Thor’s Well is a bucket list item for many photographers. Located in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area Thor’s Well, also known as the drainpipe of the Pacific, is a bowl-shaped sink hole carved out of the rough basalt shoreline by the ocean waves.
At high tide, the waves roll underneath the opening, filling it from the bottom until it bubbles out the top or erupts in a erratic spray. The water churns and then rolls back into the hole, making Thor’s Well appear to ebb and flow endlessly. Low tide provides and opportunity to really see the mechanisms at work.
You could easily spend the day here exploring the shoreline. Combine this stop with a larger drive down the scenic Oregon coast!
For the Yachats area, the warm season is generally from June to October with average daily highs from the 60s°F. The cold season is generally from November to April with an average daily high temperature below 50°F.
Getting The Shot
Arrive at least an hour before high tide (check the tide tables for the exact time) with your camera and tripod to stake a spot around the rim. Give yourself time to move around and try different compositions. But be aware it quickly fills up. You can also explore the tide pools and shoreline while you wait.
CAUTION – be aware of the tide levels, the possibility of rogue waves, and the slick, sharp basalt rock can cause abrasions.
I’m always thankful for Graywolf, our Winnebago Travato RV/van, to have a warm place to wait for the perfect light, with snacks, and a bathroom. It’s the perfect mobile photographers studio!
Camera Gear & Settings
- Camera Sony A7R
- Lens Sony FE 19-35mm
- Focal Length 24mm
- ISO 100
- Aperture F4.5
- Shutter Speed 1/60
- Tripod Mefoto Q1
- Skylum Aurora HDR
- Blended 2 images
- Cleaning/spot removal in sky
- White balance adjustment
- Tone mapping
- Fix dark
- Noise reduction
- Vignette around the edges
- Snapseed faded glow
What To Bring
- Wide angle lens
- Zoom lens
- Remote shutter release
- Filters (ND and/or polarizer)
- Shoes with good traction and that are waterproof
- Flashlight/headlamp to make your way back after sunset
- Jacket depending on the season
Explore More Of The Oregon Coast
The Cape Perpetua area is protected by the US Forest Service. Be sure to stop at the visitor’s center. Cape Perpetua lookout, Captain Cook Point, Cook’s Chasm and Devil’s churn are excellent points of interest for additional exploration.
Search Pinterest, Instagram, Google Images, 500px, or Flickr for additional composition inspiration.
While there are lots of campgrounds in the area, the most convenient is the Cape Perpetua Campground, which is available for reservations up to 6 months in advance.
To get to Thor’s Well, stop at the Cook’s Chasm pull-out .3 miles south of the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center. You can see the hole from the viewpoints up top at the parking lot, but ultimately you will want to descend down the steps for a closer view. Cape Perpetua Visitor Center Coordinates: 44.2809387, -124.1108929
BEFORE | AFTER
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