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.
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.
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.
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.
Just another beautiful and sun drenched day along the Northern Oregon Coast. September is the best month to expect warm to hot temperatures and you’re almost guaranteed to miss any rain or fog. You may find yourself immersed in mid to upper 80 degree temperatures with even warmer ocean temperatures. Since the days are a bit shorter, you will really enjoy the cool down during the early morning and late evenings. Sunbathers swarm to the coast on weekends since the weather is almost guaranteed to offer the perfect late summer experience. It’s more like a Mediterranean type of climate with loads of beaches to comb and hundreds of trails to conquer. I would also highly recommend visiting during September since the crowds are gone and the hotel rates are more reasonable. However, many of the nicer hotel’s don’t lower their rates until mid to late October due to the excellent weather fall offers. I would suggest that you try to plan your stay during the mid week but expect to get a much better rate during the weekend.
Boaters beware! The mouth of the Columbia River Bar is as beautiful as it is treacherous. The Peter Iredale met it’s match in 1906 and is one of the 2,000 ships that have been eaten by the mouth of the Columbia River since 1792. Sea goers have named this place the Graveyard of the Pacific and there isn’t a single shipping captain or deckhand that would challenge that assumption. People may ask what makes it so treacherous and one only needs to witness the diabolical challenges that it possesses. Unlike other major rivers, the current is focused “like a fire hose” without the benefit of a river delta. Conditions can change from calm to life-threatening in as little as five minutes due to changes of direction of wind and ocean swell. Since 1792, approximately 2,000 large ships have sunk in and around the Columbia Bar and because of the danger and the numerous shipwrecks the mouth of the Columbia River acquired a reputation worldwide as the Graveyard of the Pacific. In fact, Commercial vessels can’t even cross over the bar without having a pilot climb aboard your vessel and steer it in for them. Now that’s what you call a river that demands your attention and respect. Another amazing fact about the Columbia River is that it has the greatest flow of any North American river draining into the Pacific and Its drainage basin is roughly the size of France and extends into seven U.S. states and a Canadian province. Even with better built boats and better technology available to keeping boaters more safe, there are still several boating accidents each year at the mouth of the Columbia River. Most people would be surprised that the Peter Iredale didn’t wreck along the Oregon coast during a huge storm that was ravaging and causing massive waves and thunderous rain but nothing more than just a change of the wind, a strong current and a lot of bad luck. The Peter Iredale was no match for the mighty Columbia River bar and there was nothing left for the crew to do but wait for a very hard landfall along the Oregon Coast. There isn’t much left of the old ship but it’s worth a visit if you’re visiting Fort Stevens State Park.
If you are ever interested in getting a beautiful and unexpected sunset shot along the Oregon Coast, I would recommend that you visit during a time when the weather is stormy and unpredictable. You can almost always expect the weather, along the Oregon coast, to be unpredictable but you can never be sure what to expect. The summer months are the most predictable unless the fog stays enough offshore that you aren’t able to get a good sunset shot. This is usually the only thing that you will ruin your shots. However, if they are predicting stormy weather, you can have a much better chance of being surprised by some crazy sunset opportunities. It’s important that you closely watch the weather predictions and then adjust for the chance that they will get it completely wrong. However, if you’re wanting to get some crazy sunset weather, you don’t really need to check the weather unless you want to be sure and pack the right clothes. I find that rainy and stormy weather offers photographers the chance to really step up their game and allows you to really step out of the box. I try not to be a storm chaser but rather choose a location that will create the best canvas for some stormy weather shots. Utilizing rocks, sand and trees can really enhance your photo and if you can include the clouds and sun, you really have a winning shot. I took this shot and it shows how I took advantage of the offshore rocks, beach, clouds and sun cutting through the clouds. To get this shot I set the camera mode to shutter priority and set the speed at 10 seconds. I wanted to get the movement of the clouds and make the ocean look frothy. You can’t really see the beach but it’s in the foreground and the beach is made of medium sized black rocks. I attached my CIR-PL, warming filter and ND filter in order to increase the shutter speed and not have too much glare from the sun. I also wanted to capture the reflection of the sun beaming off the frothy ocean in order to create a biblical type of photo. I also set the ISO at 100 and put the white balance at +1. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 55mm.
One of the best Coast lines, along the Pacific Ocean, sits between Brooking’s Oregon and Gold Beach, Oregon. Here is where you will find Oregon’s Gold Coast. You will find yourself drenched in the warm evening sunset’s, warm breezy afternoon’s and sunny and cool morning’s. Late summer and early Fall are the best times to experience the Mediterranean type climate that rushes through Southern Oregon’s coastline. Here you will also find Oregon’s pine apple express that brings warm offshore winds as they collide with the warm beaches. There are also hundred’s of miles of trails that take you inside the coastal mountains or drop you into the many private and hidden beaches. You may also spend several days navigating some of the amazing river’s that work their way towards the Pacific Ocean. If you don’t want to spend all of your time in hotel’s you can choose from the many camping grounds that are scattered throughout the region. If you enjoy taking photos I would recommend that you bring all of your camera gear since you will be amazed at the possibilities available. There are botanical gardens, rocky cliff’s, wildlife, waterfalls, creeks, lighthouses, seabirds, and the list goes on and on.
[/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.