I have had the luck this spring to explore an area farther north of my home city and check out some really eye-catching geology in the form of rock erosion. Along the Chuckanut Bay there exist limestone and sandstone boulders, resting on the shores of saltwater beaches. What happens to these rocks from exposure to sea salt and acid rain is incredible! They begin to form little pits from weathering, and these pits become a honeycomb network of holes in the rock that are known as "stone lace." Stone lace, also known as "tafoni," is common in that area. I have hunted for it on the Oregon Coast and have found some at Indian Beach, but they just aren't as pretty, in my opinion.
I do however come across some great basalt formations in Oregon, my favorite of which is "columnar basalt." It takes on a striking geometric shape of square columns. It seems bewildering that this happens in nature, and geologists have determined that their shapes were formed as lava flows quickly cooled, which contracted in a vertical pattern, forming rigidly defined columns. At Indian Beach, there is plenty of rock that has flat horizontal edges that look like steps, which are also developing vertical fissures over time as the ocean wears into them.
If you like any of the images above in my blog, you can purchase them (and more) as fine photographic prints in my Etsy shop (HERE).
Erosion is not just a matter of sand displacement on our northwest beaches, it also affects forests on soft cliffs near the water. Entire swaths of trees and shrubs can fall into the sand below and become buried when their soil slips down the cliff-side. This makes for some surreal settings, like the buried tree pictured above.
It is fun to find new vantage points when paths are opened up after an event like this. I get asked where I take my photos, and the answer is that I go to the same parks and trails that are available to everyone, but I forge new trails of my own and reach the edges of cliffs or climb boulders higher or farther out so that I can get unique vantage points. It gives me a great sense of adventure but it is also dangerous, so I don't take friends along with me when I attempt these things! Yes, that is a bit scary, but I follow my instincts and judge the terrain and weather to the best of my senses and don't ever go so far that I can't find my way back. For me, this is the essence of joy in my exploration of landscapes, and the ultimate prize that awaits me is what I turn into a photographic print that others can appreciate, too.
Astoria Open Studio
Visit, Learn, and Shop
This summer, Astoria Visual Arts will again host my work at a location (TBD) where you will be able to meet me and ask questions about my work, as well as purchase prints or home goods designed with my photos. I will have marble coasters, marble magnets, pillows, tote bags, and wood panels available for purchase. I am also happily taking custom orders for prints or products that you can arrange for pick-up at my table. Please follow this link to stay tuned on the tour map, when it becomes available: TOUR MAP 2018.