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Rebecca ❥ Travel + Outdoors Photos & Videos on Instagram

@rebeccahelenphoto See full size profile   ✧ Photographer chasing waterfalls, sunrises, & adventure ↟ PNW girl based in TN ✈︎ Next: Canada ☼ [email protected] ↓ Blog, shop & contact ↓

3 days ago

Dancing in the last rays of sunlight with no one around for miles, and taking in the warm desert air before a million stars lit up the sky. If there were ever a more perfect evening, this was it.⁠ :::::⁠ I grew up in Oregon, hiking in the forests every spring, exploring the coast every summer, and skiing in the mountains every winter. I've moved away and moved back a few times now, falling in love with the waterfalls and trees over and over again.⁠ ⁠ Oregon has so many incredible ecosystems, and one I had only visited a few times in my childhood was the desert. I had done trips to the high desert in the middle of the state, but there remained a desert in the furthest corner of the state I had never explored.⁠ ⁠ One month out from moving away from Oregon once more, I made it my mission to explore the final corner I had yet to see. I drove for hours and reached a place where no one was around for miles. I was alone in this incredible landscape, where muddy cracks stretched out to distant peaks.⁠ ⁠ I photographed the sunset and then in the last dying light, decided to document myself in this place so I could always remember what it felt like. The sun on my skin, the dry air smelling of sage, the quiet whisper of the wind. It was a wondrous moment, one that will stick with me for years to come.⁠ ⁠ When was the last time you felt incredibly alive?⁠ ✨⁠

5 days ago

I had hoped the first photograph I took of Lake Tahoe would be a glorious fiery sunrise, and this morning was all of that and more.⁠ .....⁠ When I was first getting into landscape photography, I thought I would be learning about photography technique, composition, and editing. But what I got was so much more. ⁠ ⁠ Being a landscape photographer taught me about cloud patterns, weather, and how to predict a colorful sunrise or sunset (sometimes it's more of an art form than a science). It taught me about tides and wildlife habitats and animal behavior. It taught me about astrology, lunar cycles, and things about the galaxy I never knew before.⁠ ⁠ I learned more about the human eye and how we perceive color and light. I learned how to become a stronger and smarter hiker, how to plan, research, and prepare. I have learned a myriad of skills, too many to list, and it has really struck me how incredible this field truly is. I am always learning, and not just about photography, but about this very world we live in.⁠ ⁠ Sometimes I struggle with comparing what I "should have" done as a career with the career that I have now, the lifelong pitting of art versus science. But as I always remind myself and as I keep seeing play out, those two fields have more in common and are more intrinsically interlocked than we know.⁠ ⁠ Let me know in the comments if you ever think about this dichotomy or if your career is different now than the one you thought you "should have" had. And swipe for the full glorious view of this sunrise!⁠⁠

6 days ago

A little slice of dreamland on my favorite section of the Oregon coast. ⁠⠀ :⁠⠀ This Monday, I wanted to share 5 tips to get dreamy long exposure ocean shots of your own:⁠⠀ :⁠⠀ 1. Use a tripod! Or some other form of stabilization so you can get the rocks and surrounding details sharp while the waves can be blurred.⁠⠀ :⁠⠀ 2. Play with different exposure settings - this shot was three seconds to capture wave action, but take it all the way up to thirty seconds to get a glossy, super smooth effect. ⁠⠀ :⁠⠀ 3. Keep your aperture small (LARGE aperture number), anywhere from f/8 to f/16 to get the scene sharp all the way through. ⁠⠀ :⁠⠀ 4. Use a polarizing filter to cut down reflection on the surface of the water, which will help deepen the water color and add more contrast.⁠⠀ :⁠⠀ 5. Protect your camera with ha rain sleeve to prevent salt spray damage, and keep a lens cleaning cloth in your pocket to gently wipe off the front of your lens.⁠⠀ :⁠⠀ Bonus tip! For a super-sharp capture, use your camera's two-second timer, an intervalometer, or camera remote to take the shot so that the action of pressing the shutter button down doesn't make your shot blurry.⁠⠀ :⁠⠀ Comment if you found these useful, or if I should do this type of caption again, and if so, what you would like to learn about next! ⁠

1 week ago

I saw so many photographs from Glacier this week so I'm throwing up one of my own - so I can feel less sad that I'm not there this year. 😆 ⁠⠀ Glacier National Park took my breath away on so many occasions, and might just be my absolute favorite park. I visited early in the summer season last year so it was stormy, moody, and dramatic. Which was pretty amazing for driving around and seeing the views coming in and out of the clouds, but it did unfortunately mean some of the sunrises were not so colorful.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ On this particular sunrise, the storm clouds were dark and heavy, but the mountain wasn't obscured so I was happy. There was only one other person shooting sunrise, and he was far enough away that it felt like I had the lake to myself. It was so quiet, although quite windy as well - sadly no reflection this morning.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ But just before the sun crested the horizon, the storm clouds reflected red for a scant few seconds, foreshadowing the sunrise to come. As the sun crept its way higher into the sky, a delicate orange-pink light began to paint the distant peaks. The clouds lightened and colored, and it was the most beautiful sight.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I am counting down the days until I can visit this magical place again. I'm not sure when I will return, but I know nothing could keep me from this place for long. Have you been to Glacier?⁠⁠⠀

1 week ago

Absolutely fell in love with the incredible colors of this lake. Caribbean blues and greens in cold mountain waters - pretty much blowing my mind how lovely it all was. I just wish I had more time to explore!⁠⠀ ....⁠⠀ Finding this rock was a challenge all on its own, with multiple paths leading down to different secluded rocky beaches. I was there early enough it still had a blue hour cast to it, and the rock was in shadow. I took some beautiful long exposure shots, but I couldn't quite see all that amazing color while the water was in shadow.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I waited for the sun to crest the horizon behind me, rising above the trees high enough to paint the boulder and the waters below in golden light. Finally I was able to see the full colors of the lake. The only thing I thought might make the shot better would be some scale and a pop of warm color to balance out the cool toned water.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ At this point in time I was alone though, with no one else to help me take a photograph. Perfect time to put my remote to the test - would it reach the full distance? I waffled a bit before getting into the cold water, but I gently waded in, remote control held high so it wouldn't get wet. I swam out to the rock one-handed, remote in the air and feeling like an idiot.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ But I got to the rock, climbed up, and started taking photographs. I could see the distant flashing light of my camera, so I knew the shots were taking, I just hoped they were in focus. After I thought I had got the shot, I swam back, remote still in the air. I climbed back up to my camera, hoping the shots turned out alright.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I was so excited to see the that shots had not only turned out and were in focus, but also that the color pop was just the perfect finishing touch. This was hands down my most epic self portrait to date! But I also have to laugh about it, the whole process was kind of ridiculous. Would you swim out to get this shot??⁠ 🏊‍♀️

1 week ago

My California coast road trip blog is finally up! Check out the link in my bio for "San Francisco to Los Angeles: The Ultimate California Coast Road Trip." This ended up being the longest and most photo-packed blog I've ever written. I probably should have divided it up into two parts, but I didn't like the discontinuity of that.⁠ Since the blog post was so long, here's a mini guide to some of my favorite spots:⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ •San Francisco•⁠⠀ Explore a slice of the Redwoods just out side the city at John Muir Woods National Monument⁠, but just make sure you get a parking pass in advance! Afterward, enjoy a sunset from Marin Headlands⁠ - some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ •Carmel-by-the-Sea•⁠⠀ Carmel is pretty much the cutest town I've ever been to and I never have enough time there! Stop at Carmel Bakery⁠ for some delicious treats and then drive the 17 Mile Drive⁠ for some stunning coastal views.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ •Big Sur•⁠⠀ On the way to Big Sur, make a stop at the pull-off for Bixby Bridge⁠ for dramatic cliff views, but be careful of cars driving by. In the park itself, McWay Falls is a must-see (currently the trail is closed but you can still see it from the road). Please respect trail closures but there is plenty of gorgeous trails still open to explore!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ • Los Angeles•⁠⠀ I didn't post too much in my guide on Los Angeles as I already spent 4 years there in college (!). But my favorite places from my time living there was Griffith Park & Griffith Observatory⁠ for hiking and gorgeous city views, and I loved going to Santa Monica beach & pier⁠ - such a gorgeous beach and there are tons of other incredible beaches nearby as well.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Life has been so crazy busy this summer, but it's not too late to do your own California road trip in the coming months - the best part about California is that warm sunshine is usually the norm! Let me know in the comments if you've ever wanted to road trip the California coastline!⁠ 🚗

1 week ago

Sunset in dreamland⁠ ☼ ☼ I could have sat for hours, taking in this breathtaking scene. I had waited so long to see this day dream with my own eyes, and it still felt so unreal. ☼ Unfortunately the path down closer to the waterfall was closed due to erosion, but happily you can still see the falls from the gravel pull off by the highway. ☼ No flowers were harmed in this shot! Rest assured my butt in the second shot is firmly on trail. Please do not hike down until the pathway is repaired and cleared for reentry. Happy Monday everyone! ⁠

2 weeks ago

Final sunrise in this incredible city did not disappoint. I'll be dreaming of cotton candy pastel clouds for a long time!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ After a stormy evening that turned into some incredible blue hour photography, I wasn't sure if I would get even more shots the next day - it felt like I was already pushing my luck.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ But the storm clouds parted just enough to let sunlight stream over the top of the bridge the next morning, still leaving plenty of gorgeous fluffy texture to soak up all of the incredible color the sun rays cast.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ San Francisco has so many jaw-dropping places to photograph this iconic bridge from, and I'm pretty sure I still just barely scratched the surface of them all on my last trip here. I can't wait to explore more of what this city has to offer the next time I visit!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ What city is your favorite?⁠

2 weeks ago

It's been so crazy hot this summer, I'm thinking fondly back to spring sitting by these cool waters. It doesn't feel that long ago I was chasing waterfalls around the Olympic Peninsula and now it's late summer - where does the time go?⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I was absolutely in love with the waterfalls in this area, and it was so amazing to explore a new section of Washington I hadn't seen before. There were so many different compositions around the river, and I loved having just the hint of the larger waterfall in the background.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I was scouting around and taking a few different shots when I found this perfect little scene - a mini waterfall to echo the background. I took so many shots. One of my favorite things about long exposures is how different each of them can turn out. When I got the foreground flow that I liked best, I took about five more shots just to be sure.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Now looking back, I can only hope I will be back here soon to experiment even more with different angles and different little scenes. Each time I discover a new area I find that there is always more to see, more to come back for. Isn't it so wonderful to think there is always more to explore?⁠ ⁠⠀

2 weeks ago

It's past the blooming time for these little beauties, but I wanted to be reminded of those amazing pops of color. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ It was an early morning rise to drive a few hours south to arrive in the forest by sunrise, when I had hoped there would be soft golden light muted by a heavy layer of coastal fog. I didn't quite get the fog I was hoping for, and the sun was a touch too strong, but it was still breathtaking to see such incredibly bright blooms erupt from a dark forest.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ So much of photography is planning and timing, but there is also a certain dash of luck and unforeseen circumstances that can either make a shot or completely derail it. While I am definitely a heavy planner, I've been trying to keep myself open to more spontaneity and trying to let my eyes and feet wander more, instead of chasing a single destination.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Are you more of a planner or are you more spontaneous?⁠ 🤔

2 weeks ago

⁠Trying to hold still enough to get a long exposure on the waterfall, all while balanced on the MOST slippery rock ever - behind the scenes flawlessness haha. Shoutout to @lishy for helping me get my new camera remote set up so at the very least I didn't have to run back and forth to get the shot. Slowly moving up in the self portrait world!⁠⠀ .....⁠⠀ I've been a bit MIA the last week as I've been visiting friends in Portland and Reno, which has just been the best to finally take some REAL vacation and spend time with people face-to-face. I'll be catching up this week in my stories so you can see what I've been up to.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ The second half of the week I unfortunately got sick, likely from all the flying (touching all the surfaces), which made me suuuuper tired and want to do nothing. I'm actually surprised I haven't been sick earlier this year, I've been pushing hard for so long. I'm just going to take this as my body encouraging me to finally rest!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I am excited to jump back into things when I am feeling better, so let me know in the comments below what you've been up to this last week/weekend!⁠ 👇⁠⠀⁠

1 month ago

Not quite a yellow brick road, but it does lead to an emerald city.⁠ 🌴💚⠀ ⁠....⁠⠀ It was one of the last days on my trip to Bali⁠ and I had planned out a sunset shoot along this magical palm-lined path. So naturally a huge storm came in, and as I scouted out the best spot to take a photograph, the sky opened up and rain came bucketing down. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ When I finally reached the place I thought would make a good composition, the rain let up to a trickle, so I shed my rain jacket and backpack and twirled around in my yellow dress.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I felt absolutely ridiculous. It was raining, I was in a dress, it was humid and I was so sweaty, and here I was, spinning around in front of a camera. Thankfully the rain had cleared most of the path of people, but some occasional hikers came through to witness this spectacle.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ At a certain point, I just had to laugh. I was still learning to be more comfortable in front of the camera, still learning how to keep on moving despite anyone watching, and even though I knew the shot would turn out well, it was definitely still ridiculous -- and that was okay.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I ended up enjoying this crazy process, and I think that day something inside me let go. I allowed myself to have fun, and I knew it would all be okay. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Push yourself outside your comfort zone, and I promise you it will be okay in the end. Challenge yourself, be silly, be ridiculous. Let other people watch. The only opinion that matters is yours, and your opinion is that you are CRUSHING IT. Now go out and make it happen!⁠ 💪⁠ ⁠⠀

1 month ago

Seeing this waterfall from above was absolutely incredible. It was the end of our helicopter ride above the beautiful island of Kauai, and the pilot made an extra stop just so I could get some photographs of this beauty.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ This was my first helicopter ride with the doors off, and it was a total rush. Wind whipping through, everything so bright and real. The sensation of flying over the trees was something I can barely describe. It was like you were watching your phone screen while flying a drone, but you WERE the drone. It was absolutely breathtaking.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I loved every second of it - hovering close to waterfalls, flying just over the tip of a cliff, trees so close you feel as though you could reach out and touch them. It was such a raw and powerful experience.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ And now I find my self with a new life goal: become a helicopter pilot! Have you ever taken a helicopter ride?⁠ 🚁⁠⠀

1 month ago

Even in the dark forest, the sun can still shine through. .⁠⠀ Back in April, I spent Easter weekend exploring Olympic National Park - and I wrote a blog about it! Check out the link in my bio for⁠ "72 Hours in Olympic National Park: How to Spend a Long Weekend in the Olympic Peninsula⁠."⁠⠀ .⁠⠀ Mad credit to @seanhaselden who was driving and slammed on the breaks when he saw this perfectly sunlit tree - just what we were searching the woods for. We jumped out of the car, grabbed our gear as quickly as we could, Sean's wife @everfrenzy definitely thinking we were crazy, patiently waiting for the photographers to do their running about thing.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ We had maybe five minutes of perfect sun before the clouds moved and this tree fell into shadow once more. Some of the best shooting opportunities have been by the side of the road, I remember a few years back when it was my turn to slam on the breaks so Sean and I could get a fiery sunset shot while driving up Mt. St. Helen's.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ These unexpected shots are some of my favorites, unplanned, no expectations, just sheer beauty. Here's to slowing down and not letting these moments pass us by while we're too busy trying to see the big picture scene. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Have you slammed on the breaks to chase a perfect shot? ⁠⠀

1 month ago

This last trip to Hawaii inspired me to go back and re-edit photographs I took on a previous trip to the islands. It's crazy how much my editing style has changed in the past year, and now I feel as though I'm constantly tweaking it, finding better ways to represent colors, trying to add a hint of fairytale to very real places.⁠ ⁠ One big change I have incorporated has nothing to do with individual photographs - I've been placing more importance on my feed as a whole, so the colors of a photograph are highly influenced by the other photographs that will surround it.⁠ ⁠ I had a very strict color theme for a few months, and now I've relaxed into a two color, more subtle theme. A year from now I'm sure my edits and feed will be vastly different once more, which excites me to think about. I am constantly changing and adapting on this journey, developing my art more and more. ⁠ ⁠ Where will the second half of this year take YOU?⁠ ⁠

1 month ago

⁠Didn't quite get those dramatic golden light rays I was hoping for, but this tree tunnel still took my breath away.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ If this photograph could talk, you would hear birdsong all around you, birds greeting the day, birds feeding their young, birds calling out to each other.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ If this photograph could move, you would see the deer slowly walking across the road behind me, silent, delicate. You would see the skunk that ran all the way down the road toward me, seem startled that there was a person, and at the last minute diverted off to climb a tree.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ If you stood in this photograph, you would feel like you were Snow White, all the animals around you coming alive with the dawn. You walk down the road, stepping into a fairytale land, unsure where the path might lead but knowing you have to explore where the trees take you.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Would you walk down this road?⁠ 🌿

1 month ago

Happy 4th! Orange and teal is not quite red, white, and blue, but what can you do when you're a landscape photographer 😂💥 ....⁠⠀ When I visited Kauai, there was one sight I knew I HAD to see, a sight I hadn't yet adventured to on my previous trips here when I was a kid. In Kauai, they call this the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", and now having seen both this and the Grand Canyon in Arizona, I can't tell you which took my breath away more. That being said, it's hard to compete with these dreamy, distant waterfalls.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Towering orange cliff faces, green streaking down the slopes, waterfalls erupting out of the jungle - I still can hardly believe it was real. I wish I had more time to explore and hike in this magical area, but I know I can't stay away too long. I'll be back for you soon, Kauai. ⁠💚

1 month ago

Final night in this incredible city, sunset was a bust but I ran into @reedfilms and @jakeegbert and they said I had to stay. I am crazy glad I did, because the blue hour that followed was one of the best I've ever seen.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Rain had just fallen, the storm was coming in, and the tide was at the perfect height to come crashing onto the beach. The sand looked black as the night fell, and as the bridge lights came on, I couldn't believe the frames I was getting on my camera. Pure. Freaking. Magic.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I don't get to meet up with other shooters as often as I would like, but there is so much to be learned and so much more fun to be had when there are more people around who are just as passionate as you about photography.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Have you explored San Francisco? What was your favorite part?⁠⁠⠀