Massive King Tides Are Coming To Oregon Coast, Help Scientists Document It In Photos

Each year photographers capture Oregon's massive king tides and submit their photos to the Oregon King Tides Project in the name of science.

A massive wave crashing on coastal cliffs in Oregon.
A huge king tide wave. Photo via Oregon King Tides via Flickr CC2.

Last updated on October 23rd, 2021 at 03:33 pm

Erosion and flooding are a potential problem along the Oregon coast and its estuaries wherever natural and human built environments interact.  This becomes apparent each year when the highest tides crash against the shoreline and sometimes come up over roads and sidewalks.  The Oregon King Tides Project, presented by the Oregon Coastal Management Program and CoastWatch are committed to documenting the year’s highest tides known as king tides to help understand the issues and affected areas.  This is where photographers come in and can help by submitting photos of this year’s king tides.

Comparing Normal High Tides To King Tides In Photos

Flooding at the main intersection in Nehalem Oregon. Unseen is the Nehalem river behind the buildings in the photograph. This photo was taken a couple hours after the king tide on November 15th, 2020. Photo via Oregon King Tides via Flickr CC2.

Each year, volunteer photographers take photographs of the King Tides on the Oregon Coast and submit their photos to document the highest point the tides reach.

king tides oregon coast
At the Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center. Photo via Oregon King Tides via Flickr CC2.

According to an article on Oregonshores.org, “This citizen science effort, organized by CoastWatch and the Oregon Coastal Management Program, last winter drew the submission of more than 400 photos, documenting the highest reach of the year’s highest tides.”  Many of those photos can be found at a special Flickr account here.

A comparison photo before high tides. Photo via Oregon King Tides via Flickr CC2.
A comparison photo after high tides. Photo via Oregon King Tides via Flickr CC2.

This year the project is placing emphasis on comparison shots of photos taken from the same spot at a normal high tide versus during the high point of a king tide.  Photographers are encouraged to start finding good spots to shoot from now and to take photos during normal tide sequences, so they can come back during king tides and take comparison shots.  Then the comparison photos can be submitted together.

Virtual King Tides Presentation With A North Coast Focus

king tides oregon coast
A king tide wave. Photo via Oregon King Tides via Flickr CC2.

On October 28th, 2021 at 7 pm there will be a virtual king tides presentation with a focus on the Northern Oregon coast.  This presentation will teach about the nature of King Tides as well as the history of the Oregon King Tides Project which is now in it’s 12th year.  It will share spots on the coast that need to be documented by photographers for the project.  The event is free and open to everyone.  You can find more information about the event here under the ‘Event’ tab, as well as other upcoming events and virtual events.  You can register online for the event here.

When Are This Year’s King Tides In Oregon?

king tides oregon coast
Flooding. Photo via Oregon King Tides via Flickr CC2.

This year’s king tides are expected in November and December of 2021 and January of 2022.

  • November 5 – 7, 2021
  • December 3 – 5, 2021
  • January 1 – 3, 2022

You can find out more information about this year’s king tides as well as find a tide map with king tide predictions here.

king tides oregon coast
Waves coming up over the Nye Beach turnaround in Newport Oregon. Photo via Oregon King Tides via Flickr CC2.

Have you ever photographed king tides in Oregon before?  Will you be participating in the Oregon King Tides Project this year to help document the tides in photographs?  Let us know in a comment below and tag your photographer friends.

“King Tides Oregon Coast”

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