Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA by James Covello

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Picture Story

Long ago, in the days before COVID, my wife and I flew from Arizona to Oregon to spend a few days in Cannon Beach on the coast. It was early December and the weather was nice, if a bit chilly, and about half of the restaurants in town were closed for the season. There were few tourists about. It was a fairly lonely time at a very popular beach, in a word, perfect.

While Haystack Rock is the iconic subject on this beach, it is not the only subject. While Cannon Beach without Haystack Rock and a few smaller ones scattered around its base, is, at some level, just a big wide featureless beach, at its north end, Ecola Creek cuts a channel through the sand as it flows to the Pacific. When the tide is rushing in, up the same channel, these two flows meet and, on this day at least, formed a series of standing waves that looked to be flowing upstream and downstream at the same time.

A relatively slow shutter speed blurred the action—if a standing wave can indeed be called action—forming streaks that reflected the blue sky above. The low sun lit up the clouds of suspended sand inside the waves themselves, and each wave cast a shadow on the next wave upstream. There are a lot of interesting patterns that repeat in this little aquatic vignette, as well as an interesting contrast of colors: greenish gold, blue, black, and a touch of white. Deliberately not using a polarizer allowed the reflected blue to show more strongly.

Since I prefer landscape photography to street photography, I naturally prefer Cannon Beach in the off-season than during the busy summers, which feature massive carnival-like sandcastle competitions.


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