Cannon Beach part 2 (now with the Milky Way!)

If you follow my blog or facebook postings with any regularity, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been a on a water kick for a while now. Zoomed out a bit, it’s really a water/rock/stars kick, with a tree or two thrown in here or there for good measure. Last week, on a day that had started very cloudy but cleared quickly just before sunset, I allowed the winds of caprice to push me all the way to Cannon Beach, Oregon for some star photos of the iconic Haystack Rock, something I had been wanting to do for quite a while. It was a new moon (meaning: no moon) and it was clear and cold.

As usual, my first stop was Ecola State Park, which I had almost all to myself.* Most of the sky was deliciously cloud-free, except for a few stubborn ones lying low on the western horizon. The Milky Way was beautiful and arched overhead from west to east.

* This isn’t exactly true. While taking some long exposures at the overlook, I could see a few people with flashlights down on Indian Beach, which kind of freaked me out when I later went to Indian Beach. Did I mention just how dark it was out there?

ecola tree, ecola state park, oregon coast, stars, milky way

stars, ecola state park, oregon, oregon coast

I shot a handful of photos at the overlook before heading to Indian Beach, which was especially creepy in the dark. I took a few more photos as the surf crashed, and then I hiked back up to my car.

indian beach, oregon state parks, ecola state park, oregon coast, night photography

indian beach, oregon coast, ecola state park, stars, rocks

Some clouds had rolled in, and after warming myself for several minutes in my car, I very nearly headed back home (it was, after all, about 8:30 pm at this point, which is nearing my bed time). Instead I decided to make the short drive to Cannon Beach to check out the lay of the land.

I was glad I did. By the time I parked, the clouds had cleared entirely, and I had Cannon Beach to myself on a 38-degree night. Eventually, some clouds rolled in low on the horizon again, and I saw a dozen or more shooting stars (but somehow managed to not catch any on camera). I did, however, manage to take an unintentionally super-creepy self-portrait (see the last image below)

haystack rock, stars, milky way, star photography, cannon beach

stairway, stars, oregon coast, cannon beach

star trails, oregon coast, haystack rock, cannon beach

haystack rock, stump, cannon beach, oregon coast, star photography, stars

haystack rock, stars, night photography, oregon coast

cannon beach, oregon, houses, stars, night photography

self portrait, stars, cannon beach, oregon, night photography, star photography

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