LONG BEACH, Wash. — Long Beach is the winner of Best Beach in 2022's Best Northwest Escapes viewer poll.

In the past, we've visited Long Beach for the wind and the whimsy. There's a kite festival there every August and visitors will discover the world's largest chop sticks, frying pan, and oyster on the same avenue as Marsh's Free Museum, home of Jake the Alligator Man.

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To see Long Beach through another lens, we met up with nature photographer Jace Stenersen, who opened his own gallery at age 19.

"What I love about photography is I can show the beauty of nature, how I see it, to other people," he said.

Stenersen has been wild about wildlife since he was nine, and he feels like he's in the best place in the state to shoot it, especially birds.

"Long Beach Peninsula has over 300 species," he said. "There are so many different kinds of hawks, shorebirds, songbirds, and owls."

To get his best selling photograph of three owlets, Stenersen climbed 60 feet in a neighboring tree.

"And I kind of just snapped my finger and they all looked at me and I snapped the photo," he said.

Credit: KING TV
A framed photograph of Stenersen's best-selling shot, three owlets in a tree.

We followed Stenersen onto the beach and saw a variety of gulls. Just outside Long Beach, at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Stenersen tested his patience, waiting for the perfect shot as three different kinds of swallows flitted around the marsh.

"This lens here weighs five pounds and I could be holding it for five minutes straight, just waiting for... possibly nothing," he said.

Ten minutes to the south of Long Beach roar the waves off Cape Disappointment.

"The landscape here is some of the best in Washington, in my opinion," Stenersen said. "Like we've got the iconic waves crashing over the lighthouse but sometimes I'll be focusing on just the waves themselves and seeing different patterns."

Stenersen has spent more than half his life photographing nature and you can find his images for sale in the gallery. He isn't just selling photographs, shirts and other goods. He's selling reminders that Long Beach offers more than wind and whimsy. There's also a great deal of natural beauty.

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"Just the fact that people think my art is good enough to buy and actually place into their home for viewing?" he said. "That makes it all worth it to me."

WATCH: This is a video Stenersen shot with a drone over Long Beach.

If you're thinking about visiting Long Beach you can do some research on the Visit Long Beach Peninsula website. You can follow Jace Stenersen on his Instagram, account "Jace The Bird Nerd."

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