Now that I'm no longer working, I have much more time to spend honing my photography skills with my neighbor (and fantastic photographer) Cheri. A couple of weeks ago, she suggested we go to Cape Disappointment on the Washington coast. High tides were predicted and that meant huge wave action.
Cape Disappointment has a cove below a lighthouse by the same name. The rocky cliffs and submerged rocks here have a reputation for creating monster waves. This cove was our day's destination. Arriving in the early morning hours, we discovered the lighthouse and cape flooded with bright sunlight, totally backlit.
What does a photographer do when the light isn't favorable? Adjust expectations and try to find alternate compositions.
|A bit of color
So I donned my sunglasses, (the morning sun was really bright!) guessed on my exposure settings, and clicked away. And to my surprise, I actually managed to capture a few good images.
|Can you spot the bird?
As the morning wore on, the light began to change direction, creating a bit of color in some waves.
|Lots of spray with these!
After a bit of practice, I began to get the hang of tracking a wave as it moved towards the shore.
|The fan-shaped waves were my favorite
It was really fun to watch a wave build. The water would rise up, and I'd try to guess if it would get big enough to produce a large splash. Once and awhile the waves would break into fan shapes (those were my favorite!). Some waves would hit shoreline, only to flow back towards the sea. When they met with another incoming swell, that's when the action got good.
It was most satisfying to capture a gigantic splash the moment it happened.
|Waves hitting waves
After a few hours of wave watching, it was time for a break. We decided to walk over to the nearby beach to see what we could photograph. Cheri had brought her dog Stella and she happily raced along the sand, tongue hanging out in a doggy grin.
|Cheri and Stella
Stella loved to play fetch. Cheri found a stick and threw it towards the water. Stella wasted no time in retrieving it.
|Fetching the stick
Is there anything happier than a running dog with a stick in her mouth?
|A happy dog!
I spotted a flock of snowy plovers. We tried to discreetly approach, but these little birds were aware and bolted when we got too close. And boy, were they fast!
Despite this, I kept trying to get some good captures. I must've taken several hundred images! But I enjoyed the challenge. And the plovers were a lot of fun to watch.
|Cute little birds
The plovers liked to feed next to the waterline. However, when the waves came, these birds would hustle towards shoreline to escape the deluge. Once the water receded, however, they were right back into the surf, pecking away at goodies in the sand. When the plovers took flight, they'd swoop and turn in unison.
|The afternoon light was much better
After a nice long beach walk, Cheri and I decided it was time to head home. However, Cheri wanted to drive past the lighthouse one more time to check on the wave action. Upon arrival, we discovered some amazing afternoon light on the cove. It was illuminating the waves, highlighting their golden hues. Out came our cameras!
|Lots more color in the afternoon
There was a bunch of driftwood along the shore stacked high enough to interfere with our captures, so Cheri and I stood on top of a nearby picnic table to ensure the woody debris wasn't in our shots. Hand holding our cameras we feverishly began to capture the beautiful waves, now lit up by the afternoon sun.
|The lighthouse in better light
These afternoon waves were even better than the ones we'd been photographing all morning. Some of these next images were among my favorite wave photos ever. Sit back and enjoy......
|This one looked like blown glass
It was so relaxing to watch the waves rise in the ocean, travel towards land, and finally break on the barrier rocks. Cheri and I stayed perched on top of the picnic table for well over an hour. It was so fun we didn't want to stop.
But all good things must eventually come to an end. Our backs began to tire from holding up heavy camera and lens combinations. After shooting all day, Cheri and I realized we had memory cards full of fantastic wave images - how many more did we really need?
It was a memorable fun day. We're already talking about coming back on the next high tide, clear weather day. Cheri and I both agreed it would be awesome to capture a sunset with the waves in the foreground. Stay tuned, it might just happen!