8/26-8/27 – Gardens of Portland, Oregon

The Gardens of Portland, Oregon
Japanese Garden & Swan Island Dahlia Farm
Aug 26-27, 2017 | $350 per person

View the types of images you can capture during this workshop.


The Gardens of Portland, Oregon locations, though drastically different, offer the best possible experience for both landscape and close-up photography. This is certainly not the Grand Canyon or Death Valley National Park, where expanse is the order of the day. Here we will learn to take our time and “work the subject” to come away with nothing less than amazing, almost surreal images.

About 40 minutes south of the airport in Portland, Oregon, in the heart of the Willamette Valley are the Swan Island Dahlias. Covering over 40 acres of more than 350 species, this is the largest Dahlia field in the United States. Every year over 30,000 seedlings are planted.

The possibilities of both landscape and close-up photography are endless. You’ll be able to meander throughout the rows looking for patterns of color and texture.

The Portland Japanese Garden is located in the west hills of Portland, Oregon, directly above the Rose Gardens in Washington Park. In a study conducted by the Journal of Japanese Gardening, it was ranked first out of 300 public Japanese gardens outside of Japan. A traditional Japanese garden normally takes hundreds of years to evolve and mature, but the Portland Japanese Garden evolved much more quickly—a fusion of hurried western style and stately eastern expression.

Three of the essential elements used to create a Japanese garden are stone, the “bones” of the landscape; water, the life-giving force; and plants, the tapestry of the four seasons. Japanese garden designers feel that good stone composition is one of the most important elements in creating a well-designed garden. Secondary elements include pagodas, stone lanterns, water basins, arbors and bridges.

Not far from the dahlia field is the Hughes Water Garden. The folks there have given us access to the water gardens featuring water lilies, water plants and more. Many of these plants are located in greenhouses, making the light really great. We will spend about two hours there exploring this diverse selection of plant life.

If you are coming with a non-photographer (no extra charge!), don’t worry, the area is still something to see. There is a wonderful market in downtown Portland on Saturday morning and overall great shopping, but the garden locations are so amazing I encourage you to bring your non-photographer with us.

Please note that although the workshop starts at sunrise on Saturday, August 26, we will meet at a location to be determined the evening of Friday, August 25 for an hour or so to go over itineraries, travel, and workshop goals. If you own a macro lens, bring it. But if not, don’t worry!  Great close-up images are possible with all lenses. I strongly suggest using a tripod, tripod head and diffusers since all of them are valuable when photographing plants!

Please contact the PACIFIC NORTHWEST ART SCHOOL for details and to register:

Website:  PacificNorthwestArtSchool.org
15 NW Birch Street
Coupeville WA 98239
Office Hours: Monday – Friday (9am-4pm)
Phone: 360-678-3396, Toll-Free: 1-866-678-3396
Email: [email protected]