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The view from Orca Point

You won’t find the name “Orca Point” on any map: it’s the name photographer Neal Maine chose on a whim for a viewpoint just above Arch Cape in the proposed Rainforest Reserve.

Not that he has seen any orcas in the ocean from this site. But with a spotting scope, you could.

Neal has made several photography trips to this spot and has found it to be enchanting in every weather condition, even when the surrounding landscape is almost—but not quite—entirely fogged in. “Look for the beauty,” the retired biology teacher says. “If you go there, you kind of don’t want to be scientific about it.” This small gallery of images, Neal says, uses static images in an attempt to capture some of the dynamic processes that create the landscape we call the Rainforest Reserve.

Even if you’ve never been up in it—and not many people have—you’ve seen it. The summits of the proposed reserve dominate the horizon looking south from Astoria, Gearhart, and Cannon Beach and north from Rockaway Beach and Nehalem Bay. What landmarks do you recognize in this view of the coastline looking north from Orca Point?

With clouds licking the peaks and the sun casting judicious shadows, the clearcuts are softened. “It’s only about the future,” Neal reminds us.

The steep drop-off at Orca Point allows Neal to get almost drone-like images of elk browsing in a clearcut. In the handful of years he’s been doing photography at this site, the stumps have become nearly obscured by the alder and conifers growing up among them. The growing alders replenish the soil, preparing it to grow a new generation of conifers. 

Petaltail dragonflies live in the proposed Rainforest Reserve and in only a handful of other places in the world. This one, poised on the bark of a tree, laid its eggs in a vertical seep just around the corner from Orca Point. The next generation remain in the larval stage for five years before emerging briefly as flying adults.





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