Coastal Storm

Coastal Storm

20×20 prints are $2,000
30×30 prints are $4,000

In February, 1985, Ruth and I took the weekend off and went to the coast, staying at a friend’s rustic cabin in Rockaway, Oregon. The weather was blustery and brisk but knowing that stormy weather can sometimes bring dramatic photo opportunities, I decided to go out photographing for the day with my Hasselblad camera. Ruth choose to stay inside, close to the wood stove. Much more sensible.

The weather was truly wet and wild, with wind and rain coming in strong bursts and the clouds whirling rapidly and changing second by second. I found a bluff on the edge of the coast that had a far reaching view across the ocean to a small protected bay inlet. The scene you see in this photo happened when the clouds opened up and light poured into the rainy area.

Using my 1° spotmeter, I based my exposure on the brightly lit white clouds, so that the transparency film would not be overexposed. I used my 250mm Zeiss Superachromat lens for this image, which has perfect color correction and extremely high resolution. I had time for this shot and one more just after it and then the scene was gone forever. This image is a good example of why it is so important to be familiar with your equipment and techniques. The image would have been missed if the focus or metering were even slightly off.

After I made this image, I got back into the van and drove up into the Coast Range, following the storm as it moved to the east. The storm passed by me, moving faster than my vehicle, changing to snow as the elevation increased. When I reached the summit, the storm had passed and the wind had calmed down. It was then I was able to make a second worthwhile image, “River Valley and Clearing Snowstorm,” which is in dramatic contrast to “Coastal Storm.”

Then back down the mountain road to the coast and our snug cabin, to warm up beside the cozy wood stove next to Ruth, with a warm beverage. Although 35 years have passed, the memory of that day is as clear as if it happened yesterday.

Format: Medium (square)
Location: Oregon
Reference key: cs