In my lightboxes:
- Title: Moved By The Sea
- State/Province/Region: Oregon
- Country: United States
- Nearest Area: Cape Blanco State Park
- Nearest Town: Port Orford to the south; Bandon to the north
- Brief Directions: Drive south from downtown Bandon approximately 22 miles (or north about 4.5 miles from Port Orford) until you see the Cape Blanco State Park sign on the west side of the road. Turn right (left, if coming from Port Orford) onto Cape Blanco Road and travel about five miles to reach the parking at the end of the road. The beach road is accessed through the south end of the campground.
- Description: Though most photographers find the photogenic sea stacks in Bandon, Oregon too hard to pull themselves away from - and rightfully so! - quiet and solitude await shutterbugs willing to drive a mere 40 minutes to the south to Cape Blanco State Park.
Arguably the westernmost point in the contiguous United States - Cape Alava in neighboring Washington contests this depending on the tide level and current state of erosion - this 1800-acre park teems with photogenic scenes ranging from the Oregon's southern-most lighthouse, Cape Blanco, the historical Hughes house, and the endless sandy beach, which is accessible via a steep, one-lane paved road.
The beach has no restrictions on visitation; however, the lighthouse and Hughes home are open to the public via guided tours from the beginning of April until the end of May between the hours of 10 am and 3:30 pm daily except for Tuesdays. The park charges a $2 per person fee to visit the lighthouse. Donations are welcome at the Hughes home.
A long telephoto lens will benefit the photographer who arrives at sunrise through mid-morning to photograph the lighthouse, as he/she will need to do so from a distance when the property is closed to visitors. A normal zoom lens (e.g. 24-105mm) and a bounced flash will help those who decide to join the guided tours record interior images to round out their portfolio of this location.
Complete the day by walking the Coastal Trail, which payoffs in an aerial-like view of the expansive beach below, the distant sea stacks offshore, and the paved road to the beach. Described by the volunteer camp host as being "one-quarter mile down and six miles back up," those concerned with lugging a heavy backpack down and up the inclined trail should consider carrying a wide-angle lens, a polarizer, graduated neutral density filters, and neutral density filters . If you plan to stay through sunset and into civil twilight, a tripod and cable release are a must. Those who wish to serve as "pack mules" could also bring a telephoto to record intimate scenes of the distant cliffs and the lighthouse from below, as well as a macro lens to capture minute details and patterns in the sand.
Though there's no bad time to visit, you'll find the most dramatic skies during the transitions of seasons, particularly during spring and fall. Winter months can bring stormy skies, but substantial amounts of rain - pack a rain cover, rain jacket, and umbrella! Summer months typically see fog hugging the coastline. Wildflower aficionados should visit in May and June, when the native iris adds a splash of purple to the headland and surrounding fields.
For more information, visit the Cape Blanco State Park at www.oregonstateparks.org/park_62.php.
- Gear: Tech info: Canon 5DMII, 16-35mm at 16mm, ISO 50, f/22 at 1.3 seconds, three-stop graduated neutral density filter, basic post processing.
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