“There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Well, here we go…just when I think it’s time for me to move on and off my home town beach of Bandon, Oregon, I feel compelled to stay. Though I long for more freedom and the excitement of new places to photograph, now is not the time. There’s still more work to be done in my own back yard. I’m beginning to understand that “Time to Linger” is a gift and I’m determined not to squander the season or fritter the moments away.
I’m a person who is driven by purpose and meaning and I tend to lose my bearings if I cannot define that for myself. With that in mind, it is important for me to have my photography be of value and make a difference somehow.
This new year will be a time of renewed commitment and discipline for me as I develop and implement an ambitious undertaking in my local area. For those who follow me, you may remember that a couple of years ago I did “100 Days of Bandon Beach” as a portfolio project. The 100 day venture was great and produced some good work. I learned a lot about seascape photography, fell in love with our incredible sea stacks and received wonderful community response for my images. It was very rewarding.
More significantly, that experience drove home for me the critical role of the Oregon Islands as a place of protected habitat that provides safe harbor to wildlife. It instilled within me a deeper sense of gratitude for the vital nature of these protected lands for countless species including the human race. My days spent exploring the beach that year provided a time of revitalization for me. Only in hind sight, as I finished that project and reflected upon it, did I realize that the Oregon Islands Wildlife Refuge had become a refuge for me as well. It sustained me, revitalized me and nourished me as I transitioned from my career of social work to a different type of life. It provided me with inspiration and peaked my imagination as I drew closer to defining a vision for my photographic work. Humans are funny that way, we often don’t even know what we need until we have encountered it… or lost it.
Over the last several months I have reflected on how I might give back and produce work that has a bit more depth and meaning for me and hopefully for others as well. After some inner resistance, what ultimately feels right for me is to press on and produce a body of work that I will refer to as “Time to Linger”. My plan is to continue to photograph my local beach of Bandon and a few sister shores on the Southern Oregon Coast every day for the year of 2017. These efforts are not intended to be gimmicky. And there will be a couple of exceptions for family events that are important to me. Rather, my intent is to draw attention to this coastline as a vital refuge and precious resource in need of continued protection and to do so in an earnest and honest fashion. In addition to that, I expect there will be lessons to be learned about myself, human nature and man in environment, (tough to shake that social worker in me). I am very open to how this project will unfold and expect it to be an organic process. I am not quite sure what to expect which makes it an adventure for me. Hatching new ideas to lend freshness to the familiar often proves to be a difficult task but I welcome the challenge and invite the unexpected. I’m sure my imagination will be stretched in ways that I cannot foresee.
I will be photographing things large and small, natural and man-made. Sescape and wildlife will both be important features as will humans. I will have fun creating images of how we have come to utilize the protected rocks and surrounding areas ….both for the good, the bad and the questionable. My approach will be to have an upbeat, positive tone as opposed to an argumentative, angry one.
Finally, I hope to put my images into a photographic book. Exactly what that will look like or how that will happen is part of the organic nature of this project and will take a great deal of research and reflection. If you have ideas or thoughts along the way I would love to hear them!
So, come along and follow me as I work to showcase the beauty and ecology of these protected areas. By all means, let me know if you see things that I should be taking photos of and supportive comments are always a great source of encouragement. If you’re local or visiting the area you will probably see me on the beach at some point so stop and say hello or give me a wave. I won’t necessarily post daily but I will definitely have a big presence on my Facebook page regarding the project and blog at least twice monthly as well.
So many folks have been champions of my work and I deeply appreciate each and every kind word and show of support. Here’s to passionate journeys and to the protection of our beautiful resources!
The following images are some skies and beach scenes that I found interesting or pretty during the first 20 days of 2017 on Bandon beach. Please keep in mind that all images that I post won’t necessarily be fine art photography but may simply be points of interest that captured a certain spirit of the moment, interesting action, terrain, wildlife or weather condition.
Face rock sunset. Tufted Puffin nest on this rock. There is a well loved legend behind this popular, iconic sea stack. You can read about “The Legend of Face Rock” here.
Black Oyster Catcher bathing on Bandon beach.
Part of the bluff that borders Bandon’s beach consists of grasses and sandy dunes. The endangered Snowy Plover nest in and near this type of terrain.
Kelp is a common site on the local beaches and artists love making beautiful artwork using this algae.
Man and his best friend …..common prints in the sand.
I’ve been seeing a lot of the sand “tumble weed’ on the beach lately. One of the interesting things about Bandon’s beach is that there is always something new washing up or blowing around that makes me curious about what is going on with the environment.
I love this pointy, craggily rock. If you move through the entrance behind the Craggily rock you come upon Face rock.
There were several days in January that the foam was incredible…big waves of it everywhere. The wind and currents were strong enough to move the big logs around.
On the windy, rainy day I took shelter in one of Bandon’s beach caves and got a shot of this fellow braving the weather.
I have come to appreciate the simple elegance of cloudless skies. Previously, I wouldn’t bother to shoot if there weren’t any clouds.
Another Black Oyster Catcher enjoying the surf. You can tell this is a juvenile due to the beak still being partly black.
Rainy, overcast skies have their own charm and interest. This January there were lots of new “creeks” developing due to sand shifting out to sea. Again, the terrain is so dynamic it is never boring!
Another iconic sea stack of Bandon is Elephant Rock. Can you see the elephant? Hint: Look where the water is coming out of the “tusk” area. This was a stormy day with tumultuous seas and sky. Many seabirds nest on this rock. Tufted Puffin have made this their home in past years but have been absent for the last two or so. We’re really hoping for their return this year!
If you are lucky enough to be on the beach when the sky lights up it is a real treat!
A January moonset morning at Face Rock.
Solo Face Rock portrait.
Shore Acres State Park at high surf is something not to be missed!
The perspective partly condensed through optics looks a lot more dangerous than it actually is. Having said that, these waves or any Oregon Coast waves are not to be taken lightly. They are highly unpredictable and can be extremely dangerous.
The geological terrain of the Shore Acres, Simpson Reef area is rugged and fascinating. This state park in Charleston is definitely worth exploring, high waves or not. You can check out their website here.
Best new thing at Face Rock State Park! Thank you Oregon State Parks!