A few days ago, I walked through a forest in Oregon’s Ecola State Park. It was a nice break from the regular everyday routine.
It was my first time visiting Oregon, so I toured both the mountains and coast to get a sense of things. There was no real plan other than drive, observe, and take photos. I’d see something intriguing, and follow it until I had to turn around.
In this case, I was near Cannon Beach, which is a famous resort town. This particular trail leads to the isolated Crescent Beach, which bears no resemblance to the beaches in Florida. It was a good change of pace.
There are two paths along the river; one higher up and one lower down at the bank. The alligators prefer the lower one.
The problem with the higher path is there is too much growth to get a clear shot of the river. So every fifty yards or so I’d make my way down here to set up for a photo. It’s amazing how the sense of hearing becomes heightened at such times.
I’ve been in Florida for a while, so I’ve become familiar with some of the animal sounds. I also carefully scan the water and banks all around to ensure I’m not disturbing them. Alligators don’t want anything to do with us, and if you’re mindful and steer clear, there will never be a problem. With this knowledge and care, I spent much of my time on the lower path.
In our minds, we time-travel quite a lot. The irony is, it wastes time. I’ve heard and read that time is an illusion, something in our minds. Not being in the present is like a treadmill that never stops. Maybe it’s better to just try and be present in the moment.
Here I am close to home on an early Sunday morning. I was standing at the end of Emerson Point which faces west into the Gulf of Mexico. (I, of course, was facing east). This local park is one of my favorite go-to places for sunrise and sunset.
It rained the night before, so I thought we’d have a beautiful display in the sky with high scattered clouds, but, that was not to be. So instead, I composed this shot which focuses on the foreground elements with the sunrise in the back. If the scene doesn’t turn out how I envisioned, I try to remind myself to work with what I’ve got. Plans often go sideways, but there is usually another angle that’s pleasing or tells a story.
One other thing: because it was Sunday morning I figured I’d be alone. But there was another photographer down by the water, and when I turned around after taking this shot, there was yet another photographer with a couple doing a maternity shoot. So apparently, there was indeed an abundance of other compositions to go around.
Robinson Park is a preserve in the middle of a suburban setting, and it’s a place I come to get away from that same setting. Most people come during the day, but my favorite times are dawn and dusk. Of course, I’m looking for a rare kind of light.
The image is five shots blended into one. I use HDR techniques when shooting these types of scenes because there is a combination of bright and dark light. It’s closer to what I could see with my eyes but must resort to tricks to get the camera seeing the same thing.
Not only is the light changing minute by minute, but the nocturnal animals also begin to stir. It’s as if the whole place comes alive when the sun goes down. I’m usually rushing to get my last pics before being politely asked to leave by the ranger. Finally, as night falls I return to suburbia from whence, I came. At that moment I genuinely do feel that I’ve been away from it all.
I took this about four years ago when I was in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. It’s a part of the Wild Pacific Trail that traces the coastline. It’s a well-maintained trail with benches like this every half mile or so.
I was here in late August (or “Fogust” as the locals say) when a thick fog would roll in most afternoons. You could see it sitting just offshore, and then at the right time it would approach and before you could say Foghorn Leghorn, you were in it. In this image, you can see it about a mile offshore.
Benches or empty chairs in an image allow us to imagine sitting there in the scene. Our eyes follow the direction it points, similar to a leading line, only with a different device. When a photo makes us look in a particular direction, it has captured our imagination as we weave our own story in the scene. However, if it has thick fog, that would be something different entirely.
Here is a bend in along the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet BC. While staying here a few years ago I took hikes along this trail and spent hours taking photos of the views. However, in this case, it was the trail itself that caught my imagination.
The trail itself is well maintained and has spectacular vistas of the rugged coast below. We stayed at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort which is on the trail itself. All I had to do was walk outside the room and I was on the trail.
Some stretches of the trail would wind through the woods, and then open up at an overlook of the Pacific Ocean. It was a fun walk because at almost every there was a surprise waiting. The problem for me was knowing when to turn back. I would walk for miles and lose track of time and then have to pick up the pace on my way back.
This is from a section of the trail known as Lands End Lookout. As the name implies, it’s on the coast and above the ocean at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. I had a wonderful time here one afternoon and evening and took pictures until long after sunset.
For my money, golden hour is the best time to be here but any time of day is good. From this point, you can look down and see whales going by and large ships coming in and out of the bay. Maybe you can see little red and green dots on the ocean, those are navigation buoys marking the entrance to the bay.
If I had to pick one of my all-time favorite places to hang out, this would be it. I’m not alone, a lot of people come here for the same reasons; chill and recharge. Something about that west coast breeze washing over you on a warm night.