Oregon

November morning light at Cannon Beach

 

(Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

My relationship with the Oregon Coast has changed since I became a surfer two years ago. I now see the rough Pacific Ocean waves as fickle tricksters, always appearing beautiful but seldom inviting to insignificant surfers who dare paddle a few hundred feet from shore.

I also appreciate the magic moment when the first cold light of a fall day climbs out from behind the coastal range and illuminates the beach from the east. I have come out many times at this golden hour of the day, just after sunrise.

I drove out this month with a friend, hoping to catch some approachable waves. Unfortunately, the five-foot breaks resembled overheads, and grew taller as the waves barreled close to shore. We still had the beauty of the beach before us.

We first headed to Seaside. Both of us disliked the ferocity of the breaks. Next we headed to Cannon Beach. Our first spot already had two expert surfers in position.

When we saw the intensity of the waves we decided to bag that location too. It is also a secret hideaway that locals want kept that way. We knew we made the right call after seeing one the two surfers get stuck in the current. He spent 15 minutes in the current, stuck, unable to get back out to the lineup. As we were leaving, another surfer arrived, obviously upset by our presence. On such a beautiful morning, my friend and I let his cool glaze roll off our backs.

We suited up instead for some mediocre foam rides at a spot called the Needles, just south of Cannon Beach’s landmark Haystack Rock. Despite the junky foam waves rides, we caught our quota and soaked up the beautiful morning on the crisp, cold, clear fall day. Nothing could be better. You can never go wrong after a morning surf.

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Cement kiln, southeast Portland

The Lehigh Northwest Cement Co. is located near the large railroad yard in the industrial area of southeast Portland. I always have liked living near railroad yards. They are reminders of what keeps our country’s economic engine moving, and cement producers are always likely neighbors. To me they are strong icons of our industrial economy and fall into the category of photography I embrace focussing on industrial typologies. (Click on the photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Portland’s most scenic drive, Northwest Cornell Road

Northwest Cornell Road climbs up the city’s West Hills more than a thousand feet, with trails intersecting the two-lane thoroughfare. It is one of the city’s most popular bike rides, and hikers and trail runners access world-class Forest Park from here too. Two tunnels were carved out here during the Great Depression, as a Works Project Administration project. They have both that sturdy quality of craftsmanship and utliitarian functionality that typify the great building projects of this era of American history. They are, in fact, timeless in their beauty, and I like them. Here are a few shots of one, and the side path bikers taken to avoid tunnel traffic. I think I will be seeing these tunnel a lot in the months to come. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Oregon backroad in Wasco County

 

With stock images, one normally is supposed to provide some sort of cliché phrase about the road less travelled, the path to wisdom, finding one’s place involves windy roads, or a variation on this theme. For me, this was just a nice moment on a very seldom used highway (Oregon Hwy. 197), just south of The Dalles. It was early June, the crops were still growing, and the evening light was hitting the hills and casting shadows on the road. I pulled over and snapped this photo. I simply loved the scenery. This area is one of the premiere bicycle touring areas of the country. (Click on the photo to see a larger photograph on a separate picture page.)

Taking detours and discovering hidden treasures in Oregon

 

During a short road trip to central Oregon the first week of June, I accidentally discovered this amazing fishing area on the Deschutes River, north of Maupin. It is called Sherars Falls. I camped here, and I was in heaven. The fishing area is managed by the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, and I’m fairly certain Native fishermen have been visiting these falls for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. This shot was taken shortly before 6 a.m. as the morning crew arrived to cast lines for spring Chinook. The night before, the guys did not stop fishing until about 10 p.m. I love salmon fishing and passion it brings out in anglers. And this was one of the prettiest fishing locations I have ever seen. (For a larger photo, click on the picture to open a separate picture page.)

View of Vista House, Columbia River Gorge

 

I used my consumer-grade Canon digital for this shot. Sure, I am a tourist, but this is one of the premier views of the Pacific Northwest, from the scenic highway along the Columbia River Gorge, about 30 miles west of Portland, Ore. Sometimes, having fun and having a good memory is what matters. (Click on the image for a larger picture on a separate page.)