photo of storm clouds and ocean waves at hole in the wall beach santa cruz california

Click the image for a larger version to see all the neat detail in the clouds and water

Boy, I must be a glutton for punishment for tonight I shot at Hole in the Wall Beach at high tide. The last time I did that, I had a serious accident. So how the heck did I find myself there again under similar conditions? Well . . .

A passing storm brought the promise of drama to our sunny shores here in Santa Cruz for the first time in about a week. The clear skies, along with the fact the my car has been in the shop, kept me from shooting for the longest time in a while: going on 9 days. NINE!! Yikes!

Anyway, got my car back from the shop and saw a whole world of intriguing clouds out over the ocean; nothing was going to keep me inside tonight. I checked the tide levels and saw that they were fairly high, which more or less ruled out Hole in the Wall Beach, aka my favorite place in the whole area. But somehow I still found myself pulling into the parking lot if only to “check it out.”

I tromped on down to the beach and saw that there was quite a lot of sand piled up since my last visit, which made the arch much easier to pass through. It was still a race against the waves back up around the side of the cliffs but a fair bit of sprinting, hooting, and hollering kept me ahead of the salt water.

I wasn’t sure where the best conditions for sunset would be so I clambered up onto the rocks at the south end of the beach where there are a million and one things to shoot. And boy did I have a frikkin’ field day out there.

The lighting conditions were constantly changing and I shot composition after composition. I almost filled up my memory card, which is something I never do any more. Towards the end of the evening I was shooting a massive storm cell ruddily illuminated by the sun’s last rays when a sneaker wave ricocheted off of a rock 40 feet in front of me and somehow flew backwards through the air to land entirely on my chest.

Ahh, sigh. It isn’t a night at Hole in the Wall if you don’t come home soaking wet.

Should be lots of sweet shots to share here over the next few days. Thanks for looking!

~Josh

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