When listening to photographers discussing equipment and technique, I have heard several times that polarizing filters should not be used when you are high up. As you get higher, the skies get clearer and deeper blue and the idea is that the polarizer becomes too much. I was pondering this when we were up in the Washington Pass along the North Cascades Highway. We aren’t very high at this point but still a decent elevation. I thought about taking the polarizer off but I felt like it really improved the colors and vibrancy of the images. Maybe we weren’t high enough for it to matter or maybe some of you will look at these shots and think it is too much. I’m genuinely interested to hear what you think.
The weather while we were in Jackson was rather variable. Our first day was pretty sunny but it clouded over and the second day had clouds constantly moving through. You would get patches of sun showing up periodically but it was generally overcast. As you looked to the hillsides surrounding the valley, there was hardly a moment when things were constant. Light might pick out the terrain briefly and then a cloud would roll in and obscure the view completely. There was always something different to see. Even though the conditions were not great, it was still gorgeous to watch the constant evolution.
Winter weather in Washington can be a bit unpredictable. It can be cloudy and rainy in one spot while the sun is peaking out a short distance away. Shoreline provided just such variety. While it had been quite gloomy, as we walked around the headland near the lighthouse, the view to the south over Puget Sound suddenly cleared up nicely and there was a lovely sunny view. Time to grab some pictures before the sun disappears again (which it did before too long!).
Cannon Beach was quite a way north of where we were staying in Oregon. However, it was on our route home so we stopped off to wander along the sands for a bit prior to hunting down some lunch. We were not the only ones enjoying a sunny day on the beach but, given the expanse of sand available, there was plenty of space for everyone to spread out so it wasn’t crowded.
The huge flat sands were most impressive and the rocks that sit out in the water look very cool. It is hard to gauge their scale when they are out like that as they are so separated from the people that you don’t have enough of a reference to work with. It is safe to say that they are pretty big though. There was a bit of sea spray in the air which made everything take on a slightly more misty look when you were looking south towards the sun. Looking north this was a lot less apparent. I could see why a landscape photographer would come here to spend some time in the early and late hours.
The moisture in the air along the Oregon coast can catch you out at times. On one drive south out of Yachats we rounded a bend in the road where we looked down from quite a height along the beaches stretched beneath us. It looked most impressive, but we were then on the way down a twisty road and had missed the pull off. I made a note to come back another time. This I did but the conditions had changed a lot. There was now a lot more mist in the air and the beaches were disappearing into the glare from the sun. Even so, it was still a very pretty location.
The view from the top of Culver Down is usually good (provided you aren’t in cloud) so we took a trip up there while I was visiting mum. While there was a lot of rain and cloud coming through as a result of the storm system, there was also a fair bit of sun illuminating parts of the countryside when a gap in the clouds showed up. From that location, you could see where the sun was running to. Whether looking down at the windmill, across to the harbor or spotting the Ledge (a nasty rocky outcrop just below the surface of the sea that has claimed many an unlucky sailor), the light was interesting. The rainbow certainly didn’t hurt either.
Returning from Mendocino County provided the option of driving along the coast heading south. The Pacific Coast Highway is a great choice if you have time on your hands and we did have. Therefore, we headed this way. The run down the coast is a combination of great views, long runs along the cliffs and the occasional area of twisting road around the inlets that occasionally cut into the shoreline. When the road is quiet it is a lot of fun. If you get stuck behind a bunch of RVs, it suddenly is a little less enjoyable.
We stopped a number of times en route to enjoy the view. One diversion out towards a lighthouse provided a lovely overlook of the shore including a bay below us that was full of sea lions. Despite the crashing waves, this area apparently provided a bit of shelter and the sea lions were seemingly taking it easy behind the protection of some rocky ledges.
There are lots of areas with large rocks slightly offshore. This reminded me a lot of the coast of Oregon (which, since we weren’t that far south, is probably not that surprising). Heading south we were looking into the sun so had some lovely reflections of the light off the water. Occasionally the edge of the road was very close to the top of the cliffs so you do have to stay focused as you drive along but it is a beautiful area on a sunny day. I imagine if a storm is rolling in from the ocean, it is also dramatic but a little less welcoming.