“Sea Snacks” are what Jeff calls the Sea Stacks along the Oregon coast. Perhaps, he is envisioning a photographic snack on a beautiful setting?

Sea stacks are momentous rock towers that arise along a coast line and change an ordinary sandy beach into a potentially epic seascape. Since Oregon is known for its sea stacks along the coast, I had the lofty goal to capture at least one epic seascape in each location. I didn’t think that was asking too much. After all, we planned to be on the coast for 9 days.  The key, of course, is the weather.

Oregon reminds me of Iceland. Why? Good weather is a misnomer. In both places, my experience has been that every day is cool, windy and rainy. If you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the sun at sunrise or sunset, the skies have soft light with muted color. Not at all like the fiery reds and oranges I am used to seeing in the Arizona skies. However, that doesn’t deter me from imagining a fantastic sunset. Realistic or not.

Epic scene, but misty rain and low clouds create flat light.

I packed full rain gear, waterproof boots, and thermal underwear as well as a raincoat for my camera. I was ready for whatever Oregon could throw at me, or so I thought. Heavy rains, sleet, 20-30mph winds with gusts over 40mph were not on the itinerary.  I might be able to stay dry, but it was hard to keep the lens free of wind driven rain. Even if I could capture a photo, the mist and the rain made everything look flat and blurry.

Maybe I’ll try high-key? It’s a photography style that works well in cloudy conditions. In nature, high-key involves over exposing the clouds, and blowing out shadows to leave the subject isolated on a white background.

Exploring High Key Photography Technique at Bandon Beach

How about Black and White?  We had all sorts of grey, but no contrast. Unfortunately, Black and white works better with contrast. 

One day we had sun and blue sky at noon which created enough contrast to try Black and White.

The weather forecast would say 80% rain and / or 98% cloud cover, but I would still drag Jeff to the beach,. Who knows, the forecast could be wrong.

And on a few days it was…

Lone Ranch Beach

Just a bit of color at sunset on Lone Beach

Early morning with low tide

Bandon Beach

Golden Hour on Bandon Beach – photobombed by a seagull

Jeff fell in love with the “Wizard’s Hat” sea stack

I too, fell in love with the Wizard’s Hat

The clouds broke just a bit and the sun highlighted the stormy seas

Cannon Beach

Finally, at the end of our coastal journey, we arrive at Cannon Beach known for its “Haystack” shaped sea stack. The sun is shining and we have color. Jeff is nonplussed. “The other sea stacks were better.” Perhaps he is right, but we have good weather with an epic seascape. I claim success. 

Cannon Beach at Sunset

What do you think, was I successful in capturing an epic seascape?  If so, which is your favorite?