Ecola-State-Park-Oregon-Coast-Sunset

Only one photograph currently adorns our living room walls: a framed print of this landscape of the Oregon coast. Personally, this may very well be one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken, and not simply for the view—as incredible as it is—but for the memory of the day it was taken:

Abby had joined me for a wedding-trip-turned-mini-vacation in Portland last summer, and on our first morning in town we rose early and steered our tiny rental car towards the ocean. Both Abby and I grew up around the Great Lakes, so we each feel a pull in our hearts towards immense bodies of water, and this would be our first time together at the Pacific. We picnicked French-style at Cannon Beach, then made our way north along the coast, eventually landing in the picturesque sea town of Astoria. Worth describing here is one scene in particular which Abby and I bring up from time to time laughing: at the start of dinner, Abby—not a seafood aficionado by any measure (though not for lack of trying)—stunned me by suggesting we order a serving of mussels. “Why not? Here we are in Astoria, and it’s the local delicacy.” Impressed by my wife’s newfound bravery for aquatic cuisine, I happily agreed. Minutes later our server presented us with our appetizer, and upon seeing the two mussels before her, Abby immediately squealed “I can’t eat that!”

Post dinner we reversed our course to take in the sunset at a site Abby had previously spotted, and so it came that we weaved our way through the dense, moss-covered forest guarding the entrance to Ecola State Park. To be perfectly honest, here we had a minor quarrel about who knows what (this is real life after all), and upon reconciling we set-up shop at a vantage point while sharing a bomber of some long-forgotten PNW beer we had procured from a gas station en route.

I captured this landscape shot after the sun had set, so it was only the ambient light left in the sky which illuminated the shoreline with these soft, painterly colors. For me it was perhaps the quintessential summer day: bare foot in sand and ocean tide, navigating the coast with my wife/best friend, windows down, Sufjan's celestial voice and fingerpicking adding a delicate soundtrack to the passing scenery.

Thus concludes the story of this frame and why it is so dear to me. Surrounding a single 8x10 frame is such a greater context of meaning, which is a truth I strive to continually remind myself of as a wedding photographer. More than mere pretty pictures in perfect light, what matters most are the people in and out of the frame, their relationships, and their stories.

This image was taken on August 6, 2015 at Ecola State Park, OR.
Shot on a Canon 5D Mark III with a 35mm 1.4 L lens. 
ISO 1000, f/2.0, 1/250 sec.

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