Three Capes Outing

Took a day off from the usual grind and headed to the three Capes, Kiwanda, Lookout, and Mears on the Oregon Coast.  Being the middle of the week still in the off-season, along with overcast skies, I looked forward to a mostly solitary day of hiking in the Siuslaw National Forest.   My body and mind needing to experience the wonders and joys of being with nature.  I loaded up my photography gear in its backpack and headed out just before dawn to my destination at Cape Outlook.

I have wanted to do this hike for some time but held off due to what I had read about the trail traversing sheer drop offs, not a place for dogs or kids.  Having been on a couple of other hikes in the gorge that claimed the same and they didn’t bother me I decided to take this one even though I have somewhat a fear of heights.

I arrived at the trailhead just as the morning light was penetrating the seemingly ever-present morning coastal fog.  As I began my trek I saw early signs of spring, such as this delicate trillium wildflower.  Amazing how such a little flower can thrive under the thick canopy of old growth forest.

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The thick canopy of forest soon gave way to a spectacular view only blocked by sparse trees and shrubs, their roots clinging perilously to the face of the huge rock I climbed.  I paused to capture the wonderful view stretched out below me, and since fear had not edged its way into my conscience I decided this was one hike I could do.  It was the last image I dared captured on this hike.

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Moving forward and up the sparse trees and shrub became sparser and the trail narrower.  I pushed on even though the edge, a sheer drop off to the ocean below of several hundred feet, kept me up against the wall of the rock.  The wind was picking up as I kept my head down looking at my path and concentrating on my breathing as I vowed to get past this section of the hike.  I reached my limit when my tripod got hung up on a root embedded in the rock wall.  This knocked me a little off-balance as I grabbed another root and flatten myself against the wall where I remained frozen while my mind went wild with all kinds of devastating events.  Earthquake would knock me off the cliff, some mean person will come along and push me over, or I will simply slip and fall.  I had to force myself to breath and eventually let go of my death grip on the root embedded in the rock, trying not to think why there was just a root.  Finally fear forced me to move and I got turned around and headed back the way I had come.  The wind gusting at my back.

Back under the canopy of forest I relaxed somewhat and told myself I had made the right choice for if I had seen something to photograph I probably couldn’t for fear had a great hold on me.   I got back into my car at the trailhead and headed for the safety of the low-lying beach that offered a variety of things to photograph.

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Fog at Cape Lookout Beach
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Erosion of the treeline on the north end of the Cape Lookout Beach

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After a few hours walking the beach I headed to Cape Meares where I captured this view, from a much more manageable height, of the town of Oceanside and it’s coastline.

Oregon Coastline view from Cape Mears.
Oregon Coastline view from Cape Meares.

I then retraced my route to Oregon Islands Wildlife Refuge.  This is just north of Oceanside and is a very interesting place to visit.  To get to the beach below one follows a trail built, by the looks of it, by several different people over the years.  Daffodils, pop their cheery blooms here and there.  Thick lumber embedded into the hillside provided steps.  Scrap lumber line the trail as a fencing and as benches to rest.  One section of the path was completely covered with scrap lumber and underneath it things collected from the beach below, rocks, feathers, buoys,rope along with names carved in the lumber, a place much like shrine filled the area within.  Quite interesting.

I continued my descent and finally reached a rocky beach filled with driftwood.  DKB7766

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I found these all quite interesting.  The swirl of the wood grain and the rocks embedded in them afford me time to contemplate nature’s design.

The misty rain, high tide and fog made photographing this beach a pleasure as I love photographing the rain, fog, rocks and water for it adds a punch to an image.

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I continued retracing my route with a detour to Sand Lake.  As the day waned the wind picked up in strength and I wanted to see if I could capture drifting sand at the dunes at Sand Lake.  I wasn’t disappointed.

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I left Sand Lake with my Yukon half filled with the wind-blown grit.

My original plan was to end my day at Pacific City sitting on the beach watching the sun set before heading home.

DKB7771  Fog and low clouds encroached enough on this idea that I knew there would be nothing to watch so I settled with a Bach CD and a leisurely drive home using the back roads to end another wonderful solitary day appreciating life and the surroundings I find myself in.

I had nightmares all night about falling off that cliff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can see these images and more on my website  www.deebrowningphotography.com

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Mental Retreat: Journaling In The Practicing In The Art Of Being

0966DKBwebWe all have those days when we just need to escape.  Living in Portland, Oregon gives me an array of venues, each providing a different scenic and meditative place where I can immerse myself.  The northern Oregon Coast is one of my favorites as it provides an ever-evolving atmosphere for contemplation.  When my everyday schedule starts to get the best of me, I gather my camera gear and head out.  Rarely do I plan these trips as they are accessible day trips.  The night before decisions are the best as they offer me an earlier start.

The northern Oregon coast is a magnet to many, especially those of a solitary artistic nature such as myself, for there are many wondrous areas to appreciate the variable moods and actions of the sea. This particular trip found me traveling northwest on Highway 30, along the banks of the Columbia River.  A light drizzle traveled with me as I drove the dark highway with only the small passing town lights, and headlights of those heading into the city for work, lightening the predawn sky.  Tension in my neck and shoulders begin to recede as I draw nearer to where the Columbia River meets the sea.  My destiny close at hand, as is evident in the silhouettes of ships appearing in the beginning rise of the sun’s rays, as they light the peaks of the dark choppy waters of the mighty river on which anchored ships sit.DKB7408web Life is stirring as I drive through Astoria, Oregon, a town of antiquity and it’s four mile long Megler Bridge that spans the Columbia River.

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Arriving at Cannon Beach the rising sun rays have begun to dissipate the early morning fog.  I am in luck as the low tide is nearing its end, leaving a wide beach to stretch my legs.

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Pools of salt water were left from the retreating surf around Hay Stack Rock, as crews begin to set-up informational signs about the tide pools, a signal to me that possibly a group of school children would soon be arriving.  Wanting more solitude, I returned to my car and headed further south in search of my retreat.0033DKBweb

South of Cannon Beach on Highway 101, I arrived at my destination, Arcadia Beach which is between Hug Point and Cannon Beach.   Hug Point was an old-passage way for wagons and automobiles, before 1940, so-called because the roadway hugged the shoreline contours as it connected Arch Cape with Cannon Beach.  With a trained eye one can see a piece of the abandoned section of this earlier roadway at low tide covered with colonies of anemones, mussels, starfish and sand.3662DKB

Visiting this area of the Oregon Coastline in the middle of the week during the off-season, offers a meditative venue of nature’s art, especially at low tide.  Massive rock formations, once connected to the coastline, stand separated by years of relentless pounding of the sea, evidences of such in the form of trenches, surrounded these Herculean pieces, trapping sea water and creatures alike.  I am not drawn to view the old passage nor to sea life stranded in the pools, instead I find myself captivated by the abstract art formed by nature and where it leads one’s gaze.

I place myself and camera gear on the firm cool wet sand near a grouping of  massive sentinels.   My line of sight follows the artistic curve of the smooth-edged sand banks retaining shallow calm water that flowed slowly past the monolith sculptures of nature, each adorned with mussels, and sea anemones glistening in the sun’s rays.  This watery path lead to the more aggressive waters of the sea that were instrumental tools in the design of these statures.  As I contemplate each shot, I lulled not only by the beauty within my camera’s frame, but by the sound of the rhythmic waves of the reversing tide.  A feeling of well-being and clarity enfold me.   Relaxed, I am thankful for such an opportunity.0952DKB

Pleased at my early arrival for I was experiencing the solitude I so desired as I ambled over to Hug Point Waterfalls, while the tide is still low.  One must be ever so aware of one’s surroundings no matter where you are for various reasons.  Here though, because of the tempestuous nature of the sea at high tide, one can become trapped or at worst pulled into it’s icy turbulence without provocation, by what is known as a sneaker wave.  As in life nothing is as it seems.   Do not be fooled by the calm, for calm is the opposite of turbulence and the two go hand in hand as a balance, as is the way with nature.

Arriving at Hug Point Falls I reclined upon the now sun-warmed accommodating sand and reflect upon the sounds surrounding me.  This was the tonic I so needed.  Born on the cusp of Pisces and Aquarius, I feel this is why I am so drawn to water.  The source of arresting sounds of the fall of water over the small rise of Hug Point Falls and those of the over-lapping waves of the sea, allowed any remaining tension I retained, to completely drain away with each receding wave, as my mind and body became one with my surroundings.  What a gift to oneself.0949DKB-web

Distant voices interrupt my meditative state.  Opening my eyes I saw the source, as an older couple strolled along the tide pools heading my way.   Their beloved pet, of an indescribable canine breed, chased an occasional seagull and snapped at the items offered up by the waves of the incoming tide.  Again I take up my camera and begin capturing the beauty that surrounded me.

As I capture nature’s art and it’s intent, more people arrived to beach-comb or to enjoy a leisurely stroll.  Young adults were the last to make a trek along this beach, probably due to the previous late nights activities.  Their young athletic bodies, with agile limbs, transverse the rocks as they noisily explored their surroundings.  This did not perturb me for it filled me with adventurous thoughts of my own nimble youth and vitality. Though not as spry as I once was, I am grateful for these delays due to my age, for they afford me a more thorough exploration of my surroundings.   As I watch their youthful enthusiasm, I am aware that they are not being truly appreciative.  This will only come with time as I have had to learn.  Our lives are paths which we must all take and each brings about a new awareness.  We must not be critical of those who have not caught up or have surpassed our current path, for they have not traveled as far, nor have we traveled as far as those before us.

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People are friendly here, a nod accompanied with a spoken “hello” from a smiling face prompts an enthusiastic reply.  Some stop to chat about photography upon seeing my gear.  Others proudly display their finds and mention where they found them.  Children squeal as they run knee-deep in the icy waters, along with an occasional shriek when a wave pushes them from behind, soaking once dry warm garments.  I come alive watching and capturing the human interaction with nature.

Hunger forces me to return to my car and since I did not pack a lunch I’ve decided to head back to Cannon Beach for a bowl of clam chowder at Moe’s.  I enjoy this place for one can watch the goings-on along the shoreline.  The chowder’s warmth spreads through me as I watch those bundled-up souls braving the icy wind as they stroll and play on the beach.  A simple but pleasant meal break.

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Not wanting to retrace my route, I decide to travel south along the coastline to Tillamook on my return trip home.  More of nature’s art is seen in the wind sculptured trees that line the road, along with panoramic scenes of ocean waves, boulders and sandy beaches.  I turn east and follow the shoreline of Tillamook Bay, passing through tiny fishing communities their boats dotting the bay.

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I can’t resist the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the true reason for this chosen route, as I am a lover of cheese and here you can sample to your heart’s content before you buy.  Let’s not forget the desert in the way of an ice-cream cone, dish or shake.  The stress released by my journey so far has prepared me well in the practiced art of patience as I become one of the throng of tourists who visit here.  Waiting in line I observe my surroundings and take in the many forms of human life.  I like to think up small life stories to attach to those that interest me.  It is a mental game I enjoy.

After purchasing my cheese and eating my one scoop of ice-cream in a cup, as I am always on a diet these days, I resume my drive towards home by taking Highway 6.  Dairies, their pastures filled with black and white cows, spread across the landscape.  Inland water-ways swell from the incoming tide as it reclaims its mark on the pillars of the piers and docks stationed along the banks.

The landscape changes even more as I make my assent up the coastal range, which is evident in the forest that grows there. Gone are the trees sculptured by the insisting coastal winds.   The trees here have chosen their own paths, some standing tall and wide, others succumbing to the soggy soil as gravity pulls on them, their roots slowly relinquishing their hold.  As I continue to follow the asphalt ribbon I have chosen, I feel the Pacific Ocean diminishing as I near the summit.   Instead of dread or sadness, I feel gratitude that I am fortunate to have experience what I have this day.

Having reached the summit I begin my descent, again I take in my surroundings as the forest gives way to farm land, orchards and vineyards.  Highway 6 connects to Highway 26, known to the locals as Sunset Highway.  Here the traffic grows in numbers as it becomes a multilane freeway.  The homeward journey lengthens as traffic becomes more congested when one draws nearer to entering the Portland Metro area.  With the masses, I traverse through the south-east blocks of the city, my chosen route to bypass the more heavily congested routes.  As I made progress I saw many things of photographic interest.   I found myself not thinking of the heavy traffic but instead of how I need to come and spend another day in the city to experience and capture images of the life here.

Leaving the city behind I continue my way towards home, on the far south-eastern edge of the great Portland Metro area, the distant Mt. Hood stays in my sight on this last leg of my journey.  It beckons me to visit it too soon, exploring it’s many trails with hidden alpine wonders to photograph.

I journal my experiences when photographing for they are such wonderful experiences of time taken to study ones surroundings.  When processing my photographic image files I often write thought-provoking phrases to go with a group of photographs.  Here is one from my experience that day.

 Ride the waves of life for they will recede.

To see more Sea Escapes visit my website

www.deebrowningphotography.com

©copyright 2011 Dee Browning   All Rights Reserved

Lincoln City Annual Kite Flying Festival

This last weekend…Whoops!  That was two weekends ago!  My busy schedule of other projects that I needed to complete, one being a fun shoot of a beautiful girl and her horse, interrupted my writing of this blog.  These interruptions to my well laid plans happen often.  I can honestly say I am never bored! Photographers have many projects! Priorities taken care of I now must re-write the beginning of my blog.  

My husband and I along with our dear friend Sonia, spent Saturday, June 25th at Lincoln City enjoying their annual ‘Kite Flying Festival’.  We have endured the first half of this year of unusually wet weather.   Our bodies deprived of vitamin D began to re-energized at the lack of clouds in the sky.  The exposed blue sky provided a wonderful background for the colorful  kites that flew as an opening act above the assembling crowd of people staking out their individual piece of beach. 

Chilly winds, which is typical of the Northern Oregon coast, kept most under cover by way of jackets, blankets and beach tents.   A few, mostly the young, could be spotted in their more revealing attire, exposed skin red from sun and wind, as they strutted and swayed in the human way of attracting the opposite sex.   I hoped at that age I wasn’t so obvious as these youthful beings, but I fear might have been.  Those younger still, also scantily clothed, in the way of shunned jackets and bare feet, ran and hopped about, kicking up sand and squealing with delight at the kites overhead.   Many with hand-made kites of their own ran with a hand-held high clutching a short string attached to their kite, that soared and dived erratically behind them, their youthful energy fueling the warmth they needed.  Dogs of all shapes and sizes greeted each other in their doggy ways showing signs of excitement in being in this festive environment   Nearer to the waves, leash free, they
played in the surf then sprayed a shower of salt water droplets freed from wet fur, on to those close by.   I observed all this as we set-up our spot among the throng of fellow beings practicing the
Art of Being’.  How invigorating!

After staking out our section of sand, I ready my gear consisting of two lens, a wide-angle, and small telephoto, both great for using in what I refer to as shooting from the hip.  A tripod in such instances is not practical.  To capture excitement and wonder involving an event such as this, I needed flexibility and quickness in my positioning.  After taking a couple of test shots to satisfy myself of my basic camera settings and I wandered off to integrate my camera and I with those of my subjects and objects, leaving my husband and friend to enjoy the festivities from their camp chairs and warm blankets on our little piece of beach. 

Children fascinate me for they are the true artists in the ‘Art Of Being’, for their minds have not been molded with constrictions of responsible thoughts that plague adults.  As I watched their expressions of wonderment and excitement, though tempted, I avoid singling them out to photograph, as it makes most parents uneasy and rightly so.  Instead I observed what captivated them and with their expression in mind I attempt to capture an image that will get the same reaction of wonder and excitement from those who view it. 

Walking the outer edge of a ribbon-made fence, set-up to discourage the masses from entering the area where they anchored the big kites , one kite-man caught my attention as he held an instrument up over his head.  I soon learned he was measuring the winds as he announced they were at 16 knots.  He kept checking his anchor and the taut lines leading skyward to a tethered bright red octopus kite dancing in the winds, its tentacles break dancing in time to the frequent gusts.  A large colorful blow-fish swam the air currents only a few feet from the sand, dwarfing all that ventured near for a closer look.  I did envy those who had video cameras as I attempted to capture the synchronized flying of six kites handled by six people to surreal music.  It was a
beautiful sight to see but difficult to capture.  I finally relinquished this effort and settled myself on a nearby drift log to enjoy the show.  

I see you are another Nikon-er.”  stated a voice interrupting my semi-meditative moment with the synchronized flying kites.  That was when I became acquainted with D. Deane Ingram, a fellow photographer who started his profession shooting the Vietnam War.  He told me of his job travels all over Europe.  How he and his German wife, Ingrid, finally settled in Portland until his recent retirement to Lincoln City.  Still photographing, he proudly shared with me some of his work that he carried with him in his gear bag.   Our conversation veered toward the digital world of photography and the pros and cons of being a pro-photographer in that field.  It felt good to share my love of photography with a fellow photographer. 

I ambled back to our spot only to find two famished people who had patiently awaited my return to enjoy the food we had brought with us.  I placed my camera in my bag and settled down to eat, all the while scanning for more picture-taking opportunities.  Our picnic consumed, a need for a restroom trip delayed, as Sonia and I giggled like  young girls over an incident we found ourselves in.  Our chairs had sunk deeply into the sand making it extremely difficult to get up.   As we tried to hoist ourselves out of our seats her chair tilted as it went deeper into the sand on one side, nearly dumping her into my lap.  John was of no help as he found himself in the same predicament.  Laughter is  the best medicine except when you have to use the bathroom!    

As the events of the day drew to a close, we loaded ourselves with our belongings and  trudged back to our vehicle.  As we walked, a scene had unfolded before us requiring that I again take out my camera.  Now I fully understood, the vigilance, of attending to the anchored kites.   A kite measuring eighty-one feet long had broken away from its anchor on the beach.  It had entangled itself in a tree and power line that edged the beach-front road.  Six frustrated men worked to gently untangle the $5,000.00 kite from the tree limbs, wires, and its own tethered ropes.  I did not envy their work nor the loss of investment if they were not successful in their endeavor.  My need to capture this unfortunate scene satisfied, I was not surprised to find our vehicle with my husband and friend inside driving towards me.  They, already loaded-up, had come to pick me up.

The drive home was pleasant as Sonia and I noticed places of photographic interest.   My husband focused only on his driving and our destination, could not bother with the scenery we passed, allowing Sonia and I to relax and enjoy the landscape, knowing our eyes and reflexes are not needed to assist him when he is behind the wheel.

With my other current priorities taken care of and my blog completed, a little later than I had planned, I can now return to reviewing and reminiscing that day on the beach at Lincoln City Annual Kite Festival.   

©copyrighted
by
Dee Browning