Night Sky Shooting at Vista House

Oregon Vista House

Added by Jameson Jones

  • Easy Access
  • Scenic Views
  • Night Sky Photography 35 minutes from Portland

The Vista House located in the Columbia River Gorge offers those looking to photograph the night sky without traveling long distance from Portland the opportunity to do so. Vista House is just far enough away from Portland's light pollution to allow you to capture enough stars on a clear night.

The best time to go would be on a clear night with the moon being less than 1/4 full or better yet on a new moon (when the moon is practically blacked out).

Photo Settings:
F4, 30sec shutter, iso800, White Balance- Tungsten

All three shots were taken in full manual and on a tripod. Set your aperture to 2.8 (if your lens allows) or if you can't set it to the lowest you can on your wide angle lens. Doing this allows for your camera to capture the most light possible meaning more stars in your image. Next is to set your shutter speed. 30 secs is a good place to start, anything longer you may find the stars start to blur as they move during your long exposure shot. This is known as Star Trails. Lastly you need to set your camera iso. Start with 400iso and increase it until you find what works for you. Increasing the iso increases the light sensitivity of your camera allowing for more stars to be captured. Know that the higher you set your iso the more likely grain or "noise" will be introduced into your image (The introduction of noise will depend on the camera you're using).

Tip: If light painting is desired, during your long exposure shot use a light source (flashlight or even a camera phone) and make shapes or words while the camera is taking the shot. Having a buddy to do the painting will make this easier. Have fun and play around and see what you can come up with.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Wide Angle Lens
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Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn



Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible

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How to Get There

7 months ago

Beautiful Views Of The Sunset!!

Was here tonight and caught the sunset. Was absolutely beautiful!! The only drawback is there a lot of shady people out there at night, don't recommend going alone. That's why I give it 3 stars, there needs to be better security. But other than that a must stop on a clear day, or to catch a sunset!

7 months ago

Added by Jameson Jones

Portland, Oregon.

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