24 hours at Hug Point


Hug Point is located just a bit south of Cannon Beach in Oregon. It was named for its high tides that cover the beach so much that carriages in the old days would have to hug around the points to get through. We arrived when the tide had already started to rise on a February afternoon. The sun was setting fast and few visitors in the parking lot were pulling out.

There was no plan in the trip but a goal to shoot Hug Point. After examining the waterfall that trickle down to a rocky bed of beach, we decided to haul all the car camping stuff and camera gear in addition to things I didn’t want to be stolen from the car such as my two laptops. The second trip with our cargo seemed much more treacherous. Water had already immersed the beach and there was little we could do but tread through cold winter water around the point to get to our destination waterfall. Our shoes were soaked, pants wet, but there was not one moment to be lost to start shooting the last few strokes of the golden moment. This shot of the rocks was taken then. 30 second exposure for the mystic water in combination with HDR to draw out the shadow details. 

We were both wet and cold. Quickly changed into some dry clothes, made some sandwiches, we camped out on a little patch of grass above the waterfall next to the creek. This little patch was ideal for a tend but we didn’t set one up to avoid drawing attention to us. In hind sight, maybe we were just too lazy. But the lack of a tent turned out to be a huge mistake. I quickly dozed off after dinner in my sleeping bag. I was woken up by the cold but the whole sky was darted with millions of jewels. I slipped out of the comforter and shot a couple of 30 minute star trail pictures before falling back asleep again. 


Temperature in the second half of the night must have dropped to 30’s. I wore all the clothes I had, wrapped up in a layer of blanket inside of my bag. I woke up just about every 30 minutes or so. Unable to fall back asleep so I stole the whisky bottle from Pierre. It was that little flask of Oban that kept me falling asleep again and again and again. I held on to my headlamp but didn’t turn it out because it would have ruined Pierre’s 8 hour long exposure on large format. I don’t know how he slept so soundly at some point I had to wake him up because he was starting to slip down the little grassy patch towards the creek.


Even if there was no bad wolves or bears around, the first sign of dawn cheered me up. Because it meant warmth and light and hopefully the tide would be low enough for me to cross back around the point to get back to the car. Soft morning light shed gentle red glowing spots on the sand stone rocks around. It was the perfect complement. I nonchalantly took some shots but the fact that the tide was still too high for crossing irks me to seek out other escape paths. Looking around us we were stuck in a steep ravine, protected with lush bushes and fallen trees. I failed to conquer them after following several dead trails. The last resort would be treacherous steep incline of sliding sands on either side. Following foot steps of past darers, I scrambled but successfully gained access to the top of the ravine. Following another trail which had a dozen turn offs which I must have been super lucky to guessed correctly, led me back onto high way 101 right across the street from the turn off where we had left our car the day before.

Even though Pierre’s project would have required us to stay at Hug Point shooting for another 8 hours, I felt triumphant, safe, and no longer claustrophobic. I moved some of non essential things we brought down to the beach in 5 or 6 hikes, a couple of bags at a time. I drove down the highway to look for coffee and found interesting hiking trails which I would like to return to in the future. Most importantly, I found dry socks! The sun had come out, Pierre was lying in the sun drinking beers while waiting for the tide to change. Once in a while, I’d carry the giant zoom lens wondering around the perimeter scaring off people so that he could get a clean shot.

(15:30) low tide

In the afternoon, the tide was low enough for me to explore the whole beach. People wondered around but most stayed to the south of where we were. Dark sand gleamed in the sun. Distant coasts veiled with haze below their waists. I warmed up quickly down to a thin fleece. The unpleasant night before was forgotten. Pierre felt restless and explored the little square of beach around where he had left his large format camera, which was not to be moved for 24 hours sitting atop the waterfall. This is my post card shot of the aforementioned waterfall. The creek flow does increase during rainy season as I have seen in other people’s shots.


We had lucked out on our Feb trip to Hug Point while the odds for rain and nasty PNW gray was at large. The day in fact too clear for a good sunset photo. I tried but didn’t like any of the shots. We were happy that it was a success. Pierre got a bunch of a great shots from the trip, printed them large 16″x20″ for his final project (online only kallitype version). I got massively ill afterwards for a whole week. Perhaps I should have said no to the trip, but to be there as a supporting girlfriend and to shoot Hug Point was too attractive for me. It was after all a priceless trip.

This entry was posted by Maya.

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