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The trouble with getting up early for a sunrise here in Northern California, is that it's much harder to predict the outcome. We learned that lesson once again this morning.
After seeing beautiful red sunset in LAX last night as I was travelling back home, and hearing that my buddy Jim Patterson saw the same show in Santa Cruz, we decided to get up early for sunrise. Brave and always cheerful Kendra joined us. Not too shocking, but as it always happens, there was hardly any color this morning. With hot days, the fog still covers the shore overnight. Nonetheless, after good chat over coffee and hot chocolate, we drove over to one of the spots Jim knows. It's not ideal for either sunrise or sunset due to the angle of these rocks, but suitable for B&W.
Nice thing about 6am on Saturday - no other photographers around.
I do love this time of the year. Here in this part of California we can wait for months in the summer for the weather like we've having right now, but the winters here are beautiful. It's warm, stormy, and all kinds of clouds pass through. On this particular day, the end of the passing front was right where my favorite beach is located - at Garrapata State Beach. You might have noticed that I've been going there quite a bit recently. My goal is to build up a collection of images from this winter into a separate portfolio that I will call "Winter at the Big Sur" or something like this. I thought it would be a fun idea to build a new set like this every winter.
Anyway. This time around there was no one at this half-a-mile beach but me, big rocks and the big waves. The one in the background is about 15 feet tall. In fact, this weekend we're experiencing perhaps the biggest waves of all year, and today the world famous big wave surfing competition Mavericks is taking place in Half Moon Bay.
29mm, f/16, 1/8 sec, ISO100
Lee 0.9 + 0.6 ND Grads
One of the key elements in landcape photography are the edges. The late Gallen Rowell was the first to write extensively about it in his famous "Mountain Light" book. It is usually the edges of things that are the most memorable - a clearing storm, an end of the day, an end of the land where sea begins and so forth. The way our brain processes items is that we remember the edges and extremes much better.
With this in mind, this is what drew up out to the ocean last week - the edge of the passing front was right where I been shooting recently, at Garrapata Beach. A mile north, and I was under the overcast sky. A mile south, I was under the clear sky. But this time I was lucky enough to be right where the light was clearing, and right as the day was turning into night.
10mm, 1/3 sec, f/16, ISO100
Lee 0.9 + 0.6 ND grads