Category Archives: Oregon

Long Days

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 100-400 mm, ISO 200, f/8 @ 1/400 sec.

After three weeks of sunrises before 6am, sunsets around 9pm, and scouting or hiking in between, I am tired. I took a few days with less photography and recouped. I napped, went to the library, ate in town and hung out by the campfire with my neighbors – two teachers from Boise. The highlight of this area was definitely Luna Sea Fish House. Rod and I ate there last year and it is still the best clam chowder so far and the halibut and chips are outstanding.

View from the top of Cape Perpetua

For these three nights camping, I did not have a campground chosen, the one I wanted didn’t take reservations, so I lived on the wild side. I ended up at a different campground then I had planned and it was better. Leaving it to fate worked. Cape Perpetua forest service campground is lovely with a creek next to every camp spot and endless trails around. I hiked the St. Perpetua trail to the top of the Cape, a 600ft elevation climb in under 2 miles. With clear skies, the view was astounding. I also hiked down to the tide pools and photographed crashing waves. At the end of the day, my phone said I hiked 77 stories and completed almost 20,000 steps. No wonder I was tired!

Cape Perpetua

This area is known for its beauty and crashing waves. It does not disappoint. Although I was tired part of my stay, I enjoyed the tide pools, crashing waves and patterns in water. There are never enough sea star images! Every sea star has a personality, whether they are “cuddling” with others or look like they are “dancing,” I smile at the sight of them. Low tide was a negative tide early in the morning, so very few people were there, it was an ideal time to photograph them.

Messages in Water

This water is almost whimsical. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/6.3 @ 1/4000 sec.

At one point, my husband Rod asked me, “Why photograph water? What interests you?” I have thought about this a lot. As I capture images of water, I love how emotions can be expressed in water from raging mad to serene and calm. As I came to this conclusion I started a new book I purchased a year or more ago and haven’t had time to read, The Hidden Messages in Water. In the book, Masaru Emoto, studied water crystals and how they formed differently depending on their environments. When the water was subject to classical music beautiful crystals emerged, when subject to hate words no crystals formed. Then, he makes the relationship to humans being 70% water. No wonder water makes me feel emotions. After starting this book, I recognize water energizes me and brings me different emotions. It sure is fun photographing.

This crashing wave causes concern. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/5, 1/500 sec.

Teardrop Travels

My Renegade and teardrop trailer in Yachats, Oregon.

So many people are curious about the teardrop, so I thought I would share it with you. This bed on wheels has a queen mattress, battery with 10 volt and 110, stores camp chairs and REI folding table, with a back hatch to cook out of (or I cook at any given picnic table). We have a tray on the front of the teardrop that holds our “bear proof” cooler and with two bags of block ice, I keep my items cold for 5+ days. Not to mention, I can make a U-turn and if my parking is so dismal, I can disconnect and move it myself since it only weighs 1000 pounds! I keep one box of food in my car, mostly nuts, easy to boil Indian food and rice and Austin’s suggestion – mashed potatoes. I often eat rice cakes with almond butter and honey for breakfast or settle for a Lara bar.

Bottle wine is better than box wine.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 100-400 mm, ISO 400, f/8 @ 1/1000 sec.

One of my past conversations with my sister was about wine. Not an uncommon conversation between us and when I told her I was buying a box of wine to have on the trip because the box would store better and easier when drinking from my plastic tumbler. She said, “You are in Oregon get a bottle of Oregon wine.” So, I bought both. And without a doubt, bottle wine is better than box wine. Now, I need to find a wine glass to replace the tumbler.

For the Phototogs!

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100mm, ISO 400, f/16, 1/320 sec.

One thing I have been serious about is cleaning my gear daily. Wiping it down with a damp cloth to remove sea spray and using a blower and wipes on the lenses. The sea spray gets everywhere! If I am not wearing my gear, I keep it in the car, covered or in a tub. After a few days rest and a shower, I am ready to tackle on Newport, Oregon.

Sweet

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/22.0 @ 4 sec., with circular polarizing filter.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 200, f/13 @ 2.5 sec., with circular polarizing filter.

The whole reason I chose the next campground because it was located near Florence, OR. Last summer, Rod and I hiked Sweet Creek Falls and I wanted to go back. I did have my camera and tripod with me last summer, but we arrived after the sun was hitting the creek, so the images were not what I wanted. So, I planned a trip back. And not just one, but two. I went both mornings while camped outside of Florence. It was a 45-minute drive to the creek and I was the first one there, I had the place to myself for at least an hour. Once the sun hit the trees above, the reflections hit the water below and it was magic. This hike has many different waterfalls, some larger and some smaller. All exquisite!

Jessie M Honeyman State Park campground was much busier than any other I stayed in. Sand dunes are attached to the campground and many families were there with the four-wheeled sand vehicles making it much busier and louder. I was happy to spend more time at Sweek Creek Falls!

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/8 @ 1/5 sec.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/18 @ 2.5 sec., with circular polarizing filter.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, 12-100 mm, ISO 400, f/16 @ 4 sec., with circular polarizing filter.

Florence is a nice little town along the river and I continued my taste testing of clam chowder soup here as well. This time I went to Mo’s – the Oregon favorite. It was good, better than any so far.

Humbug Mountain

12-100mm, ISO 400, f/14 @ 1/15 sec.

7-14mm, ISO 400, f/16 @ 1/500 sec.

Arriving at Humbug Mountain State Park on July 4th was great. I went to Port Orford (nearest town) before I checked into my campground to preview the holiday festivities. Scouting for the fireworks launch was easy, so I ate fish and chips at a local restaurant. It was ok, but not Taco Temple from Morro Bay (see Morro Bay blog post). Once settled at camp, I walked to the beach, a short .25 mile walk and mostly empty. Although it was cloudy, the patterns in the clouds were stunning. I ran back to camp for my wide-angle lens (7-14mm). The spot I chose to photograph was the intersection of Brush Creek flowing into the ocean. The lines from the creek and the clouds intrigued me and I visualized this image in black and white.

As evening drew near, I faced the decision to drive the 7 miles to town for fireworks, or to catch sunset at the beach. In the previous two hours, the clouds were breaking and I suspected a decent sunset was in the making, so I stayed. The sunset did not disappoint. What stunning colors, reflecting off the sand and lighting up the clouds. This beat fireworks any day!

Too Talkative

Camp at Humbug Mountain

It is not uncommon for campers to inquire about my teardrop trailer. Several are intrigued with the size and ease of use. So, I wasn’t surprised when a woman approached me at Humbug. What did surprise me was the look she got on her face after I talked to her for a while. The look was, “please stop talking and let me go!” I realized after she left I have not talked to anyone for some time and I was talking her ear off. I probably gave her my life story…yes, I did. Maybe if I found a “Wilson” like Tom Hanks had in that movie – something to converse with so I don’t bore future campers.

Ho Humbug!

iPhone photo

My last full day, I hiked Humbug Mountain! This trail was 6 miles round trip, summit with an elevation of 1748 feet (I was at sea level) and views were spectacular. The morning was cloudy which meant fog at the top and the overgrown trail with moist ferns soaked my pant legs. The view at the top was uneventful and I was drenched. The trail was a loop and I went up the moister western side with one small ocean view. The drier east side on my descent included many flowers and even a snail. Both trails included a lot of

over/under fallen trees. A highlight of my trip so far.

Heading north from Humbug, I spent the day in Bandon (always a favorite town) and then arrived at Sunset Bay Campground outside of Coos Bay. Although I am staying 3-4 days in each location, I wish I was staying a week in every spot. There is so much to see, photograph and enjoy. The best part of Sunset Bay Campground – it is only a 5-mile drive to get to two more state parks, all part of Cape Arago. From crashing waves, whale & seal watching to rose gardens and sunsets, this 5-mile stretch has it all.

60mm macro, ISO 200, f/5.6 @ 1/125 sec.

The highlight for me at this location was Shore Acres State Park Gardens. It was cloudy and the rose garden was unbelievable. Every time I see beautiful rose gardens, I think of my mom; she loved her roses. Luckily for me the sprinklers just sprayed the garden so I followed the sprinklers to capture water drops on the plants. At least I can say I did not place the water. I shot at the gardens until my batteries ran out!

60mm macro, focus stacked, ISO 200, f/4 @ 1/30 sec.

Back at camp, another camper stopped by to say I had the “other” teardrop trailer in the campground. We chatted for a while and he invited me to their camp. I did stop in and met his wife, parents and their teardrop. Their trailer is a bit fancier than ours with many built in shelves and many amenities. It was a great happy hour visit and I discovered he knows a rock climber we know! Isn’t it funny, traveling so far and someone else knows Frank Sanders! Another evening, I ventured into the closest town of Charleston to check out the harbor and watched several sea lions fishing.

For the Photogs!

12-100mm, ISO 200, f/20 @ 1/80 sec.

Since sunset is averaging at 9pm, I eat dinner around 4:30pm and then head out. I haven’t shot a lot of sunrises mostly because it takes time for the sun to hit the coast. There will be a sunrise or two in the future though (or more). My “go to” lens is still the 12-100mm (24-200 full frame equivalent) unless I am capturing macro objects. Like the Shore Acres State Park Gardens, I use the 60 mm (120 mm) or my 40-150mm lens for close-up images.

The Sunset Bay photo was captured at ISO 200, f/20, 1/80 sec, and if you look closely, you will see a silhouette of a person next to the trees! Of course, I did not see the person until I downloaded my photos.

Driving Details

I am currently at 2049 miles driven with an average 21.2 mpg for the first 2.5 weeks. My internet service is minimal as I move up the coast and my next location is only 40 miles north! I scouted that area last summer and am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.

12-100mm, ISO 400, f/5.0 @ 1/2000 sec.

12-100mm, ISO 400, f/4.0 @ 1/60 sec.

Fighting My Fears

Patrick’s Point

Evening Fog at Patrick’s Point

Some locations are so magical you are drawn to return. That is the case with Patrick’s Point State Park, CA. Being my third or fourth time at this campground I just can’t get enough. When I routed my trip, I intentionally planned a night to stay at this memorable spot. Our family discovered this spot a few years ago when Austin toured Humboldt State University in Arcata. He didn’t choose the school, but we still love the location. The camp sites are great, there are showers and beautiful beach access to Agate Beach. The reward for the steep path is this beautiful beach. Morning and evening fog is common and the agates are plentiful. This year, I came prepared and carried my full pack of lenses ready to shoot anything my heart desired. I started photographing waves. Tide was coming in and the crashing waves were mesmerizing. I spotted two loudly chirping, juvenile peregrine falcons. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what they were at first, so once I captured a good image, I sent it to a friend to identify (thanks Mary!) What I thought was a mamma bird with the juveniles was really a pair of turkey vultures. The falcons appeared nervous even though they aren’t on the food chain for vultures. One of the vultures did “fly by” very closely and maybe it was to intimidate these young falcons.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When one of the falcons landed on a snag not too far away, I slowly inched closer taking a few shots along the way. I stopped easily 10 times before I feared going any closer. It appeared I made it nervous. It’s head twitched more, it defecated and I knew it would fly off soon. I zoomed my Olympus 40-150mm lens wider to allow room for the wings in the frame and sure enough, it took off. Still using burst mode, I got off four shots that were sharp but it flew toward me FAST and I couldn’t keep up with it’s movement. It was almost dusk, so, I switched back to capture images of the crashing waves. I took several with fast shutter speeds and as it darkened, I switched to slow shutter speeds.

Solo Footprints

The next morning, I returned to the empty beach. Imagine having a beautiful beach to yourself. In the past, I have photographed many banana slugs on my way to the beach, but there were very few that morning. So, I enjoyed waves and the solitude before returning to camp for breakfast and packing to move on up the coast.

Trees of Mystery

Hidden Beach

On many occasions, we have stopped at the tourist attraction, Trees of Mystery in Orick, CA. Mostly we stopped to use the restroom, look at all the touristy things and buy fudge. Never have we toured the trees. And I didn’t this time either. But, I found a great trail to Hidden Beach across the street from the Trees of Mystery. I read about it before my trip and despite the trail feeling secluded, I ventured to the beach. It was a ½ mile hike to the beach on a closed in “rainforesty” trail. I set up my running app so I could follow the distance. This is not a trail I would normally do on my own. But I read many reviews, carried my pepper spray and hiked FAST. After .10 miles, I told myself, “Before long, you will be at .20 miles” Then at .15 miles, I told myself, “only .10 more and you will be halfway.” And that continued until I arrived at the beach, which really took .60 miles! This beach was amazing. Driftwood covered the edges of this pristine beach and there was one other family enjoying the tranquility as well. I spent an hour taking it in and then returned to the teardrop. On the return hike, I only looked at my running app twice. Progress.

Me at Hidden Beach

Realization

Finally, I made it to Oregon! Our family has driven through many of these southern Oregon towns but never had time to stop. So, I stopped at Harris Beach State Park just north of Brookings and spent three days. What a gem. Oregon State Parks are tremendous with clean bathrooms, free showers and great prices. Not to mention gasoline for my car just dropped .60 a gallon when I entered the state. I arrived just in time to check in and parking has been mastered! I backed in superbly to this spot, I took a photo and sent it home! My skills have progressed

Harris Beach State Park

and I back in the trailer like I know what I am doing.

I have come to realize I can’t see or do it all. So, I am focusing on the spots around me and only venturing further off the path if it seems worth it for my study of water or my own personal interests. The beach was .35 miles from my camp spot and I spent a lot of time there. Tidepools and crashing waves kept me very busy. Clouds and fog settled in each night, so I didn’t go out for sunset, but after two weeks in, I have mastered campfire abilities and enjoy the

introspective time to myself.

Beating Fear

At the trailhead of the Shrader Old-Growth Forest

In addition to researching online, I bought the book, The Photographer’s Guide to the Oregon Coast. This book has every (well, maybe not) photogenic spot along the coast from North to South. Of course, I am traveling South to North, so I am reading the book backwards. I read about a great trail 13-miles inland from Gold Beach, just 40 miles from my camp. The Shrader Old-Growth Trail is a 1-mile loop of old-growth Douglas firs, Port Orford cedars, a stream and ferns. It sounded like a great trail and a nice change of pace. So, I went. The anxiety that overcame me at the trailhead was alarming. With not a car in sight for the past 13 miles, I feared the isolated trail. Immediately, I thought of my sister-in-law that hikes avidly and always chooses the trails most frequented. This was not that trail. My heart raced and breathing was difficult. I tried relaxing by photographing a few flowers at the trailhead and walked 25 feet down the trail. I just couldn’t keep going. Fear got the best of me. I returned to camp and my campfire.

Shrader Old Growth Forest

After a lot of soul searching, a new day, and counseling by my husband and sister I am proud to say I returned to the Shrader Old-Growth trail. I told myself, “a 1-mile loop should not be difficult.” I completed the loop and even took a few photos along the way. Of course, I did hear every leaf falling, branch breaking and trickle of water from the stream. But, I finished the hike. It took several hours to feel relieved and proud of my accomplishment. As a matter of fact, at first, I thought I lost 10-years of my life, but now I am ready to take on the next challenge.

Stay tuned for Fourth of July at Humbug Mountain State Park.