Oregon has some of the most beautiful coastlines and nothing is as extraordinary as Cape Kiwanda. I spent a good week here visiting and tried to capture it in all of its various moods. I feel to really capture the essence of a landscape you do need to invest some time in exploring.

Shooting The Sunset

For the better part of the week I didn’t spend too much time taking pictures but merely exploring around the cape. Trying to find some good compositions and elements to create the images I want.

One thing I learned very quickly is how wind and sand is not a photographer’s friend. No matter how hard you try to shield your equipment from the elements it’s inevitable you’ll get sand everywhere. If you’re going to an area that has sand make sure you bring some cleaning equipment and be careful.

I really love to capture images of the waves. There’s something powerful yet soothing when I capture images that contains this element. So when I’m out at the coast it’s one of my strongest element simply because of how it makes me feel. It adds a certain dimension to the scene and can make a flat boring picture into something more powerful.

Here is a photo of the coastline during sunset.

Sunset at Cape Kiwanda

As you can see I love to use the waves to add the sense of motion to the scene drawing viewers in. I literally spent most of my time there focused on the waves. I was that obsessed with trying to time the waves crashing against the rocks.

Don’t be afraid to take multiple pictures. I think most people are too focused on trying to capture that ‘perfect’ image that they overlook other scenes that can be just as good if not better. Take some time and visualize the scene as a whole.

Since I was obsessed with timing the waves I opted not to use the 2 second delay timer on my shutter. I brought out my trusty little remote shutter. This inexpensive shutter cable has came in handy for me many times and I highly recommend that you have one for situations like this. They’re cheap so why not.

If you didn’t realize this, it’s windy near the ocean. When you combine low light with wind you’ll soon realize that a shutter cable is a must have. Don’t forget a hoodie either.

Shooting The Stars

When the sun goes down it typically means you’re done shooting for the night. While this is true in or near the city it’s a different ballgame out at the coast.

Since it was my last night here I decided to hang out around the cape and shoot some more. While it may seem scary to some hiking around the cape at night I actually had a great time. This popular spot is an amazing little place to sit and collect your thoughts.

Although it was windy the temperature was just right. I think I could’ve stayed here all night and just dream.

This picture is comprised of two images: One for the stars and one for the foreground. When shooting at night it can be very difficult to get the proper amount of light for your foreground. Instead of shooting it at the same time, shoot your foreground a little bit earlier when there’s a good amount of light.

Milky Way over Chief Kiwanda

Final Thoughts

I didn’t capture as many photos that I hoped for but I learned a lot more. Spending a week at one place and seeing it in different lighting gave me a better appreciation for other landscapes that I want to shoot.

A few things I’ve learned:

  • Sand sucks if you get it on your sensor
  • The wind is unpredictable
  • Dial back your polarizer if you’re shooting at something extremely bright
  • Spend more time finding a great composition
  • Don’t expect to get a decent photo

Learning more each time is worth more than the photos I take. I believe that you have to fail so that you can succeed. I don’t see my photography as a fixed state but more of an evolving process. My photography will look different years from now and that’s a good thing. If my images are not progressing than I know I’m stuck. It’s gotten too comfortable. I don’t want to be like that.

I hope to have my images evoke a sense of wonderment and joy. The passion and intense feeling I get when I take a great photo is the same feelings I want to pass on through my images. If they ever get stale, please let me know.

Thanks for reading!

Your friend,