March Photo of the Month: The Sea Goddess Emerges

Photo © Majeed Badizadegan

Photo and writing by Majeed Badizadegan

This photograph was taken at Cape Disappointment State Park. I carefully watched the surf forecasts, as a storm swell was predicted to build up and eventually hammer the Oregon Coast and southern Washington coast. These forecasts, much like weather, are more accurate as you get closer to the actual day. The forecast the evening before showed promising conditions for the next morning, so I made the decision to go for it. I joined some of my good friends and talented photographers, Cody Cha and Nick Page, for one of the most amazing mornings of outdoor photography I can remember.

What made this morning special? It was the combination of a raging and tumultuous sea against the backdrop of stunning lighting conditions, which lasted for hours. When we first arrived, we came to the parking area (at the main viewpoint) and logs and sea foam were scattered about the parking lot. The park rangers closed the parking area due to safety concerns — they even brought in a tractor to move the wet logs off the pavement.

We arrived before sunrise. Morning started with soft blue twilight. The waves were thundering and splashing in the darker hours of the morning, much to our excitement. Just a few minutes later, the sky began to light up with oranges and pinks. A colorful and vibrant sunrise happened against the spectacle of crashing waves and the picturesque lighthouse.

As the color faded, the waves continued to crash against the cliffs. The lighting was beautiful all morning — it was diffused by the clouds and made its way through the spray generated from the enormous 20 foot swell. One remarkable memory of this morning was seeing the cove and the main beachhead entirely exposed, only for it to be covered by a swift wall of water carrying giant logs moments later. The swell easily covered forty feet of ground in a matter of seconds. Walking on that beach would’ve been deadly.

This photograph was taken later in the morning, when the seagulls came to begin their feeding frenzy. All of the aforementioned lighting conditions contributed to the surreal feeling this image evokes: The spray from the waves that came before it created a rich and thick atmosphere, the lingering color in the sky from a brilliant sunrise. The wave itself took on this shape because it was colliding with another wave that came before it. The shape is unique because there is an outline of what looks like a goddess emerging from the swell, hence the title of this image: “Goddess of the Sea."

I have a deep fascination with waves and their natural form, and the most interesting shapes and conditions often come when waves collide. Timing that collision is the tricky part. 

Majeed Badizadegan is a nature photographer who has lived in the Pacific Northwest for almost two decades. He picked up a camera about five years ago — around the same time his daughter was born. So started his love of photographing the outdoors — and the fusion of his interest in photography and art. On Instagram at: @majeedbadizadegan