Wreck of the Peter Iredale – Oregon

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

It was the last day of 2012 and I had decided instead of boozing it up, I was going to spend it camping at Fort Stevens State Park in Northern Oregon. To be honest, I only chose this location because of the Wreck of Peter Iredale. That, and its close proximity to my previous night of camping back in Cape Disappointment State Park in Southern Washington.

I’m going to be skipping over the history of both the park and the wreck, but you can learn more about the park here and the wreck here.

Now on to the good stuff.

Sadly, the weather had been horrible all day, nothing but rain and grey skies. What a way to end the last day of 2012.  So instead of touring around and taking photos of the park, I decided to go ahead and register early with the park and set up my camp.

Surprisingly, I was able to get everything set up relatively quickly and had an hour to burn before night fall. With this new found extra time, I figured I would take a peek at the wreck just to get my barrings for tomorrow’s shooting.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Seems like I made a good choice, because the clouds parted just enough for me to fire off a couple shots.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Not only was it a surprisingly beautiful sunset. But this also counts towards my end-of-the-year sunsets I try to take every year.

Shortly after those few shots the heavens retreated once again and it was back to a sea of grey.

This left me with roughly 20 minutes of decent light, so I hopped back in the car and started scouting for where I wanted to catch the first sunrise of 2013. I made it all the way to the North Cape and found a spot where I figured I could catch the sun coming up from behind the mountains and over the Columbia River.

With a sense of accomplishment, I headed back to camp.

Fast forward through a rather cold night of camping and into a freezing morning.

I was back at the North Cape spot and ready to catch that first light. Unfortunately there were zero clouds, so the only thing I was getting was a black horizon and a small gradient of light. What I did almost get was a case of frostbite on my trigger finger. The temperature was 32 degrees and the head wind was a constant 15 knots. Trying to take photos in those conditions about froze the tip of my finger. Even with gloves on, and only bringing my hand out of my pocket to run the camera dials, the freezing wind quickly worked its way down to the bone.

Seeing as how I was getting nowhere, I scrubbed the shot and opted for safety instead.

After 15 minutes in the car, trying to bring my fingers back to life, I knew all the photos I had just taken were rubbish. So in an attempt to salvage the morning light I rushed back to the wreck.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

And boy was I happy I did.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

The the sand dunes blocked the nasty wind, and the tide was low enough that every now and then a big set would roll through, placing just enough water down to get that beautiful reflection.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

I can’t tell you how many times I shot this. But you can see with the glow in the sand the sun is now starting to come up.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Even the rusty hull was now being kissed by the first light of 2013.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Not just satisfied with the one angle. I wanted more. So after waiting for a big set of waves to pass, I grabbed my tripod and went running out as far as I could and then angled the shot back to the beach.  I’d get a few shots in, until the next big set of waves, and then I was running back up the beach out of harms way.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

In this closeup I used the solid part of the hull to block the direct light of the sun. What I didn’t expect was the sun to reflect off a pool of water on the beach. Which in return makes it look like the sun is now coming from the ground. Kind of interesting.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Back on the dry/safe side, I figured I would get some closeups of the rust. I wonder how many more years this will be around.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Using my wide angle lens makes the moon look exceptionally tiny. It’s too bad the wreck is so close to the dunes. It would have been nice to get a telephoto shot with the moon looking huge in the background.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

One of the mast’s base is still left standing.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Again, not satisfied with the list of shots. I ran out and perched on a part of the remaining wreckage. It was just high enough to keep me out of the water and just wide enough for me to support a majority of my tripod.

I got lucky and captured this motion shot right when I had set up.

For a minute there I thought I was going to be getting a lot wetter, because the wave that came in was the biggest one all morning.

Feeling like I had covered all the angles I could. I packed up the camera gear and headed back to the car.

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Here’s an example of how cold it was. This is frozen sand on the beach. If you go back and look at some of the shots with the dunes in the background you will notice that the white stuff is really frozen sand.

All-in-all, it was a successful photo session. I ended up with several prized shots and I wasn’t even expecting it either time.

So keep in mind, if you are going to head out there are try to get some of your own sunrise or sunset shots. Remember that it’s not the sun itself, but what the sun casts it’s light on that you want to capture.

Thanks for reading, oh and happy New Year!

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