Location Spotlight: Kopachuck State Park

July 18, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Location Spotlight: Kopachuck State Park 

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Oh Kopachuck. I could wax poetic about how I love it so. I grew up in Tacoma and only ever went there a handful of times as a kid. But when we moved here from Federal Way 6 years ago, it didn't take long to notice that you can walk there from my front door. 

I know every spot to take the best photos in this park, what the tide has to be doing and at what time of day, which tree has the best moss, which logs are best for sitting.

This location works best for 60 minute sessions, but it can work for 30 minute sessions if we do the forest only.  

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Highlights: as we walk down the trail, there are many spots to stop for idyllic NW forest photos. A mossy tree that looks like a giraffe, picnic tables to lay on with the forest behind, a split rail fence, a spot on a wide trail that looks like a cathedral behind the photo subjects, and a little wooden bridge. And it looks great at any season. 


The beach is equally enchanting. It's a rocky beach a mid to high tide (great for throwing pebbles) and a wide sandy beach at a negative tide. This is my favorite in the summer, since we can take of our shoes and wade along the shore line with the yummy sun behind (between 1-2pm). There are many driftwood logs to climb on at the top of the shoreline, and tree branches that hang low for cool artistic shots. 

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Best time for photos there: 10-2pm. 

Pros: hands down, the best spot for forest AND beach photos in Gig Harbor. This location works great for a 30 minute location if you just want forest shots

Cons: it's hard to get the time of day right with the tide. If it's too early, subjects can be looking right into the sun if they want the water behind them. Summer ideal is 1pm at a very low tide. This location is a lot of walking, so not ideal for those less abled. Starting in late October, it can be very cold at the beach if there is any wind.

Another con is that once small kids are at the beach, they get so into looking at the pebbles on the ground that they often don't look at the camera any more. Kids between 2-4 go more wild here than any other location I shoot at. This is fine as long as you don't mind more candids. As a photographer, it helps if you take charge and tell the kids that after their photos, they can stay awhile and play to their heart's content. 

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Different looks: this is a location that is fun to play with different edited looks. In the fall, I can edit photos to be natural and bright (every photo above) or dark and moody. Examples below:

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