One of the things on my winter photography bucket list was to catch a sunset on the Oregon coast. Well, winter came and went and it's cloudy, rainy weather didn't provide many opportunities (plus I'd been busy skiing a lot). Spring wasn't faring much better - so far it had been unseasonably cold and wet, with sunshine in short supply.
But then one day in late March, I noticed a break in the weather. The weatherman forecasted dry and partly cloudy skies at Cannon Beach, the closest coastal town to home. This was my chance! I packed up some camera gear and invited my good friend Kim to join me for an evening at the beach.
|Blue skies on Cannon Beach|
|Incoming waves near Haystack Rock|
I pointed my car towards Cannon Beach to try Tolovana Wayside. The parking lot there was huge, so we stood a better chance of finding parking. But due to spring breakers the place was just as busy, necessitating a brief search before finally securing a spot. After parking, unloading, and visiting the restroom, Kim and I headed out for a nice, long beach walk.
|Lots of people enjoying a rare dry day|
Ahhhhh! There's nothing more relaxing than walking along an ocean beach. We spotted Haystack Rock far in the distance and decided to walk towards "the rock." The beach was packed with people, mostly families enjoying a week free from school.
|Classic view at Ecola State Park|
The skies started out sunny and blue. After so many gloomy, rainy days, boy, was it good to see sunshine! Kim and I walked to Haystack Rock, an iconic, often-photographed seastack that Cannon Beach is known for. Due to it being low tide, hundreds of people were crowded around the tidepools at the rock's base. We tried to walk around, but there were way too many folks for our liking, so Kim and I continued on up the beach.
|Old Tillamook Rock Lighthouse (aka "Terrible Tilly")|
We were both getting hungry. When I go to the coast there's nothing I like more than to enjoy a hot bowl of clam chowder. Kim said she knew just the place - a nearby restaurant that had the best chowder. We left the sand and started down one of Cannon Beach's side streets. As luck would have it, Kim's recommended restaurant happened to be on that very street. Inside, we were so impressed by all the menu offerings, Kim and I ended up sharing an order of halibut fish and chips, a shrimp cocktail, and of course I got my bowl of clam chowder. Everything was delicious! We washed it all down with a couple of tasty local brews.
|My sunset spot|
|Golden sky color|
|Looking back at Haystack Rock|
Kim and I walked out to the overlook and I got many shots of the classic Cannon Beach view. Then we walked over to another viewpoint that gave visitors a glimpse of the long-abandoned Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. Constructed on a small basalt rock 1.2 miles from shore, this lighthouse served the Oregon coast from 1881 until 1957. Due to erratic weather conditions, and the perilous commute for both keepers and suppliers, the lighthouse earned the nickname "Terrible Tilly." Over the years, storms damaged the structure, shattered the lens, and eroded the rock it sits upon. Today, the lighthouse is privately owned, existing as a columbarium (a structure that houses urns holding cremains of the dead).
Coincidentally, the day after my beach trip this article about the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse appeared in our local newspaper.
|Colors reflecting in the waves|
|Finally the sun popped out between cloud layers|
|Evening light on the beach|
|Down she goes!|
Kim and I watched the sun sink lower, lower..... and then suddenly it burst through the gap between the clouds in a blinding orange blaze. Wow was it bright! This dazzling light cast a lovely, rose-colored glow onto the beach.
|Post-sunset sky colors|
|More fabulous sky colors|
|Terrible Tilly against an orange sky|
On the dark drive home Kim and I agreed our wait for the sunset had been totally worth it. A great way to enjoy a rare, sunny spring day.