The Oregon Coast

A snapshot taken with my phone

A snapshot taken with my phone

Oftentimes we assume that other lands look like our own. That’s what I assumed as I journeyed from California to Oregon, a seemingly short trip that exposed me to a large transition.

The Oregon coastline differs markedly from California. I suppose I should have expected this, but for whatever reason I thought the entire coast north of Eureka would remain the same. As I drove along the sinuous highway over the Oregon border, I knew immediately that I was mistaken. I realized that the images of agriculture that I’d grown so used to seeing along California roads had disappeared, replaced by scenes of imposing tress lining the highway like sentinels. And I was struck by the changes in the sea stacks. Where previously I was used to seeing jagged, angry sea stacks that seemed to stand in defiance of nature, I now saw curved stacks blending into the landscape that reminded me of hills that had made their homes in the sea. 

But all is not harmonious. While here I visit places with powerful names such as “The Devil’s Punchbowl”, and “The Devil’s Churn”, whose titles provoke images of conflict and confrontation of no smaller proportion than Odysseus’s battle with Poseidon. Yet it’s the small, unknown beaches that have the most interesting subjects for my camera. At these smaller, seemingly innocuous areas I walk for hours photographing, while also avoiding crowds. These rocks are sharp and angular, yet somehow also rounded and smooth. The contradiction draws me in, inviting deeper consideration and exploration. I grow lost in time. Somehow I need to find a way to capture and harmonize this angular yet rounded quality on film.

However, these formations aren’t all that catches my attention. I also notice the black, chocolate, and gold color of the rocks mixes together to form the perfect photographic ground with which I can photograph the figure of dead crustaceans or bleached shells. These designs create endless compositions that lead to a photographic cornucopia that are exactly what I was hoping to find when I travelled here. That is not to say that the photographs come easily, only that through wandering with my camera, listening to the sound of the sea, and stealing away from the sound of humankind do the opportunities make themselves known.