Lighthouses, a Cool Harbor, and a Shipwreck

Down the Washington and Oregon Coast, After the Bill Fortney Workshop

(7th, and Last of 7 Posts from this Trip – Whew!)

1x570-LtGrey(Note:  Click on any of the images below to see an enlargement in a new window)



After finishing with my recent eight-day workshop will Bill Fortney and the His Light Workshops team across much of Washington, I decided to take several days and make the drive back home a more leisurely one down the Washington and Oregon coast.  I didn’t have any particular photography targets in mind, with the exception that I hoped to make stops at several lighthouses.

One of the most recognizable of those is the North Head Light (above) in Ecola State Park, just north of the Columbia River in Washington.

Coast2I spent two overnights in Astoria, Oregon, near the mouth of the Columbia River.  It is a quaint riverfront town, unfortunately best known by many as the filming location for the two movies, “Kindergarten Cop” and “The Goonies”.  On a more serious note, I was surprised to learn that it is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies.  It has the feel of a seaside town, but is actually on the river.1-px-x-560-px-background-line-shim

Coast3The maritime history and legacy in Astoria is present everywhere, with plenty of remnants of peers and docks, mixed with new and restored waterfront buildings throughout.  Lots of other things to shoot the next time I here.

My hotel (the Cannery Pier Hotel) is situated right at the end of an old cannery pier (as the name implies).  The view from my room was a great spot to watch ship traffic and a dramatic Pacific sunset.1-px-x-560-px-background-line-shimCoast4

The iconic Astoria-Megler Bridge (almost directly above the hotel) is over 4 miles long, spanning between Astoria, on the Oregon side, and Point Ellice near Megler, Washington.  I thought it’s graceful curve and relationship to the river called for a monochrome and a maybe a more graphic image.  I’ve looked at both my color and mono versions, and the mono is my favorite.Coast51-px-x-560-px-background-line-shimAs with the harbor at Port Angeles mentioned in my earlier posts from the workshop, I was very intrigued by the myriad of rotting piers and all remnants of what was once a bustling waterfront filled with hundreds of canneries.

Coast6In our workshop, we’d had several sessions on long-exposure (20 seconds or longer) as the way to smooth out and capture ripples like in the photo here (30 seconds).  The harbor, and even the hotel balcony, gave me an unexpected opportunity to practice some long-exposure shooting.  And, although a damaged lens hindered some of my attempt, I was able to build on the mood that I had seen earlier in Port Angeles, maybe to suggest a story about the bygone days of this harbor.1-px-x-560-px-background-line-shim

Coast7Also as with Port Angeles, there was a dry-dock yard near the harbor where a number of boats were under restoration.  To my eye, there is something about a boat whose shape and age are intriguing.  1-px-x-560-px-background-line-shimCoast8

I probably could have spent a full day shooting some of the old boats, but access to the yard was largely restricted.  But, even with that limitation and a broken lens, I very much enjoyed time to just wander around several of the old boats and try some details and angles.

 (Thought I’d have some post-processing fun here!)


The next stop was the site of the 1906 shipwreck of the Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens State Park on the Pacific coast.  Here, the Iredale, a four-masted British bark, was sailing from Mexico to Portland to take on grain bound for England.  She was driven aground by heavy rain and gale force winds, and her rusted carcass still remains at the surf line of the beach.  It has become a popular spot for visitors and is a an often-photographed icon of the Oregon coast.

(More post-processing fun!)Coast9

Farther south along the coast are Oregon’s nine lighthouses including the Tillamook Rock lighthouse, which is built on a small rock hundred feet above the ocean just over a mile offshore.  One can only imagine the challenges of building this lighthouse much less the solitary life of the poor operator and his family  One oddity of the lighthouse is that its present owners have converted it to a mausoleum, and store urns filled with the ashes of those wishing to remain forever at sea.

Coast10This lighthouse is very difficult to photograph, and since I was only visiting for an hour or so, I simply grabbed a few snapshots that I could get with my long lens even through the haze and mist.  I apologize for the lack of the shot’s quality, but I thought that its uniqueness was worth sharing anyway.


The next (and last) stop was the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, near Newport Oregon.  It’s another of those iconic lighthouses that one sees often in photographs of the Pacific Northwest.

Coast11There are nine lighthouses along the Oregon coast and I simply didn’t have the time or the remaining energy to take in any others on this trip.  So, home I went, for a hot shower and several nights catch up on the sleep I’d lost on this 10 day trip.  I’ll definitely return to the coast to make a focused effort for some, if not all, of this wonderful part of the legacy of the seafaring traders and ships.  I think they are a fading part of our history, and hopefully to be preserved.

I hope you enjoyed these photos and the comments from the last leg of my recent workshop trip.  {;ease check out the individual posts that I left for the Palouse, Mt Rainier NP, and the Olympic Peninsula segments of the Fortney’s His Light Workshop.  Thanks for stopping by.



  1. Wow, really love the photo of the turquoise (rusted?) rudder (is that the right word? or spelling?) and red/orange boat.

  2. That last lighthouse shot is my favorite. What a great pic. Also, the pictures of the bridge in Astoria were awsome.

Leave a Reply