The California Coast near Santa Cruz will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s the first place I moved after deciding to try to forge a career as a photographer and it’s where I actually learned how to shoot. Over the four years I lived there I spent hundreds of nights at the beach, practicing my photo skills and getting smashed by waves. I broke multiple cameras and almost broke myself a time or two when I misjudged a sneaker wave. Aside from being a great place to learn photography the Santa Cruz coast is a world-class seascape playground, with dozens of rocky coves, seastacks, tidepools, and arches becoming fantastic subjects for photos.
I hadn’t been back to seriously photograph the Santa Cruz coastline since I left in 2013, and during this past fall I decided it was time for a visit. I watched the weather forecast and when a series of storms was predicted to hit the coast the week after Thanksgiving I hopped in the car and headed to the beach.
I spent the next five days photographing around the edges of the storm, chasing light, color, and drama at many of my old favorite locations. What follows is a selection of photos I shot during these five days. (Note that due to increased visitation leading to environmental damage in the form of vandalism, graffiti, trash, erosion, and tide-pool disruption I have chosen not to share the exact location of these photos).