Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bandon, Oregon

Driving up the Oregon Coast I found myself falling in love with this state. First you come to Brookings, a small town with Harris Beach a very popular stop and Boardman State Park. The park extends north of town and has several viewing sites along the highway. All very beautiful, but continue on to Bandon. Oh Bandon! What a paradise for site seers and photographers.

The beaches at Bandon, as with most of the beaches in Oregon have a very gradual incline so that when a wave comes in it breaks and the glides and glides toward the high water mark. What this accomplishes for the photographer is a wonderfully reflective surface. Put something interesting to reflect, add some color in the sky and you have Bandon.

In addition to the reflective qualities, the fact the beaches incline is gradual means you can stand out in the surf without being inundated by the waves. This is not true at all of the beaches in Oregon, and not even at Bandon when the surf is rough, but when it is calm, it is paradise.
As my destination was Manzanita in the northwest quadrant of the state, I only had one night in Bandon. It was a mostly cloudless evening with a waxing gibbous moon scheduled that night and some clouds on the south and southeastern horizons.

This first image is looking south.  

I was hoping to include the moon in this shot but I would have had to be waist high in the surf to get the right angle.  Needless to say. . . .

When there are few or no clouds around you can still get some very interesting colors as the sun is near the horizon, both above and below.  This evening there was a golden glow just before the sun settled down below the horizon.

Later in my trip I shot many images after the sun had set.  The colors that develop are surprisingly beautiful.  I was also surprised that almost all of the people who had been out enjoying the scenery  had left the area before these special scenes showed up.  You will see what I mean a few weeks from now when I get to Indian Beach.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Trinidad, California

In the northwest corner of the State of California there is a little town called Trinidad. It is a sweet little place perched on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A short squat red and white lighthouse next to the road on the southern edge of the town looks over the boats moored far below by the pier that juts out into a protected cove. The view from here is toward the south and it is expansive. Venturing around the town to the northwest side you will find a sweet little beach with some very nice views. The easiest way to access this beach is through Trinidad Beach State Park where you can easily access a trail that winds back and forth down to the beach.

As with so many sites I visit I first discovered this one on the internet where I found an exquisite image taken by Patrick Smith. It was a time delayed shot taken with the aide of a ten-stop neutral density filter and the colors and textures were wonderful. I wanted the experience of shooting a similar shot, so on my way to Oregon I made sure I had time to stop and explore Trinidad. 

Landscape photography, really good landscape photography, needs to have certain characteristics or elements. Some you can control, like making sure the image is sharp, getting the composition right, selecting an appropriate depth of field. But some things we have no control over, like the weather, the drama in the sky, and the colors that show up. This is why many photographers will say it is one part skill and one part luck.

Well, you just have to make the best of what you are given. On my first visit to Trinidad it was overcast, not much detail in the sky, but a nice, fairly even light. I shot some images as it was late afternoon and a bit of a wait for sunset.  The image above is one of the ones I took that afternoon.

That evening I returned hoping for a nice sunset. There was no dramatic cloud cover, but gratefully a bit of fog just above the horizon to allow the sun to play some color into the scene.  Here is pretty much the same shot as above, just a different time of day with different conditions.

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy the East Side of The Sierras

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thor's Well, Oregon

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

The Surge

Filling the Shelf

The Return Begins

Thor's Well

Never Turn Your Back

When shooting at the ocean it is really important to keep one eye on the surf as it can sneak up on you. This was especially important out on this rock shelf as it was so easy to become completely absorbed by the activity in the well. But looking up, right next to us, was this scene: a reminder to never turn your back on the ocean.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

European River Cruise

We are in Amsterdam and it is our first night on the boat (Viking River Cruise). We are in bed and asleep by 10 pm.  It has been a long day of travel and we are exhausted. The boat is to disembark at 11 pm.  Around 11:30 I wake up.  No movement detected and I conclude the sailing time must have been delayed. Opening the curtain I am amazed that the world is silently passing by our window. There is not a hint of movement on the boat, just smooth, soft, quiet sailing. We are gliding through the Netherlands with windmills as our morning destination.

 Jan and I are both awake well before sunrise, coffees in hand, camera around my neck. We have a deck off our room so we can hang out there and watch the morning come alive. Here is one of the morning scenes on the river. This image was taken well before sunrise.

Each morning, a little before sunrise,  the mist would begin to form on the river, making for some very nice photo opportunities. Those passengers who sleep in have no idea of the beauty they are missing as these scenes only last a few minutes at most. Here is an image the sunshine began to cast its splendor on a misty Rhine.

This is our first day on the river and we are on our way to see the windmills in the Netherlands.  It was our first day of seeing the countryside and churches.  It all looked so clean and pristine.  I do not recall seeing one piece of trash in the Rhine the whole time we were sailing on it.  Here is a typical view:

And then finally, about mid morning we reach the area where we get to explore the windmills.

I normally take pictures with my Canon 5D Mk III camera. But for this trip, because we were going to be walking a lot, I brought along my much lighter Sony NEX 6. Considering these images (except for the windmills) were taken from a moving platform I thought the Sony did a decent job.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy my post about The East Side of the Sierras