Thursday, September 24, 2009

Last Light on Harris Beach

Finally some sun appeared at sunset at our last evening at Harris Beach. It was a small opening and I arrived late, dropping gear, wondering where to go with the gap between the clouds for the sun rapidly closing.

Last light on rocks on the south beach

Dashed down the beach to the rock group at the very end of the beach. Tide coming in, waves crashing just in front of me on a small rock platform. Fading light on closer rocks, so I used them to frame others with that great light still there. The rock on the left has a sort of a Neanderthal profile.

Sun now behind clouds and disappearing. Looking for other possibilities, the atmosphere of gray returns, with subtle colors and a now receding tide.

Rocks with back lighting as the gray returns

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sea Birds at Harris Beach, Brookings, Oregon

Wondering on the shore, camera in hand, the enjoyment of being there is always enhanced with wildlife. I have favorite birds, and tend to shoot these more often. Here are few pictures of the birds that were around when I was shooting all those sea stacks (see below).

Oystercatchers are always great to have around. First, they have a very distinct appearance with their black bodies, white legs, orange bills and intensely orange eyes outlined in red. They are also quite vocal, with a chattering call that can be heard for a very long distance.

An Oystercatcher at Harris Beach

They are also very social birds, and usually travel in groups. The largest group I have seen so far was at Cape Flattery, with as many as 80 Oystercatchers together there (look for future post).

Oystercatchers working the rocks

Another favorite are Pelicans. When we were here at Harris Beach two years ago, there were literally thousands of California Brown Pelicans. This year showed much lower numbers, but still enough to observe and enjoy. Some were hit hard last year, and were found far inland, seemingly disoriented. Others were washing up on the beach. Many believe, as is years past, that they were victims of pesticides.

Here are two drying and pruning offshore, joined by a Double-crested cormorant.

Pelicans and a Cormorant on a "adorned" rock

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lone Ranch Beach

The next afternoon brought a mix of fog and sun at Lone Ranch Beach, located just north of Harris Beach. Microclimates rules here. High cirrus clouds came in and out of view. Most other locations were bathed in fog the entire day.

Exploration in a new place is always interesting. Heading to the north, the beach quickly gave way to a diverse grouping of rocks of surprising variety. The fog was just off shore, but would break to reveal beautiful cirrus clouds.

Working with mid-day, stronger light naturally lends itself to black and white. Who says the so-called "Magic Hour" is just mornings and evenings!

North shore of Lone Ranch Beach

Another digital darkroom technique is to leave a certain amount of color, with the saturation lowered. With sun shots and back lighting, you can create images that have a somewhat surreal or night time appearance.

South shore of Lone Ranch Beach

As the afternoon progressed, the sunlight would soon be disappearing behind the fog. The sea stacks around the point also looked interesting. Better light and an interesting foreground attracted me before the direct, warmer sunlight was gone for good.

Late afternoon light

Secret Beach

Sounds enchanting, and it is. The longer trail to Secret Beach is a pleasant walk through the coastal forest. Judging by the amount of maidenhair ferns, it stays pretty damp along this trail.

Just before entering the beach, you are greeted by the creek, and this unbelievably huge fern. The fiddlehead getting ready to burst forth is larger than a clenched fist. The fronds were over 10 feet (!) in length. Very impressive.

Prehistoric Fiddlehead

The view of the beach from above is also impressive. There is a short rock scramble to get down to the beach, which can be seen on the right side of the photo below. It's steeper than it looks here.

Secret Beach

Once you are on the beach, you are greeted by a pleasant waterfall. Yellow Monkey Flowers adorned the right side.

Secret Beach Waterfall

Using a 6 stop Neutral Density filter, I was interested in capturing wave action with longer exposures. This photo is at 1/6 of a second.Wanted to retain some of the wave "structure" instead of it being smoothed more by longer exposures.

Interesting wave patterns at the end of the beach

The fog stayed around for the most part the entire time. Other smaller creeks were also interesting, and the area south of beach looked like it would be accessible at low tide. No question about returning to this very special beach.