Tag Archives: Pacific Ocean

Crashing Waves along the Oregon Coast

[/caption] Perfect swells crashing along the Oregon coastline! A great scene along the coastline, in the Pacific Northwest, is watching the swells build and then crash along the sandy beaches or rocky coastline. Due to the volume of the swells and the rocky or long sandy beaches, you have a great opportunity to watch some of the most awesome waves available. Oregon and Washington have over 340 miles of coastline with amazing views of the waves crashing along rocky cliffs or along its miles of sandy beaches. I personally like the Oregon’s Southern coast due to the water being a little more blue, which gives you some pretty spectacular photo opportunities with the waves crashing into the blue water. However, if you visit any of the Pacific Northwest beaches on a sunny day, you will find that all of the water along the coast will look a lot more blue. I’ve spent hours photographing the crashing waves, looking for that perfect shot that is better than the last. I normally don’t use a tripod since I find myself constantly chasing the best waves. I took this shot using my Canon 55-250mm lens and set the focal length at 250mm. I wasn’t using a tripod so I made sure to have the IS turned on and kept a steady hand since I had attached my CIR-PL and had the ISO at 100. I did increase the white balance to +3 but the aperture was only at F-5.6 and the shutter speed at 1/256. If you take shots of the crashing waves during the middle of the day and it’s sunny, you will have a much better chance of avoiding any blur or camera shake compared to low light during sunset or an overcast day.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon

[/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.

Oregon Coast

[/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.

Oceanside, Oregon

[/caption] A very stormy and cold winter sunset along the Oregon Coast. One of my first expeditions to the Oregon Coast, to capture the sunset, during Winter turned out to be one of my most memorable experiences. It didn’t help that the roads were icy and I had to drive over 4 hours round trip even though there was no more than 11 hours of light during the entire day. However, I had decided that I wanted to try and capture the perfect winter sunset with everything that an Oregon winter can offer. I made sure to bring along most of my snow-shoe gear so I wouldn’t have to suffer from the 34 degree temperatures and howling winds that made the temperatures drop into the teens. Even though my time allowed to photograph the scenery was limited, due to the shortened season, I was able to get this photo. The sun was actually dancing around some very fast moving and very aggressive clouds and it almost seemed that they were having a power struggle with each other. I was looking to get this exact shot of the sun just peeking from the cliffs with the clouds painted in an orange glow with the waves crashing against the rocks. The surf is also glowing in the turbulent and frothy salt water and the suns rays are spreading out along the entire sky. To get this shot, I made sure to set up my tripod, remote switch and bubble level in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. I also attached my ND4, CIR-PL and warming filter. I kept the camera mode in Program in order to avoid any blur from the water or clouds since I didn’t want to lose the personality of the swells. The shutter speed ended up at 1/6 second and the aperture was at F-4.5. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at 0 since the light was pretty dark due to the low light and time of day. This photo was taken just a few miles from Oceanside, Oregon, along a very secluded but easily found beach.

The beach at Ecola State Park, Oregon


Ecola State Park offers one of the most amazing and seldom visited beaches in Oregon. However, it’s not because it’s a long a stretch of Oregon that’s secluded and seldom seen. In fact, the area is one of the most visited state parks in the entire state but 99% of the tourists can only look down on the beach from high atop the viewing platform that overlooks the beach and Cannon Beach. One of the only ways that you can get down to the beach is by making the 1 1/2 mile hike that is fairly steep and rugged. However, it’s a pretty easy hike but most people either don’t want to take the time or are just plain lazy. The only other way to get to the beach is by waiting for a very low tide and quickly running around the rock that separates the beach and Cannon Beach. You will most likely have to get a little wet but I’ve been able to walk around a few times without having to get wet. Unfortunately, the tide very rarely gets low enough to allow you to avoid from getting a little bit wet. There actually used to be a short hiking trail that started from where the viewing platform is but the trail, stairs and most of the earth was washed out by a massive landslide several years ago and now only remnants of the trail exist today. This is actually good news since it now keeps hundreds if not thousands of people from overpopulating one of the most scenic beaches in the area. The hiking trail takes you through an old growth forest and provides beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. There are several resting areas along the trail and there are even additional trails that switchback around the park. There is also a waterfall that cascades onto the beach and eventually flows into the ocean.

The Needles at sunset in Cannon Beach, Oregon

[/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.

Hawaii conditions at the Oregon Coast

[/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.

The Needles at Cannon Beach, OR

[/caption] Summer is usually the best time to witness an awesome sunset along the Oregon coast. However, sometimes a cloud front moves in very unexpectedly and causes photographers to panic and scrambling for ways to take advantage of on otherwise wasted sunset opportunity. This is exactly what happened last weekend in Cannon Beach. The entire day was sunny without a single cloud in the sky but eventually a large cloud bank had built near the horizon out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I knew that I was in trouble so I decided to try to take advantage of the extremely low tide that created many of the rocks to become exposed that are otherwise completely submerged even during most low tides. However, I was really impressed with the photos that I was able to get of the Needles much farther out. I was able to get into a position that is almost impossible and was able to take this shot. I was impressed with the exposure since Haystack rock, which was just feet from me, was completely blocking out the sun but the Needles were glowing from the intense sun glare. The photo was taken at about 8:15pm and the sunset wasn’t until 9:15pm. However, the shade from Haystack rock allowed me to switch the camera mode to shutter priority and set the shutter speed to 3.2 seconds. You can see the froth and ghosting effect from the waves crashing into the rocks in the lower right part of the photo. I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch and also turned off the OS in order to eliminate any camera shake or blur. I also attached my warming filter, ND4 and CIR-PL. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -2 which caused the aperture to automatically set at F-28. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 46mm in order to frame the rocks as close as possible to the edge of the photo. I was fortunate that there weren’t any blurry sea birds in this shot since there are usually dozens of sea birds flying around and near the rocks. If you look closely, you can see several of them resting on the rocks.

Haystack Rock and the Pacific Ocean, OR

[/caption] Haystack Rock is just a few feet from the beach at Cannon Beach, OR with it’s western side holding flanks against the crashing waves. This photo was taken from the stairwell about 50 feet above the beach. This was actually my last shot of the evening and I was hoping to get a silhouette of Haystack Rock with the deep cobalt blue colors along with the last remaining colors from the sun. I was amazed that I was able to get exactly what I was hoping for. The cobalt blue color is attained by waiting at least an hour after the sunset and waiting for the sky to turn blue but before the night sky darkens too much. However, if you take it at the right moment you can get some of the last remaining red, orange and yellow colors from the sun. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 38mm since I was quite a ways from the rock. I removed the ND4 and CIR-PL filters since the light was way too low. However, I did keep the warming filter and UV filter attached. Since I had the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -1.3, the aperture was automatically set at F-8 since it was in Shutter Priority. I did set the shutter speed at 20 seconds and because of the long exposure there was plenty of light entering the camera sensor. Sunset was at about 8:40pm and this photo was taken at 9:42pm and the light was very low with only the horizon putting out any light.