Brian's Photo Blog — Article 362
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Oregon Coast Triple-Header Outing
Wednesday 6 August 2014   —   Category: Outings
After exploring two well-known spots near the coastal town of Lincoln City at the beginning of July — see Drift Creek Falls and Cascade Head Doubleheader Outing — my family and I visited three locations along the Oregon Central Coast north of Florence at the end of July: Sutton Creek, Darlingtonia State Natural Site, and Cape Perpetua. As always, my camera was there to document the outing.

About 20 miles north of Tahkenitch Dunes — where I hiked about two months ago — lies another system of trails and dunes at Sutton Creek. While the hike there was shorter and less strenuous, and the scenery not quite as spectacular, compared with Tahkenitch, nevertheless, Sutton Creek has a charm of its own, and is well worth a visit.

We parked at Holman Vista, which is the western trailhead. After soaking in the gorgeous view from the viewing deck there, we took the trail heading southeast to Sutton Campground, about a mile and a quarter away (as the crow flies). The four sections of the trail, which form a lopsided and deformed figure-eight (see map) total about four and a quarter miles.

Quite a bit of the trail goes through forest, but there is also a section that makes its way through some dunes. As my daughter Olivia remarked, you feel like you’re in a desert, and you expect to see a camel train at any moment! Along the way, Olivia was overjoyed to come across a long, thick rope suspended from a high branch over a sloping sand dune. We took care of this part of the trail at the beginning, while the air was still fairly cool and we were still pretty fresh. It would definitely have been harder to traverse the dunes on our way back, when it was hotter and we were tireder!

I took 154 photos during the hike — 56 of those were action shots of Olivia on the rope swing, while another 43 were to capture a single panorama. For the new Sutton Creek 2014 album I distilled these images down to the best 24.

After finally making it back to our car almost four hours after we had started our hike, we drove back to U.S. 101, then north just two-tenths of a mile to the Darlingtonia State Natural Site, five miles north of Florence, Oregon. After enjoying our picnic of roast beef sandwiches and other dainties, we took a walk around the site to see what kind of meat the extraterrestrial-looking, carnivorous cobra lilies were eating!

As I stared in amazement at these bizarre plants, I felt as if I had been transported far, far back in time. I almost expected a dinosaur to come tromping through the bog — or an alien spaceship to land! This is definitely one of the most astonishing places I have ever visited. All in all, I took 54 photos of these darling Darlingtonia, 30 of which are included in the new Darlingtonia 2014 album.

Darlingtonia is the only Oregon state park dedicated to the protection of a single plant species. And this Darlingtonia 2014 album the only album in my collection dedicated to the viewing of a single plant species! It may seem overkill to have 30 photos of the same type of plant, but with their varied sizes, colors and textures, each shot reveals a unique aspect of these carnivores. Looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys!

After NOT being eaten by the cobra lilies, we headed north on 101 for another 16 miles the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area — between Florence and Newport, about 2 miles south of the small town of Yachats.

Two and a half years earlier, in January 2012, I had photographed this area for the first time, during a winter high-surf advisory — see The Quest For Thor’s Well. Now it was time to check it out again, in a different season, and with my family instead of on my own.

The photos in this album are unique in that it is one of the few collections that features people! If you have looked at very many of my pictures, you will realize that I hardly ever take photos of people. Sometimes I even Photoshop out people who somehow end up in a shot! But this time there were too many tourists around to either avoid them in my photos or to easily remove them later. Once I looked at the pictures at home, I realized that in some cases it was good to have people in a shot because it gave the surrounding landscape a sense of scale. In addition, I got some nice pictures of Olivia.

I was happy to revisit some specific spots, like Devils Churn and Thor’s Well, where I was able to get shots, under calmer conditions, that were either not physically possible, or just too dangerous to attempt, during stormy winter weather. Finally, I reached the goal of my previous quest! Still, it was VERY windy that day, and there was ocean spray flying around everywhere. I was very glad that my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera and Panasonic lenses are weather sealed!

Out of the 447 photos I took that afternoon, 39 have made it into the new Cape Perpetua 2014 album, including an 18-photo series of images showing how the water springs up in Thor’s Well, and then sinks down again. Of course, it’s much more impressive in person, but these pictures will give you a general idea until you can get there and see it for yourself! If this location really turns you on, you’ll also want to browse through the 34 photos in the Cape Perpetua 2012 album.

After another excursion of twelve-plus hours, our July 2014 triple-header outing was history. But our memories of the beautiful places we visited, and the resulting photos, will live on.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 362
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