12/19 23:48
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: mapboy

In photo #3, that's "Stonehenge" at the top of the hill.  You can get great photos of the river and trains when the lighting is right, and save airfare to England!  Across the river at Biggs Jct., Dinty's Motor Inn has reasonable rates for a clean room overlooking the river and both railroads, but also I-84 freeway noise.

mapboy



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/19 08:42 by mapboy.



Date: 08/13/19 07:45
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: grahamline

There are a couple of hotels in Cascade Locks that might make a good base. Ted didn't mention that no matter where you are, the traffic will be on the other side of the river.  A scanner tuned to BN and UP road channels will pick up detectors. There is not much talk otherwise.  He must have been standing 10 feet to my right at Multnomah Falls in 2012.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/19 15:15 by grahamline.



Date: 08/13/19 08:37
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: mopac1978

One other thought regarding the UP side of the river - it's a little easier to get shots while travelling westbound on I-84, as some good locations are available only as roadside shoulder stops.



Date: 08/13/19 11:28
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: SD45X

Shortline at Hood River. Can’t remember 0700-0800 on duty. You can get them over the bridge leaving up the canyon and then chase the river stuff:)



Date: 08/13/19 14:55
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: asheldrake

what a wealth of good advice you just received!!!!!   also, stop in Cascade Locks for a brew/lunch at Thunder Island Brewery and watch a train or two.   Multnomah Falls parking lot fills quickly on summer mornings.    thursday thru sunday afternoons visit the 4449/700/197 at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center in Portland.    when is your trip?    Arlen



Date: 08/13/19 21:17
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: OregonOldGuy

A thought or two.

Bridges at Hood River and Cascade Locks are now $2 to cross, either direction.  The other two are free.

Signals on the BNSF do give some advance warning.  Not always a lot, but some warning.  Check exit signals at sidings.  A green is a sure sign a train is approaching.  Double reds may mean a train coming off the single track.  Traffic is largely westbound on the BNSF.  Traffic may get sidetracked close to Amtrak time.  Check with Amtrak to confirm where 27 and 28 are located.   New bridge at Wind River at Home Valley.  May still have slow orders??  Best stretch is from Home Valley to Bingen.  There get to be fewer trees as one goes east, especially after The Dalles are.

As for Portland Traffic.  I84 and I-5 will largely be headed into town in the morning and out in the afternoon.  I 205 seems to be congested all the time.  There are pinch points where all traffioc jams up.  I5 at either I405 interchange gets somewhat jammed up.  Just keep these points in mind.  Strange thing is weekends. thorw out all the above as it can be busy anywhere!

Rob



Date: 08/14/19 09:44
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: nickatnight

I would recommend Avery siding, on the BNSF side east of Lyle. (Can also look for the sign to Jacob Williams Winery). 

And from there it is only a short jaunt to Wishram and the Celilo Drawbridge. 


Nickatnight



Date: 08/18/19 19:08
Re: Columbia River photography advice sought
Author: Trolleysteve

Thank you everyone for the information. This has been most valuable in my planning. I can see that one day isn't going to be enough, but it is what it is.

Steve



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