[/caption] Sunsets along the Northern Oregon coast can surprise even the most seasoned photographer or local residents. The most important thing is to have the clouds on the horizon to allow the sun to set below the Pacific Ocean without being obscured from any oncoming cloud formations. After that, you have no idea what the sunset might look like. On this particular sunset, the sun was partially obscured by the approaching clouds and some light fog had moved in and around the rocks. This caused the rocks to appear as though they were almost floating in mid air. The clouds high above looked like pop corn being strewn along the sky. This was one of the most entertaining sunsets that I had ever witnessed and I was caught off guard, which caused me to almost panic and just start taking photos without having any real plan. The tide was also pretty high, so I wasn’t able to get too close to the rocks and tide pools. This meant that I had to stand pretty far back but at least I was able to this this type of shot with the reflection of the rocks and the varying colors of the sky and beach. I was using my Canon T1i and attached my Tokina 12-24 wide angle lens. I also attached my warming filter and CIR-PL in order to keep the shutter priority open. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. Since I put the camera mode at shutter priority, the aperture was set at F-22 and I set the speed at 13 seconds. The focal length was at 15mm in order to get the most panoramic photo as possible without having too much empty space past the rocks on either side. The ISO was set at 100 and the white balance at -2 due to the glare from the water. This photo was taken on 9/3/10 and it was about 7:30pm. The sun had set around 6:30pm so the color contrast was almost perfect but unfortunately the fog hovering around the rocks made it challenging to get the best shots. It also helped that I didn’t have any problems with other photographers or beach combers walking in front of me. In fact, I can’t really remember why I was able to get so many of these far away panoramic shots without having an issue with people getting in the way.
[/caption] Cannon Beach is a great place to visit if you’re interested in visiting spotless beaches with a beautiful sandy coastline. On warm sunny days you can get some great views of the rocks, coastline and mountains. In fact, September and October can be the best time to experience the most beautiful weather along the Northern Oregon coast. You will also be surprised to find out that the beaches are pretty much void of the vacationers. This can be really helpful if you’re wanting to get some great photos of the beaches without having too many people in them. This photo was actually taken in October and the temperature was near 80 degrees. There were hardly any crowds and I was able to walk out in the waves and get some great shots of the water and sand. You will want to make sure that you bring a wet rag that you can use to wipe of your camera, lenses, tripod and anything else that may get salt spray on them. With beautiful weather like this you will want to be sure and stay for a great sunset.
[/caption] Cape Falcon and Oswald West State Park is the place that has just about everything you could ask for. It’s a short walk to Smuggler Clove and Short Sand Beach with two waterfalls cascading into the Pacific Ocean. There are incredible views that follow along the Cape Falcon trail with sheer drop offs plunging several hundred feet down to the ocean. A campground offers an extended stay which is good since there are several different trails that offer over 20 miles of hiking trails. There are several spots to take in the horizon looking out towards the ocean with incredible views of the crashing waves thundering against the rocks and impassable beaches far below. I took this shot back on 3/23/10 and it was about 2:00pm in the afternoon. As you can see the sun was directly above which was creating some intense sun glare. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -0.3 in order to offset some of the overexposure. I also attached my warming and CIR-PL to tame some of the suns rays and bring out the warm colors of the rocks. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. A wide angle lens allows you to garner as much to this panoramic view as possible. It would really hurt if you were to fall from this spot. This is a popular viewing area and there is also a narrow and less traveled trail that takes you lower but the views aren’t as good as this. You can see as far as Cape Lookout which is about 30 miles from where I took this photo. I had the camera mode in Program/Normal so the aperture was set at F-9 and the shutter speed at 1/200 second. I tilted the camera down a bit in order to avoid too much glare which helped bring out the colors and context of the cliff below as well as the land masses in the far distance. I also wanted to avoid any sun spots from appearing in this shot. I’ve never taken any sunset shots from this spot but I could imagine it would be pretty spectacular. However, you would need to watch your step and bring plenty of light since one false step would surely be your last.
[/caption] This photo joins the many photos taken at Ecola State Park along the Oregon Coast. It’s considered one of the most photographed areas in the United States. However, I am not always impressed with many if not most of the photos that I’ve reviewed on the internet or magazines. I know that this isn’t the best photo taken from here but I wanted to share just how dynamic this area really is. On this day the tide was extremely high and the swells were absolutely massive. Probably the biggest I had ever seen and I’ve been visiting the Oregon for four decades now. On this day the temperatures were pretty warm and the air was exceptionally warm. the tide and the onshore air was stirring the thin clouds up against the coast line which created this interesting scene shown in this photo. I darkened the rocks in order to create a kind of silhouette against the ocean. I was using my Canon T1i along with my Canon 18-55mm kit lens. I again attached my warming and CIR-PL filter due to the harshness of the sun and the glare created by the water and low thin clouds. I spent most of the day scouring around the park to try and capture the wrath of the swells hammering against the coastline and rocky beaches. This was truly one of my best days along the coast. I had my camera in Program/Normal mode so the aperture was at F-6.3 and the shutter at 1/80 second. I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance to -0.7 in order to combat the harsh light created by the glaring ocean and clouds. I I set the focal length at 33mm in order to eliminate parts of the beach that I didn’t want in the shot.
[/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.