[/caption] The Fourth of July weekend was spectacular along the Oregon coast. We spent 3 days at Rockaway Beach and were met with 3 straight days of clear skies and warm temperatures with absolutely no clouds. On our drive home I decided to stop at Cannon Beach and wait for the sunset to cap off an unbelievable holiday weekend. However, by the time sunset came at 9:10pm the clouds had moved in along the horizon and completely absorbed the sun at around 8:45pm. I decided that I would try to capitalize on this and try to make the best at what I was given. Since the light was now pretty low I attached my ND8 along with my CIR-PL and warming filter and set the camera mode to shutter priority so I could blur the clouds and waves crashing against the rocks. The clouds were traveling at such a high speed that I knew that I would be blessed with some spectacular colors. To make matters even better is that the moon was just above the Needles. This particular shot was one of my last photos of the night and it was taken at 9:37pm which was well after sunset. I set the shutter speed to 30 seconds in order to maximize the blur of the clouds and water. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake. Luckily there wasn’t much of a wind which was crucial to the success of my 30 second exposure shots. The tide was also low which allowed me to get close to the rocks scattered all around. I set the focal length at 28mm and the aperture was set at F-11 due to the amount of filters and the fact that I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.
[/caption] I decided to upload another one of my photos that I took at Cannon Beach, OR on 10/13/10. This day was one of the best sunset experiences that I’ve witnessed while shooting at the Oregon Coast. The sun was intense and the sand and water were perfect. The Needles seemed to just float in between the horizon and the sand as if they were sails from a ship or from the dorsal fins of a huge shark. Fall is by far the best time to get great photos along the Northern Oregon Coast. You are almost guaranteed sunny and mild weather as well as mostly clear days. The sun also sets between 6:30 and 7:00 pm. This allows you to have plenty of time to pursue some great day shots without having to wait until a 10:00 pm sunset. The sun was so intense that many of my shots that I took with the sun above or next to the rocks are so bright that it’s almost painful to look directly at the photo without having to squint. This photo was taken with the sun directly behind the left rock which gives a nice silhouette. You can really see the sunburst of the suns rays bursting out from the needles in all directions. Another great thing about photographing along Cannon Beach is that you can continue to shoot well after the sun sets. Since the sun was still pretty intense I wasn’t able to use the shutter on my camera. Even with my ND8 and ND4 filters, the sun was just too bright to set the camera in shutter mode. However, I did use my UV, warming and CIR-PL filter. I was also using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch to ensure that there was no camera shake. I had the camera in Program mode so the shutter speed was at 1/100 second and the F stop was at F-7. I was using my Canon Rebel T1i along with my 18-55mm Canon lens. I had the focal length maxed out at 55mm and had the ISO set at 100 due to the intensity of the glare. I also set the white balance at -1.3 step. The tide was pretty high so I wasn’t able to get as close to the rocks as I normally can when the tide is low. In fact, I had to chase the tide as it receded and then swelled back up the beach. I spent a good part of my evening trying to get as close to the rocks as possible. The one good thing about high tide is that when the water recedes it leaves the sand in amazing shape. The sand almost looks like its moving and gives off a great glare from the rocks and color of the sunset. The tide will also wash away any debris that may ruin an otherwise perfect photo.
[/caption] Photographing the Needles during sunset is one of the best places to photograph along the Northern Oregon Coast. You can always find a way to use the rocks to shield the sun and create some great personality of the sunset and the beach. The Needles, as well as Haystack rock are at the perfect distance from the beach, which allow you to usually get the moving surf in the foreground without having to stretch your filed of view. However, sometimes high tide will require you to photograph at a further distance. At low tide, you can walk along the many rocks on the beach and use them to create an impressive setting. Sea birds that nest and feed along the beach and rocks also offer some great opportunities to include in your photograph. I took this particular shot during low tide and I was able to get the surf in the foreground as well as the beach. You can just see some of the spray of the water on the far left side of the rock. I also always take a shot of the sun just creeping over the smaller rock in the middle that looks like a ship. Again, there are so many areas to move about during sunset that you usually run out of time as well as risk getting in someone’s way that is also taking sunset shots. I usually try to get here early enough so I can gauge the best place to be when the sun is beginning to set. The tide usually dictates where I plan to position myself. During this particular photograph, I was using my ND4 filter along with my CIR-PL, warming and UV filter. Again, I would recommend using a CIR-PL if you expect to use the shutter mode. You can’t take these type of shots without first eliminating some of the harsh light due to the intensity of the sun’s rays at sunset. The ND4 also allows me to open the shutter in order to get the mirrored image of the water while the sun was still somewhat high above the horizon. I was still only able to have the shutter open for 1.61 seconds but without the ND filter I wouldn’t have been able to use the shutter at all. The F stop was at F-36, the ISO was set at 100 and I set the white balance to -2. I was using my Canon 18-55mm lens and had the focal length at 49mm. I was also using my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. This shot would be impossible without a tripod. Cannon beach is one of my favorite places to get these types of shots when visiting the Northern Oregon coast and I would recommend Cannon Beach to anyone that may be visiting Portland since it’s an easy 80 minute drive.