Oregon Coast Landmarks in a Different Light
(Oregon Coast) – When night arrives on the Oregon coast, unbeknownst to most visitors and even locals, things change. It’s not simply that things get darker, but the kind of light (albeit less light) that falls on the beaches and ocean is quite different.
Familiar places look very much unlike they did before – if you’ve got the right kind of camera equipment. However, even with the naked eye, which takes some adjustment, you can see some stunning changes in your favorite beach landmarks, headlands, sandy spots and more.
Like Newport’s Moolack Beach, seen above. This recognizable and even comforting sight is a part of a dramatic introduction to the area as you ride into Newport from the north. A startling ocean vista opens in front of you during the day, but at night it’s harder to see yet no less spectacular. Especially if the moon is dancing on the ocean, like here, apparently paired up with the lights of the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse in the distance.
Just a tad up the road, between Newport and Depoe Bay sits the Devil’s Punchbowl, a geological curiosity that’s always good for a pretty picture, either in the calm and bright of sunlit waves or the stormy chaos of a winter’s day where the site lives up to its name.
But at night, given the right amount of exposure time (which is about ten minutes per photo at times), the punchbowl becomes downright otherworldly. Because of such long exposures, the sea is a blurry mist, looking like some sort of primordial soup. And the walls of the fallen-in cave itself gain some startling new colors.
Within Depoe Bay itself, the bay and the hills behind acquire a remarkably romantic vibe as a full moon rises in the east and begins to dance on its summer waters.
Also on the central Oregon coast, Lincoln City’s Siletz Bay is often a bright blue during lovely sun-filled days. At night, a wide variety of light sources around it create a distinctive look. Street lamps and the reds of a nearby neon sign turn the lapping waves of the bay to fire. The blues make for dazzling midtones from another universe. The night sky is always full of surprises as well, depending on atmospheric conditions.
Up at Garibaldi, that landmark smokestack from a factory gone decades ago is a huge marker that can be seen for miles. At night, it has an ethereal look, coupled with whatever odd and unexpected revelation comes from the skies on any given coastal night.
Further north, at Manzanita, the long, flat expanse of beach here is a family favorite and has been for generations. After the sun goes down, the colors drastically change from the greens and whites of the dunes to an esoteric yellow. If you catch the clouds and night sky in the right condition, you catch those mind-blowing star trails with your camera. In this case, a crescent moon also got the moving star treatment and created this extra wild look.
One of Oregon’s most famous landmarks, Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, really just becomes a shadow in any night scene. But it’s no less jaw-dropping when night falls, as fishing boats in the distance look like moving stars, and actual stars seen through a misty break in the clouds move with exceptional grace.
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