Rocks and Surf, Weston Beach

Posted on 17 January 2013

Rocks and Surf, Weston Beach

Rocks and Surf, Weston Beach

Rocks and Surf, Weston Beach. Point Lobos State Reserve, California. January 13, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A long exposure photograph of shoreline rocks and surf at Weston Beach, Point Lobos State Reserve

I had been a while since I had photographed along the California coast south of Monterey, but I finally made it back down there on this mid-January morning, ending up at the Point Lobos State Reserve. This is a location I shoot frequently since it is barely more than an hour from my home, and I’ve gone there since I was a kid. Today was perhaps not the ideal day to photograph there – it was (literally) freezing cold in the morning and then the skies were almost completely clear. Clear skies are not my favorite for photography. I much prefer some fog or clouds. In this photograph I dealt with that by pointing the camera down and placing the horizon very close to the top of the frame.

Arriving at the reserve, I first headed down to the familiar location of Weston Beach. (I still cannot quite figure out which this place is called a “beach” – rocky slabs slope down to the water and the closest thing to sand is a bit of rocky gravel. But I digress…) When I arrived, the early morning sun was almost back-lighting the islands and sea stacks to the south of here, so I walked back up the road a bit to find higher ground to shoot in that direction. While shooting from there I saw that it could be interesting to shoot below this trail and much closer to the water, using a very wide-angle lens and perhaps a 9-stop neutral density filter to extend the exposure. Rather than hoping the fence to get to the likely spot 20 feet away, I was a “good soldier” and I walked back a hundred yards or so, took the “official” trail down to the “beach,” and then worked my way back to the rocky spot that I had spotted from above. I lined up some shoreline rocks and a crack that allowed a bit of surf to come in closer, positioned the horizon very close to the upper edge of the frame, added that 9-stop neutral density filter, and made several long exposures that would allow the surf to become flat and almost misty. Usually I might not want the very harsh light on the rocks, but here I like the way it contrasts with the smooth and filmy quality of the water.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

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