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Oregon Coast Blue Hour Can Be the Most Wowing, Even When It Isn't...

Published 04/29/23 at 5:42 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Blue Hour Can Be the Most Wowing, Even When It Isn't...

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(Oregon Coast) – Blue hour on the Oregon coast is often when the beach skies go into a kind of wonder overdrive – even if the skies aren't necessarily blue. In fact, that's when blue hour is at its most incredible. Above: blue hour at Lincoln City's D River access (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection unless otherwise noted).

Oddly enough, that's about when people give up on the beach. Sundown has just gone down; dipped below the horizon and out of sight. Crowds thin out quickly, but you know something they don't. You're still out there with camera gear, firing off long shutter exposures. Someone even walks by and asks you why you're still shooting.

You tell them what they don't know. The fact is, however, humans can't see what you're capturing. Only cameras can with those long exposures they grab the last remaining light from Oregon coast skies and pick up on colors you didn't even know were there.

Garibaldi at blue hour. City lights and moving clouds create some magical effects. Because of the longer exposure, the big G is a blown-out glow. defines blue hour as happening just after the sun goes down and just before it comes up. It gets this blue cast, or diffused with bluish light - to be a bit more correct. Interestingly, blue hour is just an expression: this different part of the day is only about 20 to 30 minutes long.

However, a curiosity arises with such photographs and conditions. Blue hour can wind up not very blue, except to the naked eye. An example: the top photograph at Lincoln City. It may be blue hour above, and indeed the stars are showing, but sometimes intense sunset colors creep up from far beyond the horizon. When Oregon Coast Beach Connection snapped this, to the naked eye those oranges and reds were far, far fainter – barely visible. It's the long exposure of two or more minutes that brings this forward.

The rails are lit by streetlights in the distance, leaving that orange tint (which has to do with at what temperature they're burning).

This range of time is well known by photographers tobe a prime time for shooting the moon, as the bluish remnants of daylight even out the exposure of the two just enough to capture the glow of the moon. This one in Cannon Beach had some amazing stars and their movement mixed for an extra bonus.

Seaside at blue hour with the sands and volleyball nets lit by streetlamps. The real attraction here is the two planets in conjunction over the north Oregon coast town.

On the southern Oregon coast, at Bandon's China Creek. You get an interesting mix of blue hour and intense sunset again in this varied shot by Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more.

Perhaps among the most curious are these from the north Oregon coast. Again, Seaside appeared to be a blue hour to human eyes, but open that camera for about 20 – 30 seconds and you get a neon leftover of dusk. Below, Astoria never really did turn completely blue on this little jaunt: it stayed mostly pinks and oranges until just about when dark took over.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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