The World of Water

A harbor seal peaks over the waves in the pouring rain at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area in Newport, Oregon

Ours is a world of water but not so much as theirs, particularly on days of water above and below. You should have seen the smile on my face when the rain really started chucking it down as I watched the harbor seals frolic in the surf. Water defines so much of what I love about the Pacific Northwest, the lush greens of the forests, the snow on the mountains, the waterfalls, the seasonal ponds, the wetlands, the mountain streams, the rivers, the oceans, the tide pools. All the animals therein. I’m trying to soak it in while I can in case I end up in a world still defined by water, but by its absence rather than its abundance. But I’ll love photographing those places too, I learned long ago to focus on what you love about where you are rather than what you miss about where you were.

Harlequin

A male harlequin duck stands in a tide pool as the waves come in behind him

I timed this short visit to the Oregon coast to coincide with low tides around both sunrise and sunset, planning to spend some time photographing tide pools, but my plans changed when I arrived at Yaquina Head. I had trouble finding subjects in the tide pools I wanted to photograph but the harbor seals were out in abundance, and then I saw a bird species I had never seen before, the harlequin duck. I spent the last morning photographing from a tide pool at least, as I had great views of both seals that had hauled out to sleep on the rocky shore and a nearby group of male and female harlequins. I was especially happy to get to photograph the harlequins in their environment as the tide came in, until the selfsame tide forced us both from our perches.

I’m happy to report that I did buy some Neos waterproof overshoes before the trip and they worked a treat, keeping my feet dry each day. On this day the tide came up fully over my ankles and thankfully my shoes underneath stayed dry, as I was wearing my beloved orange running shoes so I’d be comfortable on the drive back to Portland. They fold up nicely so they can go in a backpack or in a random corner in the corner, when home I hosed them out to wash off any residual saltwater and they soon dried and were ready for the next visit to the coast.