ARI DENISON one camera, one lens, one year

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area

I'm not a National Geographic photographer. I've never had malaria, never been bitten by vipers or venomous jellyfish. I've never set up a photo blind on top of a fire ant nest and waited for 108 hours in 90% humidity for a single image of a reclusive mudskipper species. For me, if thousands of tiny black flies are trying to lay eggs in my eye sockets, or my nostrils are burning from the indescribably disgusting stench coming from a cobble stone beach, I'm not going to stick around to take photos. Hard pass. I don't know. I guess I'm not willing to suffer like that for my art. Existential suffering, yes.. but not so much physical suffering.

Unfortunately, physical suffering has been my primary experience at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. Biting flies, torrential rain, very high winds, repulsive odors, twisted ankles, and life-threatening high tides.

Last Friday I was lucky enough to visit the area on a sunny day during an unusually low tide. The tide was so far back that could see what looked like exposed seabed, well away from the cliffs. There were no flies and the beach didn't smell at all so I ran (ok, hobbled) down to the beach and grabbed a single angle of the lighthouse before the rangers closed the park. Why they closed the park a full 90 minutes before sunset, I do not know.

The area is gorgeous. The black cobblestone beach makes for a compelling visual in the right light, and there are plenty of gorgeous views from the trails up above, and a couple of interesting coves to explore. It's also a great place to do some tidepooling if the tide is in the negative.

If you're tougher or luckier than me you are likely to get some very nice photos on your first visit. I haven't gotten a single photo from this place that I'm happy with so I will have to play to my own strengths: persistence, stubbornness, and willingness to come back again and again until the light is right and I find what I'm looking for.

Black and White Monochrom Landscape Lighthouse Coast Yaquina Head

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