I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence I put up a post on Bixby Bridge near Big Sur, CA and then happen to be in Big Sur shooting photographs soon after. I suppose I planted the idea in my head and followed through with it. Instead of the much faster, but boring, route from Southern to Northern California, the far slower yet more scenic route through Pacific Coast Hwy (Hwy 1/PCH) was taken.
The last time I was in the area was about 18 months ago during a weekend in Monterey with a trip down PCH for a tour of Hearst Castle in San Simeon. The photogenic stops that time were the Elephant Seals Rookery (if you can call elephant seals photogenic), McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and both Bixby and Rocky Creek bridges.
This trip had me drive by Hearst Castle, the Elephant Seals (lots and lots of people there), Piedras Blanca Lighthouse (closed), and both Bixby and Rocky Creek bridges (dark by the time I drove by). I did stop at McWay Falls, even brought my dog along to the trail, but I took exactly ZERO pictures. I suppose when you’ve seen better lighting, clouds, and tide level, it’s just not worth taking lackluster cliched photographs.
The star of this trip was trying to photograph the sun setting through the arch at Pfeiffer Beach at Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur. It is 12 miles north of McWay Falls and accessed by a discrete little road called Sycamore Canyon Road. More on the arch rock photograph attempt in a future post.
Anyhow, after nearly all the photographers had packed up and gone home, I stayed around for some final shots of the area that I had neglected to take since I wanted to stake out a spot for the arch rock sunset shoot. Remember folks, once everyone leaves after the big show, whether it’s sunset at the beach or sunset and alpenglow in Yosemite, there are still photographs to be taken. As long as you have a tripod and know how to use the long exposure function on your camera, there are still photographs to take!
The f-stop was intentionally stopped down to f/16 so that I would be forced to use a slower shutter speed (8 seconds) and render the waves into a relatively smooth surface.
I didn’t think ahead and line up two shots for a panorama, so I’m left with a less interesting right side photograph sibling of the main photo:
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, 32mm, ISO 100, 8 sec, f/16
Sunset, Waves, Rocks. Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California. December 30, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.