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Finding places along the Big Sur Coast

Now there are a multitude of places along the Big Sur Coast that are stunning photographic opportunities. But there were two in particular that had piqued my interest.

I had seen two very attractive scenes that I wanted to visit & try my hand at.

My first coastal journey was to visit Pfieffer State beach near Winter solstice. The large rock at the beach had a hole in it that sun’s light would come through at the right time of year.  This would occur Just before sunset IF the sun was not covered by any clouds or fog.  I picked the perfect day to come.  The intense light was like a beacon, there was adequate cloud drama and the after sunset colors were wonderful.

I call this Heaven’s Gate but it has many names

The next was the Calle Lillies south of Carmel.  There was a large format film photograph that was hanging in the hallway at work of the flowers, in a short draw, with a view to the ocean. The picture said it was near Big Sur. So I went exploring from Carmel South, not finding it at first.  I found a similar image posted on a forum and went looking with Google & Google Earth.

Well I found it, just south of Garrapata State beach along Hwy 1, not in Big Sur at all.

It was at a seasonal, unmarked creek that was easily missed. While there were trails on either side of the draw, there wasn’t clear access to the place to take the shot. So I braved a careful trek at the edge of the vegetation, being careful to do as little damage as possible.  I at first went to the back end of the Calle Lilies, but this was a not a “great” composition, a bit cluttered and the view to the ocean almost block. I worked my way back to the beach and there it was.  The view opened up with a clearly visible stream, flowers in great condition and a nice flow of lines that guided the “eye” through the scene. I did use a GND filter as the sun was still above the cliff to the left.

Here is that scene. Calle Lillies at Dowd Creek

Again, both of these Big Sur Coast visits  yielded images I have yet to approach in light or quality since.


About Dan Swiger Photpgraphy

Enthusiastic Amateur Photographer Landscapes, child photography & events


One thought on “Finding places along the Big Sur Coast

  1. Good day Dan,
    Very inspirational images and good “back story”. I can see a lot of time and effort in capturing these moments in time.

    Posted by Guy | June 26, 2014, 3:49 pm

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