We wrapped up the 2014 winter Big Sur photography workshop last night with a spectacular sunset at Point Lobos in Carmel, California. But hold on. Before we get to that I want to share with you some of the highlights from this week.
Let’s start with a funky photograph I got at the Santa Rosa Creek estuary way south down in Cambria, California. I went up to Cambria a couple of days before the workshop started for a little exploring. It paid off. I call this one, “Get Your Ducks in a Row.”
Also that same day I caught a surfer catching a wave. The surf was definitely up.
We start the photography workshop Monday in San Simeon at the southern end of the Big Sur coast. To get it off to a good start we photographed sunset at the southern end of the impressive Big Sur headlands. And we were treated to some equally impressive light.
Tuesday was a travel day as we worked our way up the coast to the village of Big Sur with some great stops along the way. The first was a favorite of mine – Salmon Falls hidden back in off the road. You’ll pass by and never notice it. But once you find it you will always want to stop there.
The weather forecast was for clear skies at sunset so we changed the itinerary and headed for Pfeiffer Beach. At this time of year the rays of the setting sun shine through the tunnel, making for some spectacular photographs. I couldn’t decide which one to share with you so you get two.
But the show wasn’t over. Day two after the new moon placed a small sliver of the moon suspended above Pfeiffer’s famous rock.
Wednesday morning we were back at Pfeiffer Beach for sunrise (yes, we visited it twice; it’s that good). As the sun came up we had some nice clouds out over the Pacific.
And later on in the morning there was some awesome surf with a wave crashing through the tunnel while another huge wave obliterated a rock in the distance. It took a while to get the sea to cooperate but patience paid off.
Thursday was our last day and we left Big Sur for the Monterey area. We got an early start and reveled in sunrise above Point Sur and its lighthouse.
North of Big Sur is Bixby Bridge. Everyone stops at Bixby Bridge and we were no exception. The first stop was from Hurricane Point, one of the most popular viewpoints for the bridge. What was unusual about this morning was the exceptional clarity up the coast with little areas of mist where the canyons came down to the sea.
But there are other views of Bixby Bridge that are not that common. And this morning the sun came out at just the right time to turn a good photograph into a great one.
Up the Old Coast road a few miles are redwood groves. The thing that fascinated me on this morning was the play of light on the bark of one tree in particular. Here’s an example.
The Old Coast road has stretches that are not for the faint of heart. But as far up as we went it was driveable and very rewarding.
The next stop was the calla lilies near Rocky Point. There were a few in bloom but not nearly as many as one can find later in the year.
The surf was thundering down on the beach. On the way back to the car I got this heroic photograph of the group.
After Rocky Point we stopped at the south end of Garrapata State Park. There is a peninsula I like that juts out and on the north side we were blown away by the most incredible surf I have ever seen. It’s not possible to describe the exhilaration you feel when you witness this unbelievable display of Mother Nature’s power.
We took our official workshop portrait in the picnic area at Point Lobos. Somehow we managed to put on happy faces that mask the fact that we were starting to drag.
OK, so here’s the grand finale I promised you up at the top. The workshop ended as it began, with a gorgeous sunset in a beautiful place with fantastic golden hour light.
Sitting in my hotel room the morning after I’m sad the workshop is over. We had some fantastic light which always makes for some great photography. But for me a photography workshop is a lot more than photography classes and shooting in locations that I love. The food was terrific and that adds to the overall enjoyment. But the greatest joy comes from spending four days with eager, enthusiastic, passionate and fun people. And by that standard this workshop could not be beat.
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