Pacific Coast Photography

Being from Florida, I associate the rain and storm season with the summer. The western coast of the United States, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, is more of a wintertime season. There are several days in the winter when large 15-20 foot high swells coincide with high tides resulting in some amazing waves crashing on the shore at Cape Disappointment and Shore Acres State Park.

Cape Disappointment was the main target, and the forecast had it for January 10th. I flew to Portland on the 9th and headed out to the Cape before dawn the next day. I had seen photos of this event for years, but they are not the same as being there. It was a little foggy, but it was spectacular

Washington, Cape Disappointment, Monster Wave, King Tides, Lighthouse
Cape Disappointment : Prints Available

Washington, Cape Disappointment
Cape D Wave : Prints Available

This closeup photo of one of the waves displays the beauty and the violence of Mother Nature. The small bay where these waves come into is not somewhere you would want to be in a boat. The waves toss huge logs around like toothpicks.

Wave, Ocean, Cape Disappointment, King Tides, Washington
The Wave : Prints Available

As a real bonus, the forecast had another day of high surf at Shore Acres State Park on the 12th. Again, I arrived early. The waves continued to build throughout the morning as the tide came in. Incoming waves would bounce back off the rocks, merge with another incoming wave to form waves that were of the 20 foot high variety and then crash on rocks with an incredible splash. You can see a fence on the rocks that gives you an idea of scale.

Oregon, Shore Acres, Monster Wave,
Shore Acres Explosion : Prints Available

With the forecast of large waves over, I headed south to the Samuel Boardmen Scenic Area. The sea stacks there have trees growing out of the tops of them, which add such a wonderful element compared to the ones without the trees. I had tried photographing there before, but heavy fog prevented me from capturing any images. There was a little less fog this time, and I was pleased with the results.

Oregon, Oregon Coast, Sunrise, Sea Stack, Trees, Arch Rock, Samuel Boardman,
Coastal Fog : Prints Available

Oregon, Sea Stacks, Samuel Boardman, Sunrise, Oregon Coast
Southern Stacks : Prints Available

Oregon, Coast, Sea Stacks, Samuel Boardman
Coastal View : Prints Available

Oregon, Gold Beach, Morning, Sea stacks, Samuel Boardman
Gold Morning : Prints Available

I had discovered an area several years ago with a footbridge over a small stream, but it was summer and there wasn’t any water flowing. With the winter rains, I was hoping for something much different. I couldn’t believe the difference. It’s a small scene, but the lush Oregon greenery surrounding the cascade is beautiful.

Oregon, Stream, Footbridge
Silky Smooth : Prints Available

I headed north and decided to stop in Newport near the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. There was fog forecasted for the next morning, and I thought that could result in a nice image. When I got there, the fog was so thick I couldn’t see the lighthouse, but I got into position down on the rocky beach and waited for the fog to begin to clear. I was very happy with the combination of the long exposure on the water and the fog over the lighthouse.

Oregon, Yaquina, Yaquina Head, Lighthouse, Fog
Yaquina Fog : Prints Available

I only had a couple of days left before I would have to head home, so I decided to see how the winter rains were affecting the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. Much of the Gorge has been closed for several years due to the Eagle Creek Fire, but it has begun to re-open in spots.

The fog over Latourell Falls instantly grabbed my attention to photograph it from a position I had not before. At Wahclella Falls a mass of logs blocked the final section of the trail, that I assume were the result of recent storms. I carefully crawled over them. At first, I wasn’t sure about the logs in the pool at the base of the falls, but after looking at a variety of images taken, I like the one with the logs the best.

Latourell, Falls, Latourell Falls, Oregon, Columbia River Gorge, Fog
Latourell Falls : Prints Available

Oregon, Wahclella, Wahclella Falls
Wahclella Falls : Prints Available

My final stop was at Panther Creek Falls just over the border in Washington. I had been here twice before in the summer, but there was less water flowing. I was hoping the winter rains would result in water flowing over the right side, which was something that has been on my list for a while. I was thrilled to arrive and find it flowing so well and can finally check this one off the list.

Washington, Panther Creek, Panther Creek Falls
Panther Creek Falls : Prints Available

I’m not sure what is up next, but I hope to get back to the Desert Southwest. These days, a lot of factors come into play. You can see more photos in my galleries for the Pacific Coast and the Pacific Northwest.

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Norway in Winter

The Lofoten Islands off the northern coast of Norway are unlike any other place I know of. There are snow covered mountains everywhere with many of them right on the edge of the sea.

I had made the trip to this area last year for the first time and there was so much there that I either had not been able to photograph or had not photographed under the best conditions, so a return trip this year was in order. This time I was there for a full two weeks to be sure I got what I was looking for.

There is a classic view of the red cabins in the village of Reine that I was hoping to capture this time with heavy snow on the ground around the trees. To our good fortune, it snowed heavily on our first day there and the next morning we were given the scene we were looking for.

Norway, Lofoten, Reine, Morning, Snowfall
Morning At Reine : Prints Available

If there is one constant in the Lofoten Islands, it is that the weather there changes constantly. We were always watching the radar and the sky and thinking about where we needed to be.

Norway, Lofoten, Hamnoy, Winter, Weather
Changing Weather : Prints Available

These little red boathouses are all over the Lofoten Islands. They’re all closed up in the winter, of course. We had been eyeing this one for days, waiting for a good blowing snowstorm to capture it in. Many of the images were ruined by snow on the lens, but with some diligent effort, we got a good one without any blemishes. I thought the way the snowstorm blurred out the mountain in the background was an excellent way to put emphasis on the little boathouse.

Norway, Ramberg, Winter, Boathouse, Snowstorm
The Boathouse : Prints Available

Although the water freezes in some of the fjords and inlets in the winter, it is constantly on the move with the tides. It can be all crammed up against the shore or too far out from it to include in an image and the trick is to have the ice close enough to the shore at sunrise to be part of the composition. We passed by this location many times and it just wasn’t right. Finally, on this morning, all the pieces fell into place. Not only was the ice in a good location, the wind was calm to give us the great reflections. It was just another example why you need one or two weeks in any location to be there at the right time.

Norway, Lofoten, Islands, winter, water, freeze, reflection
Ice Flow Reflection : Prints Available

This iconic location is overlooking the small village of Hamnoy. The little red cabins are the highlight of the show. Of course, a great winter sunrise with light on the mountain doesn’t hurt either. What made this sunrise so spectacular was the heavy snow that fell just before the sun came up covering the rocks right down to the water line. Sometimes you can only dream of having all the conditions the way you want them, but this time the dream came true.

Norway, Lofoten, Hamnoy, winter, snow, water
Norwegian Dream : Prints Available

Fishing is by far the largest industry in the Lofoten Islands. On this winter morning, we were photographing a variety of mountain scenes and they were nice, but just missing something. Then, this small fishing boat was heading out for the day and I knew it was going to provide the perfect balance and would be just what the scene needed. I guess I got a little lucky that day, but there’s nothing wrong with that!

Heading Out : Prints Available

There is a small waterfall in the Islands and the plan was to photograph it with the mountain in the background. The composition was okay, but after walking to an area above the falls, and getting my feet wet in the process, I fell in love with this composition from there. The angle of the flowing stream was perfect and the mountain behind the stream is absolutely beautiful. I tried quite a few compositions from there that were only slightly different from each other, but this was the winner. I love winter in Norway.

Norway, Lofoten, Mountain, Winter, Waterfall, Stream
Above The Falls : Prints Available

In the winter, the village of Hamnoy, Norway receives the direct light of the sun that rises from the southern part of the sky. It was clear enough where the sun was rising from the mountains and clouds behind the village lit up beautifully. The white snow, the pink clouds and the blue skies all worked in harmony at sunrise on this morning of Norwegian Colors.

Norwegian Colors : Prints Available

This location was one of our main targets during the two weeks we were in the Islands, but it needed a fresh winter snowfall to make it work. Finally, after ten days, the snow came and we headed out that afternoon with much anticipation. When we arrived, we found that the ice on the lake blocked the reflection of the peak of the mountain called Volundstind at most places along the edge of the lake. After some searching, we found a location where we could “get the point” of the mountain.

Norway, Lofoten, Fredvang, Volundstind, Winter, Reflection, Lake
Getting The Point : Prints Available

There is a fantastic view of the little town of Hamnoy in the Lofoten Islands from a nearby hill and it is just impossible to resist shooting this winter composition. It was simply the perfect morning with the sun rising behind us lighting up the village along with the mountains and clouds behind it. Although we were there for two weeks, we did not see similar conditions again.

Norway, Lofoten, Hamnoy, winter
Morning View : Prints Available

I head out west in April to check out some new territory between Lake Tahoe and Crater Lake. I’m hoping the road to Crater Lake will be open as it is currently closed due to broken snowplows.

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Oregon Coast and California Redwoods

Our main target of this expedition was the northern California redwoods. We were hoping to capture some of the Rhododendrons in bloom among the redwoods, but they were apparently on a different schedule than usual this year. This just meant that we had to search a little harder for some quality images.

On the way south, we stopped for a couple of nights in Bandon, Oregon. The beach there has these wonderful sea stacks that make for great subject in the sunset. I had been there on a previous trip, but did not have any luck. We struck out again with heavy clouds on the first night, but it came together on the second night. We could see the small hole in the clouds as the sun was setting and were hoping it would give us a nice sunburst and light up the scene. It did, if only for a few seconds, but that was enough.

Oregon, Bandon, Beach, Sunset, Pacific, Coast
Sunset At The Stacks : Prints Available

We headed south to Brookings, Oregon for a couple of days there hoping to get something good on the coast at Samuel Boardman State Pak, where there are these wonderful, large sea stacks with trees growing out of them. It was Fog City all day so we headed inland to some trails and captured two very nice images

Oregon, forest, trail, footbridge, Brookoings
Footbridge : Prints Available
Oregon, Brookings, forest, trees, woods
Full Of Life : Prints Available

Next, it was on to California and the redwoods. Here, the fog was what we were looking for and there was plenty of it. Just outside Redwood National Park, there is an area known as the Bald Hills, where the Lupine bloom. I couldn’t resist but to capture an image one morning here.

California, Redwoods, Fog, Del Norte
Into The Fog : Prints Available
California, Redwood National Park, redwoods, fog, trees
Morning Warmth : Prints Available
California, Del Norte, redwoods, fog
Standing Proud : Prints Available
California, Redwood National Park, Bald Hills, Lupines, Spring, Summer
Springtime : Prints Available

I return to Oregon in July and will be accompanied on this trip by my sister, who has always wanted to hang out with me on one of my trips. I look forward to it for many reasons. We’ll be working more of the inland areas and are sure to come away with some good images.

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Carolina Coast

December would seem like an odd time to go to the coast for photography, but the sun rises and sets to the south resulting in much different photo opportunities than in the summer. As a result, December has the sun rising straight off the coast in the perfect position for photographing the Folly Beach Pier and the jetty at the north end of the island.

In addition to where the sun rises from, these images must be taken when it is high tide at sunrise or there is simply too much beach sand and not enough of the ocean waves. We got to Charleston on December 3, just in time to have the tide schedule we needed. The sunrises simply exceeded what we hoped for.

South Carolina, Folly Beach, Pier, Sunrise
Stunning Sunrise : Prints Available
South Carolina, Folly Island, Sunrise, Beach
Sunrise Rush : Prints Available

Also near Charleston, is the Tomotley Plantation, one of a few of the old plantations that remains privately owned. Although you can’t go to the actual plantation house, the real attraction is the massive old oak trees that line the entry road. Its been on my list for a while and I’m happy to be able to have done this scene justice.

South Carolina, Tomotley, Plantation, Oak, Tree
Enchanting Entry : Prints Available
South Carolina, Oak, Trees, Tomotley, Plantation
Endless Oaks : Prints Available

Near the plantation are the remains of the Old Sheldon Church. It was first burned by the British in 1779, rebuilt, and then burned again by the Union Army in 1865. I rarely photograph old ruins, but the contrast of color and the framing by the oak trees made this one irresistible. I love the way the warm colors of the bricks reflect the early morning light.

South Carolina, Sheldon, Church, Oak, Tree
Southern Remains : Prints Available

After Charleston, we headed south to Savannah and Brunswick to explore the “Low Country”. In this area are these beautiful marshes with tall grass that glows with the rising or setting sun. The residents have long docks that extend over the marshes to get to the narrow channels of water. Some of these docks have very photogenic roofed structures at the end of the dock, but they are hard to find where you can photograph them as they are all behind someone’s house. I wanted to capture the feeling of the marsh at sunset, and with this image, I believe I did.

Georgia, South Carolina, Marsh, Sunset, Low Country
Savannah Sunset : Prints Available

Next up will be some wintertime photography in the Lofoten Islands in Norway in early February. This is another one of those bucket list photography trips that has been in the planning for a couple of years. I am practically counting the days.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. http://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography.

Summer On The Maine Coast

In August, the sun rises and sets in Maine from the best locations. The other issue on the coast is the tides. You really want to be there when the tide is close to high at sunrise and sunset to avoid the look of low tide, which is not that attractive.

So, with the timing figured out, it was off to Maine. I have been wanting to photograph the very picturesque Portland Head Light for several years. I stayed in Portland for five days just to be sure I got the sky that I wanted and it worked out great. One day at a location is just not going to get you the best results. It can be a little boring, but that’s just the way it goes.

I spent the other half of my time four hours north at Acadia National Park. I had been there a couple of times before, but did not get the results I was looking for on Cadillac Mountain or at the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. In between, I was able to capture some nice images at the Cobblestone Bridge.

Success feels good in any form, and this was no exception. Next up will be the Wasatch Mountains at the end of September for fall colors and mountain vistas. I haven’t been there before and look forward to some serious exploration of the area. I may even sneak in a special side trip.

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Maine, Portland, Portland Head, Lighthouse, sunset
Sunset At The Light : Prints Available
maine, acadia, bar harbor, Cadillac mountain, sunrise
Mountaintop Sunrise : Prints Available
maine, acadia, sunset, bass harbor, lighthouse
Harbor Light : Prints Available
maine, acadia, trail, trees, steps, fog
Steps On The Trail : Prints Available
maine, acadia, cobblestone, bridge
Boulders And Stones : Prints Available
maine, acadia, cobblestone, bridge
Side Glance : Prints Available