Monterey, Carmel, Santa Cruz Photos

Monterey County, Carmel, Point Lobos and Santa Cruz

This area has been the home of famous photographers such as Edward, Cole and Brett Weston, Ansel Adams, Morley Baer, and others. Currently there are several high quality photo studios in the area. And for good reason. This place is extremely photogenic and close to other scenic areas. It is a perfect place to live if you are a photographer or other artist or writer. In Carmel, there are literally over 60 fine art galleries in a 4×8 block area!


Portal to Big Sur - Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz, CaliPortal to Big Sur – Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz, California

Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz is a great place to watch the sunset. This is one of the few remaining arches, as the other ones have been washed into the sea. New ones will replace them as the years go by. The tip of the Monterey Peninsula and the start of the Big Sur coast 40 miles away are shown in the middle of the arch.

In order to show this arch in the best light, I had to wait until November for the setting sun to be at the best angle to show the detail on the arch face. I also wanted some cloud cover, which becomes more common as the 7 month summer dry season comes to a close at this time of year. I used a long exposure to smooth the water, highlighting the arch and distant coastline.


Bird Rock - Point Lobos, Carmel, CaliforniaBird Rock – Point Lobos, California

I’ve been planning this shot for about two years. Back then, I noticed how the layered slabs of rock, the sloping hills, and the horizon all seemed to point to Bird Rock in the distance, but the conditions were never good for the element of atmosphere. Finally a storm came through just before sunset and I was able to make the image I had hoped for.

I waited for some light to strike the rock and mountains of Big Sur to the left. Then I waited for a wave to sweep into the cove. There were big waves striking the rock in the left-center, but they were REALLY big and blocked out the rest of the scene. So I waited for a smaller more sweeping wave to make a more gentle and flowing image.


Pinnacle Rock #3 - Point Lobos, CaliforniaPinnacle Rock #3 – Point Lobos, California

Point Lobos, at the north end of Big Sur just south of Carmel, California (100 miles – 160km south of San Francisco) could keep a photographer busy for months or even years. It is a peninsula that has been sculptured by large Pacific waves over millions of years and the results are stunning. This is one of the western-most points of rock and is probably 50 feet tall at high tide. Sometimes waves wash over the entire rock and they did during a big set just after this photo was made. This is a wider view with more light striking the cliff face and sea than my previous attempt which is in the 2010 Nature Conservancy calendar for November.


Pinnacle Rock #1 - Point Lobos State Park, Carmel by the Sea, CaPinnacle Rock #1 – Point Lobos, California

Point Lobos, at the north end of Big Sur just south of Carmel, California is a peninsula that has been sculptured by large Pacific waves over millions of years and the the sandstone rock formations have been sculpted into fantastic forms. This is one of the western-most points of rock and is probably 50 feet tall at high tide. Sometimes waves wash over the entire rock. The most interesting motion was occurring just as the waves curl around the rock. I painted long lines (but not too long) with a 0.8 second exposure in order to show the dramatic motion.

The sun broke from under a low fog for just a few moments. Long enough to capture it!


Carmel Last Light #1 - Carmel By yhe Sea, CaliforniaCarmel Last Light – Carmel State Beach, California

This was the view on a stunning and rather warm new year’s eve. It had been clear all day but I like clouds in my photographs. If I were a painter I would not paint a landscape and then just finish it off with a plain blue sky. So I want nothing less for my photographs.

Fortunately on this evening, some high clouds moved in at the last minute to fil the sky with orange and red hues. I walked around on the beach to find the most reflective spot and waited for the best reflection to conincide with a big crashing wave.

I will never forget this evening!


Carmel Rainbow - Carmel State Beach, CaliforniaCarmel Rainbow – Carmel Lagoon, California

A winter storm passed through overnight and began to clear before dawn. This is a perfect time for some rainbows and dramatic light. Rainbows are rare in California because when a storm is finished, it clears up fairly quickly. Rarely are there intermittent showers mixed with sun, which is when you are likely to see rainbows such as the ones you see in Hawaii.

So I was overjoyed to see the sun peak out of the clouds while the last few showers were passing by. I was lucky because 30 minutes later it was completely gone.


Lovers Point Morning - Pacific Grove, CaliforniaLovers Point Morning – Monterey, Pacific Grove California

A thick and low fog covered Monterey bay on this summer morning. As the sun rose it began to burn holes in the fog, allowing warm light to filter through.

I got as close as I could to this stunning set of rocks at Lover’s point so that I could capture the motion in a dramatic way. I made several attempts until I was finally satisfied that I had just the view that I wished to share.

The granite rock here is sharp, sparkling and spectacular. it glistens in the sun and provides good footing for hikers and photographers too.


Sea and Storm - Point Lobos, Carmel, CaliforniaSea and Storm – Point Lobos, California

A winter storm clears off the Big Sur coast near Point Lobos allowing beams of light to filter through to the sea. I wanted to capture the deep blue color of the ocean water and the complex flow of the surf as it passed by.

Somtimes the waves would wash over the foreground rocks and I would have to take the tripod and run. I want to get as close as possible because otherwise, photographs like this are not possible.


Asilomar Surf - Asilomar State Park, Pacific Grove, CaliforniaAsilomar Surf – Asilomar State Park, Pacific Grove, California

This was such a complex situation that it was hard to keep the entire thing in my head without losing concentration. I noticed several areas with dramatic action and I wanted to capture it all in a single photograph. It took a long time to accomplish this while keeping the camera dry. I almost always get wet as I get as close as I can.

Every once in a while a wave would strike the rock to the left in back. Sometimes nice waves would form out in the open ocean. Sometimes the wave would hit the rock in the foreground.


Moonlight Archipeligo - Big Sur, CaliforniaMoonlight Archipeligo – Garrapata Beach, California

I ventured out to this rugged coastline at night with the moon rising behind me in the hopes of capturing a view like this with a long exposure. The shutter was open for about 10 minutes. While I was waiting some baby racoond were walking around my feet. I was hoping that the parents would not show up and try to protect the babies but that did not happen.

The long exposure, distant fog and rock formations made the scene look like a Salvador Dali painting. But this was all done in the camera.


At the Shore #1 - Carmel, CaliforniaAt the Shore, Carmel Beach, California

This is a 30 second exposure at mid-day as people watched the fog burn off. Some people stood in place while others played in the water. This may be the finest beach in the state.