Ecola View
Sunset over the windswept trees at Ecola State Park with Haystack Rock in the distance.
Haystack Rock Sunset
Sunset over Cannon Beach.

Just off the Oregon coast at Cannon Beach lays scenic Haystack Rock. For the photographer there are an endless number of ways to shoot this picturesque monolith, and here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Use the dunes for a foreground to frame Haystack rock along the beach. By using this technique you set up interest and texture with the dunes, using the beach and Haystack as the mid-ground and hopefully a dramatic sky for the background.
  2. Stand back a bit from Haystack Rock and use the beach reflections and sky reflections along the beach with a wide-angle lens. If the sky is dramatic enough, this could be the ticket to a spectacular image.
  3. Create an interesting image of Haystack Rock by shooting it from a distance along the beach or even from a viewpoint at Ecola State Park. Framing the monolith with a tree can fill an uninteresting sky with texture.

My favorite seasons to photograph Haystack are the spring and fall because of the dramatic skies, and sunset is my favorite time of day for images. When you arrive to photograph, don’t forget to use your macro lens and shoot the tide pools around Haystack Rock—but be careful of the sea life around you.

Just a few photographic tips for tackling one of Oregon’s most photographed icons.

Editor’s Note: Capturing Oregon” brings you the stories of Oregon photographers as they traverse the state to capture its beauty. To see more of David’s photography, visit

about author David Cobb

David Cobb is an award-winning professional photographer known for his photographs of nature throughout the world, and particularly for his images of the Pacific Northwest. His garden and flower images have appeared in “Nature’s Best Photography,” “American Gardener,” “Organic Gardening,” and his Japanese garden images have recently shown at the US Botanic Garden and the Royal Botanic Garden. See more of David’s work at

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  1. Amer Hasan says…

    Great shot. I was there labor day weekend around sunset. Was thrilled with my shots until now. Wish I took them from a further distance and got the dunes in there…

    Written on May 14th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  2. Sandy Pokorny says…

    Different perspective of Haystack Rock….great shot and wonderful light!

    Written on May 15th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  3. Lesli says…

    Great blog, David. I look forward to reading your insights on great places to shoot and the best ways to do that!

    Written on May 16th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  4. Jeanne says…

    I read with interest your article about Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach photography which led me to pursue finding Haystack Rock in Pacific City on your site and was dismayed not to be able to find mention of it. Surely, I am just not looking in the correct place. Haystack Rock in Pacific City is over 100 feet taller, dwarfing the 235 ft. one in Cannon Beach but is further from shore.

    Written on May 21st, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  5. J Deyton says…

    Beautiful shot! My dream to visit your states coast soon. Thanks for the article, you have some really great pointers.

    Written on May 23rd, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  6. Sue says…

    Beautiful shot!! Just bought myself a new Canon and I love it.

    Written on May 23rd, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  7. Lory Duralia says…

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Great ideas to consider.

    Written on May 23rd, 2012 / Flag this Comment
  8. David Cobb says…

    Thanks for your comments everyone, I’m glad you found the pointers helpful. ~ David

    Written on June 20th, 2012 / Flag this Comment
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