the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Posts tagged “Pacific Ocean

On the Coast (part 1)

Oceanside SunsetEarlier this month, Tanya and I packed up Carson and the camping gear and headed south to the Oregon coast for a 4-day weekend. Being a Washington native, I suppose it is sacrilegious to admit I like the Oregon coast better than the Washington coast. Most of the easily accessible ocean beach in Washington consists of broad sandy beaches like those at Ocean Shores, which I posted about recently. I prefer a few rocky headlands to provide variety, tide pools, and wave action, like is found along much of the Oregon coast. Additionally, because of longshore drift bringing sediment north from the Columbia River, the water in Washington is silty and usually has a brown tint. Without any large rivers flowing into Oregon’s coast (south of the Columbia), the water is much cleaner.

Not wanting to drive too long, we chose to camp at Nehalem Bay State Park, about a 3 to 4 hour drive from Tacoma. This site gave me fairly quick access to the Cannon Beach and Three Capes areas. The weather couldn’t have been better (well, that’s not true, a photographer is never satisfied with the weather, there could have been a few more clouds to help create interest in the sky). The main problem was that the trip was over Mother’s Day weekend, which when combined with the nice weather, really brought out the crowds to the beach. As a result, most of the images I took were in the golden hours of early morning and late evenings, which not only had less people about, but better light than mid-day.

The photos featured here are from the Friday and Saturday portions of the trip. I’ll show images from the 2nd half of the trip in my next post.

West Mooring Basin

Boats in the West Mooring Basin at Astoria. The Astoria Bridge over the Columbia River in the background.

Nehalem Sunset

The sunset wasn’t great our first night in Oregon, but it sure was nice being on the beach. Here’s the sunset at Nehalem Bay State Park.

Haystack Rock

Morning light on Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.

Forest Floor

Forest floor at Oswald West State Park.

Cape Meares Light

Late afternoon sun at Cape Meares Lighthouse.

Oceanside Beach

The beach north of Oceanside, south of Cape Meares.

Waves at Sunset

This shot, as well as the featured one above, are of the sunset the 2nd night of our trip – much better than the first night. Both were taken at the beach past the tunnel, looking toward the Three Arch Rocks, at Oceanside.


Gray Day at Grayland

Waves on the JettyBad weather can often make for good photographs, or so I’ve often read. However, sometimes bad weather is just bad. Such was the case last Wednesday. I scheduled the day off from my day job to do some photography. Wednesday morning didn’t look too bad when I got up, but by the time Tanya and I had the dog and cameras packed up in the car it was raining. Remembering that bad weather sometimes makes for good photography, I wasn’t too worried about coming home skunked.

We drove south and west to go the beach at Westport and Grayland. Though the sun started peeking through the clouds early in the drive, by the time we reached Aberdeen, there was a constant mist falling and the sky was a blank, gray sheet. We stopped at the Johns River Wildlife Area to let the dog out. Luckily, the mist had stopped falling, and I was able to take a few photos. After an hour or so, we continued on to Westport. We drove down to the marina, and the mist started up again, now accompanied by wind. I walked a bit on the docks, but took few pictures – it was pretty miserable out.

We then drove over to the beach by the jetty, and the mist let up again. However, the sky was still a blank slate and the wind was strong. We walked on the beach some, and I took a few more photos. Normally in situations like this, where the sky is so lifeless in photos, I try to concentrate more on taking detail shots – like of beach rocks, patterns in the sand, etc. However, the wind was causing me problems, shaking the tripod. And the clouds were so thick, it was dark, requiring long shutter speeds.

Later we drove down to Tokeland and then back up to Grayland for another walk on the beach, this time back in the mist.  We ended the day having a picnic dinner, with a bottle of red from the Westport Winery, in the car facing the waves of the Pacific. There was no sunset, just a slow fading of what little light there was.

Overall, it was a great day. How can being on the beach with wife and dog not be? Just not a good day for photography.

Johns River Field

Wet field at Johns River Wildlife Area

Westport Docks

On the docks at Westport

Beach Scene

Beach detail at Westhaven State Park, Westport

Johns River Trees

Bare, lichen covered trees at Johns River

Beach Sign

Looks like they remembered the sign but forgot the road!