It looks like the Pacific Northwest is at it again with it’s ridiculous sunsets and over bearing sunlit rocks and beaches. The only thing that would have made last week even more over the top is if there were a pod of whales breaching in the surf. Sometimes I can get a little overwhelmed with the incredible sunsets at Cannon Beach and last week was no exception. You couldn’t have taken a bad photo even if you had tried. The clouds helped create another nuclear like explosion with the sand and rocks creating one of the most epic canvases. I decided to post this photo in order to show the personality of the swirling sea foam in the foreground. I normally avoid getting these types of shots but the sea foam was really dancing along the beaches this night. It literally looks like a snake slithering back towards the surf. The glare from the sun really caused an epic color display with each part of the photo showing a different color. I initially thought that the clouds in the distance were going to ruin my sunset shots but I was amazed at just how many colors they produced. Early spring can really be unpredictable but it can also produce some amazing photo opportunities. It’s hard to imagine but the sun was directly behind the largest of the Needles rock and I ended up using it as a buffer most of the night. It pretty much allowed me to take photos that are normally filled with too much glare. In fact, I usually have to wait until later but since the sun wasn’t as intense and the clouds were subduing the sun, I was able to get some really unique photo opportunities. It also helped to have a flawless sandy beach with a very low tide. If you’re wanting too get some really awesome sunset shots, I would highly recommend that you allow a few days to visit the Oregon coast in order to take advantage of the amazing weather that you could be enjoying. Again, you just want to make sure and bring your tripod, bubble level and remote switch. It’s also pretty cold during sunset so you may want to bring a warm hat and maybe even a thin pair of gloves. I was really surprised at how cold it got and how quickly the temperatures cooled off once the sun set.
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.
Moon over Cannon Beach, Oregon is one of the best photo opportunities that I can experience while shooting sunset shots in the Pacific Northwest. However, I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing a large moon but even if it’s as small as the one in this photo, I’ll take it any day. The weather is showing that the summer weather throughout the entire Pacific Northwest will hang around for another week or so and the Oregon coast will again be in the 60’s. I would recommend that you grab your camera, tripod and head out to the coast and hope for another epic sunset. I will be heading out again and I can only hope that my last journey to the coast can be half as good this time. This photo was taken just after sunset and you can see the nuclear colors along the horizon. The tide was very low so I was able to get several other rocks in the photo that normally would be under water. The seabirds were pretty active since that tide was so low and they were scavenging along the exposed rocks, which either hindered my long exposures or gave me the opportunity to get some action shots with moving wildlife. Late winter and early Spring can really create some great sunset shots and my last outing didn’t disappoint. To get this shot I made sure to attach my ND4 filter as well as my UV filter and warming filter. I also made sure to use a tripod, bubble level and remote switch. I set the shutter priority to 5 seconds and increased the ISO to 200. The crowds were pretty small so I was able to move around much easier than other times. I was also fortunate that there weren’t many people walking out near the tide so I didn’t have to worry too much about trying to avoid having someone walk in front of me.
This photo may be the last clear sunset shot at the Oregon Coast for 2014. Oregonian’s know that Fall and Winter bring the most dynamic and amazing sunsets but unfortunately they are hard to come by and you have to ask for a little luck. One of my favorites reasons for going to the beach, during the cold months, is that sunset is between 4:30 and 5:00 pm but if you go on a day when the skies are clear you will wish that you had more time to explore and take in the sights. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. However, I didn’t bring my ND filter so I wasn’t really able to set the exposure time for more than two seconds. I did attach my CIR PL, warming filter and UV filter in order to take advantage of the warming tones as well as remove any unwanted noise. The one thing to remember is that when you are taking sunset shots, during the month of November, the sunset comes and goes lightning fast so you want to be sure and keep on your feet. Luckily, there are usually less people so you will normally have the opportunity to move about more freely without running into people or finding them standing in your way. The tides are also much more aggressive and the swells move in and out pretty quickly so you will want to keep that in mind since you may find yourself getting caught in a fast moving swell as you take that epic shot. The most important thing to remember is to think outside the box and stay creative since you can sometimes get that perfect shot when you least expect it. I was really impressed with the crashing waves moving left to right once they reached the beach so I waited for the best chance to get this particular shot. I really liked the way the water was dancing just above the beach but at a very fast pace. Even though I couldn’t set my camera to shutter priority, I was able to keep the aperture at only F-4, which allowed me to get the movements of the waves as well as the colors of the skies drenched in reds, yellows and orange. I also made sure to keep the ISO at 100, the WB at 0 and held the shutter speed at 1/60 second. I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 42mm in order to frame each of the rocks in the shot. Since I only shoot in jpeg mode I was able to keep the photo at only 1.67mb, which keeps it from being too big. The next several days is calling for some pretty rainy weather but I would recommend checking the weather for the next sunny days and take advantage of sunset opportunities like this.
[/caption] No, this isn’t Hawaii, the South Pacific or the Caribbean! This is actually Cannon Beach, Oregon! There is one sure way to get great shots like this that begin to take on the likes of some tropical island area! Usually the summer months offer the perfect sun soaked days that allow you to trick people into thinking that the photo was taken somewhere else. Most of the vegetation along the rocky cliffs are almost identical to tropical vegetation and all you need to do is find the best shot that looks semi tropical. I actually took this shot at the southern most end of Cannon Beach. There is a trail that takes you high above the beach and is located between Cannon Beach and Ecola Beach! The views are amazing and the bird watching is awesome. There is a private beach directly below that can only be reached when the tide is low and if you look closely you may see several seals swimming about near the rocks below.
[/caption] Just another beautiful August day in Cannon Beach, Oregon! If you want to know the best times to get the best photos in Cannon Beach I would suggest that you visit between 10:00-11:00am and then again at least 2 hours before sunset. Sunset times can be as late as 9:30pm during the summer and as early as 5:30pm during winter months, so I would suggest that you pay attention to the time of the sunset. The reason for the specific times is that you will have the best chance of being there when the reflection from the rocks are at their best. Also, the sun is still somewhat lower in the sky and the rocks won’t seem as washed out. However, keep in mind that the temperatures can be pretty chilly during the morning, even during the peak summer months. The temperatures will pick up and become pretty warm later in the day but be prepared for the temperatures to drop quickly as the sun begins to set. This is obviously true anytime during winter but even the summer months can drop pretty fast, even after a 75-80 degree day. This particular shot was taken at 6:05pm and the temperatures were around 75 degrees and the water temperatures were even warm enough for me to splash around the low tide pools and small swells in order to look for that perfect shot. Late summer is probably the best time to visit since you’re most likely to experience the most epic day of your life. Warm and tropical weather during the later afternoon and awesome and warm sunsets. Late August and up until the end of September has always been my favorite times to visit and almost all of my best photo days are during these days.
[/caption] Beautiful sunset along the Oregon Coast with Haystack Rock and the high tide rolling in. This is just another awesome shot of the many awesome sunset opportunities that Oregon offers photographers and sunset lovers. I actually took this photo on 5/12/12 at about 9:10pm. I believe sunset was about 8:45 and the sky was lit up like a roman candle as the sun set below the horizon with the clouds offering a second act of amazing color. The tide was finally starting to come in, which always offers some great opportunities to get the swells moving about the beach. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and had the focal length at 31 mm in order to frame the rock in the photo. I attached my ND4, CIR-PL, warming and UV filter. The ND filter allowed me to set the shutter speed to 16 second, which allowed me to capture the ghosting effect of the surf. I had the camera in Shutter priority and the aperture was automatically set at F-22. I set the white balance at -1.7 and the ISO at 100.
[/caption] The Tillamook Lighthouse can be seen from almost anywhere between Cannon Beach and Seaside, Oregon. The lighthouse is about 1.2 miles from the coastline and was deactivated in 1957 due to the cost and danger of trying to reach the rock. The Tillamook lighthouse is one of the most spectacular lighthouses to look at and makes you wonder just why they even built it in the first place. It resembles an old and haunted house that could have housed some type of creature that looked over the stormy Pacific Ocean. However, if you want to get a decent close up of the lighthouse you will want to have at least a 700mm telephoto and expect to set it atop your tripod and make sure to use a remote switch. I took this shot with my 250mm telephoto and set the focal length at 135mm. If you are visiting during a much more sunny day you can really get some great photos since the sun moves just south of the lighthouse and you can get some great photos with the sun drenched skies saturating the water. The area surrounding the location of Tillamook lighthouse offers some of the most amazing photo opportunities and hiking trails so you won’t have any problem hanging around to take advantage of the best photo opportunities.
[/caption] Beautiful sunset in Cannon Beach, Oregon with the Needles and low tide! September offers some of the most amazing sunset opportunities along the Oregon coast since the air quality is less than ideal due to the several wild fires that rage in the Cascade mountains during late summer. The Northern Oregon coast usually enjoys an Indian summer, which calls for sun soaked days and limited wind. The sun is also pretty intense, which also creates an amazing sunset with an explosion of red, orange and yellow colors as the particulates in the horizon dance with the sunset. This particular photo was taken just as the sun was setting at about 7:00 pm and the tide was going out. You can see the divets in the sand due to the tide quickly retreating out to sea. This creates an awesome photo opportunity. However, you have to keep a good lookout for any unwanted debris floating or lingering in the sand due to the amount of stuff that can be left behind by the fast moving tide. I normally just avoid any photo that has any debris in the photo or at least I end up cropping them out once I get home and upload them on my PC. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. This is especially true since I had the camera in shutter priority and opened the shutter for 2.5 seconds. I took this shot just as the sun was setting but kept it out of the photo since it was too far to the right of the frame and I didn’t want too much empty space between the rocks and the sunset. The glare was also very intense so I reduced the white balance to -0.3 and attached my ND4, warming filter and my CIR-PL.
[/caption] Hawaii like conditions along the Northern Oregon Coast with 82 degree temperatures, perfect swells and no wind! Not only was it warm for the entire part of the day but there was no wind at all and the water was as glassy and inviting as a tropical beach. September is usually the best time to visit the Oregon Coast since it’s normally experiencing an Indian Summer with sun baked days, dry weather and perfect swells. The sun also sets two hours earlier than during the summer so you don’t have to wait up all night to watch the sunset. I can honestly say that yesterday, 9/14/12, was one of the warmest days ever recorded at Cannon Beach as well as the most perfect beach day ever. Even the swells gave the impression that the Oregon Coast was welcoming a new tropical beginning with nothing but tropical weather here on out. However, reality struck when the temperatures dipped well into the upper 50’s as I stand along the beach waiting for the sun to set. I took this particular shot while standing on the viewpoint platform at Ecola State Park. It was about 6:00pm and the sun was at about a 90 degree angle with the sun in the far right. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to avoid any chances of having camera blur since I attached my CIR-PL in order to eliminate too much glare from the water and sky. The viewing platform is about 200 feet above the beach so I set the FL at 23mm so I could get a good panoramic view. I also set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7 in order to avoid too much over exposure. The aperture was set at F-5.6 and the shutter speed as at 1/99 second. There are probably another 2 to 4 weeks of great opportunities along the Oregon Coast since September and October offer great sunset opportunities and the weather can be mostly dry.