Cape Kiwanda

Luminous Eruption

If there ever was an ‘oh sh$t’ moment in my photographic career thus far this would have to be it. I left fairly early on a Friday morning in a valiant effort to make it down to Cape Kiwanda to shoot the sunset because the weather was looking prime to either be a complete bust or something really special. We had an offshore low spinning in some really unsettled weather in the form of a few nasty thunderstorms and some heavy rain/sleet/hail showers which made the drive down to Portland a ton of fun to say the least. Once I hit PDX a hopped over to HWY 101 to make a few pit stops on the way down the coast. I finally hit Kiwanda in the late afternoon and managed to get about 45 minutes of sleep in before heading out in the late afternoon light to set up for what I was seriously hoping to be some epic light.

Thunderstorms were everywhere and the rain showers were pummeling the coast as the sun fought through to illuminate the area. I shot a set on the rocks down below the dunes as the tide was still a out a bit and then made the climb to shoot some of the more well known compositions in that area. I shot some moody wave action on the cliffs for a bit before turning my attention to one of more well known comps of the Haystack made famous by guys like Dyar and Noriega when all of the sudden BOOM. Thunder cracked over head and rain started coming down. For whatever reason I decided to turn around and check out the cliffs directly behind me and they were absolutely going off. The sun had dropped right below the thunderhead and soaked the cliffs in warm ominous light. I scrambled down the slick clay (be forewarned it’s slick as hell especially when wet) shot over to the other side of the bluff and set up shop praying to the photography gods that I could get off a few clean shots. The light lasted maybe 5 minutes before being swallowed up by the incoming weather. It was definitely something I will never forget and it was one hell of a way to start my trip down the coast.

Photo Specs:

Sony a7r

16mm, ISO 50, f/13, 1/3sec, two exposures blended by hand in CS6 followed by utilizing luminosity masks and various editing techniques

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