Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Columbia Gorge

Dear Reader

Some locations are difficult to duplicate, Mayer State Park about forty-five minutes east of Portland, Oregon is one of those locales. Nestle on the shores of the mighty Columbia River; this is the dividing line between two states, Oregon and Washington. Barges lumber up and down this river, sometimes against indomitable conditions. For filming one could not ask for a better canvas, the Cascade Mountains in the background and the Columbia River in the foreground. This is a favorite location for car shoots, editorials and commercials.

The best time of the year to shoot on the Columbia Gorge as it is nicknamed, is late June through early September. Weather conditions can change very quickly, so be warned. When conditions are optimal, one could not ask for a better location. Mayer State Park (MSP) tends to be a staging area for large crews who want to shoot on one of the many winding roads south of the park, which overlooks the Gorge. If one wants an organic view of the wind swept Columbia River, MSP has several miles of beach that can accommodate any myriad of possibilities for that perfect shot.
It was mid July, the sun was slowly rising above the sleepy town of The Dalles, a caravan of five ton and ten ton trucks, motor homes, and a trio of fifteen passenger vans and other vehicles, were headed west towards Mayer State Park on I-84. We pulled into the deserted parking lot, just as the sun turned the Columbia River into a fiery hue of orange. A symphony of activity ascended upon the base camp, as drivers positioned their vehicles in predetermined places on the lot. After I set up the
motor home, it was time for my favorite meal, breakfast; the other two motor home drivers joined me and we feasted on pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausages and other delectable, and of course coffee. Small details are important to me; I like to lay out on my dashboard the latest fashion magazines for the women and magazines for the men (not porn magazines), and newspapers. Even on large productions I like to make coffer for the crew inside the RV and plenty of water in the refrigerator. I am always available to assist my crew in any way.

Accommodations are many; MSP is near Hood River to the west and The Dalles to the east. Hwy 84 is the main artery between Portland and MSP, Hwy 14 on the Washington side is not advisable for large vehicles including motor homes. Though Oregon may be missing some of the amenities that Hollywood crews are accustomed to, like 24 grip houses, almost anything one needs for a shoot can be found in Oregon. The OMPA and the Oregon Film Commission is an excellent resource for all your production needs and the crews are the best in the north/ west. If you need a motor home, remember Mike Green RVs.