[/caption] Tuesday’s weather was amazing all over the Pacific Northwest. There was only one problem though. I had to choose between snow-shoeing in the Cascades, hiking along the Columbia River Gorge, walking along the Spring Flowers or visiting the Coast. I chose to visit the coast since I knew that the weather was going to be especially amazing. And I wasn’t disappointed. I haven’t seen weather like this, on the coast, in several years. The sun was positioned perfectly and the blue sky and water made for the easiest of photos. You couldn’t have taken a bad picture even if you tried. I settled on this photo due to the amazing colors in the sky as well as the motion of short sand creek winding it’s way towards the Pacific Ocean. The setting sun really gave the ocean and the creek a really dynamic glow. I set me camera on auto/shutter priority in order to get a really good blurred effect. The F stop was at 25 and the focal length was at 32mm. I stacked several filters on my 18-55mm kit lens. I had my usual uv filter but also added my warming filter, CIR-POL and my ND8. Without my ND filter, I wouldn’t have been able to get the blurred effect like this since the sun was so intense. I had to zoom in a bit in order to keep any of the surfers or beach combers from appearing in the shot. The ISO speed was at 100 and the shutter was at 1 second. I was trying to create a very tranquil setting as to make it look as though this could be a rocky deserted island. I normally only come here to hike and take photos along some of the many rocky cliffs or heavily canopied forest but I decided to try my luck at a sunset shot. I wasn’t disappointed at all.
[/caption] I can’t believe Spring is officially here. It’s pretty cool to think that soon all of the spring flowers and trees will be blooming. I’ve already snatched every Oregon flower brochure that I could find so I don’t miss any of the spring festivals this year. This will be my first year ever being able to go to one, so I hope to get some really great shots. I took this photo of a wild iris about two years ago along the Oregon coast. This was along the South trail of the Cape Lookout trail system. This was back when I was using my Panasonic Lumix point and shoot. I believe I was using a warming filter as well as a CIR-POL. I believe I didn’t even crank up my ISO or the white balance. Even though it was around noon, the lighting was perfect since the trail was shrouded in shade. I didn’t use a tripod on this shot. I was really surprised that this came out since my Panasonic is only a 8mp and is really shaky at close range, even though it has IS.
[/caption] Cannon beach is not only one of the best places to photograph sunsets but it’s also one of Oregon’s busiest spots to shoot sunsets. Haystack rock, the needles and the large tide pool makes it a no brainer why its so popular. This is one of the few spots that lure dozens of photographers trying to capture the perfect sunset. I took this shot on 9/09. September is always a great time at the Oregon Coast. The days are long and the weather is usually perfect….Sunny, warm and always offering a great sunset. I usually start with several ND filters and then start removing my filters as the sun sets and it gets darker. I have sometimes stacked two ND filters (8 and 4) along with my warming filter and my CIR-POL filter. The sun is usually so intense that I need to block out the intense glare. For this picture I had used my ND-8, warming filter and my CIR-POL. I had set the camera on auto with a 1 sec shutter speed. I set my ISO to 100 and F-16. I used my 18-55mm Canon kit lens at 39mm. I have several sunset pictures of the Needles. I usually choose the Needles over Haystack rock since I find them more interesting and they are just past the breakers allowing more personality in your photo choices.
[/caption] While driving along the Columbia River, I noticed a sign that ready Eagle Sanctuary. I decided to check it out. There is a small area just off the road where you can view Eagles near the river. There is a small viewing platform and some information about the eagles and when and where to see them. After about 30 minutes of standing in the rain, I noticed that the clouds were starting to make some pretty awesome formations over the Columbia River, looking towards Washington. It was amazing how quickly they were changing shapes and moving east. There was a really fast moving cold front moving from the Pacific ocean towards the valley. I did however manage to take a quick photo of a younger bald eagle from about 50 yards away but it never landed so I wasn’t able to get a good shot. I also did see 4 adult bald eagles but they were too far to get a photo. I was far more amazed to get some shots of these awesome clouds. I used my 18-55 canon lens and set the ISO setting to 200. I did keep my cir-pol lens on but I did increase the AE setting to 2 since it was raining a bit and was thoroughly overcast.
[/caption] What a difference a day makes. I took this shot on Sunday. My previous two posts were taken on Saturday when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. However, Sunday was much different. The clouds had moved in from the Pacific which made for some great backdrops when photographing around the piers. I wasn’t able to get as many shots of the ships steaming under the bridge as I would have liked. I’m sure a lot of this had to do with the fact that it was Sunday. This shot really shows just how massive the Astoria-Megler bridge is. It completely dwarfed all of the ships that traveled under it. Again, I was blessed with great light. I was able to set my Exposure comp./AEB setting to between 0 and 1. I used my warming filter and PL-CIR to ensure that the exposure and composition were perfect. The only time I really had to increase the exposure was when I was directly under the bridge. I never had to use my tripod, which allowed me to cover a lot of ground along the piers and also allowed me to take a lot of photos.
[/caption] Blue sky and the Astoria Column. This photo was taken last Saturday. The sky was so blue that I had to include this photo on my blog. I have never seen the sky look so blue. You would never believe that this was taken in early March. I used my wide angle lens to capture the awesomeness of the column and I cropped the photo to remove some of the blue sky. This way I could include more of the column in the shot. As you can see, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky the entire day. However, it was windy and a little chilly at the top of the column.
[/caption] I went to Astoria on Saturday and stayed until Sunday. This was one of my most awesome photography weekends EVER. Saturday didn’t have a cloud in the sky. The sky was a deep blue, there was no wind and the temperature was perfect. Sunday was overcast but it made for awesome stormy pictures while photographing near the Astoria-Megler bridge. The best thing is that it never rained and the temperature wasn’t too bad. I can honestly say that from the 1500 photos that I took, I saved over half of them. That’s how good the day went. I would recommend visiting Astoria if you haven’t already. There is plenty to do. I was able to get some of my best panoramic photos from the top of the Astoria Column. This is a 125 foot tower that was built in 1926 and has a 164 spiraling staircase to the top. The city of Portland needs something like this. The column was in great shape and the park was immaculate. You can see Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helen’s looking east. You can really zoom in to the ships, bridge and town if you have a descent telephoto lens. Since Astoria is the oldest settlement west of the Rockies, there are plenty of old houses, buildings, piers, old pilings and other attractions that make for a photographers dream. I never had the time to tour any of the several museums or old military bunkers. I think I counted 12 visitor sites in my book. However, I did make time to photograph the Goonies house and the elementary school where kindergarten cop was filmed. Since Astoria sits right on the Columbia, you can watch several tankers and barges steam under the bridge and see them anchored in the channel. Again, I could have taken over 2500 photos just of the ships along the river. There are also two great lighthouses to visit in Washington…Cape Disappointment and North Head lighthouse. However, I was surely disappointed in the conditions of each of these lighthouses. Maybe I’m just used to the Oregon lighthouses, which are in much better shape. I was short on time, so I wasn’t able to hike many of the trails that intersect both of the lighthouses so I plan on going back when I have more time. In fact, I was so rushed to find a good sunset spot that I eventually settled on an unfinished viewpoint area just north of the North Head lighthouse. To get to the lighthouses it’s a relatively short drive from Astoria. You just take the Astoria-Megler bridge north and then it’s about 15 miles. We spotted a bald eagle on our drive. We also passed Fort Columbia and several spots that would make for great sunset shots. Since I have so many photos that I think people would enjoy, I will be posting some more on my blog asap.
[/caption] No I didn’t take this photo last summer. I took this last Saturday during one of our warm and sunny days along the Coast. What’s most interesting is that there was absolutely no wind for the entire day. There wasn’t even any wind at the summit of Neahkahnie Mountain. The crowds were also fairly spars as well. This made for one of the best days along the coast in a long time. The sun set fairly quickly so I had to really scramble to get some descent shots. I didn’t need to use any of my ND filters, which made it easier for me to change lenses when needed.
Visiting the Oregon Coast during the cold snap that kept the temperatures well below 30 degrees. The wind chill was especially cold during the morning and sunset. During the afternoon it wasn’t that windy and the sun really felt good. However, it didn’t last very long. The clouds and sun were awesome. One of the best reasons for visiting the Coast during the cold season.