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Photos of Depoe Bay Can Reveal Things About Oregon Coast Sciences, Obscurities

Published 12/06/22 at 4:09 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Photos of Depoe Bay Can Reveal Things About Oregon Coast Sciences, Obscurities

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(Depoe Bay, Oregon) – There's no doubt Depoe Bay on the central Oregon coast is one entrancing place to photograph, especially if you know the place well. With no sandy beach, people often skip over it except as a stopover for great grub, other travel supplies, or maybe a moment of stretching the legs then moving on. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection. Above: wildfire smoke from Russia makes it all the way over here one year, causing sunsets like this for a few days)

Yet there's so much more here. And those photographs you take on those quick dashes outside of your car? They can reveal some interesting science about the Oregon coast – whether (or weather) you like it or not.

Sometimes it's meteorology; other times it can be the science of light or even the wildlife and the place's hidden spots. Here's a few examples.


Depoe Bay at Dusk, One August Night. Between the lights on the channel, street lamps, traffic on the bridge, blurry people walking past and the varied colors of the buildings, dusk can make the town look a bit like a bunch of Christmas lights.

This is the walkway that goes under the famed Oregon coast bridge, making for a grand place to linger and watch boats going in and out, or the occasional sea life bouncing around the bay and even the channel.

You'll often find that as dusk settles in and the skies darken, winds will die down on the Oregon coast. There's a lot of interesting science behind that, but the basics are the sun stops heating up the waters and creating temperature differences.

Depoe Bay After Dark. Wait long enough after sundown, and just as the world seems to turn black, something new happens. Your eyes figure out how to view those waves in the shadows, lights from fishing boats pop out in the distance as do the craggy outlines of rock structures by the seawall. The central Oregon coast town illuminates the waves just right, and you start to notice how the incoming breakers shimmer a bit.

Take a camera to this scene and it picks up shades you can't see, creating unusual colors that make the sea look like it's on fire. Strangely, photograph this town on another night and it may look markedly different.

Moon Halo Overhead. Indeed, that's just what happens if you shoot on a different night. Such as here, on a frigid night in January, where a moon halo makes for an astounding moment over the Whale Watching Center.

What's interesting is that the daylight hours were crystal clear skies and quite warm for a January, feeling almost 60 degrees sometimes. When this happens at night, it's often a weather prediction on its own. Moon halos are created by ice crystals in the sky and the moonlight refracting through them – or being bent. When you get ice crystals high up, that often means a chilly day is next.

That's exactly what happened here. The following day was downright cold.

Depoe Bay and a Summer Storm? It's midsummer on the Oregon coast, and a little chilly and windy, but otherwise glorious sun and blue occupy the skies. What is odd here is the proliferation of massive waves, however. It's more like a spring storm. The end result is the combo of lovely conditions and dramatic ocean create quite a photogenic moment.

Another instance of curious coastal dichotomies in the world of weather.

At the extreme southern end of the Depoe Bay bridge, there's a little viewpoint tucked away that allows glimpses of this side of the bay's jetty and structures. A small tree here helps fill the photo with more visual information about this little grassy knoll that's hidden.

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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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