Extraordinary Moments of Fog on Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – Believe it or not, it doesn't get extremely foggy on the Oregon coast very often. That's likely because there's so much wind such conditions get blown out of existence.
When it does hit the beaches, some awe-inspiring sights come into being.
Here, near Depoe Bay, a dense fog covers Fogarty Creek beach access late in the day. The last rays of daylight create an unusual purple haze that smothers the beach, and the waves are invisible from even 100 feet away.
Cape Foulweather at night is one of the world's most interesting of sights, certainly along the Oregon coast it's one of the most stunning spots. This viewpoint, between Depoe Bay and Newport, towers above the ocean some 500 feet. On clearer nights, with the moon showing, few things beat the sight of our lunar neighbor when seen from up here as it's reflected on the water.
But what if the moon is out and fog envelops the area? Then you have a unique look like this, where the rays manage to penetrate the fog and illuminate it into one big glowing mass of haze, and holes in the fog allow the sky to be lit up into the usual sky blue we're all used to.
Up near Cannon Beach, fog creates a mystical mood at Arch Cape. The rock structures here are normally quite the chipper-looking landmarks in sunlight, especially as they and the last rays of sun get reflected in the surf. But here, the whole scene becomes a simple black and white. Fog seems to take away all the color.
Up around Oceanside, along the northern tip of the Three Capes Loop, there's a secret road jetting off into the distance. You can't drive it: apparently it suffered from landslides long ago and has been closed off by a large wall of dirt. But you can walk it.
It looks mysterious enough as you wander this short stretch of pavement, through trees and minor lookout points above the ocean. But add some fog and you have a road that looks downright supernatural and paranormal.
At Rockaway Beach, a ways south of Cannon Beach and Manzanita, nighttime brought quite the bundle of fog to the landscape this summer, along with a serious dose of surrealism. Lights from nearby homes and streetlights careen through the haze and illuminate the world around you. Adding to the strangeness of it all is the fact the camera sees atmospheric gasses that humans can't, so a variety of colors show up here that you wouldn't see with the naked eye had you been there.
Even more startling was what was happening on the ground: the famed “glowing sands” were there at this time, although this is so faint it is not something that can be photographed. These are tiny bluish, green flashes created by microscopic creatures called dinoflagellates, a form of phytoplankton.
Sometimes you don't need to be completely enveloped in fog to have a really striking, surprising scene. At the overlooks above Manzanita, a curious fog bank hovers just offshore and gets fired up by the sunset in some extraordinary ways. Wild colors explode from this puffy monstrosity, which looks more like those desert sand haboob storms that hit parts of the southwest U.S. this past summer.
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