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Striking Even Startling Moments Along the Oregon Coast Caught on Camera

Published 07/08/22 at 5:35 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Surprising to Bizarre Oregon Coast Moments Caught in Time

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(Oregon Coast) – It's known as the one of the most dynamic environments in the world, where everything changes constantly. Oregon's coastline can yield some truly startling finds – if you're lucky to be there at the right time. Indeed, it's one of the few places on the planet that has sneaker waves: that's something a lot of beachgoers from others parts of the U.S. and elsewhere have not even heard of. No two days will resemble the other out here, especially if you're looking down. (Above: a detail from the pink rainbow. All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

If you're truly lucky, you'll have your camera in your hand when this occurs. Then again, it's amazing how many wild and wacky sights the average visitor doesn't pick up on. Knowledge really is power: and if you know the science of what you're seeing, then you can actually understand its significance.

Striking Even Startling Moments Along the Oregon Coast Caught on Camera

Rainbow Struggles for Survival in a Raging Pink Sky. This coastline can create the strangest weather systems, probably because this is where the inland and the oceanic air systems collide. Sometime in spring 2002, this scene presented itself just east of Pacific City. A crazed, angry bank of clouds was moving in from the east, while the coastal sunset hit it with wild colors and tinted it in pinks and reds. Rain was beginning to fall, and lightning could be seen in the distance. For a brief time, this collection of conditions created a rainbow in the midst of this almost sepia-toned moment.

Its blues and greens were largely cut out by the fierce cast of the reds from behind, but it was still visible: a strange and surreal reminder of how dynamic and unique the coastal environment is.

Down the road, in Neskowin, the lightning was directly overhead, and created the most thunderous, cataclysmic noise imaginable.

Strangely Shaped Sunset Near Manzanita. Sunsets are nothing new on the coast; they’re really such a staple of travel photography that this can sometimes exist on a whole new level of kitsch. Periodically, however, they erupt in wild shapes and there are moments that – if we’re lucky – are startling for one reason or another and are caught in-camera.

One extraordinary spring, while cruising past the overlooks above Manzanita, thick layers of clouds broke open in just the right way to allow shafts of pale sunlight through in stark shafts. It all resembled some alien mothership that was hovering above, in the distance, and maybe teleporting things up or down.

This, combined with the other cloud breaks and shadowy shapes of fir trees from Neahkahnie Mountain, made for a memorable sight.

Lighthouse In a Bubble. Way back in the early 2000s, Cape Meares Lighthouse went under the knife for a few months of renovations and refurbishing. Few things were more jolting than to walk up to this beauty and find it all covered up in a white bubble – reminiscent of those scenes in the movie “E.T” when the government covered up the family’s house in a kind of quarantine.

There were some years in the '70s and '80s when the Cape Meares Lighthouse was not open to the public and not really run by anyone. During those years, it was hit by a sizable amount of vandalism, including all four of the prism lenses being stolen. They were eventually recovered over a span of several years in the mid-80s, including one being recovered in a drug raid in Portland. One was anonymously left on the doorstep of a park official as well.

Early in 2010, the park was again hit by vandals who fired several rounds into the structure, breaking 15 panes and chunks of the Fresnel lens. Eventually two suspects were arrested in the crime. Damage was estimated at around half a million dollars.

Photo Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium

Double Rainbow Amid Storm Ravaged Beach. In 2009, Seaside Aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe explored a winter beach after a storm and found a host of wonders, including this rather surreal moment where a double rainbow appeared and framed some interesting – and very touchable - beach finds. She noted the large surf along the coast had distributed a hefty amount of marine grasses and kelp along the sands. Entangled among the grass and the holdfasts (a root-like structure that attaches kelp to hard surfaces) were decorator crabs, cancer crabs, juvenile red rock crabs, porcelain crabs, and small hermit crabs.

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

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