Another awesome day along the Oregon coast last Saturday. It wasn’t quite as warm and sunny the last few weekends but as you can see, the weather was still amazing. However, the sunset was somewhat subdued due to a very large system that was hovering along the horizon, which caused for a less than dramatic sunset. I was still able to get some unique shots but I wasn’t able to recreate the nuclear type of explosion of color that I usually look for. I was fortunate enough, though, to take advantage of a very low tide that allowed me to walk nearly to the edge of Haystack rock. I have only experienced one other time that I was able to get that far out towards the Needles and Haystack rock and it was almost as though I was experiencing a summer night rather than a March night. Again, I was fortunate to find a lot less photographers with their tripods but I did encounter a lot of people walking near the edge of the low tide. It made it a little hard to get some of my shots but they cleared out pretty early and I was able to just re-position myself each time someone was in my line of shooting. I took this particular shot north of Cannon Beach and as you can see my Australian Cattle Dog is in the picture. He was having a heck of a time running along the beach so I decided to add him to some of my shots. You will notice the cloud front way out along the horizon. They lingered out all day and into the night. I was hoping that they might burn off but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. This weekend is calling for rain and clouds but the weather is supposed to get better by next week and I’m sure that the coast will be getting some more great weather.
The weather along the Oregon coast this winter has been epic and the sunsets have been even more spectacular than the sunny and warm days. I guess you can call it a trade off since the mountains don’t have any snow and the ski season was finished before it even got started. It may seem like a bitter sweet trade off but at least we have something to enjoy as we put our winter gear away until next year. This shot was taken at Hug Point beach and it’s located just a few mile south of Cannon Beach. The best time to got is late in the afternoon, when the sun is low and its rays reflect and absorb into the steep and rugged sandstone. You will also want to pick a time to visit when the tide is low. You won’t be able to walk half of the park if the tide is in. As you can see the tide has receded, which makes for some great beach combing and longer strolls along the beach. You will also be able to see more of the rocks that get A chance to catch some air before they are submerged by the next high tide. One either side of the beach you can walk inside several small tunnels that have been carved out by the relentless waves. You can also walk up to a really cool waterfall that drops onto the beach. The photo opportunities are endless but if you go during high tide or when the sun is too high, you will be disappointed. Time of day is everything in photography and Hug Point beach is no exception! The parking lot can get pretty full and it usually fills up during the late morning so that is another reason why you will want to visit later in the day. I’ve never stayed for any sunset shots but it’s one of the best places to take photos when the sun is low and the tide is low.
The 2014-2015 winter may be a total waste in the Pacific Northwest as well as the Western Rockies but at least we can still hope for a descent spring in the Pacific Northwest. I am totally convinced that this winter will go down as the worst snow pack ever recorded from every Western State, including Alaska and even Western Canada. Looking at the current snow totals, from around the western part of North America, I can confidently predict that we will break all recorded totals in history. This is bad news for ski resorts, the economy, water tables, fire season and countless others. However, since the Pacific Northwest is still getting plenty of rain I can only hope that we will still enjoy a good spring. We may not have the thunderous waterfalls rolling down from the snow covered mountains but we may be blessed with lots of rain totals where snow would otherwise dominant the landscape. We may even be able to venture out along the western slopes of the Cascade mountains earlier than normal and bask in the glory of extreme beauty of the colorful vegetation and warmer temperatures. Unfortunately it’s to the dismay of the bankrupt ski resorts and broken economies that rely on the heavy snow totals. I know that we have recouped a lot of snow totals in late February and March but it seems that this pineapple express is pretty ruthless this time and it isn’t looking good for a comeback. I’m not going to put away my snow shoes and remove my snow tires just yet but I am already getting ready for some sweet waterfall shots earlier than expected.
There is a secret spot, along the Oregon coast, that offers some of the most spectacular views and photography opportunities that you can ever imagine. I won’t tell you where it’s located but I will tell you that it’s between Manzanita and Cannon Beach. You will find yourself standing on the top of a cliff that is about 100 feet above the Pacific Ocean and you can view the treacherous rocks below as the pounding surf crashing along the rocks. However, if you go on a calm summer day you may find yourself experiencing one of the most calming and tranquil days of your life. There is ample space to set up your tripod as well as all of your equipment. However, you will want to watch your footing since one wrong move and it could be your last. You would literally fall to your death since the rocks are jagged and it’s pretty much a straight shot to the pounding surf and rocks. There is also a small creek that crosses through the trail and spills into the Ocean, so you have the ability to cool off a little bit if you get too hot while basking in the summer heat. Hundreds of sea birds hover above as well as rest along the rocks protruding out of the surf and also nesting along the high and rocky cliffs. if you’re lucky you may be able to spot a whale during their annual migration. I took this photo during summer so you can see just how calm it can be but if you visit during fall or winter you can expect to witness the surf pounding the rocks below and sometimes the salt spray can reach just below from where you are standing.
This is what a sparse looking Mt. Hood looks like during the month of January. This photo was taken from about 5,000 feet and the date of the photo was January 13th, 2015. If you have ever visited Mt. Hood or anywhere else along the Cascade mountain range, during January, you would expect to see about 10 feet of snow blanketing the surrounding area. However, with the current climate collapse, you are looking at a very bare bones view of what the Cascade range currently looks like. I never thought that I would be experiencing a winter that was worse than last year. This winter is so bad that last years winter looked twice as good. That’s taking it pretty far since last year I thought that it was the worst on record. If we don’t start getting some snow the ski resorts will be lucky to avoid bankruptcy and our alpine glaciers will soon be a thing of the past. I also really hate to think that this summer may be more dangerous than last year. Normally, the photo that you see in this post would look like a photo from May, not January. I still want to think that it’s not all doom and gloom but I’m seriously getting nervous about the impact of another horrible snow pack. It’s hard to imagine that I could have hiked to nearly 9,000 feet without even needing my snowshoes. I ended up stopping at about the 7,000 mark and I was surprised to find even more loose gravel and dirt blanketing the higher elevations. I could see and hear several rocks cascading down the steep slopes that otherwise would be mostly snow covered until late April. It’s hard to imagine that the exposed rocks and soil nearly doubles the rate of erosion.
This is a photo of sparsely snow capped Broken Top with Sparks Lake in the foreground. Things again are looking pretty grim for parts of North America as far as snow pack goes. You know it’s bad when it’s December and it’s warmer in Utah than in parts of Florida and it’s even more dire when Washington’s Northern Cascade mountains get over 10 inches of rain in December. If this pattern continues, 2015 may be even warmer and worse than 2014. That’s pretty hard to imagine but by looking at statistics and witnessing the current climate, it’s looking more like reality. I personally wouldn’t want to be an owner or an investor in a ski resort or even have any type of business that relies on tourist traffic in the mountains. Currently, the entire Pacific Northwest is experiencing a pineapple express and it’s bringing over a foot of rain, which is very scary since it’s melting all of the snow that we did receive earlier and it should be coming down in the form of snow rather than rain in the higher elevations. Last years winter was so bad that I didn’t even put my snow tires on until almost February and I can’t imagine having a winter that bad again but unfortunately, we already are having an even crappier start than last year. I’m still pretty hopeful that I will be able to make some new snow shoe tracks but I am getting very anxious and pretty depressed about another crummy start to winter.
You may think that this photo was taken in July but I actually took it in November. You wouldn’t think that the Oregon coast could produce such awesome weather in November but fortunately we are blessed with some pretty amazing weather during Fall and Winter. However, the storms have rumbled back in and we are looking at about 2 to 3 weeks of rainy and unsettling weather. If you’re able to check the weather forecast on a daily basis you might be lucky enough to find that small window of opportunity and find a sunny day along the coast. This would be the best time to get an amazing sunset shot as well as have the ability to stroll along the beach like it was summer. I took this shot while visiting Ecola State Park and I was pleasantly surprised that there was absolutely no wind and no clouds. The temperatures were even descent. However, once the sun started to go down, the temperatures started to drop and the wind picked up. The photo from my previous post is what the sunset looked like. The colder months are much better at producing better sunsets, than at any other time during summer, and I would highly recommend visiting during Fall or Winter since you can also avoid the crowds and get a much better deal on a place to stay.
The weather in the Pacific Northwest has finally changed. This means that the weather is getting colder, wetter, stormier and very unpredictable. We can finally start to anticipate the changing colors of the leaves and the stormy clouds to appear. This will ultimately bring a lot of water to the waterfalls and snow to the higher elevations. Now is the perfect time to break out your camera and head to the Columbia River Gorge if you would like to take advantage of all the above. The waterfalls are amazing just as the rain arrives and the struggling foliage will come alive with the leaves falling from their high perch. You can also expect to witness some of the most amazing cloud formations as they move through the gorge like a freight train. I would recommend that you bring all of your rain gear as well as your best lens as well as your tripod, bubble level and remote switch. You may also want to choose the best trail since you will find yourself spending hours taking photos along the waterfalls. Sometimes I will just make a long road trip by starting out in Portland and driving to Hood River and stopping along the way. On my return trip, I will either back track or drive across the bridge of the gods, in Washington State and take some photos from the north side of the river. Either way, you can expect to get some pretty epic photos if you go on a day that is perfect for panoramic shots.
Cool shot at Silver Falls State Park, Oregon! Silver Falls State Park is a great place to get some really epic fall shots and it’s just an added bonus that there are 13 waterfalls that you can easily add into your photos. Since the area was carved out from a basalt outcropping, there are hundreds of carved out chasm’s that have several smaller waterfalls and whirl pools that collect leaves as they cling to the edges or get trapped in the swirling pools of water. The best time to visit, during the time the leaves are changing, are during the mid to end of October and towards the middle of November. However, you will want to keep an eye out for any changes of the weather since October can be very dry and unseasonable warm. This will cause the season to start later in the month and once the rains do arrive, your window of opportunity can be very small. The best thing to do is just pay attention to the weather and check the Silver Falls page in order to get any updates on the fall colors. The hikes around the park are amazing but you will want to be sure to bring your tripod, nd filters, remote switch and bubble level. I would also recommend that you bring plenty of food and water since you will find yourself hiking and snapping photos all day and before you know it you will be tired, hungry and very thirsty. If the weather is calling for rain, I would recommend that you bring rain gear since the rain can come without warning. I usually just pack a light rain jacket and extra socks in case I end up getting too close to the water or my shoes get too wet or muddy.
Beautiful photo of downtown Portland, Oregon in early Fall. Portland, Oregon offers some of the best fall colors, weather and temperatures on the planet and if you don’t believe me, check the local weather and you will see that the first week of October offers clear and sunny skies with temperatures reaching the high 70’s to low 80’s. You can almost guarantee some of the best fall weather anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. The awesome fall colors are just an added bonus but also offers visitors some of the most spectacular colors on the planet. I’m beginning to believe that the term “Indian Summer” was started in the Pacific Northwest since we experience that exact type of season perfectly. We experience early frost in the morning with cool temperatures that can dip down into the high 30’s to low 40’s. The morning’s can sometimes be a little foggy but by afternoon, the temperatures reach well into the 70’s with nothing but blue skies overhead. Almost anywhere in the Pacific Northwest offers the same Indian Summer season during September and October. Again, the fall foliage is an added bonus and it can hold it’s own to almost anywhere on the planet. It’s also nice to know that you can have a massive waterfall, river or snow capped mountain as your backdrop. One of the great things about visiting Portland, Oregon during this season, is that the tourists are gone and the days are perfect. There are still several festivals celebrating the fall season and you can get a much cheaper hotel as well as avoid the massive crowds at the best drinking holes and eating establishments. The Willamette Valley also boasts some of the world’s best wineries and wines. You are only a few miles from many of the best wineries, near downtown Portland, and I would recommend that you take advantage of them since the harvest season is at the same time.