Steampunk Raygun? It looks like a weapon from a vintage Flash Gordon movie. But no, it’s new technology that deices airplane wings. The inclement weather in Salt Lake City this time of year requires deicing of an airplane’s wings for safe flying. The machine that sprays the de-icing solvent appeared outside the airplane window Saturday night. As I watched, two thoughts came to my mind: “Steampunk” and “Raygun.” I later Googled those terms and discovered there are all kinds of “Steampunk” guns including something called a “Steampunk Raygun” and it does look something this. Who knew?
The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse provides a guiding light through the treacherous entrance to the Columbia River as the relentless waves crash beneath it.
No two enormous waves at Cape Disappointment were the same. Each had its own character and appearance. The fantail in this wave makes it seem frivolous not ominous, unlike so many other waves we saw. We went to Cape Disappointment on each day of our four day visit to the area but on only two of those days did the waves have distinctive character. The other two days we took no photographs because the waves on those days didn’t have the ferocity or appearance we were seeking. While the best potential for huge waves with lots of character occurs with high tide when there are storms at sea, that combination didn’t always create the excitement we were seeking. On our last day, despite the highest tide of the week, the storms had calmed and the waves were flat. We were lucky to be there on two days with great photographic opportunities.
One of the incredible things about the monster waves at Cape Disappointment last week is that they took on a character that distinguished them from ordinary waves. It was amazing to watch these waves through the viewfinder and see them grow and convulse and throb and change into something more than just a wave. They took on a personality, often an ominous one. Pressing the shutter release at the right time to capture the feeling the waves generated at that moment was part of the challenge. This particular wave reminded me of the monster whale that pursued Pinochhio and Gepetto in Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, its maw agape as it thrashed through the surf.
The winter storms thrash the ocean waters at Cape Disappointment into violent upheavals of foam. The roiling waves toss debris and stun the occasional fish allowing the opportunistic Bald Eagles patrolling near the water to swoop down and catch an easy meal. The foggy mist envelops the area and shrouds the cliffs and the lighthouse. The waves are relentless. The waves are mesmerizing. Despite the stormy, wet, and windy conditions, it is exciting to watch the drama of the waves unfold. The scene had no color so I converted this image to black and white.
What a way to end a week of phenomenal photography! On our last day of shooting, the stormy skies calmed and the clouds gave way to a rainbow directly over the North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment. The brief respite from the relentless rain storms that pummeled the coast was a welcome change and the rainbow was just the icing on the cake.
Standing on the edge of Waikiki Beach, bracing yourself against 30-40 MPH wind gusts and the cold, pelting rain, with a couple of friends and a Nikon Z6 at high tide is an exhilarating way to spend a morning. I was not on Hawaii’s expansive Waikiki Beach but rather in Washington State on tiny Waikiki Beach at Cape Disappointment where the mighty Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean. But as winter getaways go, I’ll take this over Hawaii any day. Winter storms and high tide create an unforgettable spectacle of raw power and beauty at Cape Disappointment. The waves are never the same twice and the wave patterns are not the same two days in a row. The roiling surf with its crashing waves is at eye level separated by a huge unstable pile of logs that shifts constantly by the powerful tide surges. The eye level view makes it possible to get photographs that create the illusion that the photographer is standing in the surf. What better way to get a feel for the magnificence and awe of the ocean?
“There be fury on the waves” said Nathaniel Hawthorne in his short poem The Ocean, written in 1825. A visit to Cape Disappointment in Washington State Sunday morning during high tide was a perfect illustration of the fury on the waves. We were standing in a parking lot facing the lighthouse at Cape Disappointment along with a few dozen other photographers there to witness the phenomenon. A Washington State Park Ranger appeared and for our safety, ordered the vehicles parked behind us to move immediately as the imminent high tide could force not only water into the parking lot but also huge sodden redwood logs that could crush us. The ranger came by often to ensure our safety and would have moved us out of harm’s way if the fury of the waves posed a danger to us. The waves are an incredible sight, no two are the same. What a way to start our latest adventure! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings.
You don’t always need a macro lens to focus on and isolate the details of an interesting subject. The very handy and capable Nikon Z50 with the tiny Nikkor 18-50mm lens captured this image of a clump of mushrooms that created an interesting diversion from the drab winter sidewalk landscape.
The morning fog has been persistent in the Valley since the new year and on foggy mornings, I take my Nikon Z50 with me on my walk. It’s the perfect camera for this because it is small, weighs almost nothing, and doesn’t get in the way when I’m not taking photographs. I love the look of the massive valley oaks partially obscured by the fog.