“Sunset at Cape Arago”

Sunset at Cape Arago, Cape Arago State Park, Oregon Coast (c) Mike Utley

W1-2(S)–Sunset at Cape Arago, Cape Arago State Park, Oregon Coast
Cape Arago State Park is located along the southern Oregon Coast between Coos Bay and Bandon. I spent Christmas Eve of 1995 photographing the southern coast in shirt-sleeve weather and ended up at Cape Arago as evening set in. I wasn’t disappointed. The late magic-hour lighting was glorious and painted the cliffs a magnificent orange, while pastel pinks, purples and blues added a delicate touch to the frothing sea. I wasn’t there long enough to explore, unfortunately. I wasn’t able to visit the lighthouse, which was the only one along Oregon’s coast that I missed. I had plans to return to do more photography, but I ended up relocating back to Utah three weeks after this image was made and I haven’t been back to Oregon since. How I miss the Pacific Northwestโ€ฆ It will always be my heaven on Earth. (Canon gear, Fuji Velvia (ISO 50)

37 thoughts on ““Sunset at Cape Arago”

    1. Aw, thanks, Daphny! You’re too kind! I haven’t really been to many places. As far as the fifty states in the U.S., I’ve visited twenty-four so far, but the majority of those were a case of “passing through to get somewhere else.” I grew up in the Four Corners area of the U.S. (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona) but have also lived in California, Oregon, South Carolina and Louisiana, and I’m currently living in southwest Colorado. I’ve been about five miles into Alberta, Canada, and I’ve seen Mexico from the California side of the border but never set foot there. I didn’t get involved in photography until I was thirty-one years old, so I missed a lot of opportunities along the way. There are lots of places I’d love to revisit, and a handful I’ve never seen but would love to experience (Japan calls very loudly to me right now, as does Asia in general). I like sharing these little stories with my photos. They take me back to those moments in time when I made the images, and those moments were happy ones for me as I was doing something I loved. It makes it all worth it when folks leave wonderful comments such as yours, so I really appreciate your kindness, Daphny. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. You’re most welcome Mike! Oh wow that is so many places must have been such a thrilling experience. If you ask me it is never too late for anything. I for one absolutely love all that you share with us, you take us who haven’t been anywhere much to places with your stories. Always a pleasure Mike, always. ๐Ÿค—

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      2. Dear Mike Utley,

        I concur with Daphny Aqua! Since the photo that you featured contains a sunset over the sea at Cape Arago in the Cape Arago State Park, Oregon Coast, I would like to resonate with your photography and share with you my own composition entitled “The Sunset Lingers On“:

        Wishing you and Daphny a productive weekend and a wonderful mid-March doing or enjoying whatever that satisfies you the most, whether aesthetically, physically, intellectually or spiritually!

        Yours sincerely,
        SoundEagle

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    1. Thanks, Mark. I vividly recall hurriedly trying to find a place to set up my tripod as the light was fading. I’d never visited the location before and was fortunate to find this spot to capture the demise of the day. The colors were splendid. Good times indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thanks, Jeff. Definitely check out the southern coast. There’s a lighthouse at Cape Arago that I didn’t know about (this was during my pre-internet days of the mid-’90s). I’ve seen other images of Cape Arago and they’re breath-taking. Bandon has some fascinating sea stacks just off the shore, including one called “Face Rock.” Heck, the entire Oregon Coast is a treasure! If you happen to visit any locations there, be sure to take copious photos! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Yep–no color filters for me, ever. I used a polarizer for many of my images, but that filter doesn’t add or distort colors, it just removes reflections and glare from surfaces so colors are more accurately displayed. I’m pretty sure I didn’t use any filters on this shot. The light was gorgeous and the cliffs were glowing. I saw some of the most amazing colors in the evening skies in Oregon. Just mind-bending colors that I’ve never seen here in Colorado. I always sort of prided myself on never using colored filters such as sunset filters. I wanted all my nature images to be 100% authentic in terms of representing exactly what I saw with my own eyes. I was also using the best professional slide film on the planet (Fujichrome Velvia ISO 50), too, so that made a difference in accurately reproducing the colors. Even in today’s digital photography world, many pro nature photographers still use Fuji Velvia. It’s that good. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thanks, Kirsten. Those background pastels really do make the cliffs glow. Seascapes can really have amazing sky tones. Such a difference compared to this arid area where I live now. I mean, we get some beautiful sunrises and sunsets here, but those along Oregon’s coast were so different, just an order of magnitude more dramatic. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Sunsets are heavenly and so is this picture, Mike. The colors and the feelings that arise from the light giving in to the darkness is slightly melancholic. Also, it’s a bit chilling and spooky. I’ve always related darkness to things not so good. But watching the sun dip down and the sky and surroundings bursting into such beautiful colors is a treat for the eyes. Wonderful capture! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thank you, Terveen. I agree that sunsets are intrinsically mournful in some fundamental way. I remember even as a little kid being sad every day at sundown, and I really didn’t know why. That sadness ended up being diagnosed as major depression later on. But it’s an almost beautiful sort of melancholy as you mentioned due to the way the day goes out in such a dramatic and colorful fashion, sort of a stinging, sweet good-bye kiss. Perhaps those colors at the demise of day are intended to fill our nights with hope. I dunno. I appreciate your kind insights and support. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. this is a very expressive photographic work. Small rocks scattered in icy ocean water struggling to keep their heads afloat, while the flaming warmth of the cliffs extending in their direction…. thank you for your vision of this photo: the theme of your this particular art piece being those in cold met with extending arm of warmth. I love your artistic photography.

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    1. You always have such wonderful insights and interpretations. I can certainly see the symbolism you mention. Such warmth on the cliff face extending out into the cold waters, proffering solace and protection to the struggling rocks. I love seeing how other people interpret my photos. It’s delightfully surprising at times, and always welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. What a beautiful photo, Mike, and I enjoyed learning about how it came to be. Utah and Colorado are also stunning states, but not as lush and wet, that’s for sure. I hope you make it back to the Pacific for a visit someday to see that last lighthouse. The sea hasn’t changed. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thanks so much, Diana. I’m happy you liked this photo. I think the lush and verdant nature of Oregon’s coast is what I miss so much. It’s so dry where I live now. I remember the living scent in the air no matter where I was in western Oregon, a green smell, pungent with vitality Moss everywhere, rain all the time in the fall and winter, mist, and the ocean and waterfalls. So different from the vast deserts, mountains and farmlands here. I must say your final sentence gives me hope: “The sea hasn’t changed.” In a world that seems to be in free-fall, it’s good to know there’s one constant remaining. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. I was just in New Mexico visiting my brother and breathing in dust from a sandstorm. He’s trying to get me to move there, and I think I coughed in reply. Lol. The rain here is a little tiresome come May, but as a fan of moss and shade and that smell of the firs. And yes! The sea is waiting for your visit. So are the falls and the giant trees.

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    2. I lived in New Mexico for a few years in the late-’80s (Farmington) and you’re right–it’s really sandy and dusty and so dry. Furnace heat. Except in the winter, when it would drop below zero (desert regions don’t hold heat well at all in the winter). I totally understand your reasons for wanting to remain in Oregon (moss, trees, ocean, waterfalls, etc.). There’s no other place like it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. This place looks beautiful. I love heights and I always imagine myself seated on top of everything ๐Ÿ˜…. This place looks resplendent. The sunrays land calmly on the side of the cliff leaving a lustrous golden sufface that’s had to stop watching. Magnificent!

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    1. Thanks, Lamittan. Yes, I certainly recall your love of heights. I can definitely envision you atop the cliff, gilded by the rays of the setting sun, gazing westward over the living sea towards eternity… As always, thanks so much for the nice comment. Much appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thanks for the heads-up regarding Demetrios Jameson. I did some searching and found a few of his seascape paintings. Incredible work. I’ve been to Coos Bay a few times but was unaware of the museum. I’d love to return to Oregon and experience the coast again. There are so many places I didn’t get to see in my short time living there.

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