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Most Stunning Oregon Coast Photographic Moments of 2010
(Oregon Coast) – When you and various others cover the Oregon coast with nature stories and photographs, you wind up with some pretty amazing moments. It is, afterall, one of the most dynamic environments on the Earth, with conditions and the geography changing every day, sometimes every hour.
2010 got a little more spectacular than usual, photographically, thanks to some luck, better photo equipment and some allies out there along the Oregon coast who know how to snap a mind-blowing moment in time. Much of the dramatic, cool stuff was caught by BeachConnection .net cameras, but some riveting shots were photographed by Seaside Aquarium and the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Many of these were decided upon based on reactions they recieved on BeachConnection.net's Facebook page.
One of the best came quite early, and from Seaside Aquarium. Two whales around March were spotted from Tillamook Head in Seaside, wandering the cove. One of them was a baby – a calf. It’s the very definition of cute and spectacular. The photo was taken by the aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe.
In May, awesome weather was in abundance still. One day around the Manzanita area yielded this jaw-dropping last half hour of sunlight, as seen from the overlooks above town (seen here at right, above).
Nearer to Memorial Day weekend, down near Florence, a new camera proved immensely useful for the budding naturalist. A host of sea lions, not far from the Sea Lion Caves, were gathered on the cliffs in large numbers. But these cliffs were some 300 feet down or so, seen from the scenic pullouts where everyone and their dog seems to stop for shots of the Heceta Head Lighthouse. An exceptionally powerful zoom lens allowed us up close to a world few, if any, can ever really enter, as these pinnepeds lumber around the rocky ledges just feet above a raging surf.
The same week, or shortly after, Boothe from the aquarium gets perhaps the cutest shot of a seal pup ever from these shores. It’s resting on the beach, as they do, and it heralded the beginning of seal pup season up and down the coast. It’s almost as if this little guy knew how adorable he could be and let out the yawn for effect.
Also about this time, Boothe got a stunning shot of a freaky fish that had recently arrived at Seaside Aquarium: a lumpfish (which could’ve almost been a creation of Monty Python).
She took the time to show off the new octopus as well, with a shot of particularly brilliant colors set amidst this sea of black. The slightly spooky creature looks a bit as if it's floating in a void.
As summer came on, there weren't very many moments of sun, except in June. But one, sometime in July, yielded an amazing glow from the sunset at Cape Foulweather, between Depoe Bay and Newport. You’re looking south towards Newport here, with the Devil’s Punchbowl in the distance.
Also in June, back at Neahkahnie Mountain above Manzanita, a stunningly starry night seemed to open up all the universe, with Manzanita glowing below.
Another night during the summer did part the clouds a bit, showing off some startling colors in Lincoln City. This is the northern end of town, near the Whistling Winds Motel and Brey House BnB.
In August, at the very southern edge of Cannon Beach, there’s a wonderful little secret beach that wanders below the lookouts that are so famous and perfect for photographs. The beach itself is hardly ever touched, but certain moments, when combined with colors, the right conditions of sun and a wave hitting just the right spot, create elegant scenes like this.
Sometime during summer, Boothe and the Seaside Aquarium sent out this wowing photograph of some fascinating and colorful sea life that washed up onshore like crazy, called a salp. They look a bit like something threatening from the Sy Fy channel, but lucky for Mankind they're small and utterly harmless.
By far one of the most stunning moments this year was Boothe’s shot of America’s big symbol: the bald eagle. These two were bounding around the beach early one morning, looking majestic and awe-inspiring.
It’s now October and the fall has given way to many more sunny days than summer, which means clearer nights. Newport, the weekend of Halloween, showed off its best side with this shot of the nocturnal Yaquina Bay bridge, looking south.
A bit into November, and the season is definitely turning. Seaside gets moody and surreal at dusk, with the sky brooding and the lights of the town coming on and painting the beach and even the waves a striking, strange color. Meanwhile, that lone swing set on the beach looks even more alone this part of the year.
A week or two later, near Nehalem, and something in you wants to scream “what does it mean?” (A reference to a video that’s an internet sensation right now). No big hippie dude to start bawling and babbling here, just the awe-inspiring sight of a snow-covered Onion Peak in the distance.
Late at night in December, on the same night as the famed lunar eclipse, Cannon Beach looks like another world, if you leave the shutter open long enough. A fishing boat in the distance is so bright it even illuminates the clouds a little, while the stairway at the Tolovana access is cast in some particularly interesting colors.
Then in the last week of the year, an adorable otter pup makes a splash at Oregon Coast Aquarium. In this shot by the aquarium’s Cindy Hanson, the cute factor is cranked up to 11 as the little guy cavorts energetically with another furry pal.
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