Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiting for a Window

Seastacks and Arches at Dawn, Olympic Peninsula

Sometimes, pictures take planning. I have been wanting to 
photograph this location at dawn for over a year, but conditions 
have never come together…until today.  Access requires a 
minus tide at dawn, which only happens a few days a month 
if at all, as well as clear skies, which happens almost never…
Typically, when high pressure moves in to the Pacific coast, 
so does the fog.  So for weeks I have been consulting tide 
charts and NOAA weather maps, looking for the right 
combination, passing up several opportunities when, although 
the tide was right, the weather was not.
This week looked promising enough: a window of opportunity. 
The tides and timing were right, but I had to move quickly 
before the building high pressure brought the inevitable 
fogbanks. I also had to do my own weather research. The 
forecast for the coast was for mist and drizzle, but a quick look 
at the satellite pictures – and a couple of coastal webcams 
online – told a different story. The sun was shining!
Getting up at 4 am, and hiking out in the dark, I arrived before 
the first light. As it was, the fog hung just offshore, giving me 
only a few minutes of dawn before the warm light vanished in
the gloom. Still, I got some pictures I’m pleased with, and I’ll try 
again tomorrow.
My point is simply that there are dozens of tools on the internet 
that can help with planning a shoot: tide tables, weather maps, 
webcams, road condition reports. However, it is also possible to 
sit at home, staring at the computer and find reasons not to go; 
in the end, there is no substitute for simply being there.

Nikon D3, 17-35mm lens


  1. wow! what a beautiful shot of a lovely place.
    lack of knowledge of tide timings could create a dangerous situation at certain places, always double check with the locals where tide tables are not available online. :)

  2. Thank you. Happily, this is not a dangerous location at a high tide - just a wet one! Most of the time, these rocks are far offshore, so it must be a VERY low tide to get near them.

  3. Wow! That's a gorgeous photo, well worth the wait.. :)

  4. Thanks Chandira - hope you're up and around soon, and able to enjoy what's left of our summer...

  5. Thanks! Yes, it's been a challenging year, not able to get out and about as much as I'd like with my camera, but still enjoying what I can get to.