Comber’s Beach on the Foggy West Coast

Out here in Ucluelet and Tofino they call it Fogust—the month when the fog seems to roll in overnight and it sticks around for most of the day. Sometimes it burns off by 11 am, sometimes by 4 pm, sometimes it doesn’t burn off at all.

Photographing the beaches in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve can be challenging with this sort of weather and it is hard to make that soft gray sky look interesting. The trick is to wait a bit and see if it burns off or a patch of sky opens up. Patience is required.

Fog at Comber's Beach
Looking toward the sun (and fog) from the stream feeding into Combers Beach.
ISO 100, f/10, 1/80 sec – Nikon D600, 16mm

I walked down to Combers in early August hoping to get a break in the fog and see the sunset and perhaps some birds. Sandhill Creek flows into the ocean at Combers and often you can find interesting shorebirds along the water’s edge and around the sides of a quiet lagoon further upstream. The fog was thick and shorebirds elsewhere.

Comber's Beach Display
A carefully arranged display of found objects where the trail emerges onto the beach.
ISO 100, f/10, 1/30 sec – Nikon D600, 20mm

Closer to the ocean, openings in the fog appeared and disappeared. A kite surfer worked his way back and forth through the rough wind-driven waves off-shore before finally coming in as the sun went down.

Combers is an excellent place to find textures and patterns in the sand. The combined action of wind, ocean waves and the flowing creek create gorgeous ripples which are highlighted by the low angled setting sun.

Ripples in the Sand
Line of ripples in the sand line the edge of Sandhill Creek.
ISO 100, f/16, 1/80 sec – Nikon D600, 16mm

I had a short window of time before the fog rolled back in again, enveloping everything in a soft, quiet gray and the sun was gone.

Looking Toward Wickaninnish Beach
Looking across Sandhill Creek back towards Wickaninnish Beach and a brief opening in the fog.
ISO 100, f/16, 1/25 sec – Nikon D600, 16 mm

Brief moments like these make the effort and wait worthwhile. Often it is too easy to stay at home and curse the fog of August. Far better to get out and embrace it. Before you know it, the rains of winter will be here again so enjoy the fog while you can!