A break in the clouds

Over a long weekend in Oregon, Angelina and I spent some time in Portland with friends and then headed to the coast to check out Canon Beach. I never had any intention of getting this photo until the situation set itself up.

After exploring the main street and grabbing some grub and an Oregon brew, we headed to a vacant parking lot away from the main street to car camp for the night. All was well until midnight when we got a tap on the window.  The cops got us.  He was nice and simply said we couldn’t camp in city limits, but he knew where we could.

Fortunately from the move, we found this spot where we could intermittently see stars. There were a few breaks in the clouds where photos were okay, but nothing that was satisfying and interesting.

Cloudy night along the road in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

First attempt

To get a shot with interesting elements, lots of waiting is usually involved.  My goal was to get a clearing in the clouds which aligned perfectly for the dipper to show through, and while the rain wasn’t coming down.  Struggling to time breaks in the clouds with breaks in the rain, I finally got this at 4am.  Luck was on my side as a car just happened to pass by at the perfect time.

Stars Clouds Light Trails Night Long Exposure Canon Beach Oregon Pacific Northwest

A glimpse of stars through the clouds

In the first shot there is no point to the photo, it’s just a mass of clouds in the sky and dark trees in the foreground.  The second image really comes to life with the big dipper magically appearing through the clouds. I also added in fill light to the trees and the ground using my headlight to balance out the exposure. The light trail from the car’s headlights also acts as a dynamic element and guides your eyes through the image, helping you stay engaged.  Timing is always key in photography.  When you’re about to call it quits on a shot, give it a little more time and you’ll most likely be happy that you did!

Side by side image of stars on a cloudy night at Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Bland and Better

To read more about the specific camera gear I use, take a look here.

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