Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The Magic of Cannon Beach in Winter
It's a great place to take the family; the beach is perfect for kids and pets to play, beachcombing at low tide, a romantic walk in the evening, and of course, the chance to break out the photography gear. My personal experience? The former allows the latter!
Winter is a great time in general to visit; the crowds are gone, lodging is very reasonable (often half price), and the air is much clearer and the skies so much more interesting. In summer, the warm air tends to bring fog in the mornings and evenings. In winter, the air stays cool and the views clear for those dramatic sunsets. Or, maybe you want to storm watch, which was our original intention.
Hallmark Resort. It is located right on the beach and has the closest lodging to Haystack Rock, has direct beach access, is pet friendly, is located on the edge of downtown so that you can walk to all amenities, and has an indoor pool, spa, sauna, exercise room and more to keep the family entertained. The rooms also have a full kitchen so that you can cook your own meals if you wish (I did a prime rib in the oven for Christmas dinner).
For the photographer, this is a great place to keep your family busy while you get down to business! Cannon Beach is in close proximity to two of the most iconic images on the Oregon coast: Haystack Rock & The Needles, and Crescent Beach from Ecola State Park.
The classic composition here is of Haystack Rock and The Needles at sunset silhouetted against a dynamic, radiant evening sky. Even better is to catch the reflection of the scene in the water along the beach as the tide recedes. Watch out for those sneaker waves; they typically aren't strong enough here to be dangerous, but they can make you very wet on an already chilly evening if you are not careful.
While you may have some small crowds to deal with in the evening (nothing like in summer, mind you), you will find their numbers directly proportionate to the temperature. As the sun sets and the temps drop, so do the people. When the best light arrives after the sun has set (and pink clouds emerge), you may be all alone.
While the entire sky is subject to fantastic morning color, fishing boats with their bright lights are common just out to sea, mainly directly west and northwest. A south facing composition catches the most dramatic early light and avoids these unwanted objects. As the morning grows lighter, the clouds to the west and northwest will turn pink to purple and the boats will be less noticeable, if not entirely undetectable.
There are other places to visit and photograph within Ecola State Park as well - don't forget to check out Indian Beach and the views out to Tillimook Lighthouse!
I recommend a mid-telephoto lens, such as a 24-70 lens for these locations. I also recommend both a 2 and 3-stop reverse gradual neutral density filter for shooting the sunsets.
I will be adding these and more images to my Oregon Coast Gallery soon. In the meantime, check out images from here and the entire Oregon coast here.
As always, thanks for viewing!