He told me it was the scariest shoot he had ever done. Standing on the edge of the raging ocean, he was constantly worried the surge of the surf was going to pull him into the well. Looking down into it you can pretty well know if you go in you will not be coming out. How thrilling! I looked it up on the web and in reading about it saw more of these kinds of comments about how scary was. O.K., it would be really thrilling! When my friend told me the conditions were expected to be prefect soon and would I like to go, there was no hesitation “Count me in.”
It is called Thor’s Well and is located about half way up the Oregon Coast. It is a hole in the rocks that extends out to the ocean so that as a wave comes to shore it enters the hole and surges up through it coming out the top and spilling over on the surrounding rock shelf. It is a continuous emptying, gushing up and out, spilling over, and emptying again. Add to this the surf coming up onto the surrounding shelf as well and you have a real adventure! The classic photos capture the water as it spills back into the well in silky white steams of water.
The best time to be at Thor’s Well is at high tide at sunset or sunrise. If you are fortunate there will be a storm and the sea will be roiling and surging and fiercely spilling up over the shelf surrounding (and scaring) you as it provides an incredible photographic opportunity. There are some wonderful images of this that include lots of drama in the sky, but whether or not the extra drama is present, it is definitely a fun shoot.
Here are four images to give you an idea of the sequence of the surging and emptying process:
The Empty Well
Filling the Shelf
The Return Begins
Never Turn Your Back