Pacific Northwest Escape Mission 3: Natural Bridges in Oregon

The pandemic has forced many of us to stay home. But that doesn’t mean we can’t experience the wonder of our own backyard. And in the Pacific Northwest, there’s so much to explore. The last year or so has provided us with an opportunity to be inspired by Mother Nature and inspire other budding photographers by showing them the magic of America through our lens.

That’s what prompted us to plan the Pacific Northwest Escape, a journey across America’s west coast with a focus on discovering new spots that evoke a sense of adventure and wonder.

We’re Michelle Moree and Hollis Porter, a pair of photographers from Seattle, Washington, and the couple behind The Remote Unknown. And we’re continuing our Pacific Northwest Escape to bring you even more inspiring locations that’ll keep you in awe.

Last time we spoke, we had journeyed from Washington to Oregon, capturing the beauty of the coastline. And because there’s so much to be inspired by, we’re sticking around and focusing on the Natural Bridges located between Brookings and Gold Beach, Oregon. The Natural Bridges can best be described as one of Mother Nature’s crowning achievements. Formed over thousands of years as sea and stone shifted, these natural arches finally settled into a cove that’s secluded and sheltered from the wild ocean just beyond. You’ll find a wooden platform for viewing, but the truly magical pictures await you when you do a little more exploring. There are a number of steep routes that take you from the Oregon Coast Trail to the cliffs and across the bridges. Always exercise caution due to the very steep nature of the surroundings!

How to Get There

Driving along the 101 in Oregon between Brookings and Gold Beach, you can’t miss the Natural Bridges. They’re just 200 feet from the road and easy to spot.

When to Shoot

You’ll want to head to the Natural Bridges before sunrise because there’s nothing quite like the sunrays beaming through the arches. When we arrived at sunrise, it was overcast. But don’t be deterred. The weather can change on a dime, just as it did when we were there. The sun quickly broke through the fog and the scene completely changed. And hey, if Mother Nature isn’t cooperating, that’s what Luminar AI is for.

Shooting Tips

We were armed with a Canon R5 and a 24mm f/1.4 lens along with a Sony a7R IV and a Sigma 24-70mm. We also recommend bringing a drone for some spectacular aerial shots. You’ll gain a unique perspective of this natural phenomenon.

Luminar AI Editing Tips

We loved the hint of fog hovering above the sea arches in our morning shots, but we were craving even more. So, we used Luminar AI to naturally enhance the fog, then used Atmosphere AI to create an even more dramatic scene. 

We’ve gathered all skies from the trip locations and have made them available for download from the Pacific Northwest Escape project page. They’re free to use and compatible with Luminar AI as well as other photo-editing software.

Check out the first and second episodes of our trip from the North Cascades and Oregon coastline, and stay tuned for the next stunning locations!

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