Nocturnal Oregon Coast: Exploring Another Side to Cannon Beach
(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Half the fun of Oregon's beaches is that fact that some of its more awe-inspiring pleasures are what you might call “hidden in plain sight” – and require some amount of digging.
Well, maybe not so much digging in a where – but a when.
Cannon Beach is not exactly known for its night life, and that’s just fine (although this too has its unseen delights, though you kind of have to know where to look). Nightfall brings complete silence to the beach, as well as utter darkness, as very little of it is lit by lamps (thank goodness).
So wandering it at night can be somewhat inhospitable because of the possibility of stumbling, but once you get your eye acquainted with the lack of light some startling sights take shape.
Like at Silver Point, above, just south of Cannon Beach. Normally, this high-traffic scenic viewpoint is bustling with photographers snapping memories, but at night it’s most visited by stars (and the trails they make). Wild colors, too, come to light on the horizon.
On another night, this spot is lit by a bright by cloud-covered moon, which gives it an orange haze reminiscent of the sun. It is the midnight sun, however.
At Ecola State Park, late nights are absolutely stunning if conditions are clear. The stars are downright hypnotizing.
Not everything scenic in Cannon Beach is about Haystack Rock, either. This tiny little beach area – at the extreme southern end of town – is usually quite bereft of people because it’s in a rather obscure spot. This little sea stack can strike some amazing poses in the dark, however, especially if aided by a low tide, low sand levels, and a break in the ethereal clouds that show off some star trails.
Fog and mist are a camera’s best friend on the coast in the middle of the night. Proof of this is here, when a variety of light sources and atmospheric gasses the human eye can’t see are suspended in the air in imaginative ways.
Also capable of startling scenes is the Tolovana District, where the stairway for the main beach access is flooded by unearthly light sources from the cloudy skies and manmade sources, while a distant fishing boat just happens to wander into the right spot.
If you’ve ever wondered what Chapman Point looked like in the pitch black – here is one view from downtown, practically next to Cannon Beach Fultano’s restaurant. Again, a distant fishing boat creates a scene that looks like the sun – but a whacked out sun.Of course, you can’t talk about Cannon Beach without noting its most famous landmark: Haystack Rock. At night, the ocean turns to a blurry fuzz and the skies continue to move during the camera’s long exposure, but the sea stack itself is as still as – well, a rock.
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