madness of the tides

Twice I came here last weekend for balancing (pirouetting?) on slippery rocks and timing my shutter the best I figured how with the rhythm of the surf:  Alone the first gloomy night and with the boys the following, very dark afternoon. Easily some of the rainiest, drippiest time I’ve spent on the Oregon coast (and there have been plenty of rainy days since the Willamette Valley era).


The first evening of shooting I nearly came to blows with myself, barely staving off the primal temptation to smash my camera to smithereens on the rocks suffering as it is from two known major recalls (such little faith do I have in Nikon that I’ve chosen to work around the quirks) which have been getting in the way at the most aggravating of times and then making matters worse I got sloshed undangerously but quite rudely by the surf and stood there silently- very numb and not zen before retreating to a nearby cave for the tedious chore of eliminating the salty, translucent grimy brine from the front of my glass. Rialto Beach was still very much in my head and somehow, in the hullabaloo, my ISO got turned up a few too many notches. This would not have been cause for irritation if it weren’t for the grind of a six-stop neutral density filter parked on front of the lens for most of my shooting…….. akin to riding a bike up a steep hill while squeezing the handbrakes as hard as possible.

The noise from the unwittingly higher ISO ultimately left me feeling bitterly disappointed in my pictures but on the other hand the misty night air already held a certain gossamer quality to it. This one was at least fine for the web: Uncorrected distortion notwithstanding (I feel dizzy) hopefully you find something to like about this four second exposure from the first night. Windshield wipers would have come in handy, I ended up standing here because it was one of my few good options for being sideways and having the lens stay clean from salt-spray for at least one or two exposures. The little umbrella I brought along for protection (while the shutter was open) got busted inside-out after two minutes. Incidentally, that little squall touching down on the right horizon between the near and distant rocks was the preliminary furious blast of rain and it set off Jason’s Comedy Photography Routine. The distant offshore rocks are the ones that separate Chapman and Crescent beaches. The following evening was more rewarding despite continued trials of ineptituditity (the details of which I will not burden the reader) because at least I could turn around and spy the boys having barrels of fun and so there was the feeling of accomplishment even if I was mostly perching on the rocks like an injured puffin.

It felt unusually nice back in town, cozy in the little round house overlooking Elk Creek and by the fireplace with a book and sweets (various concoctions melding flavors of peanut butter and chocolate) from Bruce’s Candy Kitchen. The boys played games, did puzzles and watched movies like Swiss Family Robinson. During the times when it did not rain, we walked on Cannon Beach proper. One morning, we met a blind pug named Blazer who was rescued from a farm where terrible neglect reigned.  Speaking of which, a few days ago I finally emptied Lucy’s water dish and added it to the supply of dog things piling up by the washing machine and then another morning Adam and I took possession of her ashes from the animal hospital. Fourteen cute and silly years she was part of the family and we couldn’t bury her in the yard like I always figured- but heck if she was gonna end up anyplace but home so we had her cremated.  We didn’t really know the people at the vet’s office but they were gracious. Lucy always went to the place on 15th Avenue East but the kindly doctor there lost her lease on the building in favor of a cannabis shop. Every time I drive past the place a picture sort of forms in my head of cats and dogs on the other side of the rainbow bridge getting high on afterlife.

8 thoughts on “madness of the tides

  1. I noticed the pot shop had replaced the vet on a recent visit up there. For the most part, tho, that little commercial district has retained its character.

    Like your image. The texture and detail of the rocks contrast well with the soft swirls of the ocean.

    • 15th Avenue East isn’t our neighborhood strictly-speaking but both of my boys have gone to school up there over the years and so it has been the part of Capitol Hill we’ve hung out on the most, by default. The building across from Ada’s and Coastal Kitchen (the grocery store among others) is getting developed pretty soon- it will be an interesting and major facelift for 15th. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, Louise.

  2. My father-in-law used to live in Cannon Beach, so I’ve been there often — but I’ve never seen it like THIS before! Gorgeous, breathtaking shot. Truly.

    How bittersweet also to read about sweet Lucy’s return home. Grief is a strange thing — we always expect it to be a linear process, but it has a habit of looping back in surprising ways. I hope you and the boys are doing alright. (I do rather fancy the idea of a herd of cats and dogs getting high on the afterlife, though … 🙂

    • Your perception about grief is a good one- and I have to agree it’s so very true. Hope you’re having a good week, Heather. The boys are in good spirits: The surprise blanket of snow they woke up to on Monday morning was a jolt of delight and then we had an invigorating dose of snow lightning!

      I’m tickled to hear you know all about Cannon Beach. Sometime I’ll remember to ask you offline what you may have seen and done in those parts, I can just imagine how interesting it would be to live there like your father-in-law did. I don’t know if I could tolerate the summertime touristyness (we usually avoid that season) on a resident-basis but nevertheless I have a feeling if I was FORCED against my will to live full-time around there I could exist in a state of constant inspirational being.

      • Snow lightning! My gosh. That sounds very exciting — and I imagine in your corner of the world it’s even more rare than it is here. So glad it brought the boys a few giddy moments.

        As for the rest of it: I will drop you a note this weekend and tell you all about Cannon Beach (and other random matters). Happy Friday to you!

  3. Actually I do feel dizzy looking at the photo but I love it. It’s like that is how we should feel standing on the edge of the world staring into the abyss from which we crawled umpteen million years ago. I love the swirly milkiness of the water in contrast to the dark sharp lines in the rocks and how the rocks look like they are biting at the water with jagged teeth.

    We are so lucky to live in this watery wonderland TF! I love how you capture it all in words and photos. Do you have any special photos of Lucy?

    • Some of those organisms crawled out of the primordial abyss and splashed into my shoes and now they smell worse than the pile of giant pacific oysters in the backyard.

      I’ve got lots of great pictures of Lucy. I’ll have to share a handful on here, soon. She was amazingly photogenic for about the first half dozen years of her life but then she turned into a complete ham of a beauty pageant contestant. She knew she was adorable (for a pug, that is) and it went completely to her head and the camera turned into a blazing cue card to stop everything and either beg for food or turn around and stick her butt in my direction so I gave up on her when it came to portraiture, lol!

  4. I can relate to your brine-slicked, rain-and-wind-slapped, muculent-rock-perching predicament, all too well. Worth it. What a sublime capture. Absolutely gorgeous. So aggrieved to learn of your fine canine Lucy’s passing. Condolences,

    Autumn Jade

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