The shot that almost drowned the photographer – adventures in Oregon landscape photography

I’m taking a few days of ‘me’ time this week, time to unwind, relax, and get out with my camera for (hopefully) some landscape photography. Way back over 25 years ago, it was landscapes that first drew me into being a photographer but I haven’t had the time or energy to do this for years.

I chose Astoria, Oregon, for my first dedicated landscape trip with the sole intention of capturing the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale. My first plan was either a sunrise or sunset shot of the wreck, but as my trip drew nearer, the weather looked increasingly bleak, and in the end a dash between downpours was the best I was going to manage. So this morning, as the rain eased, I wandered onto the beach for my first effort.

All was going well, I planned out my route, chose my lens, got my filters ready…I watched the tide ebb and flow around the wreck and timed my attack to the second. In I went, tripod up, camera ready – I knew the water would head back my way, but judging by the last 10 minutes, it would barely come over the soles of my boots…..WRONG! That was the exact moment the tide surged and the water came right up to my waist! I had just tripped the shutter on my camera, and had to grab the tripod to stop it being taken by the tide. The resulting shot is very blurred, but this is the exact moment the tide almost took me! (so, yes, my headline is mild click-bait…I didn’t almost drown, but I did get soaked through to the skin up to my waist in freezing northern Pacific waters!)


Once the shock of being soaked subsided, I settled in to take a proper shot of the boat, and did a little better this time:

After this last shot, the clouds darkened and the sky opened up for another huge downpour. I escaped back to my hotel for some lunch and dry clothes, then headed back out between showers to another scene I’d spotted on my drive back:

The goal with any landscape adventure is to get one good, solid image. I came away with 3 or 4 not bad ones, and had a great time doing so. Success!

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