Art and Photography

Painter creating an image on canvass
Painter creates an image on canvas.

Port Angeles Fine Arts Center Photo


Painters from all over the world come to Olympic National Park to paint. Set up your easel, break out your paintburshes and set up your palette. Whether on a mountain ridge, a deep rainforest, or a sunny beach, Olympic National Park is your canvas!

The Plein Air Art Competition is an event of 25 professional artists that paint the peninsula in August, which is hosted by the Fine Arts Center of Port Angeles. But if you are looking for inspiration, Olympic National Park is your canvas.

You can also visit Storm King Ranger Station on Lake Crescent in summer for scheduled as well as unscheduled water color painting.

Be sure to check our calendar for upcoming events!
Thick clouds reflect upon the still waters of Lake Crescent.
Clouds reflecting upon Lake Crescent create a photographic moment of magic.

NPS Photo


It is said a photograph paints a thousand words. Olympic's diverse environment and epic scenery is the ultimate destination for amateur and professional photographers alike. Whether you're inspired by rich green forests, reflective glacier carved lakes, snowcapped subalpine mountain vistas, or red-orange coastal sunsets, Olympic has it all. It's hard to point a camera anywhere in Olympic National Park and not get a good photo opportunity. Remember: Always Keep Safety In The Picture!

Photographer using a tripod to capture a photo.
Using a tripod adds stability and sharpness to any photograph.

C. Bubar NPS Photo

7 tips to Photographing in Olympic National Park (and beyond!)

  • Prepare - Anyone can get lucky, but to increase your chances of taking some photographs that you’re really proud of, start with doing some research! Where would you like to take photos? How long will it take to get there, and what’s the best time of day to go? If you don’t know, ask a ranger or consult some of the wonderful written resources written on the park. Make sure you know your camera and have a fresh battery & memory card. If you’ll be shooting in low light, bring a tripod. If you’ll be hiking to get there, pack proper clothing, footwear, headlamp, and water. Check the weather and road conditions. Then give yourself plenty of time to get there safely and not feel rushed to take a photograph! Putting time into preparation and giving yourself time to make a photograph instead of just taking one is the best way to improve your chances of success! 

  • Be Safe - From the mountains to the ocean beaches, taking time to educate yourself on necessary safety precautions for wherever you’re going can mean the difference between a great experience of a lifetime and an unfortunate experience of a lifetime. Check tide charts before heading to Olympic’s beaches, and be steer clear of logs in and around the surf. Ask a ranger if the area you’re visiting requires bear precautions. Make sure you have proper hydration and clothing for the specific weather conditions you face, as temperatures can vary greatly across the park!

A group of photographers shooting an image.
Photo opportunities are often shared by many.

NPS Photo

  • Slow down and engage your senses - If you want to take a photograph that is emotionally compelling, you’ve got to put some heart into making it, too! Slow down, use your senses, and don’t forget to take some time to simply marvel before, during, and after taking photographs. If you don’t take the time to care about the place you’re at, it’ll show in the photos you take.

  • Tell the story - Slow down and think about the story you’d like to tell with your image. What elements add to the scene? Which elements overcomplicate or distract from your subject? Move around to find the simplest way to tell the story in your image. 

Shoot when you’re hungry - Sometimes the best light happens when it’s inconvenient! Pack a picnic and photograph sunset, or set your alarm and get up for sunrise. You may have the place to yourself if you head out when everyone else is sleeping or eating! Make sure you pack a headlamp if you’re headed out before sunrise or back after sunset.

Last updated: February 25, 2021

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600 E. Park Avenue
Port Angeles , WA 98362


360 565-3130

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