top of page

3+ Reasons Why Oregon is a Playground for Photographers

If you've been following the Oregon Series, you may already know the 3+ reasons why Oregon is a playground for Landscape Photographers. Lush Ancient Forests, Lofty Mountains, & One Hellava Coast! As for the +, consider stunning valleys, numerous waterfalls, gorgeous rivers & canyons. Oregon has it all.

Episode 4 was our last day in the Gold Beach coastal area and I kept asking myself, what can top Natural Bridges and Secret Beach? Honestly, We will be hard-pressed to find anything comparable for the remainder of our trip north along US101.

During our hikes there, both Mark Camp & I would find ourselves constantly in awe, staring out to sea, motionless, while subtly shaking our heads, eyes slightly squinted, and what became a notorious & relaxed, but intense exhale, as we tried to process what lay before us.

Spoiler Alert: Nothing, in my opinion, was comparable to Natural Bridges or Secret Beach for the remainder of our adventure. What I discovered, however, was that attempting to "compare" other areas of the Oregon coast to the Gold Beach area, was the wrong approach. I soon began to realize that every stop northbound would reveal a unique beauty all its own, unequaled and incommensurable to Gold Beach's incredible geology, these locations would offer entirely new seascapes as if they were from a completely different place (like the volcanic basalt shoreline at Thor's Well), and thus, continue to arouse the senses with an innate sense of nature's powerful, & yet, raw beauty. Especially taking it all in for the first time.

I often wondered if we had begun our trip from the North and traversed US101 Southbound, after having experienced places like Sister's Rocks, The Devil's Punchbowl, Heceta Head, would I have felt the same about Natural Bridges and Secret Beach? I can't fully answer that question, but would sum it up by saying, Natural Bridges and Secret Beach left an impression on me that I'll never forget. I wish my images portrayed what my heart felt, but unfortunately, my experiences there far outweighed any photograph I attempted to make to tell that story. I just hope the videos make up for the difference to inspire all nature-loving and adventurous people to visit these magnificent locations.

For the upcoming video, episode 5 we continue north alongside US101 and make basecamp at Coos Bay. Our main area of interest will be Bandon Beach. For this video, we take you along our scouting mission during low tide when Bandon Beach and many of its sea stacks are accessible by foot, including several caves to explore - a few smaller ones, and one massive cave in Cathedral Rock.

Cathedral Rock at Bandon Beach, Oregon

Here we were getting a sense of place from a beach that would later be submerged by the Pacific Ocean's incoming tide. So many of the compositions we had in mind after scouting would no longer be easily obtained as the viewpoint overlooks the beachfront from a bit of elevation. Furthermore, beach access can be tricky at high tide, and certain areas along the stretch have better access, but may also be down the street and between two residential houses. Yes, this area and these viewpoints are smack-dab in the middle of several neighborhoods - a suburban seacoast. A rather lovely one too!

At one point near sunrise's end, the clouds broke all but a smidge, enough to hold back the sun's penetrating rays no longer. It was moody and contrasty, atmospheric and translucent. It was fun, and the sort of weather we landscape photographers love to encounter.

There's a different vibe to Oregon's oceanfront communities. There's a sense of pride and gratitude for living amongst such a sublime coast. We spoke to one lady who lived a few houses down from the Face Rock Viewpoint and has lived there her entire life, she helped point out a sea stack named "Wizards Hat", but it was her passion that struck me. She spoke about the area as someone seeing it for the first time, obviously not in a sense of discovery, she sees it every day, but more like - from the wonder of it all. A deep appreciation and sense of ecology, and how it might improve everyday life. I dunno, I'm getting a little side-tracked here, ya know, that excitement when traveling, and asking yourself what it would be like to live here.

A temporary escape from windy sand gusts. Cathedral Rock to the right, Bandon Beach, Oregon

We returned to Face Rock Viewpoint for sunset. The tide was incoming and the beach was not nearly as accessible anymore. It was overcast and to make matters worse, a thick layer of moisture above the horizon known as "the marine layer" was ever so present.

We ended up shooting from above at the viewpoint, trying our best to be optimistic about what nature had given us this evening. At one point near sunrise's end, the clouds broke all but a smidge, enough to hold back the sun's penetrating rays no longer. It was moody and contrasty, atmospheric and translucent. It was fun, and the sort of weather we landscape photographers love to encounter.

Episode 5 will drop sometime in January 2024. I have not started this video, and have only processed the 3 images shown. Hopefully, Camper and I can deliver images that complement the aforementioned stories along the incredible, and amazing Oregon Coast.

Do you see a face? Look again as this sea stack portrays a face gazing upwards towards the sky.


bottom of page