Devil’s Gulch

Devil's Gulch - Oregon Coast

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 16-35mm 2.8l, 33mm, iso 200, f/10, 302 sec, 10-stop // buy print)

Ever since I first saw a long exposure of the Oregon coast, I knew I wanted to shoot something like that…someday. The sunsets there are spectacular, but when you can’t get those, the rocks, the water, the waves…they make for some of the most beautiful coastal shots anywhere.

Last week I got sent to Corvallis, Oregon for my day job, and from the second I knew I was going, I got excited. I borrowed a B+W 10-stop filter from my good friend Rick Young to use not just on my recent New York trip, but also for this coastal visit.

On Wednesday night, I bailed out of the office a bit after 4pm and made for Thor’s Well, which was 90 minutes away according to Google Maps. The road from Corvallis to Waldport via State Route 34 was astoundingly beautiful. I had so little time to make it to the ocean before sunset, I was groaning audibly in my car at the literally thousands of photo ops I missed along the way. Normally I seem to end up with my best shots on the journey instead of the destination, but this was something different.

I had to ignore the rest of it. I wanted those black rocks.

When I finally arrived, it was only 30 minutes to sunset. And the climb down to the rocky terrain was about 60 feet below the road. The tide was out, which was fine, but to get good shots of Thor’s Well, you kind of need the tide to be in a bit more. So I ignored that location and setup right away at the spot above in the photo.

I have to say…it was pretty freaky for this desert boy to stand at the edge of this 20 foot or so drop watching waves come smashing in, splashing upwards at random spots with deep, thundering sounds echoing everywhere. I have zero knowledge of tides, how they work, when it might come back in…so I was doing my best to stay alert.

This exposure was just over 300 seconds. I blended it a bit with another one that had a smidge more detail on the left shore. I definitely am a newbie when it comes to the 10-stop filter, so a calculator would have been a smart thing. You don’t realize how quickly you lose light.

I have a handful of other shots I’ll show at some point…especially from the next morning. But I have to show this one today…it’s my first oceanic long exposure and I was pretty stoked when I saw it in Lightroom.

  • Dave DiCello

    This is just amazing Mike, a stunning B&W

  • Jesse Pafundi

    Yes, yes, yes. LOVE the point of origination with the clouds and atmosphere in this image. So good dude.

  • Scott Wood

    Simply stunning Mike. Your black and white treatment really sets everything off. The cloud lines in the sky are fascinating.

  • Kris Koeller

    This is terrific. I love the composition and the fog.

  • Brian Furbush

    Great shot man – B&W lends itself nicely to the moodiness of the long exposure.

  • A.Barlow

    Looks really cool. I like the dark shadows and the contrast between the rocks and the misty waters.

  • David Latour

    That 10 stop filter has been coming in handy for you lately.

  • Chris Frailey

    Very moody shot. Love it.

  • Aaron Levy

    Great shot, great composition and mouth watering..

  • Allison

    LOVE it! You know I’m going to need it… Thanks fir going on all these trips for me and taking great pictures of all the things I need 😉 A trip to Boston next perhaps???

  • Edith Levy

    Wow this is absolutely stunning Mike.

  • LensScaper

    Stunning long exposure and I’m sure the B&W helps the simplicity. It’s moody and ethereal. The sky plays such an important part – wonderful radial lines. It really is a beauty.

  • Scott Wyden Kivowitz

    10 stop greatness!

  • Jan Winther

    Very cool shot, Mike. The sky is just epic.

  • Clif

    Beautiful shot, Mike!