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Like Day and Night on Oregon Coast: Shades of Cannon Beach

Published 11//30/2011

Like Day and Night on Oregon Coast: Shades of Cannon Beach

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – It's amazing the different faces sported by the north Oregon coast destination spot of Cannon Beach. From season to season, the same beach will look drastically different. Sand levels rise and fall, things wash up that weren't there before, and sometimes something familiar is even taken away.

At other times, however, if you really want a visual shocker, check out the differences between night and day.

A spectacular case in point can be found at Ecola State Park, a major photographic hotspot for a century, and a stopping point for the famed Lewis & Clark expedition 100 years before that. Above, at the end of the day, the place glows in a variety of shades of reds and violets, accentuated by that landmark tree.

The same scene after dark, on an early summer night, reveals an amazing array of stars, while the glow of the town is the brightest light available. Although a fishing boat or two are also vying for attention.

At the very southern end of town, beyond the Tolovana area, where the streets take on names from other southern coast counties and towns, these often run straight into the beach itself. One of these accesses features a beautiful chunk of rock that can sometimes yield tide pool life. At night, atmospheric gasses take over, seen only by the camera but not by the human eye, and the world takes on ethereal colors.

On this particular night, the clouds dominated, but for a while there was a large crack in them, allowing the stars to shine through, which then became enormous, dramatic streaks because of the long period of time such a camera exposure takes.

There is, of course the iconic Haystack Rock, known as one of the most photographed spots in the entire northwest. No look at Cannon Beach would be complete without an examination of it.

At night, it too is an unreal visage. The yellow cast on it is from nearby streetlights. The shutter being open for a few minutes causes the ocean to become a surreal mist. Fishing boats in the distance look like a sunset gone wrong.

More beachy fun is a few miles south of town at Hug Point, where all sorts of surprises await. You first enter via a small path leading down to a rocky chunk of the beach, which then gives way to sand. Unless of course it's high tide - then there's just rocks.

Look at the same place at night, and the colors have drastically changed and the raging tide and its movement are frozen in time, made a hazy, startling blur by the camera. It's now even more evident where the tide stops.

Hug Point goes bonkers when it comes to sand levels. They can move up and down here like crazy over the seasons, and this mushroom-shaped blob of a rock gets not only further revealed, but some years the sand levels get so low you can see the bedrock from which is comes out of.

Check it out during summer, as night has just fallen. That blob is covered by sand and the bedrock is gone. The mist-like ocean comes into play, but the post-dusk light creates a dominant dark blue cast, as the moon tries to get its fair share of attention. The reflections it creates are downright exotic.

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