ELUSIVE SUN BREAK ON THE SOUTHERN OREGON COAST
This week I would like to explore some images from a trip I took with my family up and down the Oregon Coast during Spring Break in 1997. We had been in Oregon for almost five years, but this trip proved how we were still rookies when it came to traveling around the state. I had rigorously planned our trip, complete with reservations at campgrounds all along the coast, but we had a great time despite all of my planning, which was almost completely unnecessary or even ludicrous. The notion that we would be camping on the Coast in early Spring was clearly a crazy idea that was reinforced most every night throughout the week. We were mostly alone, sharing the campgrounds with a few sane people in RVs. Since it got dark right around 5:00 we mostly ate in the dark, especially since we could barely get a fire started even if it wasn't raining. I can't really remember ever feeling so constantly wet, and ended up staying at some cheap motels along the way to preserve our sanity.
SOLITARY SEA STACK ON THE BEACH
Yet we still had a great time, since we were all in this together, and the Coast is just so beautiful, even in the rain. Although come to think of it this trip inaugurated our subsequent Spring Break tradition of epic driving vacations with just Dad and Benjamin, with Fran enjoying a break at home. I also remember that this trip was the start of Benjamin's exploration of sarcasm. We drove into yet another empty campground in the rain searching for our reserved site, Benjamin came back to the car after a reconnaissance confidently declaring that it really didn't matter since our chosen site was completely under water.
ROCKS ON THE COAST AND BEYOND
THE EVER-PRESENT MARINE LAYER JUST OFF THE COAST
The Oregon Coast gets more and more spectacular the further South you travel even though the Northern Coast is renowned world-wide. Some of this is just because of familiarity, since the Southern Coast is really quite a trip from Portland, especially if you drive along 101 on the Coast. While this route is certainly beautiful, and promises a new beach every few miles, you just have to get used to the idea that you'll be going 30 mph as much time as you get up to 60 mph. Distances seem to infinitely expand. The payoff is that the further South you go the emptier the beaches get, and more importantly they seem to get even more picturesque the closer you get to California.
OUR SUNSETS ARE JUST DIFFERENT, AND IN SOME WAYS MORE DRAMATIC
These images were all forgotten in my archives for more than 25 years. They all were vastly improved after just a few minutes of post-processing which rescued them from the mediocrity of the one-hour photo print. It is amazing what a revised white balance, some true blacks, a little mid-tone contrast and cursory sharpening can do for an image. I also cropped with abandon, either creating panoramas out of ordinary seascapes with too much sky, or focusing on the details in too-wide landscapes. The weather also encouraged a monochrome conversion in some cases, although the changes in white balance and exposure usually reveled that the Coast, even in the rain, was a lot more colorful than the original snapshot would lead you to believe.
SHARK'S TOOTH SEA STACK AT HIGH TIDE
WHEN DOES A SEA STACK BECOME AN ISLAND?
After 25 years I really have no real idea of the exact location of most of these images. I will say that I have always recommend that everyone try to stop for awhile at Bandon, Shore Acres, and Samuel Boardman State Park, among others. These images, and the Coast, seem timeless. After rescuing these images from my archives it occurs to me that a return trip down the Coast would be a great idea. Maybe just not at Easter.
REQUISITE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC RED PONCHOS HIGHLIGHT THAT IT'S JUST NOT A WALK ON THE BEACH