Big Sur 2023

Planning for a recent trip to the Big Sur coast in California was complicated by winter rain causing the closure of Hwy 1, from just north of San Simeon to just south of Big Sur. This was similar to my first trip to this area in 2017. On that trip I elected to spend my time in the Morro Bay to Ragged Point area. A year ago, the road was open all the way through; however, I chose to spend my time in the Big Sur to Carmel-by-the-Sea area.

This year, while my hope had been to do more exploration in the Ragged Point to Big Sur area, the road closure meant I would have to break my trip into two components: the area south of the closure and the area north of the closure. The result was I spent three nights in Cambria and two nights in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

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I enjoy photographing old piers. The San Simeon Pier can be viewed from the beach on either side of it. The pier itself is closed so you can’t walk out on it. The photos below show it from two different sides: one mid-morning and the other at sunset.

San Simeon Pier
San Simeon Pier

The images of the pier that I really enjoyed creating, however, were long-exposure black and white. The three landscape (horizontal) versions were 2-minute exposures while the portrait (vertical) oriented image was a 3-minute exposure.

The other pier in the general area is the Cayucos Pier. In the two images below, the dark colors of pre-dawn give way to the softer pastel colors on the horizon after sunrise.

Cayucos Pier
Cayucos Pier

It was cold and windy in the early morning hours in Cayucos. However, that didn’t seem to deter the surfers who started to show up just after sunrise. They often seem so graceful as they ride the waves, just before they tumble off their board into the cold water. I must say I enjoyed a good hour and a half to two hours just watching and photographing them.

Of course, what would a section of coastline be without lighthouses? I photographed two on this trip. The first two images below are a sunset and a sunrise view of Piedras Blancas Light Station. The third is the Point Sur Lighthouse somewhat obscured by early morning mist.

Occasionally you come upon a scene where the light is just perfect. I literally only had a couple of minutes to grab my camera and tripod, run across the road, and capture this image before the light changed.

The California coastline offers views that range from tranquil, gently rolling seas to the frenzied crashing of waves on the rocks. Here is a sampling.

In one spot, while I was shooting waves, I noticed one area where the backlit wave glowed with a gorgeous emerald green color. So naturally I had to capture it!

Sometimes, when just wandering around exploring an area, you happen across a little gem .. like this little waterfall.

When in this area, it is always fun to spend time watching the Elephant Seals.

I did manage to catch some other wildlife on my trip.

If you have made it this far, congratulations! This has been a long post. I’ll close with one final image. Those who follow my blog know that I enjoy playing with different techniques. Here is an abstract I call “Breaking Waves”.

Breaking Waves
This entry was posted in California, Landscape Photography, Photography, Seascapes, Travel, waterfalls, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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