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  • Writer's pictureDave Pidgeon

Ruby Beach was made for long exposure

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

It was the oddest thing.

All day, starting from a hotel in Seattle and continuing for hours across the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, even though it was October it felt (and looked) like July.

This was no mere heat wave either.

The hot and humid temperatures more suited for summer also came with a thick veil of smoke haze thanks to wildfires hundreds of miles to the east.

So when I made my way to the Olympic National Park shoreline, I anticipated a sweaty photo session with the sunset.

What you should know, though, about the Olympic Peninsula is that even though half mile down the road the landscape is scorched by the sun, you could find yourself in an eerie, disorienting world of fog.

Such was the case when I arrived at Ruby Beach.

Ruby is one of Olympic's icons. The sea stacks, the pebble beach, it's one of those places anyone with a camera craves.

When I arrived, though, you could barely see 50 yards out to sea. The most famous sea stack, Abbey Island, had disappeared behind the thick cloud.

No problem. When it comes to photography, you gotta make the most of what you see.

I slapped on my 16-35mm wide angle lens a neutral density filter, hooked the camera up to my tripod, and went to work.

The image above is one of my favorites. That's because of where the ocean is receding over the pebbles, it looks almost like it's floating as it draws your eyes to the modest sea stacks in the background.

It fits the unworldly feeling I had being there on what otherwise had been a summer-like day.

Dave Pidgeon is a seasoned writer and photographer from Lancaster, Pa. You can reach him at

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