After returning from New Zealand I made a trip to the Oregon Coast for our annual workshop. This part of the world is very different from my usual mountain haunts, which might be why I enjoy it so much. There’s a wild, rugged grandeur to this coastline, and if you’re lucky enough to encounter some big waves that just adds to the sense of awe.
And we did experience some big waves. Watching – and hearing – those monsters crash ashore was an experience none of us will soon forget. But even under calmer conditions this area offers wonderful opportunities to capture moody scenes of fog, or stormy skies.
And of course I love moody landscapes. If I can make a photograph that’s beautiful, or eye-catching, or contains a visual surprise, that’s great, but ideally I’d like to make images that convey a mood or feeling, and connect with the viewer on an emotional level. It’s hard to do that, so I don’t often succeed. But it’s rewarding when I capture something that conveys even a little bit of the feeling of being there.
Here’s a small selection of images from my recent trip to Oregon. I wasn’t looking for any particular mood with these, but just going with the flow, trying to capture whatever the mood was at that place and time. Sometimes that meant using a slow shutter speed, sometimes a fast shutter speed. Sometimes a telephoto lens seemed to tell the story best, sometimes a wider lens worked better. I adapted to whatever conditions presented themselves. I tried to be a conduit, and let nature speak through me, rather than looking for situations that fit a pre-conceived idea.
— Michael Frye
Related Posts: Big Waves; Ocean Moods
Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, Yosemite Meditations for Adventurers, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.
Wonderful series, Michael!
Sea stacks and receding wave
Crashing wave in late-afternoon light
Thanks very much Bill! Hmm… probably my favorites too. What does that say?
Or just similar taste. No surprise there. 🙂
You have the patience of Job, Michael. No wonder you’re such a great landscape photographer. Superb images, especially the crashing wave.
Thanks Michael! Patience is sometimes required in nature photography. Or just stubbornness. 🙂
I’m with you, evoking a mood or an emotion is really what it’s all about, to me. And these are all home runs.
Thanks so much Eric!
Great blog article, Michael. I like your amazing moody photos.
Thanks so much Kuno!
Love all the moods! Especially the receding wave.
Glad you like these Vivienne! Thanks!
Lovely images, Michael, many thanks! I agree with you regarding moody, emotion evoking images. I strive for that in my landscape photography, with limited success, but keep trying. I love the Oregon coast and have actually been thinking about going up to Bandon around Christmas time this year. Thanks again!
Thanks Bob! I’d encourage you to go up to Bandon, or anywhere along the Oregon Coast. I’m sure you’d enjoy it.
I just love these. We are blessed to live in Oceanside part time and get to see this coast on a regular basis. The best kept secret in the world. Endless photography opportunities! Have followed you for years. Thank you Michael and Merry Christmas.
Thanks very much John! Glad you get to enjoy the Oregon Coast on a regular basis. Not sure if it’s such a well-kept secret though, at least not among photographers. 🙂