Catching sunset in Carmel

Catching sunset in Carmel

A stunning sunset in Carmel, CA - an incredibly quaint and beautiful spot in northern CA!

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Those crazy Oregon sunsets

Those crazy Oregon sunsets

A sunset that goes down in the record books for me...from Bandon, Oregon 

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Last light in La Jolla

Last light in La Jolla

A lovely sunset along the coast in La Jolla, CA...

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Twilight in Bandon

Twilight in Bandon

Catching a seascape in Bandon, Oregon one evening, just around sunset when the light gets all moody and interesting...

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Sunset at Hug Point

Sunset at Hug Point

I love Oregon - there is just so much beauty there.  It's almost hard to digest it all.  It seems at every turn, there is something else more beautiful than what you just saw.  I spent some time there recently, and one evening a beach walk turned into a full-on sunset adventure.  Here are 15 photos that show you just how beautiful that evening really was!

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Golden hour at Haystack Rock

Golden hour at Haystack Rock

I caught an incredible golden hour recently at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon.  It was one of those times when everything just worked out perfectly.  Here are 10 photos that prove it!

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Exploring a sea cave on the Oregon coast

Exploring a sea cave on the Oregon coast

How about 3 photos from the Oregon coast, on a day I went exploring a sea cave?  Sound fun?  Come check it out!

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Hug Point

Waterfalls and sea caves and beaches, oh my!

Have you ever seen The Goonies?  It's a great little movie from the 80's about some kids who end up searching for pirate treasure.  It's awesome.  I absolutely love that movie.  They go on a grand adventure, end up in sea caves along the coast, and generally do all the things I wished for as a kid.  

It was all filmed in the northern Oregon area, around the town of Astoria and along the coastline near Cannon Beach.  Whenever I am in the Cannon Beach area, that movie is on my mind in a big way.  

My first shot of this gorgeous scene!  I loved this place!

I was first here years ago, returned about 2 years ago with some buddies on a photo trip, and most recently was here back in March.  Surprisingly, this was the first time I had ever heard of Hug Point.  I'm still apologizing to myself for that!  Look at what I had been missing!

This park (or State Recreation Area, to be exact) is not large but it packs in a lot of awesomeness.  Just drive south of Cannon Beach for a few minutes, and the parking lot is right off the road.  A short walk gets you to the beach.  I recommend going right when you get to the beach, and walk around the large rock outcropping you will see there.  Hopefully you are there at low tide, or else it may not be passable.  I got lucky in that regard, as I never thought about it or checked the tide tables.

A closeup of the waterfall and caves.  Yes, I went in the caves, but no treasure, darn it!

Once you get around that bend, you are confronted with the scene that I am showing you today.  I didn't see much about this online, and when I arrived I just took a guess and went to the right.  Fortunately the tide was out and I could walk around the bend a ways.  When I saw this, I starting screaming!  Thankfully we were the only ones there.  :-)  I sounded like a schoolgirl, I'm sure.  I was as giddy as one, that's for certain!

I just love stuff like this.  It makes me want to be a kid again, and wish I was in a pirate-treasure-hunting movie too!  Doesn't that sound fun?

Be honest - don't you want to go see this?

A little wider than the 1st shot, showing more of the waterfalll.

The monolithic Haystack Rock

Have you been to Cannon Beach, Oregon yet?  You should go!

I love Oregon, at least all the parts of it that I have seen, and I've seen a pretty good amount of it.  On my first trip there years ago, my wife and I spent a couple of days in the seaside town of Cannon Beach and really enjoyed it.

So recently when we planned our family trip out to Oregon, we made sure to include a stop in Cannon Beach on the itinerary.  It's not a large town by any means, and is mostly famous as the site of Haystock Rock, which you see in all the photos here in this post.

As is pretty evident, this is one huge chunk of rock.  The cool thing to me is that it is pretty close to the beach, and when the tide is out you can actually walk out to it and explore the tide pools around it.  Note however that climbing onto the rock is strictly off-limits.

I suspect that has to do with the inherent dangers and liability of people falling or jumping, not to mention that the rock is home to lots of seabirds, including puffins.  Sadly, the puffin season did not coincide with my visit.  <sad face>

Nonetheless, the tide pools are quite fun to walk around and explore.  We saw all sorts of sea anemones and little fish swimming around and it's a great way to spend some free time.  Besides, how often can you get up close with that sort of stuff?  Coming from Texas, my answer is never.  :-)

And being the photography-lover that I am, of course I took all sorts of shots of Haystack Rock.  Really, how can you not?  You pretty much have to take some shots when you see it, as it dominates the beach, and frankly I find it rather photogenic.

I love trying to capture some reflections in the surf, and luckily on the afternoon that I took these shots the beach was pretty empty, which is rare.  We were there for Spring Break (mid-March) and the entire area was pretty quiet.  Big win in my opinion.

There are also a couple of smaller rocks nearby, somewhat adjacent to Haystack Rock, and they are known as "The Needles".  I think by backing up and including them in the shot, you get a nice balance in your composition, but that's just personal preference.

The truth is that regardless of where you shoot it from, it's a compelling subject, especially under the beautiful seaside skies there.  One great thing about the coast - there always seem to be clouds rolling in, and I love having clouds in my photos!

All of these photos are HDR's that were created in Photomatix, with further adjustments made in Color Efex Pro and Aperture (my normal workflow).  After creating the shots in Photomatix, I used a couple of filters in Color Efex Pro, namely Detail Extractor (applied selectively), Pro Contrast, Brilliance/Warmth, and a little touch of Glamour Glow.  I find these filters help the photo "pop" a bit, and help me bring them to life, more closely resembling what I saw while standing there on the beach.  Also, all of these were shot handheld, as I left my tripod in the car while we walked out there.  :-)  It worked out pretty well though, and usually does as long as I am not shooting in low light.

I hope you enjoyed today's little photo tour of Haystack Rock!

It's sunny in Hawaii

Ok, I am not currently in Hawaii, but I suspect that statement is true.

It's cold here in Austin, and it's REALLY COLD in a lot of the rest of the US.  We have the whole polar vortex thing going on, whatever the heck that is.  Sounds to me like a hole in the space-time continuum...and Santa is going to fly through it.  Certainly makes me think of Back To The Future.  "It's the flux capacitor, Marty"!

Anyways, hope you are warm and comfortable, wherever you are.  Unless you want to be cold, in which case I wish that for you.  You know what I'm saying.  Be good people, and thanks for stopping by.

BTW, this was taken on Maui, which is a place that totally kicks a$$.  I'm shutting up now, because this isn't going anywhere.  :-)

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