Interview with The Bitzers

Contributor Stories is a brand new way to get an insight into the mind of a traveller. The series will combine Featured Interviews with Blog posts, created by travellers from all over the world who want to share their stories with you.

Next in this series is an interview with The Bitzers (Michael and Jeanie), a couple from the US, who really love travel and photography! As well as sharing their images on Instagram, they also have a blog, where you can discover more of their adventures, and "outtakes" from their experiences together. One of their favourite places to explore just so happens to be where they're based, Oregon, and this interview delves deeper into their travel experiences in and around the state.

P.S - their photos are awesome!
© The Bitzers, Costa Rica

© The Bitzers, Costa Rica

The Bitzers
Travel Photographers
How did you get into travel photography?
My mentor took me to Germany when I was 16. When I was in Munich alone, I took hundreds of photos with my little digital camera. In that trip, I fell in love with photography and traveling.

Growing up, I used to paint often. When I didn't have a lot of time to do so anymore, I feel like I was naturally drawn to photography. Regarding traveling, my desire to explore began when my parents took me to Vietnam when I was a little girl. Combining the two interests was pretty seamless, because wherever I was, I wanted to capture it.

Where you live looks incredibly beautiful, do you have any recommendations for someone planning a visit?
For visiting tourists coming into Portland, OR, we would recommend spending time in the city as well as outside of it for the outdoor spots! Portland and its surrounding sites have so much to offer.

In the city, Washington Park during the summer for its International Rose Garden is truly something special. You’ll get city views of Portland while you’re surrounded by hundreds of different types of roses. It's unreal. Exploring Alberta and Hawthorne street has endless restaurants and quirky shops. For booklovers, a visit to Powell’s City of Books is essential. It’s a quirky, multi-level bookstore, with over 3,500 sections to satisfy any book lover’s interests.

For outside of the city, where do we begin?! We narrowed it down to the top two touristy spots outside of Portland.
  • Silver Falls State Park is a popular, but magical place. The “Trail of Ten Falls” says it all. You get to hike ~8 miles around and behind some beautiful waterfalls.
© The Bitzers,  Silver Falls State Park

© The Bitzers, Silver Falls State Park

  • Another classic tourist spot is Multnomah Falls. This waterfall towers at 189 meters with two tiers making it a sight to see. Suggested tip? Go as early as possible because the crowds can get overwhelming.

What're the best places you've found to take photos?
Exploring in Oregon can truly be a photographer’s dream due to its limitless supply of beautiful places to see and capture. In one instance, you could be surrounded by incredible waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park or at any of the other 200 waterfalls found in Oregon. In another instance, you can be driving along the cliffs of the Oregon coast completely mesmerized by its beaches and lighthouses. If you find yourself more northeast heading towards Washington, the Columbia River Gorge that separates the two states is a site to see. These are just some of the places we have found ourselves often gravitating towards because of how much we love to photograph them.
© The Bitzers,  Koosah Falls

© The Bitzers, Koosah Falls

© The Bitzers,  Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

© The Bitzers, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Our favourite thing to do when travelling is trying out incredible food, what're your favourite restaurants nearby?
This place is a must! You’d be surprised at how they make vegetables incredibly delicious. You’ll leave probably eating 3 of your daily veggie portions, and you wouldn’t even realize it.

The Tin Shed
The breakfast biscuits are heavenly. Make sure you get a side of their honey butter.

Papa Haydn
Looking for something sweet? Visit this place. Not only is the food delicious, but you can end your meal choosing from a long list of house-made sweets. Cakes, pies, ice cream, cookies. You name it, they probably got it.

Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Cheap, simple, delicious food at a place with a limited menu. That just means that the few items they make, are really really good.

Are there any hikes/walks around the area you'd recommend, for example to an awesome endpoint or with incredible views along the way?

A few of our favourite hikes that included or ended with breathtaking views would have to include:
  • Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor hike (coast view, 0.5 mile)
© The Bitzers,  Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

© The Bitzers, Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

  • Lost Lake loop hike (lake/mountain views, 3.2 miles)
© The Bitzers,  Lost Lake

© The Bitzers, Lost Lake

  • Dog Mountain hike (Columbia river gorge views, 6.9 miles)
  • Rowena Crest viewpoint (Columbia river gorge, views no hike)
© The Bitzers,  Rowena Crest Viewpoint

© The Bitzers, Rowena Crest Viewpoint

  • Neahkahnie Mountain hike, South hike (coast views, 3.0 miles)

All of these hikes range from being easy to very difficult to do.

Can you tell us about a particular travel experience that really stands out to you?
Traveling to Costa Rica was one of the most memorable travel adventures we’ve ever had. We didn’t know what to expect, but we kept an open mind to allow room for flexibility. At one of our Airbnb stays, we booked this humble little cabin that we expected to just sleep there and then carry on with the rest of our trip. However, this cabin was found on twenty-two acres of land and the couple that owned it were essentially self-sustainable. They ended up spending time with us to take us on a hike tour of their land and showed us all the trees, plants, fruits, and herbs they grew as well as the fish they farmed. They even let us plant a few trees for them! The couple were both from the capital city of Costa Rica but traded that city lifestyle in for a life that honored the land and preserved its value. After our two-hour hike, we sat down with them as they gave us fresh fruit juices from fruits they grew themselves and talked endlessly about the meaning of happiness and life. It was so special and we always recommend their place when we hear of people traveling to Costa Rica.

Do you have any tips for those trying to get into travelling/photography?
Stay humble and learn your fundamentals. People get caught up with trying to have the best and most expensive equipment, but you can obtain great photographs if you practice your techniques. Photography is a constant learning experience and you must learn from your mistakes. For example, bringing an extra battery ended up being on our to-do list because in the past, we have found ourselves with a dead camera amid capturing something beautiful. Lastly, plan ahead!! Learn what, when, and where you want to shoot before you arrive then bring the necessary supplies. As you know, photographing can be time-sensitive so being conscious of that is helpful when you're planning your adventure.

And finally, where's next on the bucket list?
We plan to continue exploring around the pacific northwest because it has so much to offer. However, next on our travel bucket list (after Jeanie finishes her program next year) would be Southeast Asia. Specifically, Vietnam, to visit where her family came from. The culture, the people, the food, and the terrain of Vietnam has always been so fascinating to us!

Awesome - have a great time, and thanks so much for sharing your story with us!

Follow their journey on Instagram, @thebitzers, or check out there blog.

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