I'm an Orlando maternity and family photographer. I want to capture the important moments in your life. Fleeting moments of growth and change.

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Lanh Balagtas






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Personal, Tips, Travel

Top 5 Travel Destinations: # 4 Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is at the #4 spot.  The Columbia River Gorge, Tulip festival, and Canon Beach are some of my favorite spots.  I have only been during the Spring but will eventually visit during the fall to see the gorgeous fall foliage.

Portland is a cute city with a small town feel.  I love how small businesses thrive here. They’ve got cute shops and even cuter restaurants.


#3 Travel Destination: Banff & Jasper National Park

#4 Travel Destination: Oregon

#5 Travel Destination: Utah

Things to do:

  1. Columbia River Gorge
  2. Mount Hood/ Hood River
  3. Rowena Crest
  4. Wooden shoe Tulip Fest
  5. Canon Beach
  6. Painted Hills
  7. Wineries
  8. Portland
  9. Crater Lake National Park
  10. Out n About Treehouse

Personal Opinion/Timing Tips:  I try to maximize my time when I’m on vacation.  I don’t get paid time off, so Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays are my days to travel.  I try to take the least amount of time off and see the most while I’m on vacation.

You will need at LEAST 4 days for the best experience

Airport: PDX

Where to stay: There are a lot of options on hotels and Air BNBs all throughout Portland.  When we visited the Hood River area, we stayed at the Best Western Hood River Inn (highly recommended).


Columbia River Gorge

Drive the entire length of this area, stop at all the points of interests, enjoy the views, and take a few hikes.  The sunset is GORGEOUS from this area too!  It’s about a 30-45 minute drive from Portland.  We did Angel’s Rest, Oneonta Gorge, and Horsetail Falls hikes. In 2017, there was a huge forest fire that affect the Columbia River area so some of the things we’ll be talking about may no longer be accessible.

Horsetail Falls

Hiking Up to Angel’s Rest

Stay on trail! Don’t take the shortcuts or you’ll end up like this:

Sunset at Crown Point

A stop along the road:

Oneonta Gorge

Its one of the coolest hikes I’ve done!  You climb over a log jam, wade through (and sometimes swim through) ice cold water to reach a beautiful waterfall.  Since it requires swimming in cold water, the hike is usually empty.  We actually did this trail twice.  The first time we turned around because we got scared of the water.  The second, we pushed through and reached the end.  Its a short, less than 1 mile hike.

The water is COLD and deep at some points.

There is a big log jam that you have to climb over at the beginning.  SO much fun maneuvering through this!

The waterfall at the end!


Multnomah Falls

It’ll be the most trafficked area (and rightfully so).  It’s a huge, double waterfall.  You can hike up to the top if you wanted to.  There are restrooms and concessions here.

Mount Hood/Hood River

We stayed at the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn.  It is a super cute hotel on the river with nice sunrises. It’s also the perfect place to unwind for a day.  I wish we had more time to explore the area while we were there.

Mount Hood Winery: a small little wine room with ceiling to floor windows and outdoor seating.  We hung out for an hour enjoying the views of Mount hood while sipping on a bottle of wine.

Fruit Loop: A 35 mile stretch of restaurants, wineries, and orchards near Mount Hood.  You can drive for as long and visit as many places as you like.  The views of Mount Hood are great on a clear day.  When we return, we want to time it with Lavender season (summer) and visit Hood River Lavender farm.  Some stops we made:Rowena crest : A windy road that can be viewed from above.  There are also fields of wildflowers nearby at the Tom McCall Natural Preserve (seen during the spring).  You can hike the trails in the area for different views.

Map of Fruit Loop: http://lbalagtasphotography.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4605/2018/05/RSG_post_fire_map_4_6_18.pdf

We did some pre-wedding photos at Rowena Crest:

And Tom McCall

Photos by Thinh Le Photography

Panorama Point County Park, you can see Mount hood in the distance, partially covered by clouds.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest

The best time to visit is Mid March to Mid April.  There are 40 acres of tulips for you to wander.  During full bloom, it seriously looks fake.  The colors are so vibrant and the rows of flowers seem endless.  If you can’t make it to Holland, I think this is the next best thing!

Tulips for DAYSSS:

When your friends try to imitate your poses

When your friends photobomb:

My favorite travel buddy, Amy.  I made this in to a pillowcase for her to use when she travels. LOL

Canon Beach

It’s so picturesque.  The area around the big, hallmark rock is full of marine life.  We saw shells from different animals and many starfish.  Its a good (1-2 hour) drive from Portland.

Posing imitators strike again:

Searching for marine life:

Who posed better?

Painted Hills

A small area of hills that remind me of Rainbow mountain in Peru.  It is very far from Portland and you drive through small roads with no cell service.  So try to save your map and directions before you venture there.

More pre-wedding photos by Thinh Le Photography

Winery tour

I loved the views from all the wineries we visited.  The taste has nothing on Napa but you can’t beat the views.  Go with a group of friends!  Some wineries we visited: Anen Amie, Domaine Serene, Archery Summit, and Durant Vineyards.  Wineries usually close around 4-5 so don’t start too late!


Restaurants that we’ve tried in Portland:

  1. Tasty n Alder: cute American bar fare with good drinks
  2. Luc Lac: Vietnamese cuisine open late
  3. Lardo: DELICIOUS and unique sandwiches
  4. Sauce Box: This is a food truck in an area with LOTS of trucks.  I definitely recommend for you to map this and check out all the other food trucks in there area (there are more than 30!)
  5. Pok Pok: Known for their chicken wings, it is located in the cutest, hipster area, it’s a great place to hang out and people watch
  6. Farmer’s mart: there is a huge area with many vendors, it’s a great place to people watch too.


We discovered the BEST Kombucha while here.

Cute little food truck area near Pok Pok.


Some spots that are still on my list to visit:

Swan Island Dahlias: Dahlia flower farm

Crater Lake National Park: The deepest lake in the US.  It is accessible during the warmer summer months.  During the winter, most of the roads are closed and you must snowshoe to get to the edge of the lake.  The weather here is very unpredictable so your visit can be hit or miss depending on if/when the clouds roll through.

Out and About tree house:  A legit tree house hotel in south Oregon.  They say that there is a lot to do in the surrounding areas such as rafting, hiking, and zip lining.  http://treehouses.com/joomla/



# 1 Travel destination: Glacier National park

# 2 Travel Destination: New Zealand




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