Oregon Part 4: Taming Cape Arago

| February 20, 2012
cape arago oregon

Sunset at Cape Arago, Oregon

After making photographs of eagles in Klamath Falls, we made a four and a half hour trek by car to the beautiful Oregon coast. We had originally planned to drive to Crater Lake but found out that the area was already inundated with snow, which made access to the lake impractical without proper planning. So, as an alternative, we set our sights on Coos Bay, which is a town of about 16,000 people on the Oregon coast.

klamath falls to coos bay map

Driving from Klamath Falls to Coos Bay, Oregon

We chose Coos Bay for its beautiful tide pools and the photographic bliss that they provide. Since we were only staying one night in Coos Bay, we needed to arrive in time to catch the setting sun. As planned, we arrived at 3pm, checked into the hotel, and asked the helpful lady at the hotel where the tide pools were. She gave us a map and circled an area 20 minutes away called Cape Arago. Equipped with our location, we threw our bags in the room and headed out to the Cape in hopes of finding a good location for late day photographs.

cape arago oregon

Photo location – Be careful!!!

Once we arrived at the Cape with about an hour to shoot, I frantically looked around for the best location and discovered it was down toward the tide pools. Reaching the pools required me to climb down a relatively steep natural embankment. I went down the embankment because I don’t like shooting down on my subjects. Shooting on a relatively level viewing plane allows me to put the viewer in the middle of the action and make a more interesting photograph.

Well, with 25 pounds of gear on my back and slightly wet soil, you guessed it, I slipped on the way down. I did not end up in a tide pool thank goodness but my wrist is still a little sore from catching myself. Not knowing how the tide behaves in this location, I stayed high enough to keep clear from the waves as they came came rolling in. Be very careful when scouting locations like this. It is easy to get hurt so don’t take chances!

Tide pool entrance at Cape Arago, Oregon

The photos above are what I ended up with for my efforts. I processed the images to my liking to emphasize the colors of the rocks and water. To get the effect of the waves moving, I used a multi-stop neutral density filter, which allowed me to extend the exposure time and create the smooth-ish water texture. I just experimented with several exposure lenghts to get the effect I wanted. Once home, I used Photoshop plugins Nik Color EFX Pro 4 and Viveza 2 to work the contrast and color to create the final photographs.

Sleepy morning in Coos Bay, Oregon

The next morning we drove around Coos Bay looking for interesting subjects and found this boat getting ready to go out for the catch of the day. It would have been nice to hang out for a few more days and work some more on the tide pools. Rain was on its way though and we had a date with Mount Hood, which was five hours north.

So, up next will be my shot of Mount Hood. It is not an award winner due to weather but I was able to check it off of the list and see some of Portland!

Have a great week!


Category: Oregon, Photography, Travel, Tutorials

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  1. A.Barlow says:

    Hmm, this place looks pretty cool. Maybe next time I go visit my sis in Eugine I’ll hit this place up. That leading image is just simply amazing!