Growing up in Kansas, the ocean has always been a dream of mine to explore and photograph. Now that I live on the central coast of California, scenes like this are at my back door. Big Sur is a magical stretch of coastline that runs from this point in Montana de Oro State Park, near Morro Bay, California, all the way up to Monterey. The diversity of plant and wildlife along this small stretch of the coast is great -- from groves of eucalyptus trees in MDO to rolling green hills north of Cayucos to redwood pine groves near the village of Big Sur. It's no wonder people seek this stretch of Highway 1 from across the world.
Montana de Oro is a spectacular place -- filled with a vast range of textures and rock formations that jet right out of the ocean. It's really been quite challenging to photograph though. Creating a clean composition with so much texture and patterns can be incredibly frustrating. On this particular evening, I was yet again chasing the setting sun, trying to find something that worked for me when this rock formation caught my attention. I set up the camera as the glowing light of the sun began to illuminate the rocks in the right of the composition. I quickly focused (as fast as one can focus a large format camera) and exposed just one sheet of film before the light quickly disappeared behind the building marine layer.
The tide was on its way in while setting up for this photograph and as I waited for another shot (which didn't happen), the water level quickly rose. After the light was gone and I had put my camera, lenses, and film away, a set of three larger swells crashed against the rocks to my left, drenching me and everything I had with me. As if the light wasn't enough of a memory, the long, cold hike back to the car just seemed to add to the experience.
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- Camera: Ebony 4x5
- Lens: Nikkor 90mm f/4.5
- Exposure: 4 Seconds
- Aperture: f/32
- Film: Fuji Velvia 50