Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds. - Psalm 148:7-10
The most common Haystack Rock photos are those taken during the middle of the day. Why? Because that's when the most people are here and walking on the beach. That does not mean it is the best time to take pictures.
Be aware of the time of day and where the sun is. If you are photographing the rock in the late afternoon, when the sun is in the west, you get a dark rock with little detail. While this can be very dramatic, it may not be the picture you want. In the winter the sun will often be to the south of the rock. Taking pictures from the north will result in a dark rock with little detail. So be aware of where the sun is, and if youwant details, try to have the sun at least somewhat behind you. If you want to clearly see the details of the rock, take pictures in the morning.
Above Photo: Taken on the beach were Gower Street meets the beach. This was a stormy day with rain and very high winds blowing the sand.
Where are the best locations for daytime photos? There are quite a few, Haystack Rock is very photogenic. Here they are starting with the closest to the rock:
Above: Haystack Rock photo taken from the west end of West Van Buren Street. Not only is there a good view of the The Rock, there is a bench there that provides a good view of the sunset.
Photographing Haystack Rock Using A Drone
It is illegal tp fly a drone near Haystack Rock without permission, so don't do it. Haystack Rock is a sensitive nature area, and drones may not be flown anywhere near the rock.
In my opinion the most dramatic photos of Haystack Rock are sunset photos. But you need to be here when there is a good sunset. Really great sunsets, with a large area of sky painted red, do not happen frequently. On cloudy days (winter) there is no sun. On blue sky days (summer) there are no clouds to reflect the light from the setting sun. The ideal day is when the sky is mostly clear with a few high, thin clouds.
Also, there is often a low cloud bank (fog) out on the water. The result is that the sun sets behind the fog bank sooner than expected, about 15 to 20 minutes before it normally sets.
The angle of the sun also makes a difference. It is more difficult to get good sunset pictures of Haystack Rock in the summer, because the sun is too far north. The best time of year for Haystack Rock sunset pictures is January and February. Cannon Beach often gets some nice weather in February, with the sun setting directly to the west of Haystack Rock, making for a spectacular photo.
In the summer the sun is relatively high in the sky and farther north. You need to be on the beach and to the south of Haystack Rock to get a good sunset picture. Also, in the summer the sun sets tend to be shorter in duration (the sun sets quicker), so don't ber late. The above photo was taken in the summer. I needed to be significantly south of Haystack Rock in order to include the sunset in this picture.
In the winter the sun is lower in the sky and much further south. You can get good pictures by positioning yourself on the beach east of Haystack Rock.
In either case, arrive at your photo location a little early, and be patient.
You can approximate the amount of time until sunset using your hand. Hold you had in front of you at a full arm's length, with your fingers (hand bent so that your fingers are facing your face. Put your little finger on the horizon and note which finger the sun is behind. Count the number of fingers between the horizon and the sun. Each finger equals 15 minutes. So if the sun is behind your middle finger, there is about 30 minutes before the sun will set. (This is an approximation that works fairly well. But results may vary from person to person.)