McWay Falls, Big Sur

McWay Falls, Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California

Taken at McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California on March 21st, 2010

McWay Falls is one of the most iconic scenes along the incomparable Big Sur coast. And for good reason: the beauty of the place, with its 80-foot waterfall cascading down into a protected and inaccessible cove, is simply sublime. On Spring Solstice I was in a race against time as I drove down the winding Pacific Coast Highway, watching the sun sink lower and lower in the sky and wondering when I was actually going to get to the Falls. Finally, as the sun was dropping below the horizon I arrived at the cove and had just enough time to snap this shot as the fading light bathed the scene in pastel twilight glow.

 

Playing Footsie with the Devil

Spent the afternoon as usual: peering out the window to check on conditions down out the coast. Since I had missed the fantastic sunset on Friday, I was especially antsy to get some shooting in, so when I saw some clouds building on the horizon, I hopped in the car and zoomed away down to the beach!

After some close calls at Four Mile and Laguna Creek where I almost stopped to shoot, I ended up at my old standby: Panther / Hole in the Wall Beach

Down at the shore I was immediately impressed by the massive waves, which were bigger than I’d ever seen them at this beach. (And if that doesn’t foreshadow the events to come this evening, I don’t know what would.)

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You Never Know Unless You Go

Four Mile Beach sunset, Santa Cruz, California

So you’re sitting at home, looking out on a 100%, completely overcast day, and thinking:
“Great, I’m glad it’s cloudy because I need to get some work done. Got my first art show of the year coming up in a couple of weeks and there’s a huge amount of prep to be done.”

And then a little voice in your head says: “Hey, want to go out shooting at Four Mile Beach?”

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Four Miles of Fog

Four Mile Beach sunrise, Santa Cruz, California

Taken at Four Mile Beach near Santa Cruz, California on March 1st, 2010

When I’m not on the road I rarely wake up early to shoot the sunrise. However, in late February I had just discovered Four Mile Beach in Santa Cruz and was captivated its beauty. Thinking it could be a great place to catch the sunrise I suffered through an early-morning wake up in order to make a sunrise attempt. Driving up Highway 1 I saw some nice pinks and purples starting to show on the horizon. Down at the beach however I found a think fog bank obscuring all of that nice morning light. I waited and waited and finally, about 20 minutes after sunrise, the sun’s rays began to percolate through the fog a little bit and gave a nice, moody atmosphere to the whole place.

 

Shimmering Salmon Sands

Hole in the Wall Beach sunset, Santa Cruz, California

Taken at Hole in the Wall Beach near Santa Cruz, California on January 7th, 2010

The far south end of Hole in the Wall Beach is a wonderland of rocky formations, shelves, gaps, and holes. I initially intended to shoot an extremely long, narrow channel in the rocks, but after a few snaps I decided something more dramatic was in order, as the sunset was turning and becoming more beautiful by the minute. I was struggling to find a winning composition when, almost by accident, I happened to look behind me and saw incredible orange reflections forming in the wet sand. I knew I wanted those reflections to be the centerpiece of my photo and so set up in such a way that all the lines in the scene were flowing over and around that gorgeous sand.

 

Thank God It’s Friday

Lunada Bay sunset, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los Angeles seascape

Taken at Lunada Bay, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los Angeles, California on May 23rd, 2008

On the afternoon of Friday the 23rd, I observed that the sky above Los Angeles was unusually full of layer upon layer of differently-textured clouds. Knowing the sunset could be spectacular, I drove to the Palos Verdes peninsula and hugged the roads along the western coast. I managed to find a vacant lot with a steep path down the cliffs to the beach, which was covered with a series of rocky spits reaching out into the ocean. As the sun set, it lit up the layers of clouds in a light show that was nothing short of unforgettable.