Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Road Trip Part Eight: LIGHTHOUSES

Lighthouses are a pure and direct connection with the sea.  They are usually positioned on a rugged headland or a rocky island.  The more rustic they are the more scenic they seem to be.  They stand for calmness in a storm and yet, at the same time, seem so melancholy and lonely.

The photo I didn't get of Cape Disappointment borrowed from Google Images
The stark lines and dramatic angles add to the attraction for photographers and artists.  I made a specific effort to search out and take pictures of lighthouses as we traveled along the coast of Washington and Oregon.

When we went by Cattle Point on San Juan Island I got some good pictures of that lighthouse from the deck of the David B. 

I'd already bagged distant photos of  Cape Disappointment on an earlier trip to Washington.

I used those shots plus sketches to do a watercolor painting.  I'd also done on-site sketches of Grays Harbor and Dungeness Spit Light.

It was a misty morning when we approached the mouth of the Columbia River.  I wanted an up-close photo of the Cape Disappointment Light, the first lighthouse in the state and still active.

The view we expected of North Head Light, borrowed from Google Images
But we didn't do our homework and ended up at North Head Light just down the coast.  We followed the path to the lighthouse and were met with an unusual sight. 

North Head under wraps
North Head Light was under renovation, closed and wrapped in blue tarps.
 Not exactly what I wanted as reference for paintings. 

We spent some time at Seaside Oregon where we could see Tillamook Light on its lonely island perch.

We saw the flash on Yaquina Head as we approached Newport, Oregon that evening.  We found a motel, and the next morning I asked the desk clerk how to get to the lighthouse.  She told me there were two lighthouses, but the one open to the public was the big one we'd seen coming into town.

It was the quintessential lighthouse.  
I had quite a collection of photos in my camera when other visitors  excitedly pointed out... 

...a spouting whale just a short way off shore.  
It was a gray whale migrating to warmer waters in Mexico.

We could see the huge head of the whale, covered with barnacles,
break the surface as it came up for air. 

Before we left Newport we found and photographed Yaquina Bay light.

The light at Bandon, Oregon

The last lighthouse we visited was Battery Point Light 
just over the Oregon border in Crescent City, California.  

We arrived at low tide which was a good thing 
since the only time a visit was possible was when the causeway wasn't covered with water.  

It, too, was being repaired but was open to the public even though it is an active light.  We were given a tour of the museum and some of its history and background. The tour guide hustled us along so we could get back to the mainland without having to swim.

Crescent City was hit hard by a tsunami that rolled all the way across the Pacific from the devastating Japan earthquake in March of 2011.    The lighthouse was high enough to escape damage but several people were swept out to sea as the waves hit the fishing harbor.

Road Trip part 1-Smoke on the Water Fire in the Sky
Road Trip Part 2-Smelled the Mountain Air Man
Road Trip Part 3-On the Ship David B
Road Trip Part 4-Pods of Orcas
Road Trip Part 5-The Problem is All Inside Your Head
Road Trip Part 6-Looking Down On Fishermen
Road Trip Part 7-The Cure for Anything Is Water
Road Trip Part 8-Lighthouses
Road Trip Part 9-Slow Down and Read the Signs
Road Trip Part 10-Fresh Crabs
Road Trip Part 11-Food
Road Trip Part 12-Giants
Road Trip Part 13-Crossing the Deadly Desert


Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh Lighthouse and whales I am smiling ear to ear. I love how you tell us where they are and some of the history. What an awesome trip. I can only imagine the beautiful paintings going to come for this trip:) B

Joanne Noragon said...

The lighthouses are majestic. I remember my trip to the northwest and the majesty of the Columbia River. I don't recall much sense of the Pacific, except it was there. I completelly missed the news of deaths in the US from the Japanese tsunami. Water is powerful.

Carla said...

I had no idea that some lighthouses were attached to a traditional looking house in some places. Very cool pictures.
I somehow missed the US deaths related to the tsunami in Japan???

Sarah said...

I like to see lighthouses too. The Ones I see most often are the ones at Dungeness. Are the ones you visited manned? I don't think any are here anymore. We call the top of the cat scratching post the tower of disappointment as it is where Lily sits if she is sulking. Do you know why the cape has that name?

Leenie said...

Sarah: Some of the active lighthouses are still manned but most are not. Cape Disappointment was so named because English Captain John Meares was there searching for the Columbia River. The mouth of the river is so wide that he totally missed it and went on exploring, calling that place a disappointment.

laurak/ForestWalkArt :) said...

those are AWESOME lighthouse shots!!!! but really, your painting is better than them all!! it's gorgeous!!!

the tarp wrapped lighthouse looks kinda funny...i feel a little sorry for it, i hope it heals soon!!

i LOVE the way the light shines in the third shot down from the top...and the third from the bottom, the lighthouse on the cliff...beautiful!!!

Linda Sue said...

Your painting is so much better than the real deal- I love your "mist" and water- I FEEL it. Thanks for the look around at lighthouses - they are such a welcome sight up here when on the water in the usual dim light and fog!No wonder they are a great metaphor for the lost.

Brian King said...

Love your photos! Lighthouses are among my favorite things to visit. Too bad we don't have any here. Your painting is beautiful!

Elizabeth said...

What a fascinating trip and how cool to take photos of all the utterly fascinating lighthouses.
Your painting is wonderful.
I bet you will have lots of inspiration on cold winter days!