Windy Beauty at Cannon Beach with Shelby Brakken

5 girl with wind in hair on cannon beach by photographer shelby brakken

The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea. (Isak Dinesen)

Having grown up about 2 hours away from the Northern Oregon coast, Cannon Beach is an area I am quite familiar with. If I close my eyes, I can picture the charming main street that runs parallel to the beach, imagine the imposing and iconic outlines of the formation of Haystack Rock, smell the sweetness of stretchy gooey, saltwater taffy and inhale the briny freshness of the sea. I formed many warm and happy childhood memories at Cannon Beach and thus I immediately connected with this session that photographer Shelby Brakken captured of her dear friend and both of their daughters. The emotions and authenticity connected with my heart instantly. Shelby has beautifully encapsulated the sensations of spending a winter afternoon at the Oregon coast. Those who are more comfortable at southern/warmer beaches sometimes have trouble accepting the validity of the desire to spend a windy, wet, cold day on the coast. But to those who have grown up feeling the bracing, life-affirming sensation of icy, prickling salt water on their ankles, while strong wind tousles their hair, nothing can quite compare to a stormy winter day at the coast.

1 picture of girl at hotel room window in cannon beach by photographer shelby brakken

Shelby shares her thoughts below:

The ocean is a place I have taken my daughter since she was born.  The sky and the sand are familiar to her and when we leave the shore, the sea becomes memory, written on her skin in the form of salt and a dream of places wide-open. She pulls off her sandals and runs barefoot, letting the waves crash onto her ankles and calves, even if the winter water makes her body cold. She picks up broken sand-dollars and shells that are intact; she looks for green shards of beach glass and pokes at jellyfish stranded on the sand. She feels the pull of the tide and knows the strength of the currents, that they eventually wash everything clean. Under the endless clouded horizon, she looks small standing against the backdrop of something so powerful and unending, the waves drowning out all other noise. She collects rocks and driftwood and holds them in her hands, brings them home to put near her bed, carrying the rising heartbeat of the ocean with her as she finds her way back to land.

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2 picture of girls on Oregon coast beach by photographer shelby brakken

3 picture of girl with wind in hair by photographer shelby brakken

4 Two girls hug on cannon beach by photographer Shelby Brakken

5 girl with wind in hair on cannon beach by photographer shelby brakken

6 picture of girl with shell on cannon beach by photographer shelby brakken

7 picture of cannon beach with reflections and stormy sky by photographer shelby brakken

8 girl on stormy cannon beach by photographer shelby brakken

9 picture of girl and mom in hotel room with natural light by photographer shelby brakken

10 picture of girl at hotel room window in cannon beach by photographer shelby brakken

11 picture of girl at hotel room window in cannon beach by photographer shelby brakken

12 picture of girls on cannon beach with houses by photographer shelby brakken

13 picture of girl on cannon beach by photographer shelby brakken

14 picture of two girls looking at haystack rock on cannon beach by photographer shelby brakken

15 picture of girl running through water on cannon beach by photographer shelby brakken

16 picture of small girl on cannon beach by photographer shelby brakken

17 picture of girls laughing by photographer shelby brakken

18 picture of girls in diner by photographer shelby brakken

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