Newport, OR

13Aug08

Yaquina Bay Bridge at sunrise
Yaquina Bay Bridge at sunrise

Over the weekend, plus part of Friday, Mrs. Blog and I decided to head over to the coastal town of Newport to collectively celebrate our birthdays. Both of our birthdays fall within three days of each other, so it’s easy to kill two birds with one stone.

This is a write-up of said trip.

The town of Newport

Newport is located on the southern part of the Oregon coast line, north of the sand dunes at Florence, and south of a bigger coastal town of Lincoln City. It’s about a three hour drive from Portland, passing through the scenic area of McMinville where you’ll find the vineyards and Oregon Pinor wine grapes growing, if you choose not to take the I-5 highway route.

Sleepy marina
Sleepy Newport marina

The central part of town itself isn’t particular interesting, looking much like any other smaller older towns across the US. I’m sure I’m missing some key characteristic of the town with that sweeping statement, but that’s what the strip malls and fast food joints conveyed. The more interesting part of town is along the coast and around the Yaquina Bay, where you’ll get good seafood restaurants, the boat marina, and overly loud and rowdy sealion individuals.

Lodging is easy to find with many bed & breakfasts in the area, and several chain hotels/motels along the coast with good views of the ocean. We ended up splurging and staying at Ocean House Bed & Breakfast. Now I need a second job to pay for that bill.

Equipment

Since I see this trip as a photographic opportunity, I managed to convince myself, and somehow my wife as well, that I needed a brand-spanking new Nikon D300 prior. The images did not disappoint and seemed to have a higher pixel sharpness than the D200, possibly due to a weaker anti-aliasing filter. The camera is also more responsive with faster AF. For the amount I paid, even if I wasn’t as happy with it, I would’ve convinced myself that it was so, but that convincing wasn’t required given the empirical evidence of quality.

Beyond the camera, I also carried my 12-24mm f/4, 18-55mm f/2.8, 80-200mm f/2.8, and for good measure, since I AM driving a car around, my 55mm f/1.4, 60mm f/2.8 micro, and 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lenses! Not to forget my tripod, CF cards, CP filter, 6x ND filter I borrowed from a friend, grad ND filter, cable release, and an assortment of accessories. That was enough to drop my gas mileage by a couple of points.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Yaquina Head Lighthouse

In the end, the 18-55mm stayed on the camera most of the time, with the 80-200mm, the 12-24mm and finally the 70-300mm making an occasional appearance, with the last lens mainly for the extra reach.

I also carried my wife’s notebook to download shots to and to review in the evenings.

There was nary a glitch in the equipment, even when I was misted on the first evening shooting. A little wipe down back in my room was all that was needed.

Locations

Weather held up better than expected. It was supposed to rain, but turned out to only drizzled for short periods. It was enough to provide a blanket of fog on the first night and second morning for interest. Unfortunately, it got hot the last day on Sunday, and I refrained from shooting under the harsher midday sun.

With only a couple of days of visit, I mainly concentrated on the Yaquina Bay marina, the Yaquina Bay Bridge, and the area around the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, visiting several times over the course of my stay there. This allowed me to appreciate the different lighting conditions and the effects it created.

I made it a point to play with long exposures with my friend’s 6x ND filter stacked with my CP filter to slow shutter speed. This, of course, entailed the use of a tripod, which I dutifully brought along.

Parting shot

Over the course of the two and a half days, I shot over 600 images, but who’s counting. Many of them were crap, but the ones shown here made the trip worthwhile.

You can see more images from this trip in my Oregon Coast set on Flickr.

Bird island
Bird island at Yaquina Head

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