Grab Your Camera!

The weathered sign overlooking the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean read, “If you’re lucky enough to live by the beach, you’re lucky enough.” And for those of us living on Oregon’s scenic coast, we are indeed lucky. The 364-mile trek along Highway 101 is one of the most picturesque coastlines in the world.
So grab your camera! Within a day’s journey you can photograph the movie-set charm of Astoria, landmarks like Haystack Rock, beaches, historic lighthouses, rain forests, art deco bridges, fishing villages, boat-filled harbors. And our coast is a haven for photogenic birds and wildlife.
Ohhhregon sunsets are just that! The blending colors of sun, clouds and sea can be spectacular. When the sun nears the horizon is usually the optimum time to capture those “Ohhh” photos. For another 30 minutes or so after the sun has set there can still be dramatic colors to be photographed.
And don’t pass up rainy days, great time for rainbows, foggy seascapes, cloud formations and other wonders of nature.
You don’t have to have an expensive camera to get good photographs. “Wow” photos are taken everyday with simple point-and-shoots, and look at the colorful images from cell phones. A major photo magazine sponsored a contest for photos taken with compact cameras. The photos were every bit as stunning as those taken with digital SLR’s.
Having taken, seemingly, a gazillion photos with more trial-and-error than I like to admit, I offer a few hints that have helped my photography:
* Read your camera’s Instruction Booklet. I know, I know, the technical jargon can be intimidating and, yes, technical. But many User Manuals come with a condensed Quick Start Guide that gives you a basic working knowledge of your camera. Then as you become more familiar with your camera you can use its Manual settings and other modes/features.
* Have your camera with you. Sounds obvious but photography is about catching “the moment.” And if your camera is somewhere you’re not, you’ll miss moments that, well, may last only a moment. Been there, done that!
* Get on distribution for PictureCorrect, a website with informative, well-presented “how to’s” for beginner and advanced photographers.
* Go to photo exhibits, read photography magazines. “See” what pros consider good images.

* Learn the “rule of thirds.” Simply means the subject of your photo doesn’t have to be in the center of every shot. This can sometimes change an otherwise ordinary photograph into one of interest.
* Shoot, shoot, shoot! Digital technology lets us see our images instantly, and do our own processing. So take zillions of shots. It’ll take time to review the photos to select what I call “keepers.” But the experience will make you a better photographer and ultimately reduce the time to get those “keepers.” And most important
* Let the only limitation be your imagination.

**** Courtesy of photographer and Manzanita resident Paul Hughes

Paul Hughes has traveled 67 countries and 48 states, his photography exhibited in England, Germany, Korea, Japan, Mexico, continental U.S. and Hawaii. Paul’s Coastal Cards are sold in the Manzanita Visitors Center and Garibaldi Museum.

Dan Haag
Born and raised in the great white north of Minnesota, Dan Haag felt the pull of the north Oregon Coast in the early 90s. Finding that rain never needed to be shoveled, he married an Oregon girl and settled in Manzanita, where he works as director of the Manzanita Visitors Center. He is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a variety of state and national publications. He spends his free time wandering the area’s many trails, supporting the Oregon wine and beer industry, perusing coastal bookstores, and chasing his black Labrador, Lilo, along the beach.