View Full Version : Photo Ops near Bellingham WA and Ashland OR

Kari Post
11-01-2009, 11:44 AM
I'm once again looking into grad schools and found some interested Environmental Education Master's programs at Southern Oregon University in Ashland and Western Washington University in Bellingham. Can anyone tell me about these areas and what type of opportunities exist nearby for nature and wildlife photography and outdoor recreation? I'm interested in all types of nature photography including landscapes, birds, wildlife, macro, marine, and adventure recreation. Any insider info on the quality and cost of living in those towns, typical weather, etc. would also be appreciated. Thanks!

Bonnie Block
11-01-2009, 09:46 PM
Hi Kari,
Both of these places will offer a multitude of photography opportunities in all your categories.
The Pacific Northwest has incredible scenery for one--
Bellingham is very close to the Skagit River Delta and the San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound--lots of birds!! Snow Geese in the winter, short eared owls, harriers, swans--among some of the larger birds around the delta. The Bald Eagles are famous in the late winter on the Skagit River--thousands are there to catch salmon.
Sea birds abound in the area. It is not the easiest of shooting--and can be a challenge as the birds in these areas are not very habituated to humans. It takes a bit of skill to get close--but is worth the hunt!
Winter is the best time imho in these areas. The ducks--most all varieties including sea ducks--are here in the winter.
I am not as familiar with the Ashland area--but it is absolutely gorgeous. Very close to Mount Shasta and also quite an easy juant to the Klamath Falls area and the Klamath Wildlife Refuges. The Pacific Ocean is also within a days drive. Great scenery there---some of the nmost famous photography sites you will find on the Pacific Northwest coast.
I promise--you will neveer be bored!
Hope this helps some.

Kari Post
11-01-2009, 10:03 PM
Thanks for all of the great info Bonnie!

Susan Griffith
11-02-2009, 10:35 AM

I would have to say I am a bit biased and really like the Washington area. Bellingham is a fantastic jumping off point to soo many great places. Many refuges, state parks, national parks, etc each with their own charm and photographic opportunity. The skagit river for eagles fishing in the winter and we are on the migratory paths for many species. Hard to beat. Southern oregon i am not as familar with unfortunatly.


Stephen Parsons
11-19-2009, 01:37 AM
Kari, I am a native of the Rogue Valley, although I no longer live there. I am also a SOU grad, but it was SOSC when I graduated. Ashland is the cultural hub of So Oregon, with the U, and also the Shakespeare festival. Nearby Jacksonville has the Peter Britt music festival. There is a good ski hill about 15 miles from Ashland, although the ration of expert to intermediate runs is rather high. If you can ski Mt A, you can ski most places. The Klamath Basin is on the flyway, and has large quantities of migrating birds. It can be hot in the summer, and cold and foggy in the winter. Ashland is usually only marginally hit by the fog. Housing is expensive, as it is a desirable place to live, plus the retirees from CA have driven prices even higher. For a young person, it is quite a fun place.

SOU is a small school, but I believe it gives you a quality education. I was in my thirties when I completed my degree, and made friends with many of my professors. Thirty years later we continue to stay in touch and share outdoor activities. The classes are usually small, and in my time there were always taught by the Prof. No grad students/TAs. I suspect it is still that way. I went through the science and math depts.

Hope that helps.

Kind Regards,